Thursday, February 8, 2007

Anna Nicole Who?

The death of Anna Nicole Smith -- a tragedy, of course, given her tender age of 39 -- is interesting mainly because of what she was and wasn't and how the mainstream media have reacted to her passing.

The nightly network newscasts seemed almost embarrassed to give Smith's demise prominent play. After all, Smith was, as ABC put it, a woman of no significant achievements. She was, as NBC noted, only "famous for being famous." CBS called her a model and actor, which is a stretch on both counts.

What was she? She was a small-time stripper who lucked into marriage to a rich and addled geezer who promptly died, leaving her a pile of money, which occasioned a court fight with the old dude's other relatives. She also appeared in the altogether in the pages of Playboy for the masturbatory pleasure of that faded mag's readers. Beyond those negligible feats, whatever qualities she possessed were known only to those close to her. To the world, she was a cartoon who captured wide public attention for reasons one is hard-pressed to pinpoint or explain.

Smith has been likened in some quarters to Marilyn Monroe, a comparison not completely without merit. Monroe became a Hollywood star of iconic proportions, though she couldn't act, sing or dance and talked like a dope. And like Anna Nicole, Marilyn was a bottle-blonde with ample bosoms. Oh, and both women died suddenly before they reached the age of 40.

The legacy of Anna Nicole Smith will amount mostly to ponderous analyses of why she was so famous and what her fame says about the millions of people who bothered to pay any attention to her. The lives of those people, like hers, seem somehow tragic.


A Goat said...

"The legacy of Anna Nicole Smith will amount mostly to ponderous analyses..."

Such as yours, Rascal!

The Rascal said...

Ponderous? My analysis was only once-over-lightly.