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Please Explain: Anna Nicole Smith
2007-02-22 23:16
by Scott Long

Let me begin by mentioning that I realize this seems a bit too easy on the surface. Why I felt I couldn't ignore the topic any longer isbecause the media won't allow me to ignore it. Now, I'm not one of those people who blame everything on the media. The media serves up what the audience wants and the ratings for the Anna Nicole-big top (circus, not bra) are through the roof. The Extra's and ET's are getting numbers superior to anything they have had in years. It makes you want to go see Lee Greenwood on one of his right-wing pander-fests, just to belt out I'm Proud to Be an American....

I have tried to be consistent on the deaths of celebrities who put their lives at risk. In the past I've written about how I wasn't filled with sympathy for the likes of Dale Earnhardt and Steve Irwin dying because of the way they lived life dangerously. Anna Nicole Smith has seemed more "medicated" the past few years than even Courtney Love, so it's hard for me to get all that worked up over her passing.

Now I do feel sympathy for the baby that Anna Nicole brought into this world, but there are actual responsible mothers all over the world who pass away from this earth and their children will have to do without the millions left to care for them that Dannielynn has. It was tragic that Smith's son died recently, but from the couple of times I saw her filmed train wreck/reality show on E!, the son seemed to hate being part of that monstrosity, but had to acquiesce to the whims of his nut-job mother.

Where the PLEASE EXPLAIN concept comes in is why is it so many people are still so riveted to the story, even after being 2 weeks past her death? While Anna Nicole might have idolized Marilyn Monroe, let's not commission Elton John to write a revision of "Candle in the Wind" about her, because there is no "Some Like It Hot" or "The Seven-Year Itch" on Smith's acting resume.

I have to admit I never got the initial appeal of Anna Nicole, be it Playboy or for Guess Jeans. She always conveyed an artificial, somewhat empty appearance which her peroxide-hair and silicone-breasts amplified. There was an innocence to Marilyn Monroe, but despite the small-town Texas story that was propagated by Vickie Lynn Hogan, the real Anna Nicole Smith was just some stripper-bimbo who used her looks to manipulate her way up the ladder.

Marilyn Monroe married legendary men like Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio, while having affairs with John and Bobby Kennedy. Look at the different men claiming they could be the father of Anna Nicole's baby. Not exactly the same quality of choice.

Anna Nicole was a woman who was willing to allow a man with all the sex-appeal of the Simpsons' Mr. Burns to run his 90 year-old arthritic paws all over her. She allowed a man with breath that smelled like a mix of Fixodent and death to kiss her lips, as he happened to be a billionaire. I have no interest in celebrating the life of someone who could marry solely for money.

After 9/11, the days of Chandra Levy and Monica Lewinsky was thought to be behind us. How long did that last, a month? It has only gotten worse, with judges acting like buffoons, because they think it might land them a syndicated TV show in the future. Isn't it time for us to re-focus our thoughts on the important issues of the day like the US involvement in Iraq or the looming Social Security crisis?

I know I've paid little attention to the Anna Nicole Smith-saga, as I'm spending my time feeding my brain on more intellectual pursuits. Now I have to get back to the life and times of one Britney Jean Spears. Let me throw out a suggestion on Spears next single, as I think this fits her new profile.

It's been 7 Hours and 15 Days
Since I shaved my hair away
I go out every night for a rehab stay
Then I leave the very next day

2007-02-22 23:52:19
1.   Chyll Will
If I'm Sumner Redstone, I give Britney, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie each a red-letter day on my Dirty Harry calendar... right after Tom Cruise of course.
2007-02-23 06:14:40
2.   Derek J
After 9/11, the days of Chandra Levy and Monica Lewinsky was thought to be behind us. How long did that last, a month? It has only gotten worse, with judges acting like buffoons, because they think it might land them a syndicated TV show in the future. Isn't it time for us to re-focus our thoughts on the important issues of the day like the US involvement in Iraq or the looming Social Security crisis?

We never left the Chandra Levy (really, the JonBenet Ramsey) Era. Before this, the media squeezed more than a year's worth of coverage out of a teenager who disappeared while on vacation in Aruba. At least Smith's a celebrity, and her death has that bizarre custody battle aspect that was bound to keep her story around for several news cycles longer than anyone could justify.

But the American public fixates on these kind of idiot stories because they're easier for us to process than Iraq or health care or social security reform. Somehow, it seems we feel a greater emotional connection to a moderately attractive blonde (any moderately attractive blonde, regardless of how bad her dye job is) than we do to the thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died in the war.

