If you visited Drudge today, you probably noticed an intriguing headline about the sudden vogue of Marie Antoinette. PBS will broadcast a show on the hapless Queen of France September 25, and Sofia Coppola’s film “Marie Antoinette” comes out in October. There have also been a striking number of recent biographies.

The always-entertaining Camille Paglia analyzes the phenom. It’s a must-read, but here is an appetite-whetting snippet on the reasons for Marie’s surprising popularity: 

“The court machinery created by Louis XIV at Versailles was a precursor of the star-making Hollywood studio system, with its glorification of beauty and glamour. Under the dithering, ineffectual Louis XVI, however, the artificial superstructure of the French elite had reached its decadent limit. As Weber shows, Marie Antoinette’s fashion display was no longer about the nation but about unfettered self-indulgence. Similarly today, ‘image,’ as fabricated by stylists and often divorced from any discernible achievement, has become the primary focus of celebrity culture (and has overflowed into the art world). Yet stars have become smaller and smaller, interchangeable ciphers with blank doll faces. The perverse agelessness created in the late 18th century by powdering of the hair of both sexes is now paralleled by cosmetic surgery and nerve-deadening injections, which produce a strained simulacrum of youth.

“In this period of bland, gender-neutral ideology in the workplace, the Marie Antoinette milieu may offer the archaic fantasy of sophisticated womanly wiles and the alluring arts of seduction. At times, the novels about Marie Antoinette seem to recall Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, with its epic panorama of the destruction of a pleasure-driven, heedlessly exploitative civilization. But Scarlett O’Hara, of course, survived through spunk and grit. The picture of an innocent Marie Antoinette as scapegoat, facing down her accusers and led to the slaughter, is reminiscent of plays and films about Joan of Arc, which used to be much more in circulation. There are also resemblances to Princess Diana, who was similarly recruited for royal procreation and found herself lost in a cunning, deceptive courtly maze. And like Marie Antoinette, Diana came to a violent end in Paris.

“After 9/11 – when great towers fell, like the Bastille, in a day – coping for the professional class has required cognitive dissonance. Life’s routine goes on amid a surreal bombardment of bulletins about mutilations and massacres. When since the Reign of Terror has ritual decapitation become such a constant?…”