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Morning Sickness: From Kate Middleton To a Dead Woman on I-95

| December 6, 2012

Still living at taxpayers’ expense in the world’s most expensive assisted living facility.

I’m having severe morning sickness. Day after day I’ve been waking up to “breaking news” flashes at the New York Times, on ABC News  and a couple of other sources about… Kate Middleton’s pregnancy?

pierre tristam flaglerlive editor's blogI actually clicked on this morning’s “breaking news” email from ABC. Here’s what it said: “Kate Middleton Leaves the Hospital After Being Treated for Severe Morning Sickness [6 a.m. ET].” Each word capitalized in the original. It was right after the email from the Florida Highway Patrol informing me of a fatality on I-95, a woman in her late 20s, killed last night just across the Flagler-St. Johns county line. She was either standing on the road or crossing it when southbound vacationers from Pennsylvania in their late 50s and early 60s (a couple from Selinsngroove, a town the size of a Florida subdivision) struck her with their RV-pulling SUV. Night had just fallen. The F-150’s right-front bumper struck the young woman and sent her flying to the shoulder. And Charlotte and Richard Stanley, who were in the F-150, must now live the rest of their lives with this inadvertent fatality on their conscience.

It could be a suicide. It could be that the woman was not well. She hasn’t been identified: had no identification on her (otherwise FHP would have known her age), no identifying marks, other than the telltale signs of homelessness. “Next of kin has not been made,” the report says, in what could be the final official words on the woman’s life. The woman’s parents, her siblings, her “kin” are out there, unknowing. It’s often said of some people that they know more about Britain’s royals than they do about their own family. For one family this morning it’s as literal a fact as it gets: they know more about Kate Middleton’s morning sickness than they do about their own kin’s death.

This unknown dead person is as far removed from royalty as she can possibly be: a homeless, nameless, dead woman who had “come to final rest on the west grassy shoulder” of an Interstate, as abject a place to die as any. Yet if I were to judge what matters more in the world today between Middleton’s nausea and that woman’s death, it wouldn’t be a choice. Only the fate of the homeless woman is news. Whatever happens to Middleton or to any royals is clutter. These people, these meandering parodies of a past stuck in formaldehyde, aren’t news. They’re show business. They’re soap operas. They’re spectacle and buffoonery 76 years past their expiration date. Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936 was the perfect opportunity to abolish a monarchy that has no place in a democracy. Awe and deference to inheritance, privilege and patronage as opposed to merit and usefulness is the daily embarrassment of a nation whose monarch still speaks in terms of “empire” and “subjects”—a monarch who still speaks at all, even addressing Parliament in an annual New Year ritual of time-sucking—when she should have been hauled off to a nice country estate near the Land’s End Hotel in Cornwall, with a comfortable pension and a chauffeur, and left to answer fan mail there decades ago.

It’s not for lack of royals that Buckingham Palace (the world’s most expensive and tax-supported assisted living facility) and the Tower of London (the city’s chief attraction) will lack for tourists anymore than the disappearance of the Bourbons has diminished foot traffic at Versailles and the Tuileries. The lurid antics of Charles Diana Camilla and whoever was the sister or sister in law who alternately posed nude or got fat and thin on Oprah’s body clock (I’m grateful for these memory lapses) have piled on the reasons to do away with the circus, which cutely flew when the queen supposedly did at the opening of the London Olympics.


There’s one good argument for maintaining the monarchy: people want it. “That is the contradiction at the heart of a constitutional monarchy,” the Economist wrote in 1994, “that an unelected institution, redolent of authority and selected by accident of birth, depends for its legitimacy on the popular will.” A referendum would likely keep the circus in place, because people are too fond of crowning distractions from their own lurid lives.

But when national media such as the Times and ABC News play along, we have our own constitutional crisis on our hands. Democracy doesn’t long survive the idiocy of its constituents. Tanks are being deployed in Cairo, the fear of chemical weapons drifts across the Syrian civil war, untold thousands are left reeling from their own Hurricane Sandy in the Philippines, our own political clowns have yet to scale the cliffs of their fiscal cheapness in Washington, but Kate Middleton’s morning sickness is what warrants the modern version of press-stopping “breaking news.” It would be nice to be spared the exhibitionism.