As for Prince songs for her. The saddest thing about her meltdown is that (unlike Sinead O'Connor) she obviously didn't have the kind of head that looks good shaved. Now she looks like a Peanuts character.

2007-02-23 08:26:15
3.   jgpyke
Hey--at least the drapes now match the carpet!
2007-02-23 12:04:42
4.   D4P
I never understand the fascination with Smith while she was alive, and I don't understand it now that she's dead. She wasn't intelligent, talented, interesting, or even good looking. All she did was marry an old guy for his money.

Not impressed.

2007-02-23 12:56:41
5.   El Lay Dave
Why one pays any attention at all:
1. Record or near-record VORTR*
2. Highest paid whore of all-time.

I don't begruge ET and their ilk their ratings; people want to see that, so be it. (And then they voted.) What irks me is supposedly hard news programs covering this as lead or near-lead material.

* Value Over Replacement Train Wreck

2007-02-23 14:41:29
6.   Donkey Show
LOL!! I love your alternative lyrics for Britney Spears! Am I the only one who gets the Sinead O'Connor reference?
2007-02-23 14:57:44
7.   Chyll Will
5 Which train wreck did she actually replace now?

6 nope. Not much of a fan of hers either. SNL aside (and that was okay because it had the longest dead-air moment in history until Ashlee breakdanced stage-right and out of camera shot) I'm otherwise indifferent. But at least Sinead... well, never mind, I can't think of anything.

2007-02-23 17:10:22
8.   jeffpico
The reason that this thing has gone for so long is the fault of the women of America. I have yet to talk to a man who could give a darn about the whole thing but with women, the ones that buy the Enquirer and Star magazine, and watch ET and Extra....its the biggest thing to happen EVER.

So despite that 99% of males and 50% of females could care less...being able to draw in an audience of 25% the population about this trash is just too much for the news business to pass up.

2007-02-23 18:59:37
9.   JNelson
The one time I saw ANS' "reality" show on E!, I realized that the E! stood for E!vil. E! is like the mean kid at school who makes fun of the retarded kids. I didn't have much sympathy for ANS, as I felt that her problems were mainly (though not entirely) of her own making, but that didn't make it okay for E! to put her train wreck of a life on TV as "entertainment". She wasn't funny, she was tragic and sad.
2007-02-23 20:19:39
10.   Scott Long
Jeffpico...thanks. I was waiting for someone to nail the right answer. In my efforts to not come as a big misogynist, I just laid a Please Explain on it, instead. I have a couple other topics which women are too blame on as well, which will hit thejuice later on, but this one needed to be tackled right now.
2007-02-23 21:05:09
11.   D4P
So...what is the "typical" kind of woman who is interested in ANS? Stupid? Fat? Ugly? Poor?

Just throwing ideas out, here. I really don't know the answer.

2007-02-23 22:34:29
12.   Scott Long
Looks are all over the board.

The common theme among these women....Someone who looks at life with a micro view. Bigger world issues, not for me.

2007-02-24 00:59:02
13.   El Lay Dave
A man at work told me ANS died. A man had phoned him to tell him. It was a topic of conversation for four men and one woman for the next fifteen minutes or so.

But we haven't discussed it since.

The common theme among these women....Someone who looks at life with a micro view. Bigger world issues, not for me.
What's the male equivalent? Readers of, say, FHM and Maxim?

2007-02-24 02:01:43
14.   chris in illinois
13"What's the male equivalent? Readers of, say, FHM and Maxim?"

How about guys who think that Saddam Hussien was responsible for 9/11?

2007-02-24 14:25:48
15.   Suffering Bruin
I really don't mean to sound pompous here but I have to be honest. I'm a teacher at a high school and I have to say that since the day after her death not one person has brought up Anna Nicole Smith. A colleague did say that even though she did some "wild" stuff, she was a role model because she was attractive and oversized. But that's the extent of it.

In other words, I don't know how to answer your question, Scott. I cannot explain why her death is a big deal so many days after the fact.

2007-02-24 17:12:21
16.   ornette
Chris from Illinois showed that one doesn't have 2 B from one of the 2 coasts to nail it right on the button…
2007-02-25 05:43:42
17.   chris in illinois
Well, as a state we Illinoisians last voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 1988. WE have two great Democratic senators who have been vocal in their opposition to the mess in Iraq from the start.

"Illinois, we're not just for flying over anymore."

