Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Kennedy Freedom, Low-Rent Royal Wedding

Celebrity independence is making Fourth of July weekend news as famous names couple and uncouple.

In California, JFK’s niece takes steps to terminate the Terminator as her husband while 6000 miles away Princess Grace’s son enters wedlock in a low-budget version of the extravaganza that starred his mother, nee Grace Kelly, 55 years ago.

Saving all this from utter cheesiness is the new British royal family, geographically and temporally between these extremes on what would have been Princess Diana’s 50th birthday yesterday.

Only weeks after their own wedding, her son and his bride are in Canada playing out the sequel to their fairy-tale wedding, obscuring the tawdry tales of two 20th century princesses whose weddings captured the world’s imagination but did not live happily ever after, only until car crashes ended their sad stories violently.

What meaning can we find in the lives of those selected by birth or matrimony to give the rest of us vicarious dreams of glamor and grandeur at the eventual price of their own inner happiness?

In the last century, relatively unsophisticated media offered the full candy-box treatment, playing down the reality that movie star Grace Kelly was marrying a man she hardly knew and that virginal Diana Spencer was doing the same 26 years later.

Diana’s son seems to have escaped his mother’s fate by joining his life to a woman he has known well for years rather than a virtual stranger, but the show-biz glitz dominating the wedding of Grace’s son is not promising for the princely couple of an area the size of Central Park, whose domain is a tourist trap with a gambling casino.

Back here, Maria Shriver is in court, despite her Catholic faith, to shed the body-builder who became a movie star and then a political prince but remained a horny frog when the cameras were off.

Those in the media who amplify such spectacles, like Fourth of July fireworks, and those who consume them like the products of holiday barbecues, will shake their heads knowingly at these sad denouements and move on, feeling sated and superior to such superficiality.

But they are part of those pathetic stories, perhaps the most important part of them all.

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