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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 11, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas HeraldZettung g Thursday September o 9A Attractions death tli TV By Frazier Moore AP Television Writer Television led the charge through the swirl of respons es Princess Dianas death roused from her public And through it all we were fix ated tens of millions of us as if we had joined in a collective bender that took the form of watching TV its coverage an intoxicat ing cocktail of tribute tragedy intrigue and fingerpoint ing This was no time for moderation When an MSNBC promo called Dianas funeral the most extra ordinary event of our few of us were in any mood to argue Who would pay for our loss The photographers who stalked her The driver who crashed the car Even the city of Paris which a traffic expert said on ABCs World News had failed to install simple guard rails that might have saved the lives of the cars occu Early on the legal shows were pondering who might finally be held liable Elsewhere on TV less litigiousminded pundits argued that no we were all somehow cul pable we loved her yet we killed thus inviting us to add guilt to our pool of emotions And the ironies and contradic tions kept on piling up We were presented with the irony of Hollywood actors who any other day would righteously cling td the First Amendment now demanding laws to curb newsgathering excess es We watched the media tsktsk over predatory coverage of Dianas private life then moments later saw reports like the one on last Thursdays Extra that boasted of lifting the veil of secrecy at Dianas health club and landed this squalid little scoop After a work out the princess used to head home to We heard lots of people scram ble to justify themselves however awkwardly Im Mitchell CNNs gossipmeister signed off one day last week and hey Im just trying to keep my eye on everybody during a very chaotic time in the world of celebrity Chaos indeed The worlds supreme celebrity was gone leaving no immediate successor Diana had begun her reign over the world of celebrity even before her July 1981 marriage to Prince Charles For instance four months earlier on Dan Rathers first night as CBS Evening News anchor a feature story told how English girls were cutting their hair like Charles betrothed There was no doubt even then Diana had it all to be a superstar including that necessity of TV great hair She was the patron saint for the new media age as well as its principal British historian David Starkey marveled on last weeks 48 Dianas appeal particularly on television could be summed up in a TVage McLuhanism She came across as a cool personality who inspired onlookers to project upon her porcelain veneer the person each of them wanted her to be I think one of her great virtues was that she could be lots of things to different Dianas private secretary Patrick Jephson told ABCs Peter Jennings She could be almost whatever you wanted her to top ten VIDEO RENTALS Copyright 1997 Billboard Publications Inc j 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mythical presence to whom fleshandblood women not to mention her musty ex and inlaws will never measure up Like Marilyn Diana is more powerful dead than alive What does all this tell us about the morality and the culture and the shallowness of Western civilization at this time posed Pat Buchanan on CNNs then served up his answer The United States is a very frivolous society and unserious country in a lot of ways and this story tells us The search for posmic meaning in Dianas death says more about the search parties than it does about her And maybe like Diana the meaning each of us finds is whatev er we want it to be In his 48 Hours report CBS correspondent Bob Simon refresh ingly ventured that it came down to this blunt sad fact Like thousands of other people the peoples princess was killed in a traffic acci dent Simon concluded The ulti mate meaning of her death Dont drink and And he might have added always buckle up Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church IH35 North Evans Rd Texas 88th 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