2007-02-25 16:43:26
18.   doppelganger
17-You're right, I usually switch planes there :) And get delayed for several hours because of the weather and/or general airline incompetance.
2007-02-25 18:00:06
19.   das411
Scott, you have it all wrong. This is big news because the MEDIA do not want people focusing on the (successful) surge in Iraq or the (wait, who wanted to reform Social Security after he was re-elected in 2004?) deficit or all of those other big-picture issues that only one political party today even thinks about.
2007-02-25 19:56:19
20.   chris in illinois
19 Really??

The surge of 50,000 troops hasn't happened yet, so whether or not it will be successful is kind of up in the air, but naturally facts won't stop the GOP.

Destroying Social security doesn't count as reforming it.

Big Picture?? Gay dudes that can't now commit to each other is Big Picture??

The deficit is a complete creation of the ridiculous war in Iraq...our debt (to China BTW) is a total result of a mendacious exercise in Mesopotamia.

Night is Day, Up is Down in 2007.

2007-02-25 20:50:23
21.   Scott Long

I will give you the part about the Republicans being in the right on social security....but that was back in 1995, when as part of the Gingrich revolution, they tried to raise the age limits.

I'm a big fan of Bill Clinton, but he shamelessly manipulated this issue with the rest of his party, to gain back some momentum. (the advisor who told him that he should do this was one of the biggest douchebag in politics, Dick Morris. the same morris who now spends all of his waking hours trying to slam hilary clinton)

Considering that Karl Rove has made a career of taking issues like this which are bad for the country, but exploiting them for political gain, it's hard for me to feel really bothered by it. Plus, Clinton did enough good as Prez to make up for this big mistake, despite the Right-wing attack machine trying to do everything they could to derail him.

Bush's plan for private accounts I think is too risky, as the majority of americans have no idea what the market is all about. Of course, it would have been a boon for the large Financial corporations, just like the lowering of the capital gains tax was.

In regards to the escalation of the war, it might have been a good idea 3 years ago, when McCain, Hagel, and Powell were for it, but it seems now like a case of way too late. The Baker/Hamilton plan makes a lot more sense, but is being ignored by Dubya and Cheney, because they know it is such a reversal in the way they have conducted the war so far. Success with it would just point to how much blood and treasure has been senselessly lost by this administration.

Have you met any soldiers that have spent most of their past 4 years in Iraq? I have and it is not a pretty story. We have severely damaged the American Military, as it was never designed to be used like this for as long as it has. Families of soldiers are being destroyed, as the Bush administration continues to have no exit strategy. Of course, Dumbass Rumsfeld thought we would only need about 20,000 troops in Iraq after the first year, ignoring what most actual military experts had told him and firing the ones who spoke up about it in public.

I'm not a partisan like you. I can admit when one party is right about something. Sadly since 9/11, the Bush administration has been wrong on almost everything,, while the Democrats for the most part have been afraid or just mentally deficient in offering up anything of substance to counterbalance their stupidity.

I'm not above mentioning when I'm wrong about something, but I don't see where this would be the case.

Let me mention that I'm not saying men are smarter than women over this whole Anna Nicole deal. Bullshit celebrity news for many women is like their version of sports. While I get caught up in the drama of sports, it really is not much more than escapist entertainment from life's problems, as much as I might want to justify it as more. Anna Nicole is like the Barry Bonds or Terrell Owens of the entertainment world.

2007-02-26 03:46:45
22.   chris in illinois
I'm no expert on Social Security and I have to admit that I look at the Social Security crisis as a made up GOP issue. The GOP floats so many whoppers that it's hard to take anything they say seriously. After being told that condoms make teenagers want to have sex, it's nearly impossible to believe the next idea being proposed. All I know that if there is a Social Security crisis, some of the $400 billion that has been and is being spent on defense each year OVER AND ABOVE what was being spent in the Clinton era would have helped to make solvent S.Security.

It's a matter of priorities I suppose and the peace dividend needed to get into the 'right' pockets like it has been since 1945.

2007-02-26 10:04:36
23.   Todd S
I think we fall into a trap by deeming too many things as "a crisis." At some point in the future, most likely before 2050 (but it depends on who you talk to) U.S. Social Security will start to pay out more than it takes in. So what's on the table now is, what do we do about that?

Scott, I find your indictment of Bush's plan of private accounts puzzling. First, it's a wonderful commentary on public education in this country (sorry, couldn't resist). Secondly, whatever the level of knowledge about the market, a plan could be designed so that each person chooses from a limited set of options about where to invest some of his payroll taxes. It's not like the expectation is for people to start buying individual stocks.

If it isn't obvious, I'm in favor of a private plan option. There are numerous benefits, including better returns, ownership (wealth creation), and inheritability. Maybe the financial corporations benefit, too-whatever. I just know that I'll be better off, and I suspect 99% of people under 50 will be as well.

