Nyad’s 5th Anniversary Facebook Live Video — a Quick Look

Diana Nyad got through this paean to herself with a few well-worn fabrications, a warning about a future endeavor, and one horrifying episode of insensitivity.

Diane Strubel whispering to “I’ve Got a Secret” host Garry Moore,  4 Nov 1959. (Full episode here.) Diana Nyad swam around Manhattan in 1975 and still claims to be the first woman to do so. She was the seventh.

Yesterday’s Facebook Live Video — “Join us in celebration, today, the 5th Anniversary of the Cuba Swim Expedition…”—mainly involved Diana Nyad, before a small audience on the deck of a boat, talking about herself. She also introduced friends and family who, when they spoke, talked about Diana Nyad.

She couldn’t get through her part without a nod to the backlist:

The best men, women, fast, strong, young swimmers in the world have tried this swim. It’s the Mt. Everest of the earth’s oceans.

To review: Only five people besides Nyad have attempted solo crossings of the Florida Strait: See “Everybody’s Doin’ It.” And the Florida Strait is NOT the Mt. Everest of the earth’s oceans. Only one person claims that it is. See “p. 244.

Earlier, Nyad had enumerated her bilge-bucket list of what “the next things are.” Here’s the final entry:

I want to perform on stage and bring this story to life in a dramatic, storytelling way, and be known as one of the better storytellers of our time.

In other words, she’s gotta be storyteller #1, and she’s not going away any time soon.

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Most of the audience members are familiar characters: Bonnie Stoll, Candace Hogan, former partner Nina, sister Liza, and photographer/acolyte Catherine Opie who, while interviewing Diana after her Cuba-Florida triumph, said:

One of the things that has been most incredible to me in terms of…following you through this process is the utter honesty in it. (“Diana Nyad & Catherine Opie,” 34:04)

Neighborly Thoughtfulness at Sea

At about 16:00, though, we meet two people we haven’t met before. They are Diana Nyad’s neighbors. Diana ate dinner at their house once. Someone recently murdered their son.

“I invited them to come today,” Nyad says, “because they’re grieving, unspeakably.” Celebrating Diana on the open sea will ostensibly help. Inviting them “seemed like the right thing,” Nyad declares. So, she introduces them by name to the world, cameras rolling, so that we’ll never forget [begin sarcasm] the thoughtfulness that Diana Nyad emanates in every direction. [end sarcasm]

If Nyad really invited her neighbors out of genuine sympathy, out of a genuine desire to help, she wouldn’t have put them on display. Nyad invited them, however, not for their benefit but for her own. She revels in stories of horrific suffering. She uses those stories in an attempt to demonstrate that she is not a pathological narcissist; but that, instead, she can care about others and thus deserves our admiration.

Nyad employs this subterfuge throughout her oeuvre. Remember it. We will see it again.

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