Friday, February 9, 2007


At work. Should be working, but all I can think about is everything going on outside of this building. Hopefully my boss doesn't know I have a blog.

Fame is such a strange, stupid, twisted thing. People were all over the place last night telling each other that Anna Nicole Smith had died. Her story is so woeful, so ridiculous, and so illustrative of the corrosive effects of fame in our weird era, but what strikes me is how far-reaching her fame was. There's not one person I can think of who wasn't aware of her life story, or at least the critical elements of it.

Yes, she was a caricature of a beautiful woman gone wrong, and she was certainly losing herself as a result of losing those she loved. But I always thought she'd turn out okay despite the lawsuits and the money problems and the paternity tests and the adverse health and the deaths and the drugs. After awhile, her well-being was something I cared about. You can't watch someone go through the kind of crap she went through without caring for them a little bit. She seemed like a living refutation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's idea that there are no second acts in American lives. She had a second, a third, a fourth, and a fifth.

Why was she famous in the first place? She was Playmate of the Year, a Guess Jeans spokesmodel, she came from humble beginnings, but more likely it was because she was a televised trainwreck: a drug addict, a moron, a likeable lover of pomeranians, and a disputed heiress whose case made it to the Supreme Court.

It's clear by now that fame runs on a perpetual cycle of beauty, talent, money, and fascination. We're fascinated because we can read about famous people making money off of us simply because we're fascinated by them. As long as they stay fascinating, they'll probably stay famous. And that explains Anna Nicole's fame to a T.

As an avid reader of US Weekly, I feel somewhat responsible for my own contribution to this unfortunate cycle. And I'll miss Anna and her amazing life -- I hope she was happier than she appeared to be on TV.

But life goes on, I suppose, and we'll always have Paris.

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