Celebri-spiral™: Enough Already

Our culture is in a celebri-spiral. We're conflicted over our ridiculous, growing celebrity culture consumption via magazines, websites, and TV shows. In 2007, my love/hate conflict made me take to the blog-o-sphere. All writing on this site © Dave Singleton 2009.

Friday, February 9, 2007

February 9, 2007: RIP Vickie Lynn, aka Anna Nicole

Where were you when you heard the news that Anna Nicole Smith died?

I was in Los Angeles, home of many a falling star, drinking coffee at Starbucks on Santa Monica Boulevard. I got a call from Lisa M., who told me the news within an hour or two of Anna's actual death. The news got out so fast! Within an hour, everyone was talking about it. Even Clint Eastwood chose to speak about it (instead of promoting his movie) for 45 minutes during a Fox TV interview. Bizarre.

Ironic, too. She died in Hollywood just like Marilyn. But Anna's Hollywood was Florida. That's sort of perfect in a terrible way.

Does Anna now join Princess Diana, JFK Jr, JFK, and Marilyn as one of those rare celebrities whose deaths stop time for us, even for a minute?

I think so. Wish I knew why. She was famous for being outrageous. That was it.

Watching her was like watching Hee Haw with crack addicts.

Anna the televised mess was a true guilty pleasure for a lot of us. She was the train wreck and we rubbernecked freely. We knew she was f*cked up, but it all seemed so goofy, and she didn't seem bothered by it. She was unabashed and unapologetic, and there was, if not an innocence, then at least a childlike quality that provoked a positive response from people.

The fact that so many radio shock jocks took turns bashing her, and the media coverage of her demise, didn't surprise me. That's what they do, and the angle on Anna is that she never warranted so much coverage. But the flip side is the number of people who were actually sad to hear she died. I have to admit I was one of them. It is sad. She left a five month old baby. She was rich and famous, but not peaceful or together. What a waste. Her legacy is her good humor in the face of it all.

My favorite Anna moment-and God knows I watched her show like millions of others-was season I when Shelley, the toothless cousin from Texas, shows up unannounced, cigarette glued to her lower lip, pounding on the door of the mansion while Anna lays on her sofa comatose. Too many Oreos? Too much vodka? Too many 'ludes? All of the above? The only thing that moved Anna is when Howard K Stern described Shelley to Anna, who replies: "She ain't got no teeth?" Anna got up for the reunion. It was hilarious, and maybe she knew she was funny. I hope so.

As Lisa G. comments. "she actually had more of a sense of humor about herself than I gave her credit for, unless she was so drugged she would do anything she was told to do onstage. I like the shot of her next to the poster remake of Gentleman Prefer Blondes. She was a lot like Norma Jean, except less subtle and talented. I guess she was the trashy cousin of Marilyn."

That makes sense to me. I am tired of talking heads-and Anna herself-comparing her to Marilyn. Marilyn was well spoken, she studied her craft, and was an excellent actress in some great films. Anna was a televised mess who got applause for slurring her words.

But there are some similarities. Blond. Bombshell. Pill popper. Tragic early death. Complete reinvention from early disastrous childhood. Making the most of what she had, getting acclaim, and even her own theme song:

Anna, Anna, glamorous Anna, Anna Nicole!
Was born in Texas, strugglin' savin', tryin' to get to fame
Then you use what you got (and that's a lot!), you became a household name
Married a billionaire, so he was 88, but they didn't date!
Then it all disappeared as fast as it caa-aame!
Anna, Anna, glamorous Anna, Anna Nicole!
Anna, Anna, glamorous Anna, Anna Nicole!
You're so outrageous!

RIP Anna Nicole Smith, aka Vickie Lynn Hogan Marshall. Hardly knew you? We didn't know you at all. Not sure you knew yourself. Or maybe you did and had the street smarts to show just a crafted, marketable persona. Marilyn did. Maybe you had more in common than I think.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home