Special Report By Monica Sullivan
On a warm Friday night in Nepal, the royal family assembled in the palace for pizza. On the other side of the world, movie fans were celebrating the non-event of Marilyn Monroe's 75th birthday. She was real, 39 years after her death, because of the pervasiveness of her image, captured forever by still photographers and cinematographers. Outside Nepal, the royal family was not real. The palace spin was that the king & his first born son were Gods. They went to Eton as boys, the king later went to Harvard, but they returned to live in a country where they were Deities. That night however, the "very, very intoxicated" heir to the throne was behaving in a most un godlike fashion. Like a recalcitrant child, he was sent to his room. A few minutes later, he returned with an automatic weapon & all hell broke loose as he blew most of the royal family to bits. A relative who talked about it later was placed under house arrest. Local journalists who criticized a subsequent investigation were jailed for sedition. The whole situation seemed unreal outside Nepal.
A few days later, a group of women braved Nepalese curfews & climbed Mount Everest and THAT was real outside Nepal. I suspect even now that someone is furiously scribbling the first draft of an opera about the massacre of Nepal's royal family except that they can't call it by the Crown Prince's nickname, as Andrew Lloyd Webber did with EVITA, about the life of Eva Duarte Peron: No one would pay to see an opera called DIPPY. Four short years ago (if you believe the international media), the entire world was plunged into worldwide grief when the Princess of Wales was killed by a drunk driver. Like Marilyn Monroe, Diana Spencer was real because of the pervasiveness of HER image, captured forever by press photographers & videographers. Every July 1st, her birthday is celebrated, along with speculation about what her life would have been like at 37, at 38, at 39, at 40. Crown Prince Dipendra knew Diana: he was her host in 1993 when the rest of Nepal's royal family declined to meet the separated wife of the Prince of Wales. When she died, he issued a compassionate statement about her & reportedly became involved with the plight of AIDS victims. But when Charles came to Nepal in 1998, he was photographed with the King and Queen & Dipendra was cropped out of most of the press pictures, although he was there, too, staring at Charles and his parents. By then, he had been in love for two years with the beautifu1 woman (currently in hiding) whom he wished to marry. He argued for five long years with his mother about his future until there was no future for either of them.
The last concession made to Dipendra was, fine, then, marry her, & your little brother will be a King and a God, not you. Dipendra would ~have to be very, very intoxicated to imagine that the only way out of his unsupportable dilemma was to mow down his entire family with a machine gun. Yes, the tragedy in Nepal will be an opera or a film one day, only it will be a fiction, along the lines of what Marilyn or Diana became to the world. The only way to comprehend what happened at Mayerling in 1889 or at Ekaterinberg in 1918, was to spin fairy tales about eternal love or the Grand Duchess who got away. The 21st century fairy tale can't be about Friday night pizza & an intoxicated son sent to his room: it will be the stuff that dreams are made of, the only reality we can bear to understand.
© 2001 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 6/14/01
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