Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day, Diana and Shops

Labor Day
Today is Labor Day. For me, I am not sure what Labor Day is. I mean, I did not grow up working in a sweat shop, or having my father come home after 12-hour days of working in sub-standard conditions. Labor laws had already righted many wrongs.

To me, Labor Day means a three-day weekend. That's all it means to me, and part of me feels sad because of this. Not that I want to be old enough to have been put under "the man's" thumb, not given overtime hours for more than 40 hours per week, or have been subject to dangerous working conditions.

I just don't get Labor Day.

Recently, there was a big deal about the tenth anniversary of Diana's death. I am probably in the minority here, but I don't get the big deal about Diana. Some people said she was one of the most influential people of the Twentieth Century, and I just don't get it.

Diana married a prince with very large ears. Enormous ears. A prince that fantasized about being a tampon for Ms. Camilla Bowles. I don't see greatness in this. She had means and wore designer dresses. She looked good. Again, not seeing the greatness.

Diana did a fair bit of charity work concerning AIDS and landmines. Bill Clinton said of Diana, "In 1987, when so many still believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact, Princess Diana sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and held his hand. She showed the world that people with AIDS deserve no isolation, but compassion and kindness. It helped change world's opinion, and gave hope to people with AIDS."

Compare her compassion with Father Damien. He was a priest who moved to Hawaii to live with lepers. He wanted to be with lepers because he believed that all Catholics need to have access to their Church, no matter what their lot in life.

Diana had no idea what her chance of getting AIDS (in 1987, I knew that you could not get AIDS from holding hands – apparently Diana and Clinton did not). Father Damien was almost sure he would get leprosy. He did so anyway.

Diana – one of the most influential people of the Twentieth Century, and Father Damien, er, who knows who he is? He was the subject of a 1980 made for TV movie (I didn't see it, but I saw a link for it when Googling Damien to make sure I spelt his name correctly).

And I won't talk about the cocaine use, the partying, the boyfriends and everything else.

I just don't get our fascination with Diana.

You know, with the Internet comes information that makes it easy to share. I like this.

As you may or may not know, I love books. And not only do I love reading books, but I am a bit of a collector of books. I am not talking first editions of Where The Wild Things Are (worth about a grand for a very good edition), or the Royal Octavo Edition of JJ Audubon's Birds of America (not sure of the price, they are very rare; a single plate may go for as much as $2,000). The books I like are quirky – small runs, interesting topics. And on the Internet, you can find copies of most of these books for reasonable prices.

Another thing I find is that artists can sell their wares on the Internet. For instance, you can go to a shop site, like the one I linked to, and get a set of note cards for not so much money. I like getting note cards that are unusual, and you can find sites like the one I mentioned. Unique cards at cheap prices.

I do get online shopping!

Have a nice Labor Day. And shop online. I would recommend in favor of unique books or cards, and against compilations of Princess Diana. Just a thought.


richmanwisco said...

Re: Diana

no, you're not alone. was just another unfortunate milestone in the uber-sensationalism of our pathetic cable news sources.

Dwardisimo Rex said...

Wow, I've always been interested in time travel. How'd you do it anyway? I mean cuz where I am it's still Sunday morning -- the 2nd of September.

mal said...

I do not get the whole Diana thing either. "Most influential"? I don't think so. I am sure she was a wonderful human being and all but lets get real. Was she a force for change? Was the world markedly impacted by her presence? No and NO, end of discussion.

RWA said...

Hope you are having a great Labor Day.

Not that I have any idea exactly what Labor Day is for, either.

QUASAR9 said...

Funny day for Labour Day
Here it's on the first of May
And yes it was meant to be a three day weekend for those who get Saturdays and Sundays off.
But in Europe it seems increasingly workers (labourers) have to work Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays too.

And there's no longer double pay (you can forget triple pay) even pay and a half is extremely rare.

Dr. Deb said...

For me, Labor day begins the beginning of a new school year. Even to this day now, I get jitters not as a student, but as the teacher!

