Monday, April 09, 2007

Does anyone care?

This will likely be the only thing I say on this subject...

Does anyone in this whole Anna Nicole fiasco actually care about that poor woman? Everyone seems eager to pick her bones.

And--has anyone else noticed how Fox News is showing the influence of its owner, Rupert Murdoch? I.e., didn't he make his bones publishing trash-filled tabloids?


Anonymous said...

Yes, Father, I hope I care! But mostly, I am horrified about that poor little baby. Someday, when she is a big girl, she will be sitting on someone's knee and ask about her mama and that someone will tell her the story of when her older brother and her mother both suddenly died, and a team of unsavory men leapt into the public eye to announce they'd slept with her mother and therefore might be her father...
What's to become of her??

Anonymous said...

I care insofar as this poor creature symbolises a class of exploited females who for varying reasons - perhaps low intelligence or poor nurturing - do not realise they are being exploited, and/or who exhibit a willingness to accept a life of degradation in exchange for pay and notoriety. This unreal female with an unreal name was exploited in life and exploited in death. And anybody who takes an interest in tabloid journalism participates in the exploitation just as much as those who write or publish the scurrilous details.
There seems to have been no shred of decency or compassion for this unfortunate young woman, who appears to have been mentally or emotionally disabled and has been flung back and forth among human sharks. Even the mainstream news media could not resist offering all kinds of sleazy info about her life. I think everyone who hasn't done it yet should offer a silent prayer for Anna Nicole's soul and let it go at that. There is absolutely no reason for the nation to dwell upon or speculate about this sad situation.

Sara said...

I wish they would just let the poor woman rest in peace. I feel worst for her little girl. One day she's going to find out that her paternity was such an issue they could have done a "who my baby daddy" episode of Springer about her. Such a shame.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do care -- I pray for the respose of her soul, and also for the safety of her little daughter. I agree completely with my fellow commenters' views on those who exploited Anna Nicole and who are fighting over her corpse like scavenging hyenas fighting over some animal they just killed. I also pray for an end to the exploitation of poor, sometimes rather dense women who are led to believe that all they need to succeed in life is a spectacular body and arich boyfriend. Nothing about this episode is less than scurrilous and sad.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'll play the dissenting fool.

First of all, in life, Anna Nicole Smith was not "exploited." She was famous for one reason ... being a 20-year-old blond stripper with very large endowments who exploited a 90-year-old tycoon for his very large endowment. That's it. Everything after that, like her reality-TV show (the dumbest thing I have ever seen, BTW), was her own efforts to stay famous, to continue playing the role of "Anna Nicole Smith." That was her chosen vocation -- celebrity. You can say it was a bad vocational choice, and you would be right. But there is no way she was exploited by anyone. She wasn't like Marilyn Monroe, or even Jennifer Lopez today, who were famous as worthy artists before becoming consumed in tabloidmania. She was a self-created tabloid synthetic creature -- the ultimate post-modern celebrity. Where is Anna Nicole Smith's SOME LIKE IT HOT or GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES or OUT OF SIGHT or SELENA, that will be remembered 50 years from now?

Second of all, I'm generally a great believer in "de mortuis nil nisi bonum." But if one wants people to speak well of himself in death, one has to act in life as if that matters. She didn't; her life was one long act of exhibitionism that never stopped even at the end. It was fine for Shakespeare to have Malcolm say of Macbeth "nothing in his life became him like leaving it." But that isn't even true in this case: she died a junkie with a baby by god-and-DNA-only-knows-what father.

Third of all, public fascination with trashy celebrity is healthy -- partly as an object lesson, and partly as necessary amusement. The fact Anna Nicole Smith is interesting for the trashiest of amusing reasons -- the universal archetype of the gold-digger, her vulgar sex appeal, her out-of-control life -- is why (along with the details of her death) it's impossible to get all weepy-solemn about this stuff going on now. Certainly the concerned parties themselves are not -- the sperm-donor left the court pumping his fist today as though he had just (the needed-here "sports metaphor that can't be a double entendre I'd be embarrassed about at a priest's blog" is not occurring to me.) Anna Nicole is to contemporary tabloid culture what Don Giovanni or Faust were to earlier audiences -- a semi-tragic comic fool who comes a cropper.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Well, I don't take your comments to dissent from what I said.

Whether I agree with you, or the others, about whether Ms. Smith was "exploited" or a "victim," I still feel very sad for what someone else called the "train wreck" of her life.

Twenty years ago, there was some who made much of the difference between AIDs patients who were "innocent," and those who weren't -- i.e., they did it to themselves. Then, as now, that doesn't change my feeling of compassion and concern.

Anonymous said...

