June 29, 2011

"Diana at 50": Newsweek's Perverse Newsstand Seance

Newsweek Diana at 50

1. Two things that made the aged Diana come off so much like a freak that it disgusted and scared (scarred?) all those LAT readers.

First, the picture screws with us because the body language contradicts itself so badly, there’s no way the reader can psychologically put it together. You have the strained neck, cheek and chin muscles combined with an otherwise pleasant mouth, matched with that riveted, straight-ahead stare which quickly turns space-alien when combined with those heavy black lines replacing the upper eye lids — all this happening atop a body with an otherwise breezy, free-flowing gait. (And, did I mention the dissimilar arms and the anorexia vibe in Diana’s right arm and face?)

Second, the neck, cheek and chin telegraph so much tension, even anger, Diana comes off like a creature from one royal horror show.

2. What an abusive thing to do to Kate Middleton! I could understand raising Diana’s ghost around the royal wedding, but to raise the dead like this, and then make make the freak the consuming object of Kate’s attention — Diana the ghost-angel, mostly in white, while Kate skews to the black (most extreme in the hats).  And then, I wouldn’t go so far as to reference a limo crash — there’s is the hint of a car in the background which somehow disappears beyond Diana’s left shoulder — but the tension in the illustration is certainly increased by the severe body guard dude.

3. With this cover, Lady Evans’- uh, I mean, Tina Brown’s editorial judgement, short-circuited by her intense identification with Diana (note the book, see the pic), has spun out of control. Notice how, by the way, with the byline, Kate’s not the only woman who appears, side-by-side, with the Princess.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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