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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Is ‘Newsweek’s undead-Diana cover a journalistic abomination, a terrible mistake, or merely good clean fun with a dead celeb?

Have you seen the cover of Newsweek this week? Here it is:


Princess Diana has been digitally aged to appear as she may have if she’d lived (tomorrow would have been her 50th birthday), as her new daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton, gives her new mother-in-law a smile.

But it gets worse. Inside, editor-in-chief Tina Brown imagines a whole life for Diana post 1997: where she lives, whom she hangs out with, what she wears.

This is not journalism. It’s not even fiction. It’s fan fiction.

Suzanne Murray at The Stir pretty much sums up my own reaction to the cover:

Dear Bonnie Fuller Tina Brown,

It has come to my attention that you have taken over the helm at Newsweek and that you’ve got really big plans for the place. Your latest issue — with Princess Diana on the cover — is truly inspirational. You took a woman who has been dead for 14 years and made up an entire story about what she would look like, where she would be living (the Big Apple of course!), what she would be doing (apparently lots of Botox!), and perhaps most importantly, what she would be wearing (Galliano — the anti-Semite — and J.Crew a la Michelle Obama!) … if she were still alive today.

This is pure brilliance.

I’ve never understood why a magazine called Newsweek would waste its time having reporters write about current events or world affairs when it could simply make up stuff. It’s so much more fun! My Princess Beatrice hat is off to you. It’s probably great for your budget too — you can pink-slip the majority of your fact checkers (fiction is a beautiful thing) and dump those stodgy old reporters and eager beaver young Harvard grads while you’re at it.

If journalism is dying, we can thank the likes of Newsweek for twisting the knife.

What do you think? Is Newsweek’s undead-Diana cover a journalistic abomination, a terrible mistake, or merely good clean fun with a dead celeb?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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