The Eulogy Of Princess Diana By Earl Spencer

Read Complete Research Material

The Eulogy of Princess Diana by Earl Spencer

In the long aftermath of the death of Diana, tributes to her life have taken many forms including photo-essays, flowers, monuments, obituaries and songs. In the week of her death, however, three verbal tributes - by Tony Blair, by the Queen and by Earl Spencer - attracted particular attention. This article examines these tributes, and public responses to them, in order to argue that the emergence of modern mass media - especially radio and television - has drawn public figures into a different kind of public performance than hitherto. The modern mass media, as Horton and Wohl (215-19) have noted, foster a sense of 'intimacy at a distance'. this, they suggest, is because in television especially 'the image which is presented makes available nuances of appearance and gesture to which ordinary social perception is attentive and to which interaction is cued' (Horton and Wohl, 215).

In addition to the tribute from Tony Blair, two other tributes to Diana - one by the Queen and one by Earl Spencer - received particularly close media attention.They were each produced in rather different circumstances and had distinctive elements. In each case, however, a substantial amount of media coverage was devoted to reactions to the two speeches. This coverage took various forms, ranging from comment and analysis by correspondents in the studio to studio discussion between accredited experts and responses of members of the public delivered 'vox pop' to camera. If we define sincerity in Habermasian terms as the disclosure of the speaker's subjectivity or inner world of thought and emotion (cf. Scannell, 96, 'a form of self-display without concealment'), or even in dictionary terms as 'free from pretence . . . not assumed or put on, genuine, frank' (Concise Oxford English Dictionary), then it seems to be the case that many of the assessments of the tributes emphasized, quite precisely, the claim to sincerity.

The vocabulary of response here lays some stress on the Queen's tribute as an act of emotional disclosure. There is quotation to it 'coming from the heart'. There is reference to it having 'voiced the emotions', to it being 'such a very warm personal tribute', and to there being 'a great deal of emotion in this', to the way in which it, or the Queen, 'showed gratitude'. At the same time, it is worth noting that its status as disclosure is problematic given the very ...
Related Ads