That nameless woman who died yesterday evening on I-95 is right now on a slab at the medical examiner’s office in St. Augustine. She never was news and never will be again. But chances are she had a more interesting life, if not a life worthier of attention, than Kate Middleton ever has, or will.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him on Twitter.

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30 Responses for “Morning Sickness: From Kate Middleton To a Dead Woman on I-95”

  1. Joy says:

    Excellent article!

  2. Kyle says:

    “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled by the entrails of the last priest.” -Denis Diderot In a society where people think it’s more altruistic to worship than to actual help their fellow man, when they know more about Snooki and the Kardashians than they do the work of Neil deGrasse Tyson. There is something truly wrong with this picture.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a poorly written article!

  4. blondee says:

    I couldn’t agree more! Maybe her morning sickness is big news in the UK, but why on earth are they covering it here??

  5. Palm Coast Resident says:

    Tally Ho and all that good rot !

  6. Who Dat says:

    Wow Pierre! Nice piece. We sometimes forget how grateful we are. There are probably hundreds of thousands of faceless indigent or homeless people like the Mary Doe;s that end up in morgues with a tag on their big toe. Some lie in refrigerated compartments until family claims them or end up in places like Potter’s Field. Yet, we have people that are so quick to have people locked up for mental health issues if afflicted rather than maintain social programs for them. It’s the right thing to do. After all we are our brothers keeper. This woman had a lot to live for at age twenty two.

    Yes, we get sick of the Royals but it’s big news and money.

  7. P Compton says:

    I’m of English decent and proud of the Royal Family. I’m sure the Europeans watch our news too. I can’t imagine how silly our news looks to them, it’s an embarrassment in my opinion

  8. Nancy N. says:

    Aww, let us have our fun, Pierre! Most royal fans don’t truly hold the family in reverance or awe, and the royals in the UK no longer hold any real power. They aren’t locking people up in the tower or firing the prime minister. Their only power comes from the love of the people they serve, and they use that attention to raise millions of pounds for charity each year and bring attention to worthy causes and British tourism. Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, did amazing things for AIDS awareness with her work. The simple act of her shaking hands with an AIDS patient without wearing gloves did more for understanding of that disease than any other AIDS activist had been able to accomplish. And look at what she did with her work on landmines! WIlliam and Kate are still growing into that role as newlyweds and with him still being in the military, but they will. They also serve as wonderful ambassadors for their country, spreading goodwill in their overseas trips and in meetings at home. They accomplish, in some ways diplomatically, the same non-political role that our ex-presidents sometimes fill.

    You said it yourself – it’s show business. And some of us enjoy the show. Don’t rain on our parade. :)

    • Donna De Poalo says:

      Fine to cover it as entertainment but I was stunned when Middleton’s release from the hospital was ‘breaking news’ here in the US. Appalling.

    • Mike T says:

      How could you possibly give a crap about the British Royalty??? There is much better show business out there-get a grip.

  9. Gram says:

    A beautiful and biting elegy. What does the future hold? What could it possibly? To quote Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, “Anything can happen. Any awful thing.”

  10. Confused says:

    It is funny to me that you claim this poor woman’s death (may she rest in peace) is more news than Kate’s nausea, yet most of the article is indeed about the royal family.

  11. Dorothea says:

    Pierre

    Good editorial. The following websites list some of the incredible number of unidentified human remains or missing people in the United States:

    https://identifyus.org/en

    http://www.namus.gov/

  12. confidential says:

    Good editorial.
    I hope she is not the young slim blond long hair lady, I saw pandering in PC Parkway and the entrance from I-95 about 3 weeks ago. She was along this 50’s lady to whom I volunteered money for both though they didn’t ask for it.
    They were recently homeless and looked neat..and the younger one was very distressed, looked like her ex expelled her from the house and took her kids away. That early evening was drizzling and cold….and I was concerned about them both…while driving back home. Do we have a shelter here we can advise them about..or a church that will shelter them for the night..?

  13. Geezer says:

    Thanks to Flaglerlive for not being part of the problem. No fluff here!

