We see dead people

Funny piece in a recent WWD about the propensity among magazines like Vanity Fair to put dead celebrities on the cover. (Case in point – Vanity Fair’s August cover featuring Princess Diana, who died 16 years ago tomorrow.) Princess Diana fan that I am, I snapped up the issue, which is the point: Dead sells.

But why should it? Maybe because in a world that often seems so out of control, the dead are something we can control. Even when new information about historical figures or dead celebrities comes to light, they remain framed by the past, frozen in time, and we the living have the final say on their record and how they are remembered.

It’s ironic that both literature and Hollywood have obsessed over stories of terror from beyond the grave, because the reality is quite different.

It is the living who haunt the dead.

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