Monday, February 26, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Snuff

The death of Anna Nicole Smith was certainly of passing interest. She was famous, she had just had a baby, and days later her son collapsed and died. Then she collapsed and died— and so it was news. But what’s to make of the media feeding frenzy behind her death?

Cable news networks are covering it non-stop; and not just the gossipy programs like Greta Van Susteran’s “On the Record,” but even the serious news shows by serious reporters, like Anderson Cooper.

I understand that the media is a business. The networks make money by selling advertising space, clients buy advertising spots, the clients want to know that millions of eyes are watching the show, and so the execs. figure out what the public wants to see. Apparently the networks believe we want coverage of Anna Nicole Smith.

I don’t blame the networks—I blame the American public and their prurient interests. What concerns me most, however, is not the public’s obsessive interest in the death of a celebrity, but the celebrity we have decided to drool over—a no-talent. Smith was not known for her acting, singing, dancing, erudition, sense-of-humor, or philanthropy. By all accounts she was a cynically avaricious druggy with a penchant for fucking so many men that nobody knows who baby Daniellelynn daddy be.

Perhaps America really is experiencing its downward trajectory as a superpower? I heard a couple talking heads argue that Anna Nicole Smith is a much needed diversion from serious news, like the war in Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, etc. I don’t buy it, because that argument presupposes that Americans have been paying close attention to international events in the first place.

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