Americans feast on Anna Nicole Smith’s corpse like starving maggots
She Died for Your Sins -- by Joyce Marcel
On February 8, 2007, at the age of 39, Anna Nicole Smith died for your sins, America.
Maybe you think that's a little strong?
But she did. She died for all of you who watch "American Idol" week after week - that's 33.5 million of you, by the way - making that cruel show the most popular program in America. For six years running.
And for you who cast more votes for the last Idol winner than for the last president of the United States.
And for you deluded men and women who think surgery is the way to a happier life, who never understand that beauty is only skin deep, who go on television shows to get nose jobs and who risk your lives to get your stomachs stapled.
And for you nitwit comedians who make jokes about women's "racks" and the rest of you men who place so much emphasis on bust measurements that women without large breasts feel inferior. And that goes for you, too, Hugh Heffner. You have a lot to answer for. And Howard Stern, you too.
And for you gold-diggers out there looking to marry money, and for all of you who already have - and that includes all of you who married Donald Trump.
And for you women desperate to be "famous," for whatever reason, who do anything to get attention, to be photographed, to be on television even if it means showing your breasts to a passing camera, or sleeping with casting directors, or making porn.
She certainly died for all of you.
One commentator said that while Diana was "The People's Princess," Anna Nicole Smith was "The People's Whore."
There's your mascot, America.
And there you are, Anna Nicole or Vickie Lynn, lying in a refrigerated drawer while people fight over your body. I guess reality just crept up on you.
We watched while you were stunningly beautiful. And we watched when you were overweight and juiced to the gills. We watched you crawling all over men and women, looking for a fleeting sexual rush. We watched you crawl all over your son, too. Your son, who was dead at 20 from an overdose, your son who loved his mother and was used to watching her have sex.
Now we watch as seven - or is it eight? - men climb out of the woodwork, claiming to be the father of your poor baby girl. That's seven or eight men who say they slept with you in one short period. And it doesn't count the women.
How many surgeries were there, Anna Nicole? Including the one where you reportedly used liposuction, even though you credited TrimSpa and became their spokeswoman, baby.
I'm not faulting you for being a slut. I actually enjoyed that part of your life. Women have always used sex for survival in a man's world. You were honest about it. You flaunted it in America's face. Your marriage to an 89 year-old millionaire was reality-show "reality" come true. Every now and then, I read, you would come into the room, dance naked for him, relieve him, and then go spend some more of his money and sleep with his staff. It may have been the only honest thing you've ever done.
And who's going to fault you - besides his furious family? He found you in a strip club. I think we can assume he knew what he was getting himself into.
We still know the names of the mistresses of the French kings, for God's sake. How is what you did any different?
Your life was almost a symbol of what America's become. Rapacious, willful, undisciplined, ignorant, venal, anything for pleasure, anything for conquest. Tell me that's not America incarnate.
You were a growth industry, Anna Nicole, and what's more American than that? Your own reality series. Endless photos in the magazines. Within a week of your son's death, you had sold the last pictures of him alive for $650,000.
People Magazine has a circulation of 3.7 million. U.S. Weekly has a circulation of 1.7 million. Star has a circulation of 1.4 million. While the circulation of most magazines is dropping like an elevator with its cables cut, entertainment magazines have seen "staggering growth" in recent years. They should thank you, Anna Nicole.
According to USA Today, "a new Pew poll finds that most Americans say the media overdo celebrity news - but they watch it anyway: 61% said the media have overplayed Smith's death, but 11% followed it as closely as the 2008 presidential campaign (13%) or Super Bowl (11%)... Cable news networks, entertainment programs and mainstream media Web sites all spiked after Smith's death... CNN, for example, devoted 90 minutes of uninterrupted coverage to Smith's death when her body was discovered, longer than it gave President Bush's State of the Union address."
You can't shoulder all the blame, Anna Nicole. There were strumpets before you, strumpets alongside you (Paris Hilton, anyone?) and there will be strumpets coming after you. When Britney Spears shaved her head last week, it made all the papers And now, I understand, quite a few Web sites are selling (fake) strands of her hair.
How low can you go, America?
Anna Nicole's mother, Virgie Arthur, said she once asked her daughter why she said and did all those outrageous things. And Anna Nicole replied, "I'll do whatever it takes. If my name's out there, I make money."
That's the American dream, baby.
Now tell me, America, she didn't die for your sins.
(Joyce Marcel is a journalist who lives and works in southern Vermont. A collection of her columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com . And write her at email@example.com)