Ed Driscoll

What if Newsweek Still Had Readers?

Back in the earlier, funnier days of Saturday Night Live, the show was fond of doing “What If?” sketches, such as “What if Superman had Lived in Nazi Germany” and “What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub?” Evidently, Newsweek is fond of this genre as well:

Oh, Newsweek. Oh, Tina Brown. Did you really have to do this?In honor of Princess Diana’s would-be 50th birthday (if not for, you know, her death) Tina Brown wrote an article called, “Diana at 50: Chilling with the Middletons. Tweeting from Davos. And still the people’s princess. If not for that tragic night, what her life might look like now.” And yeah, that about sums it up.

In many ways, Brown’s approach is understandable. Princess Diana was a beloved public figure. She was idolized and worshipped. Her death was devastating: an abrupt tragedy. But, it happened. To pretend like it didn’t is disrespectful on so many levels.

For me, the pictures are what makes the article the creepiest. Almost every news outlet that covered the royal wedding posed the inevitable “what would it be like if Diana were here” question. But they didn’t create a hologram of her to include her in the proceedings. The cover image of Diana and Kate Middleton really is impressive photoshopping, but I almost expect Diana to have white zombie-esque eyes.

Pay no attention to the fact that the Photoshops imagining Princess Di at 50 look very much like real photos of Tina Brown in her fifties. (Or as Fausta asks, “How do you spell p-r-o-j-e-c-t-i-o-n?”) More from Lizzie Manning of Mediaite:

Maybe Brown should have reread her last paragraph and rethought the article. Yes, Diana is alive in our memories. She isn’t walking with Kate Middleton, posing for the paparazzi, and tweeting. That is sad, but it’s more devastating to pretend like she is. To create photographs that simulate a bizarre alternate reality is hurtful, especially to her children.

What’s that about Newsweek and bizarre alternate realities you say?

Update: James Taranto tweets back, “I still think @nationallampoon is the more apt comparison.”

Heh — I had forgotten that one; from back when I still read the Lampoon on a regular basis.

And Newsweek, come to think of it.

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