And, no, I'm not proposing that Social Security be done away with here. People 50 and over have paid into the system for years and are owed money. There are ways a plan can be drawn up to make sure those obligations are met as well.

I used to be worried about Social Security insolvency, but I'm not any longer. When Bush and Congress passed the Medicare prescription entitlement, they created a much bigger problem that will need to be addressed much sooner.

2007-02-26 15:43:34
24.   das411
20 - Hmm, from what I have read the first troops started arriving in Baghdad right around the same time al-Sadr decided to bug out to Iran, and the daily violence numbers the media loves so much took a nosedive...hmm...

Destroying Social Security has never been proposed by either party, the issue is the private accounts that Todd mentions in 23, and which party has attempted to address that problem and which, as Scott to his great credit notes, "have been afraid or just mentally deficient in offering up anything of substance" to address these soon-to-be-crises.

21 - Scott, a few questions.

1. Does "Clinton did enough good as Prez to make up for this big mistake" on Social Security include slashing the defense budget so deep it is STILL relatively (% of GDP, if I remember my sources right, and will try to dig that one up) underfunded and undermanned compared with mid-1980s levels?

This is actually one point I agree with you on, as I think the recently announced expansion of the Army by some 90,000 soldiers over three years should have begun on, say, September 12th 2001.

2. What constitutes "too much blood and treasure" to successfully prosecute this war Scott? Our economy has never been stronger, and while the sacrifices of 3,000 brave soldiers should never be forgotten, it pales in comparison with the 40,000+ Americans of draft age who are killed in auto accidents alone every year.

From Wikipedia, 2007 US government expenditures:
"$586.1 billion (+7.0%) - Social Security
$466.0 billion (+4.0%) - Defense
$394.5 billion (+12.4%) - Medicare
$367.0 billion (+2.0%) - Unemployment and welfare
$276.4 billion (+2.9%) - Medicaid and other health related",_2007

Of course I have met soldiers who have spent time in Iraq. While individual opinions differ, like with any group of people, they all believe in the validity of their mission and understand the "exit strategy" is a free, democratic, and secure Iraq that is an ally in the War on Terror, just as has been said since 2002.

I will be the first to admit that no party has all of the answers for any of the challenges that we face these days, but which do you think is trying to constructively address them, and which is trying to relive their glory days of the (thankfully) long-gone 1960s and 70s? This includes, mind you, all of the useless comparisons between ANS and Marilyn Monroe, etc etc...your sports analogy is a good one, but the real trouble comes when the entertainment IS the news, and the big questions are subsequently not addressed.

THAT is what my generation will have to fix.

22 - See my numbers cited above, then see 23. If possible, please elaborate on your last sentence, as I am unsure whose you believe are "the right pockets".

23 - Agreed. Yet still, every year these issues are not addressed means it will be that much more difficult when the political will is finally there. One party, as Scott has pointed out, has tried to address this problem in 1995 and in 2005. The other has shouted "Destroying social security!!".

Sorry for the monster post...can we all at least agree that the biggest douchebag in politics is Jimmy Carter? ;)

2007-02-26 16:14:49
25.   das411
Wow, and apologies for not coming up with this a few mins ago but would not a good athletic comp for Ms. Smith be, instead of Terrell Owens or Barry Bonds, perhaps the late Ken Caminiti?
2007-02-26 17:25:38
26.   Scott Long
Jimmy Carter, if you think he was a failure as a President or not, has spent much of his time as an ex-prez trying to help people less fortunate than himself. Dubya....well I will get into in a future Please Explain.

My point with the broken military is that many of these soldiers have spent most of the last 4 years in Iraq. Some of these people are are just part-time soldiers. Now how can we expect to send 20-50 thousand more of these people over there to spend another year (or 10) to try to solve this. What about there family lives and jobs they are trying to hold?

Sure there has been a retreat, but most experts believe that we will go in to "root out" the insurgents, only to find they are in hiding somewhere else, just waiting for when we leave. The staggering amount of mistakes this administration has made just doesn't give me much hope they will do this one right. I like the new General in charge, but he's about 3 years too late. Gates is an improvement over Rumsfeld, but as long as Cheney has power, this is going to continue to be one big neo-con f-up.

Put me in the corner of Republicans like Warner, Hagel, and Brownback on this issue.
I'm thinking that Biden's plan to split up the country into 3 sections, while wrought with problems just might be the best of a bad set of choices.

