I’m always fascinated by how often Stalin is vindicated in his observation that something bad happening to one person is a tragedy while it happening to a million is a statistic. For example, 500,000 black and Latin young men getting stopped and frisked annually for the last decade in New York City is a statistic that has mildly troubled some of the more sensitive souls in the New York elite, but hasn’t really been much of a story even locally, much less nationally, while Oprah not getting shown a $38,000 handbag is Breaking Global News. It’s like the vast outpouring of sympathy that greets the President of the United States whenever he recounts how his grandmother wanted a ride to work one day. You might think that being black in America has, on net, been good for Obama or Oprah, but that’s not a widespread impression.
More generally, human beings feel sorrier for immensely privileged people than they do for nobodies like shopgirls and grandmas.
Lest you think this phenomenon is somehow ethnic in origin, look who’s on the cover of Vanity Fair this month: Princess Diana. Sixteen years gone, and she still commands a magazine cover. It’s time for Playboy to haul out more Marilyn Monroe pictures, I suppose.
In the meantime: Boo. Frickin. Hoo.