The Dark Madonna A Fable of Resiliency and Imagination
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She died violently. She was a global celebrity in the broadest sense, a woman of startling charisma who became famous when she married the heir to the English throne and even more famous when she divorced him and embarked on a life of her own. But the sudden death of Diana, the Princess of Wales, alongside her lover in a fiery car crash in a Paris tunnel on Aug.
Britain went a little crazy. For a few disorienting weeks, everything seemed up for grabs, including the monarchy itself. She was born Lady Diana Spencer, the daughter of an earl, in Althorp, her childhood home, was a stately, drafty pile, crammed with priceless works of art. Her childhood was privileged but lonely — her parents had a terrible divorce — and her education indifferent.
In fact, nothing remarkable at all happened to Diana until, at age 19, she married Charles, the Prince of Wales, in view of thousands of strangers millions, if you count the television audience , wearing a voluminous puffball of a dress that drowned her slender frame. If the wedding was a gossamer fairy tale, the marriage was a real-life nightmare.
Diana was emotional, fragile, needy, anorexic, bulimic; Charles came from the stiff-upper-lip school of interpersonal relations and had a longtime married girlfriend, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Charles and Diana had two sons. She eventually found various lovers, too. They died together in a high-speed chase in Paris, fleeing from paparazzi pursuing them in cars and motorcycles after a date. The power of the emotion — and the frenzy whipped up by the tabloid newspapers — all but forced Queen Elizabeth to break with centuries of tradition and protocol and make a public address to the nation.
Elton John sang at the funeral.
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Diana is nearly as vivid a figure in death as in life. She lives on in her sons, William and Harry, who have talked in recent years about her effect on them. The young man in question was Christopher McCandless.
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His identity was not confirmed for weeks, but in time he would become internationally famous as a bold, or very imprudent, figure. McCandless died alone in an abandoned bus on the Stampede Trail, a desolate stretch of backcountry near Denali, in August He was surrounded by his meager provisions: a. Before Mr. McCandless died, from starvation aggravated by accidental poisoning, he had survived for more than days on nothing but a pound sack of rice and what he could hunt and forage in the unforgiving taiga. Jon Krakauer, at the time a freelance writer, heard about Mr.
The editor wanted Mr. Krakauer to write a long article about Mr. McCandless on a tight deadline, and he delivered. Krakauer said in a telephone interview. Over the next few years he dug into Mr.
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He chronicled Mr. A film based on the book, starring Emile Hirsch as Mr. McCandless and directed by Sean Penn, was released in McCandless came from a well-off family on the East Coast. He graduated from Emory University with honors, then disappeared in He donated virtually all the money in his bank account to Oxfam, a charity dedicated to fighting poverty, then drove west before abandoning his car and burning the cash he had left.
ISBN 13: 9780983605898
He deserted his family and a privileged life without looking back. McCandless canoed into Mexico, hitchhiked north and worked odd jobs along the way.
He often roamed alone, but left an impression on many of the friends he made along the way. An older man named Ron Franz even offered to adopt him; Mr. McCandless gently turned him down. His parents were worried, but knew that long, improvised jaunts were nothing new for their son.
Some readers see Mr. Many others, especially native Alaskans, have argued that he must have been mentally ill, suicidal or hubristic, and that it was irresponsible for Mr. Krakauer to glorify his story. Walt McCandless and Mr. Krakauer both disagreed with that assessment. In Mr.
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McCandless said in an interview. But she said she does feel her parents should accept some blame. Walt and Billie McCandless said they did not want to comment on the memoir. By the time Mr. It said:. An earlier version of this article, using information from Mr. By the time he was 10, he and his brothers were pop sensations performing as the Jackson 5.
Much more than documents.
The group had four No. By 20, Jackson wanted to break away from his overbearing father, his demanding siblings and the Jackson 5 sound. It won eight Grammy Awards, spent two years on the Billboard album chart and sold more than million copies around the world. It was also hugely successful, with five No. Jackson died on June 25, , from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol. There was a worldwide outpouring of grief. Radio stations played marathons of his music. And fans were left to decide which Jackson they would remember, as the pop music critic Jon Pareles wrote in an appraisal in The New York Times :.
On Aug. Bryant was working alone in the store when Till went in to buy bubblegum. It is not clear what happened inside, but soon afterward Ms. Bryant stormed out, presumably to get a pistol from her car parked outside. Till, unaware of the danger, whistled, and his cousins, now panicked, quickly drove him away.
Bryant later claimed that Till had flirted with her on a dare. The details would later change depending on when she told the story. Four days later, around a. Milam pounded on the door of the Wright family home where Till was staying with a pistol. His body was so mutilated that it could be identified only by the silver signet ring, still on his finger. People left in tears.
Some fainted. The murder became a rallying point for the nascent civil rights movement.
The Rev. The Bryant brothers were found not guilty. After the acquittal, they kissed their wives, lit cigars and posed for pictures. And later, protected from double jeopardy, they boasted about how they had murdered Till. She tried to meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but he refused. Edgar Hoover, the director of the F. It provoked international outrage and pressure on political leaders in the United States.
Young black Americans grasped the precariousness of their own lives, and figures like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Till Mobley became a teacher and civil rights activist herself, as did many whites. As Mr. Friedrich Nietzsche, the rebel of 19th-century philosophy who died years ago on Aug. Nietzsche wrote with the confidence and vehemence of any pundit.
He posited extreme precursors to moral relativism and self-actualization, two ideas that have become prevalent during the last few decades. His often-aphoristic writing style would be perfect for Twitter, where there are many accounts in his name. Whether he would be pleased about how his ideas have influenced our culture is another matter, but it would be very difficult to argue that they have not. Perhaps the most well-known example is the frequently made accusation that his writings fostered a sense of Teutonic racial superiority that Germany and then Hitler would use to justify embarking on two world wars, even though Nietzsche himself had repudiated his nationality and claimed to be descended from Polish nobles.
His ideas might seem more familiar to us now, but at his death they were controversial, even shocking. Those enemies included organized religion, especially Christianity, democracy, mediocrity, nationalism and women.