Scorpio’s World

Thoughts on Politics, Race, and Middle Earth

“Why All The Fuss?” indeed

Posted by scorpiomkm on February 9, 2007

“Why All The Fuss?”

Photo

                   The Felicity Daily Herald
                       “All the news that’s fit to print; and a whole lot more”

What drew us to Anna Nicole

By JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer Thu Feb 8

NEW YORK – Anybody who arrived from Mars and wanted to know what all the fuss was over this 

 Anna Nicole Smith would do well to watch just one clip: her appearance at the 2004 American Music Awards.

Prancing onstage in a tight-fitting black gown that showcased her cleavage — which was, as all else about her, larger than life — she grabbed your attention. Her looks were outlandish, but there was beauty beneath the excess.

And then she spoke. “Like my body?” she asked, tracing her fingers over her breasts. Her slurred words spilled out dangerously. She was clearly very high on something, and you wondered if she would survive, literally.

It was hard to watch. And, of course, harder not to.

Scant hours after news emerged of her death Thursday at age 39, many people were hard pressed to describe what exactly Anna Nicole Smith was. Actress? Model? Reality star? Rich widow? “I don’t know exactly what she did,” said talk show host Joy Behar, hearing the news over the phone. And yet, trying to put her finger on why we watched this strange woman over the years, she came up with two things: Dysfunction. And beauty.

“No question, she was beautiful,” said Behar, of ABC’s “The View.” “We know people like to watch dysfunction. But beauty gives you something extra to look at. Dysfunction and beauty: Now that’s something to watch.”

How was she dysfunctional? Really, how wasn’t she? Her strange life seemed to veer from one outsized struggle to another. She struggled famously with her weight and with her family. She sometimes even struggled to speak without slurring. She had a TV show that could be so embarrassing you’d want to watch it with dark sunglasses on. Much more tragically, she lost her 20-year-old son. Five months ago she had a baby daughter and now two men claim to be the father.

In other words, she was a perfect pop culture icon. By contrast, another famous creature of Internet celebrity, the chic-er, more sophisticated and chillier  Paris Hilton, has much less to fascinate us, grainy sex video notwithstanding. It’s hard to feel sorry for her.

“With Anna Nicole, she was pathetic but at the same time you thought, ‘Gosh, if I could just scoop you up and fix things, it would be OK,'” said Jerry Herron, a professor of American culture at Wayne State University. “You wouldn’t want to scoop up Paris Hilton.'”

“Anna Nicole was,” Herron noted, “in both her actions and her physical being, such an over-exaggerated version of what we both lust for and loathe in our society. Bombshell blonde? Family feuds? Lots and lots of money? Weight troubles? Obscene self-revelations on TV? She had it all.”

The compelling mix of beauty and vulnerability is just one quality that has led to comparisons with Marilyn Monroe, another sexy, tragic blonde who Smith liked to compare herself to. The comparison is tempting, but the difference is monumental.

“Marilyn Monroe was an artist, a real performer, able to evoke in audiences a real empathy and a passion,” said Richard Walter, a film professor atUCLA. “There is NO comparison.” And yet he sees one strong point in common: the simple beginnings, the climb from total obscurity to fame.

“She came from humble origins and achieved celebrity and wealth, one way or another,” Walter said. “And that is an American story.”

For celebrity editor Janice Min of US Weekly, it’s the element of perseverance that stands out in Smith’s tale, which she sees as “almost this perverse Hollywood Horatio Alger story.”

“She fought against so many obstacles — poverty. Teen pregnancy. A bad home life.” And of course, ridicule. “But she persisted, where others would have shrunk away out of humiliation and shame.”

It might have made her look pathetic. But it also made it exceedingly hard to look away.

                                                 ++++++++

My son asked me this morning: “What’s all this fuss over this woman?”

I couldn’t really answer him!! So, I’m going to break my mother’s Commandment of ‘not speaking ill of the dead’. But to be quite honest, I’ve been sick of this Story for YEARS!!

Like Paris Hilton, I’ve NEVER found Story’s and Coverage of nondescript, spoiled, and dysfunctional people of Interest. It’s liking watching a car crash or two trains about to collide:

I don’t care to Observe such things.

I’ve seen Tales of Anna Nicole on TV now nonstop since her death And what really pisses me off is …. I’m sure the Media will play out this tragedy for another 3 weeks at least! And I ask myself:

“What has this woman done for Humanity?”

“How was LIFE impacted by this woman?”

“What effect did she have on my life?”

And I could ask the Same Questions re Paris Hilton!!

But ya see, the Anna Nicoles and Paris Hiltons of the world Define our Present Culture. A culture that often glamorizes MEDIOCRITY and ‘loose living’. A Culture that lauds seemingly Outward Beauty at the expense and neglect of Inner Beauty.

A Culture that has become as Shallow as the dysfunctional, sad people we Idolize!

For what she Contributed to Mankind, Anna Nicole’s death SHOULD be a footnote on the back pages of a newspaper Obit page; but because we worship those qualities of Shallowness, Ignorance, and showiness …. I’ll be bombarded by Anna Nicole News (?) for the next 3 WEEKS at least.

Sad. But that’s the way I see it.

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