Junior Samples would’ve been 85 this year

The 20th Century’s most overrated figure (she actually touched poor people and once hugged someone with AIDS!) gets the 50th birthday treatment from Newsweek. It’s the UK’s most embarrassing fetish, as illustrated by Newsweek editor Tina Brown’s vacuous profile of the late princess:

“Diana would have been 50 this month,” she writes. “What would she have been like?”

Brown then seeks to answer her own question, saying the former Diana Spencer likely “would have gone the J. Crew and Galliano route a la Michelle Obama, always knowing how to mix the casual with the glam.”

“There is no doubt she would have kept her chin taut with strategic Botox shots and her bare arms buff from the gym,” said Brown, predicting her late friend would have made at least two more trips down the wedding aisle herself, probably “on both sides of the Atlantic.”

How have we survived without her?

God save us from the queen

Was feeling a bit masochistic last night (perhaps I’ve been watching too many Braves games) so I checked in on our old pal Piers. He claims Americans are going crazy with excitement over the upcoming royal nuptials, though I’ve yet to meet anyone who gives a shit. Either Piers in denial or his social circle includes a lot of middle-aged women who still miss Rosie O’Donnell’s TV show.

The Brits fail to realize this is their Super Bowl halftime show — a moment of communal shallowness that elicits well-deserved mockery from the rest of the world. Most of us find their fetish for the fairy tale silly, at best.

And by the way, next time you produce a Russell Brand, keep him to yourselves.

Respecting modernity shouldn’t be controversial

Perhaps most controversially, [British Prime Minister David Cameron] called for an end to a double standard that he said had tolerated the propagation of radical views among nonwhite groups that would be suppressed if they involved radical groups among whites.

Muslim groups in Britain were quick to condemn the speech, among them the Muslim Council of Great Britain, a major recipient of government money for projects intended to combat extremism. Its assistant secretary general, Faisal Hanjra, said Mr. Cameron had treated Muslims “as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution.”

A Muslim youth group, the Ramadhan Foundation, accused the prime minister of feeding “hysteria and paranoia.” Mohammed Shafiq, the group’s chief executive, said Mr. Cameron’s approach would harden the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, “and we cannot allow that to happen.” …

The prime minister pointed to several steps the government planned that would tackle the rise of extremism. Among these, he said, would be barring “preachers of hate” from visiting Britain to speak in mosques and community centers; stopping Muslim groups that propagate views hostile to values of gender equality, democracy and human rights “from reaching people in publicly funded institutions like universities and prisons”; and cutting off government support for such groups.

What is controversial about expecting Muslims (or any group) to respect the values of their adopted homeland?

A colony of wankers

How do you rationalize a country’s enthusiasm for juvenile bathroom humor? If you’re British, you boast “it’s what separates us from Johnny Foreigner,” as if those of us unamused by flatulence jokes are unsophisticated rubes.

How did we become addicted to rudeness – in the sense of fart-joke vulgarity as well as personal insult? Is it a phenomenon of British art history, a leitmotif of British popular culture, or something firmly engrained in the British character?