Bombshells, blonde and otherwise

One of my friends — I won’t name her here — confessed to watching waaaaay too much of the Anna Nicole coverage last week. A report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism shows just how easy it was to sit back and be a media consumer of the Anna Nicole circus and the diaper-wearing astronaut.

People like to complain about excessive celebrity coverage, especially on TV. I am one of those people; I am regularly disgusted by my morning news options. But maybe it’s a fantastical escape from our daily serving of war coverage. And maybe there are more closet celebrity stalkers out there than we think.

2 thoughts on “Bombshells, blonde and otherwise

  1. I’m in your camp. A death story is a sad story – but we have to recognize its finite nature. When the celebrity death is of someone who has made a major contribution to the world – artistically, politically, by humanitarian efforts, it is necessarily a longer story. However, when the death is of a celebrity for celebrity’s sake, it’s pretty much a small blip on the national news timeline. I don’t mean to be callous or heartless – all deaths are tragic and everfelt for friends and relatives. But for those who didn’t know the person and for celebrities who don’t have a wealth of explanation behind their success, it becomes hype almost immediately.

    I guess the bottomline is that I think hype is boring. It’s sad that Anna Nicole Smith died. Now that I have that information, enough said. I think Ed Bradley got less coverage!

    However, that’s a good point – taking us away from the more horrible news of injustice and unnecessary war. Maybe stalking celebrities isn’t particularly filling, but there’s a good argument for using a little sugar to help deal with the less savory bits.

  2. Dear JF:

    I particularly agree with Judy’s last point. Thank GOD for the Anna Nicole Trainwreck! So much better than the impending War With Iran that is perfusing the airwaves now.

    We should realize, however, that even the finest of journalism organizations employ the timeless tactic of drama, tragedy and intrigue to capture the hearts and minds of citizens for a variety of more serious topics. This most obvious in medical reporting when youth + fatal disease + disfigurement = a boom in newspaper and magazine sales, not to mention online “click-throughs”.

    The Greeks had it right: comedy and tragedy hit at the nexus of human existence. I would say that overloading on Anna Nicole and her dizzying array of crazy, sad and shocking behaviors (and boyfriends) would be, for the ancient Greeks, a useful exercise in CATHARSIS. God knows we could use more of that. I

    I believe, though, that the ancients felt that catharsis without any resulting moral “lesson” was useless. Did the life and death of A.N.S. teach us something useful? Well, anytime you see a person acting out as she did, you’ve got to consider the pain, abuse and suffering that’s likely at the core. You’ve got to think about the constellation of enablers that orbited around her. You also learn that no matter how much someone cries for help, there’s always a group of vultures poised to feast on the shreds of that person’s life — and death. Oh, the humanity!

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