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Jewish World Review
Feb. 16, 2007
/ 28 Shevat 5767
Concerning the apparent drug overdosed death of Anna Nicole Smith, the talking heads and many others this past week have been saying something along these lines: "Anna Nicole was a talentless, morally-challenged, hedonistic bimbo whose only claim to fame was that she posed nude in Playboy, married an old billionaire and essentially would stop at nothing to gain riches, publicity and fame. On the scale of important people who die, she would not be rated very high." So far I can't take issue with any of that.
Then it's asked, "So why is there such a big interest in her death?" The answer to that question is obvious to me - it's a soap opera in the extreme. This is the story that newspapers and television wait for, hope for, pray for. The story that people love to follow and try to solve. A mystery story with all the classic elements; sex, fame, fortune, drugs, sudden unexplained deaths, conspiracy theories, and unanswered questions. Who could ask for anything more in a suspense story? The Anna Nicole Smith story is a crackling good yarn.
And not only does it have all the right ingredients, but it really happened. This aint' fiction, folks. This is real life - the reality show that really, truly is a reality show. With a climax that beats them all - suspicious deaths and unanswered questions - How did she die? Did her boyfriend/husband have anything to do with it? What was behind the death of her first son? Who is the real father of Anna Nicole's baby? Who will finally get all those millions of dollars?
You couldn't make up a story like this. Movie producers would laugh you out of Musso & Frank's. Book editors would reject your manuscript in a New York minute. Your artistic license would be revoked. The story is too preposterous, totally unbelievable. And yet it all really took place with real people and real money and real children and real death. This is live theater at its most grotesque.
In truth, no one really cares about Anna Nicole Smith the person. It is the public spectacle that people are fascinated with - the "story," the myth. The big blonde sexpot who is bigger than life, who flaunts it all and gold digs her way to the top. She didn't have much, but she used what she had, and she achieved "celebrity." And, for better or worse, celebrity in our times has become the be all and end all of the American dream. And she got there. She got there first by gaining notoriety as a result of taking off her clothes in a magazine, then by marrying a super-rich, super-old Texas billionaire.
And the story kept building, and building. Billionaire dies. Billionaire leaves estate to Anna Nicole. Billionaire's relative contests the will. Goes to the Supreme Court. Anna Nicole gets her own television reality show. Gains weight - Loses weight. Moves to the Bahamas. Has baby. Teenage son dies under mysterious circumstances. Drugs? Boyfriend/ husband suspected of foul play. Photos of dead son sold to tabloids. Who is the real father of baby? Anna Nicole dies under mysterious circumstances. More drugs? Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband claims he is the real father of the baby - oops! - now he claims he's not. Odd, overly chummy photos appear depicting Anna Nicole and high ranking Bahamas government official in bed together fully dressed. Where is the baby now? Who is the father? Who will Larry King have on to talk about this? What does Geraldo think? Will Greta get to the bottom of this?
Tune in tomorrow, same time, same channel, for the next thrilling installment. Like it or not folks, for the next several weeks at least, Anna Nicole Smith will be filling up "the days of our lives."
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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© 2006, Greg Crosby