This time next year, horny RM’s everywhere will be pressuring their girlfriends to do Anna Nicole Smith’s temple work. Nobody knows for sure how she died yet. My guess is that it was either Tonya Harding, or she fell in love with the wrong astronaut.


That first paragraph strikes me as pretty funny, but it’s also a bit cheap. Don’t let that keep you from laughing at it. Life is full of cheap laughs — that’s part of what makes it livable.

Tim Rutten of the LA Times’s has the following fairly interesting thing to say about Anna Nicole Smith in his otherwise pretty lousy column:

In the case of the unfortunate Smith, there was something almost touchingly retro about her wretched train wreck of a life. She wasn’t, in fact, celebrated just for being a celebrity, as is the current mode. She’d earned her notoriety the old-fashioned way: She took her clothes off for it, then married rich — though like so much else in her ambit, that apparently didn’t turn out very well. Americans have a hard time abiding a tale of struggle without reward, or a story without a happy ending, which is why we so often confer a disproportionate posthumous attention on the plucky but dubious dead. Depending on how you look at it, it’s a reflection of either our collective good-heartedness or our common sappiness. Maybe the ultimate guarantor of the former is our unwillingness to worry too much about the latter.

Call me sappy, but I kinda’ liked Anna Nicole Smith.

For one thing, she was the last Playboy Playmate in my age group to have still been making headlines. This is, in a sense, a personal milestone for me and for other guys my age.

I think I’ve said elsewhere that when my sister first met my wife (still a girlfriend at the time), her reaction was, “Dave, she’s like every other girl you’ve ever dated: She has big boobs, long hair, and she laughs at everything you say.” It’s not like I had any real interest in Anna Nicole Smith, but it wouldn’t do for me to pretend that I didn’t find her to be quite attractive.

I never watched her reality show. If I caught some coverage on her TV while channel surfing, I might have sometimes paused for just a moment before I passed on to the next channel. But did I mention that I’ve seen her naked? (FYI, Ladies: It’s a sure bet your husband has, too…)

She certainly suffered her losses and tragedies, but not on any grand scale — certainly no more than us average, working-class stiffs. It’s all too condescending and self-righteous to talk in somber terms about the tragedy of her life. In spite of what Tim Rutten said, her life was, in many respects, quite as normal as yours or mine. And on the balance, it turned out pretty well. For all of her faults, she certainly withstood the constant scorn of the media better than most of us would. I, for one, think that she had reason to be proud of her place in the world.

She died just shy of 40, months after having suffered the loss of her child. But she was successful by any worldly standard, in spite of the all-too-solemn tone of media critics. Sure, her life seemed like a train-wreck when translated into tabloid headlines, but frankly so would most of ours.

Why do we have to pretend that this is an unhappy ending?