Thursday, February 08, 2007

And An Unhinged Astronaut Heaves A Sigh Of Relief

A brief respite for the astronaut story as Anna Nicole Smith dies and the media tries to strike a somber balance while showing images of Anna boogieing on the red carpet and shaking her breasts like a go-go dancer. Yes, it's a story for a day or two (she did take a case all the way to the Supreme Court, had a hit reality show, etc.) but nothing more than that and should it really dominate the news? No.

UPDATE: You can see the absurdly over the top media coverage of the media-generated Anna Nicole Smith. A low point surely was Larry King on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer:

KING: I've always liked Anna Nicole Smith. I first met her many years ago after the Playmate era, when she was in Playboy, featured in Playboy. She came on the show -- I was doing it out of New York that night -- and liked her right away. She was bouncy, she-- I went through with all the marriage to the elderly gentleman, the weight gains up, the weight gains down. But there was always a special thing about her, even when they spoofed her on Saturday Night Live -- she could easily be made fun of. There was also a genuineness about her. She was an extraordinarily pretty girl. An unusual thing, Wolf, is that she did a painting that we have here in the house. She tried -- she was kind of an amateur painter. I have an oil painting that she has done here.

BLITZER: It's an amazing story, Larry. I know that you can bring some unique insight because you actually knew this woman, who was born in very, very humble origins down in Texas and becomes a Playmate, a Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1993, and then marries this very fabulously wealthy 89-year-old man.

KING: It's a story for the books. It's a story that will be written about and talked about. I imagine there'll be a major motion picture about it.
But the truly unseemly side is the wave of emails trying to cash in, all preceded by meaningless words of sympathy. A friend of mine had joked a few months ago that Nicole Smith was trying to squeeze a year's worth of tabloid stories in one week -- that was when her son died, she gave birth to a new baby, her lawyer claimed to be the baby's daddy and on and on. But nothing could top this frenzy.

One publicist shilling for a media whore of a tax attorney sent out an email saying
"As you know, sadly, Anna Nicole Smith passed away this afternoon. Over the past few years, she has suffered a number of tragedies, including the recent death of her son, Daniel. Since 1995, Anna Nicole has been in court over her late husband’s estate and she was a codefendant in the recent TrimSpa class-action lawsuit.

I write to gauge your interest in speaking with Michael G. Pfeifer, a member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C. office."
Well, at least they managed to squeeze in the words of sympathy before touting their client, who had of course nothing to do with Anna Nicole Smith whatsoever but would be happy to comment for your newspaper, magazine and would ESPECIALLY be happy to appear on TV, I assume. Her actual lawyer was absurdly melodramatic when "confessing" that it was no secret that "she used alcohol." Yep, she used food, too, but why make it sound like some sort of sin?

TMZ.com, a gossip website, breathlessly reports that Playboy editors are huddled trying to figure out how to pay tribute since they're a monthly and the April issue is already gone and May was about to head out the door too. (I say wait till June and make the entire issue devoted to her using every damn photo you've got. She'd love it, I think.) But what I loved was that they said so far the magazine had simply posted a tribute on their website with a "tasteful above the shoulder" black and white shot. Well, certainly this ISN'T the time for a revealing centerfold and it's a relief to know Playboy knew that. Others are hawking "exclusive" and "non-exclusive" photos of Anna with her son walking on the beach, Anna at her son's funeral, the hospital where she died, her two homes in the Bahamas and on and on.

Finally, her new movie "Illegal Aliens" was due out in April but now the filmmakers aren't sure what they're gonna do. Here's guessing they decide Anna would want the film to be seen...and probably the sooner the better.

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