So. Uh. Anna Nicole Smith died earlier this afternoon. wheeler says more about ANS as a person than I could even attempt, so I'll stick to the event itself, which is both shocking and shocking that it's shocking, to paraphrase riney. I mean, on one hand, if you look over her troubled, tabloid life--no, this was pretty much the logical outcome. And yet somehow I've seen dozens of posters from all over the world, both here and on different message boards, express shock and dismay that they themselves found unexpected. There's obviously a lot of genuine sympathy for her now-orphaned infant daughter, who will be inheriting two court sagas--that of Smith's late, elderly husband's fortune and that of her own paternity. Smith herself lost her adult son the very day she gave birth to that daughter, and all told, it's such a dogpile of tragedy that you find yourself not even caring whether you actually liked the woman or not. It's just that sad.
Which makes me wonder about lives lived in the tabloids, and our fascination with them. No, I'm not going down the And Maybe We Killed Her With It road--rather, I do know that we enjoy watching someone be humbled as much as we like watching them ascend. It's part of the narrative--rags to riches, anonymity to fame, the world on a platter; then the celebrity has to find some way to fall down, or we'll start looking for things to tear at. I think there are a few true parasites like Paris Hilton, who seems never to go up or down but to keep sucking away inexplicably at the vein of public interest--but mostly the tabloids are full of human narratives, even if most of them are artificially juiced up for drama. And I have to say, I've actually been expecting a tragic celebrity death to happen any day now--but for Lindsay Lohan. She was talented, she was well-liked; she threw it all away for drugs and tanorexia. She keeps going to "rehab" or the hospital for "exhaustion"; she seems to show no true perception of the path she's on. It's very likely she'll crash before she thinks to pull up, if she keeps going at this rate.
I can't speak to Smith's recent substance intake--traditionally she seemed somewhat chemically addled--but she had just lost her son, borne a daughter, married her lawyer (Howard K. Stern, by the way), was trying to pull it together. We turn up our noses at tabloid narratives but then peek between the covers at the checkout line, and I think this is because they serve as twenty-first century morality plays, where the morals are not that Bad People Go to Hell, but rather that the strong persevere and survive, and the wasteful spiral into the abyss. I think this is why there's been such a strong backlash against Crazy Britney Spears lately: she's not living up to her own narrative. After the deeply skeevy husband, she was supposed to take her two children and Get Strong and Carry On and ascend to a Better Life, and instead she blew her chance on crass exhibitionism. I think it's to the point where we expect celebrities to make complete asses of themselves, and we're actually okay with that--as long as there's repentance and enlightenment down the road for us to enjoy. And Britney has refused us that. Anna Nicole Smith--well, I don't know that enlightenment was in the cards for her, but she'd lost something like seventy pounds and was pulling out of that sweaty, addled Anna Nicole Smith Show period. She was trying to pull it together, and we root for celebrities to pull it together because we hope that we can pull out of our own messes, we hope that we can be forgiven when we screw up. When someone throws it all away, hits bottom and perishes, we think to ourselves what a waste it all was. When someone dies trying, it's more than just a waste--it's a chill little reminder that sometimes trying--that sometimes hope--isn't enough.
Your regularly scheduled content: I saw two commercials today--both Half Nelson (for which Ryan Gosling was nominated for Best Actor) and The Departed are coming out on DVD Tuesday. The later coming out so soon kind of shocks me--I thought it was still in the theater--but I guess it makes sense.
Meanwhile, I've been pleasantly busy. There's that new Lost recap from the other night, and then at the wiki I've got the Best Of Occupation: Girl page, the cat macro page, and a little feature called My Next Garage Band.
Notes and corrections on the Lost recap, by the way--I'll spoiler-font it if you're not on this season yet:
1. The camera may not have been "in the room" like I complained; apparently Jack could have been seeing a reflection of Ben's face in an observation mirror.
2. The Big Obvious Thing Cleo Biffs in Every Recap: Yeah, Benry is Alex's father, not Danny (I think I misheard "Daddy" as "Danny," is what happened). Except that he may be her father, or he may be her "father," depending on whether he and/or Rousseau are telling the truth about their time on the island--Rousseau seemed to have brought Alex with her sixteen years ago, whereas Ben claims to have lived on the island his entire life.
3. I assumed that it was the side effects from the treatment that made Juliet's sister look like she had cancer, and that's why she wanted to concentrate on "getting well" to actually have the baby, because the idea that maybe she had cancer and wanted to have a baby was just too obvious to occur to me. Apparently it's just not a recap if I'm not making dumbass assumptions.
4. I've changed the spelling to "Karl" after checking the IMDB again.
5. Dr. Eyeliner (H)alpert was Nestor Carbonell?
Astronaut suffered 'mental anguish.'
Lawyers to question Russert credibility.
GOP bristles at Pelosi plane request. "Republicans on Wednesday assailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request for access to an Air Force transport plane as an extravagance, though former Speaker Dennis Hastert flew in a military jet as well."
Poll shows Arabs dislike Bush. I... I don't think I have a DUH big enough for this.
NYC cabbie returns bag of diamond rings. “The driver returned 31 diamond rings he found in his cab after dropping off the passenger, who had left him with a 30-cent tip on a $10.70 fare.”
FDA OKs first nonprescription diet pill. This won't be abused at all.
U.S. says autism rate about 1 in 150. “About one in 150 American children has autism, an urgent public health concern, said U.S. health officials Thursday who reported on the largest study done so far on the troubling disorder.”
Father charged in child's exposure death.
Meat, sugar scarce in Venezuela stores.
New Orleans residents are bailing out.
Secrets Of The DoS Root Server Attack Revealed. “Security experts say possibly millions of zombie computers were used in Tuesday's attack on the Internet's 13 root servers. But the attack didn't work because people had been planning for it for years.”
Bears fan loses bet and changes name.
Thai woman tells of 25-year detour after catching wrong bus.
Reunited Police set to announce world tour.
Trailer: Hot Fuzz.
Fox studio puts talk of "Borat" sequel on ice.
Directing Johnny Depp a "challenge," says India's Nair. "Depp stars in her next project, Shantaram, based on the life story of Gregory David Roberts, whose book of the same name describes his escape from an Australian prison to Mumbai and his adventures with the city's powerful mafia dons."
And just to keep Prince Week going: Money Don't Matter 2 Night.
- (no subject)