Back to the Clinton slashing of the military. Rumsfeld went into the job with an even bigger concept of cutting the grunt force, being more focused on spending money on new weapon systems. I'm not sure this wasn't a good idea, except that Rummy and Cheney got us into this Iraq war basically by ourselves and has created a serious issue of stretching our military troops way too thin.

While you are touting how Al Sadr is on the run, questionable regimes in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and some African nations have been emboldened since they know our dance card is being filled in Iraq. Oh and by the way, Afghanistan has been taken over by militias except in the major cities---with Al Qaeda making a scary resurgence.

Anna Nicole Smith---Caminiti comparison decent, with the drug issues and lack of responsibility. Caminiti was above a replacement level talent, though, while Smith wasn't.

Finally, let me say offer that I would like to have private accounts for myself, as well. I just don't think most have any clue on how to run their stocks. Oh and by the way, I bet Henry Blodgett had a private education, but he wiped out many other "private school" grads life savings, chasing the dragon which was internet tulip mania.

I want to mention that if we rip each other or not here, I appreciate the lively debate.

2007-02-26 19:03:30
27.   Scott Long
What other site begins with an Anna Nicole Smith piece, only to wind up on a discussion of the Iraq War and Social Security reform? I'm weirdly proud of that.
2007-02-26 20:48:06
28.   chris in illinois
24 Well, where to I the only one who has missed the deployment of the 'surge' troops?? If there are an extra 50,000 troops in Iraq, then I do deeply apologize---maybe I missed something...although the 23 carbombs in the last 72 hours that killed 400+ people argue against the 'ghost' troops' immediate effectiveness.

Regarding the budget...yeah those are close to the official numbers, but they do not include the half-year supplemental defense budget:

From the Washington Post:

"President Bush's defense budget request of $481.4 billion -- an 11 percent boost over last year -- pushes U.S. defense spending to levels not seen since the Reagan-era buildup of the 1980s.

In addition, the president is seeking a projected $141.7 billion in emergency supplemental funding for 2008 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for broader anti-terrorism efforts -- bringing the total spent in those arenas since 2001 to $661 billion, eclipsing in real terms the cost of the Vietnam War."

My public school math shows that as 622 billion on defense...for now...those figures don't even count the famed 'surge':

"Pentagon officials noted that the 2008 supplemental request does not include additional funding for Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. The most recent 2007 supplemental request of $93 billion includes $5.6 billion to add five Army brigades and 4,000 Marines to the force in Iraq."

Of course we all know that 21,500 troops mean combat troops, the total number of troops will be closer to 50,000 when support staff is considered---and naturally they aren't funded either.

So we've pissed away 661 billion that we don't have (thanks for the loan, Beijing!!) on a war that we can't end against a foe that can't be defeated by military means. We've spent 661 billion trying to fight the end products of a world that creates terrorists and nothing on trying to change the conditions that create them in the first place. I fail to see how killing a good chunk of a populace will make the survivors see things our way.

Now, I'm a harsh critic of religion and its prime role in much of the insanity that passes for policy and behavior throughout the east and west, but religion isn't the sole motivator of those who have aligned against us. We have been engaged in a pattern of interference and intervention in the mideast for a century that has helped to create the quagmire that we find ourselves in now. Any solution to our 'terrorist problem' must address our interventionist policies to have any chance of success and neither party seems to be willing to ackhowledge this.

The 'right' pockets...??? I figured my 1945 reference would have sufficed....oh well...noted Republican Dwight Eisenhower warned us against the military industrial complex and it's corrosive hold upon our government. Let me simply state that there are those that have much to gain by the continued funding of a complete failure of a military program (say an anti-missle missle program to the tune of 10 billion per) rather than the complete funding of a certain president's 'leave the kids behind' initiative that costs half as much (which is still underfunded five years later).

Biggest Douchebag??? Dick Cheney is the Babe Ruth of political douchebags.

2007-02-27 11:49:20
29.   chris in illinois
Man, I always kill these threads....
2007-02-27 23:25:11
30.   das411
Chris, I promise a response once I return from CPAC this weekend :)
2007-03-05 18:49:07
31.   chris in illinois
30 I'm assuming you weren't the one wearing the confederate flag pin at the CPAC conferance??

Do you like Ann Coulter as a frontman?? (I do mean 'man' here).

2007-03-12 21:42:23
32.   das411
Sorry!! Alllll sorts of wonderful internet to catch up confederate flag pin for me but I did get one from!

Ann C could probably fill several Scott "Please Explain"s all by herself :)

And Chris, if you really want to learn how to think differently about the WoT (and Iraq which is most certainly an integral front in it), check out this book:

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