Thursday, February 8, 2007

Anna Nicole and Molly--and what America values now.

It's rather sad that Anna Nicole Smith died at the still youngish age of 39, leaving behind a daughter who will never know her--plus questions as to which man is the father and who will try in Ms. Smith's name to wrench millions of dollars from the estate of the tycoon Ms. Smith married.

It's also sad that Ms. Smith's life ended up being a mashup of both Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley--people who "made it" in Show Business and wound up being used and abused by those who didn't have these icons' best interests at heart.

It's infuriating that E!, the "entertainment" channel who exploited Ms. Smith's weight gain and personal problems for cheap, easy laughs in THE ANNA NICOLE SHOW for two years wouldn't even stop this past afternoon to break in live and show respect for the dead.  Instead, it was business as usual with another TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY rerun about AMERICAN IDOL. 

But Ms. Smith (post-E!) lost weight, did a successful campaign for TrimSpa, suffered the death of her twentyish son and co-starred in a now-likely direct-to-video film co-produced by DYNASTY's Jeff Colby, actor John James (now seen as Susan Lucci's love interest on ALL MY CHILDREN).  And, as is custom with the cable news channels, the same video loops of Anna posing at premieres and walking down a runway for Lane Bryant will run for at least the next week.

Days earlier, the spirited and very liberal Texas newspaper columnist Molly Ivins died from breast cancer.  I remember reading Ms. Ivins in the DALLAS TIMES HERALD as a college student--and finding her an often funny and sharp alternative to the embrace of Reagan policies going on in 80s media (don't get me started on THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS).

She was a woman who didn't hesistate to speak the truth (as she saw it) to power.  But she wasn't "attractive" or "sexy" in the conventional sense--and, unfortunately, this shallowness seems to matter even in major newspapers and magazines when talking about female pundits from the obnoxious Ann Coulter to the born-again liberal Arianna Huffington to the NEW YORK TIMES' Maureen Dowd (try to find an article about Ms. Dowd that doesn't mention the high-profile men--i.e. Michael Douglas--she's had relationships with).

So Molly Ivins' passing was mentioned, but her death wasn't the multiple-day story that is going to occur with Anna Nicole Smith--and likely will occur with Ms. Coulter, Ms. Huffington and Ms. Dowd.

Let's face it, beauty matters more than truth to many--always has, always will.

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