Leesa said...

richman: I did not want to say the Diana stuff out loud, but . . . I think some agree with us concerning her.

d rex: you still think time is linear, don't you?

mal: you said, "I am sure she is a wonderful human being." Not sure how wonderful she was - she never answered and of my letters.

rwa: sorry I did not shed light on Labor Day today.

quasar: sort of in step with May Day, huh?

dr. deb: as a student, I was always excited for school. As a teacher, I can understand why not.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Labor Day evokes all of the back-to-school scnnizzz, which as an adult has manifested itself into online shopping.

Diana - can't we just let her be dead?

Advizor said...

I don't know what everyone is talking about, Dianna dead? I don't think so, I her kissing Elvis under the mistletoe last Christmas at a Laughlin casino.

And as for Labor Day, it was a good description, I mowed the lawn, cleaned my garage, did some laundry, weeded a patch of my garden, and had sex with my wife. Work, Work, Work.

Prata said... much as I am not a fan of Princess Diana's fame. Let me point out the error in comments and post.

Someone please name a celebrity of note that was photographed being compassionate and endearing to any AIDS patient in that time frame. I don't think any of you can name one. Why is that? Because people didn't do that sort of thing. It's not the fact that people knew you couldn't contract it. It was the fact that people held people with the disease in the same category (mistakenly or not) as those with leprosy. The movie Philadelphia also points out some of the stereotypical beliefs of society as a whole and people in particular for HIV/AIDS sufferers. Given the way society UK and US and others are influenced by celebrity actions, was she a force for change in this respect? Yes. You can not say it is any different without completely throwing out the effect media has on our young, and the impressionable adults. Which would then of course make one appear foolish. Marketing can prove the effect of any celebrity action on camera being of note in large numbers of viewers.

Secondly, Diana was a force post-humous for change with regards (perhaps she was simply used as a martyr to put a face and emotional impact further than say the thousands of reports of adults/children maimed and killed by these things) to land mines. Her works were cited by the UN for the signing of the Ottawa Treaty.

Force for change doesn't mean you march on Capitol Hill necessarily. Force for change is based on one's own influence. 2.5 billion people watched Diana's funeral. 2.5 billion people watching a single (admittedly sensationalized, but in some aspects deserving of aforementioned sensationalism) person's funeral. In the US the funeral was the most watched telecast during the hours it was televised in US history. Influence, whether you like it or not is still influence. And influence of that nature is a force for change, minor or major.

Leesa said...

boxer: I love the back-to-school feeling.

advizor: I think Elvis is a little old for Diana, though if he had enough money, perhaps she would overlook his age.

prata: Just because Diana (or Elizabeth Taylor or Elton John) does something, does not mean that most Americans will think, "great, now I won't fear people with AIDS." It has been my experience that personal experience moves people moreso than whatever some celeb says. I guess I did not change my views just because I saw Diana doing something. Perhaps I am in the minority.

Prata said...

I don't think and didn't say that it necessarily made a huge deal for the majority of people. Have you ever wondered why companies made commercials? Have you ever wondered why companies have entire departments dedicated to large portions of their budget for marketing? Have you ever considered that there is schooling designed to teach people how to market products and ideas and concepts? It's part of our post WWII economics and business education.

It's because people are swayed by advertising. That doesn't even include advertising that includes celebrities. Why are celebrities held to different standards (basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, rappers, actors, and actresses) than the rest of the populace? It certainly isn't because the population ignores what they do. It's prevalent in our society and other societies that people form opinions on and base their standard of morals (in some cases) around what high profile people are doing. The sheep of any country are easily swayed. One simple thing is caught and suddenly everyone mimics or parodies the action. It's why clothing designers use high profile people to wear and model their clothing. It's what creates trends. Look around a little bit and you can see that. Just because _you_ aren't a sheep, doesn't mean the rest of the people around you aren't. What a celebrity does means about as much as what a fly does on a daily basis, but I'm a thinking human being. You can't say the same for the rest of the population. Statistics are in my favor that the thoughtful are sorely out numbered by sheep.