The Diana Spencer madness in 1997 was not a good time in the mental health of our country. Some people put their lives on hold and some pretty darned good causes were overshadowed for months. For example, Mother Theresa of Calcutta died shortly after and hardly anyone noticed. Don't make me enumerate the ways in which one was more worthy than the other.
Maybe a country needs an emotional crisis every decade or so, because now the tragic disappearance of Madeleine McCann is becoming just as unhinged.
Don't get me wrong, if Stanetta were missing, I know I'd be trying everything to get her back. But Madeleine McCann is not the only little girl in trouble at the moment. Don't make me mention Darfur again.
She's not the only cause worthy of appeals from David Beckham and Cup-Final videos. And it seems that the attraction of a multi-million pound reward and global media coverage is attracting conmen, publicity-seekers and the mentally impaired. This is not helping the job of the people trying to do their jobs and find her.
You've got to watch Billy Wilder's 1951 film, "Ace in the Hole". A guy is trapped down in a cave and a media circus is created by a needy reporter, resulting in the guy's pain being forgetten and a quite literal circus being created around the cave site complete with ice cream, balloons and amusement park rides. People come from miles away to gawk and experience the carnival atmosphere.
I think we're getting there.