Friday, February 09, 2007

Famous for Being Famous

Anna Nicole Smith died yesterday.

I first learned the news from an Epinions message board I'm on, but then saw it again at a Trixie site. My first response was shock. I thought she was younger then she was, but even so, 39 is very young. Just ask this 31 year old.

Personally, I was ambivolant about the woman. I don't read Playboy, thought the previews for her reality show looked dumb, and didn't care one way or the other about her court battles. Frankly, at times, I just wanted to go some place where I didn't have to hear about her any more.

Not that I wanted her to die. Let's make that perfectly clear. I just didn't want to hear about the parentage of her baby any more.

Then I got home last night, turned on the TV, and saw more coverage of her death. In fact, TV Guide channel was nothing but people talking about her and her legacy. That's when it hit me.

She was famous for being famous and nothing else.

This is a phrase they use all the time on Fox News Watch, a show I regularly watch on weekends that analyzes the news. And she's not the only "celebrity" that they've used it on. In fact, they use it on many a celebrity. But it certainly applies here.

Not that I'm saying she wasn't a very smart woman. She took an award for Playmate of the Year and turned it into a lifetime of fame. I bet many people wouldn't be able to name the other winners of the title, yet almost everyone knew who she was. That's saying something.

But now I'm going to sound like the panel on News Watch. There are lots of important events going on in the world today. Do we really need coverage on the nightly news of this woman's death? Was she that important? Does it effect our lives? No. There are a million more important things happening in our world today.

Not that I'm going to claim innocence here. I want to hear the results of the autopsy, too.

And I'm only going to let TV Guide partially off the hook. No, I don't expect them to cover serious news. But wall to wall coverage?

We've had a lot of celebrities dies in recent years. Most of the time, it's announced briefly and we move on. It's not the headline, however. And we don't get weeks of coverage from all news sources, something I expect this time around.

Yes, I was saddened to hear of Anna Nicole Smith's death. I feel for her family and especially her daughter.

But it also caused me to think. We as a culture are amusing ourselves to death. And this is just another sign of it. I hope in all the coverage we will get the next few days (or weeks or month) that it will make you stop and think as well.

1 comment:

Brian said...

It will only be the headline until some other major news story comes along -- a major disaster, terrorist attack, a corporation goes bellyup, someone else dies, or something big.

What irks me is the comparisons to Marilyn Monroe. There is no comparison. Monroe is a legend. She would have been an even bigger legend had she not like she did. Anna Nicole is no Marilyn Monroe.

Why is this all over the news? Well, why were the Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, OJ Simpson, etc. trials all over the news. People love the prospect of a scandal. They love juicy news. At least that's what the media thinks. If people tune in, these will remain the top stories.