Victor, when you say Anna Nicole exploited herself you are right to some extent, but it is not possible for one individual working
alone to achieve the levels of notoriety that she did - others were exploiting her too, for their own profit. She was a disposable commodity to many.
As to whether she had valid accomplishments like you assert Marilyn Monroe and some other entertainers did/do, exploitation is not merited by talent, intelligence,or accomplishment. Anyone can be exploited for whatever reasons happen to render it possible. In the case of Anna Nicole her appearance and cheap sexuality were apparently enough to keep her in the public eye.
Whether she had the mental acuity to comprehend the damage to herself that her behavior caused or to recocognise the destructive choices others encouraged her to make, nobody knows. We do know she was a human being, a child of God, so we have no right to assume she was a worthless individual, do we?

Anonymous said...

The exploitation in this situation appeared to be mutual among all parties. It was embarrassing to watch that Florida soap opera trial because the various players were exposed for their own selfish interests. Even the judge was trying to get a TV show.

You're right Victor, her ambition was celebrity, she made no secret of that. I think that what she found was that like a Hollywood movie set, there's nothing behind the facade. Her own life became a reflection of that fact. You might say her life was one pose after another.

What makes me sad is that somehow we have built a social order and moral order that makes that kind of vacuous life not only possible but lucrative and attractive to young women like Anna Nicole.

Anonymous said...


Actually, I do think that people responsible for the train wrecks of their own lives deserve some form of social sanction. The public ridicule of the publicly ridiculous is one such form.

And yes, I also insist on a difference between people who get HIV through acts that are not sinful and people who get it through sinful acts that they defend as not merely not sinful but as the meaning of life itself.

It is not possible to achieve Anna Nicole Smith levels of fame without the cooperation of others, it is true. But that still doesn't mean those others exploited her, not since she was herself fully complicit in every act in her pursuit of fame.

Which speaks to the point I was making about whether Anna Nicole Smith had valid accomplishments versus Marilyn or J-Lo. It was not to say that said accomplishments would justify the tabloid coverage of her. But to point out that ANS had no existence outside her tabloid self-creation -- a point which makes calling her "exploited" extremely dubious. She wasn't a legitimate actress or singer who succumbed to the unjust pressures of fame. She was about fame absolutely, fame for its own sake. She actively sought out fame as its own end; it was not an unwelcome byproduct of success in some other field.

(My confessor made this identical distinction at a post-prayer-meeting dinner last night, unwitting of this thread. The example he cited was Judy Garland, whom he called a tragic figure but said ANS was not.)

Fame may have been difficult for ANS, but it was 100 percent what she sought. A boxer might as well complain about his cuts, bruises and broken noses as "exploitative" of him -- i.e., since it's the inherent object of the game, if you don't want to get punched, don't step in the ring. If you don't want fame, don't be famous. It's an easy thing to do; I've been not-famous all my life.

I did not say, imply or think that Anna Nicole Smith was worthless or was not a human being. But I don't think those of us who did not know her personally in life, and thus would have had obligations toward her, to pretend that we know her personally or have those concomitant obligations in death.

Jeffrey Smith said...

I think everyone's missing the point. All nonsense about exploitation and mistakes pales in comparison of the simple tragedy of what happened to the poor woman and her children. In the end, the only response is to feel terribly sorry for them, pray for them, and not join in the public spectacle by debating trifles.

Anonymous said...

Well, I would deny that what happened to ANS was "simple tragedy." If that's a trifle in your view, so be it.

Anonymous said...

Victor, Victor, we do not have to know people personally to have obligations of compassion toward them. It is sufficient that they are human beings and therefore God's creation. As Jesus said, whosoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone. When you are as old as I am and have seen more of life, perhaps you will be less judgmental. Annie

Fr Martin Fox said...


I dunno; I've met Victor -- he's pretty old!

Anonymous said...


Tomorrow at dawn, my seconds will call on you. Birth certificates at ten paces.

Anonymous said...

I've heard the term "Old Vic" before but perhaps mistakenly took it to be in reference to a style of architecture. . .

Adoro said...

That poor little you know what her father said (when he learned he was her father)?

He said something like, "I feel like I've won an Oscar."

That baby is just a trophy to him just as Anna Nicole was a "trophy".

There's no human dignity being recognized in any of this, and that is the greatest tragedy. We can sit here and argue whether she was or was not exploited, whether she did or did not exploit others, and let's face it: she is dust, and so is everyone else.

But that little girl lives, but to her biological father, she's just a trophy, a tool on his own personal ladder.

And this story is not really unique, if you really think about it. It happens every day, just not in the public eye.

I haven't gotten into this whole thing, but every time I heard something about it (which is unavoidable), it just made me so incredibly sad.

And that's all I have to say.