  14. Anonymous says:

    No one knew who she was. No one cried or shed a tear. No one knew if she was pregnant or was sick.
    Was she hungry? When did she have her last meal? Where did she “live”? Or maybe since she had no buying power she was a nobody. so no one cared.

    She could have been anybody’s sister or cousin. No one will lever know or will try to find out.

    Peace to you, girl!

  15. Outsider says:

    First of all, it’s very sad that a 20 year old young woman was homeless and died in this manner. I hope they can find her family. Secondly, I don’t see much difference between the royal family and the Obamas. In addition to over four dozen Christmas trees decorating their paltry abode, they go on four million dollar Hawaiian vacations every year, most of that cost due to transportation and security. This year, it will be an even longer, and presumably more expensive one, with the vast majority of that tab being picked up by us. At least the Brits have a say as to whether or not they want to support a monarchy; we don’t.

    • Irene Pickering says:

      Pres. Bush took more vacations than any other pres..and has yet to pay back what he owes for some. I doubt if you were pres. you would give up a once a year vacation, which he richly deserves..The country has been making a steady climb, which, of course, the Rep. and Fox news will not admit, and has made great progress cleaning up the mess he was left with when he took office..Go after the banks the the big oil companies.

  16. rickg says:

    Pierre you have a most elegant and stylish way of pointing out the inequalities of society. Much appreciated and much needed. Thanks.

  17. Dorothea says:

    @Outsider

    Get over it, Obama won. Like every President before him, Obama goes on vacation. Unlike previous Presidents, with the exception of Cllinton, he does so rarely.

  18. confidential says:

    @Outsider.Yes we had a say November 6th, remember? Why are you and GOP Congress and Senate still in denial… just because we won? Follow Barbara Bush advise “move on”!

  19. MaryAnn Eva Kochanko-Norvik says:

    Enjoyed reading that article, very good point, so sad abou the 20 year old girl.

  20. Magnolia says:

    One young woman who literally owns the world and another possibly homeless, sick and in distress by the side of the road with no one to comfort her. Life isn’t fair and it is never going to be. But we will mourn her as if she was ours.

  21. pamala zill says:

    Anything could happen to anyone, anytime. Is. It Kates fault she fell inloveand married. A Prince? Is itthe homeless. Women’s. Fault she died? Is it our fault we were born? I do not believe. In Heaven or Hell, only love. Is real. Misfortune. Comes from having a body.

  22. pamala zill says:

    Also, people need Heoroes, Stars gives them hope. I say stop paying athletes so much. Most of them do nothing great….boxers, football players….ram into and beat each other up. That is the problem, not the English royal family.

  23. senior says:

    Very well-written article. Excellent points made! I never thought morning sickness of a gold-digger girl who only cares about herself and what she wants would be breaking news!

  24. Flagler County Residet says:

    The two aren’t comparable. One is of interest to many in the world because of her fame (marrying into Royalty brings instant fame) and the other, an unfortunate due to what?? you don’t know, nor do I. Perhaps she was a drug abuser, an alcoholic, someone who just was a victim of circumstance, or someone who made her own problems. What do you propose, we dwell only on the poor of the world, not be interested in anything else.

    Sorry, your article was apples and oranges.

  25. SadCitizen says:

    While I have to say this article was “well written”, it is also a clear example of why journalism has no respect anymore. How do you jump from a homeless victim, to the Royals? You have no clue who that woman was, or what she has done to get where she is. For all you know, she grew up in a life of wealth, and CHOSE to fritter it away. She could have been a drug addict, a murderer on the run, a thief. She died de to an unfortunate accident, but we have no way of knowing how she got there or why. The Royals are part of tradition. They are the foundation their nation was built on. Good, bad, and the ugly, the citizens, the “subjects” of that country support them, stand by them, and RESPECT them. There have been monarchys over the centuries, and throughout the world, and in some respects they have function better then our Republic has! So shame on you Pierre, for trashing them, to pompously try to “educate” others on something you have NO CLUE about. Once again, you are no better then the glory hounds of the major media networks, acting like vultures and promoting the rotting carcasses of things that should remain dead.

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