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Monday, January 17, 2022

Anna Nicole Smith’s death and the media cynicism

By Ardain IsmaCSMS Magazine staff writerThe media frenzy generated in the aftermath of the Anna Nicole Smith’s death is one of the most cynical, trivial and vulgar act to date committed by an industry motivated only by greed and by a shameful quest to hold the monopoly of information. Like most industrial countries, information in America is controlled by media tycoons, who are motivated by one thing: making money through the power to monopolize and fabricate information no matter who gets hurt in the process.                It’s hard to imagine that someone who has never had any artistic skills could be crafted into the mold of “Marilyn Monroe,” as many news organizations in many occasions attempted to compare Anna Nicole. Her artificial celebrity was vulgarly fabricated to solidify, justify or confirm that in this country everything evolves or revolves around making money. And those who have it—no matter what the circumstances surrounding their fortune—are not only respected, but also in ample occasions venerated.            Anna Nicole Smith was a nobody, a high school dropped out who became a topless stripper, and in the process of her nocturnal, striping career came across crazed Texas oil tycoon Howard Marshall in 1994 and coaxed him into marrying her. In American culture, Anna’s action is considered that of a gold digger punishable by a total rebuke of society. The old man was 89 and Anna was 26. Despite such huge age difference between the actors of this cynical “love” affair, the story did not have the chance, even remotely possible, to make the local news—let alone world news—if money, and lots of it, were not at the center of it all. The marriage lasted a few months following the death of Marshall, but that had left Anna incredibly rich.              The media picked up on the machiavellic story in part because news organizations usually operate on the premise that vulgarity sells, as Anna became notoriously famous, living lavishly in various celebrity circles while easily noticeable under the media spotlight, trying to hide behind her blond hair and under her extravagantly octagonal spectacles. 

A sad tragedy

  I have just walked into my car after a long and crazy day of work when the news of Anna’s sudden death broke out. I poised for a moment to digest the information. Grasping the essence of the news, I tried to find the best interpretation to the tragedy. “This doesn’t follow any logic. The woman had just mysteriously lost her 20-year-old son six months ago,” I muttered. Then as in most illogical situations, I tried to find my best intellectual interpretation.            It is without question that Anna Nicole lived her life as a person who was in a constant quest for happiness. Money gave her fame and to some extent brought her an irreversible misfortune. With her inability to rationalize her newfound strategic position in society and with no one with a sincere, honest and perfect wit to help her manage her newfound wealth, she resorted to surround herself with a bunch of gurus, who had neither the moral authority nor the desire to help the clearly emotionally sick woman in times of crises.            It was clear that Anna Nicole was someone who needed mental health counseling, living in a thin blue line, vacillating between freedom and responsibility of which she understood neither. As Humans, because we are free to choose among alternatives in life, it is fair to say that we are clearly masters of our own destiny. Existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre in reference to the authenticity of not accepting responsibility tells us that we are responsible for our lives, for our actions, and for our failures to take actions. Sartre goes on to remind us that we suffer from existential guilt when we are “aware of having evaded our commitment, or having to chosen not to choose.” Philosopher Russell, J. M. also tells us that assuming responsibility is the basic condition for change.            Did Anna Nicole have the capacity to understand her psychopathological problems? The answer to this question is anyone guest. But I can infer that she may have had serious problems seeing beyond the tip of her new acclaimed celebrity status. I believe that the death of her son had triggered an emptiness and a hollowness that rendered her life, at least the way she felt it, meaningless, which is in itself a condition that Frankl calls the existential vacuum.             Finally, I agree wholeheartedly that we have to depend on relationships with others. We thrive to become significant in others’ world just like we might want others’ presence in our lives to be very important. However, we need to be masters of our lives and be at ease with our own psycho and socio-dynamics. We need to be at the driver seat of our destiny. That self-assertion or self-assurance is quintessential to avoiding mishap, exploitation, humiliation and ultimately tragedy. Psychologist Gerald Corey tells us “when we are able to stand alone and dip within ourselves for our own strength, our relationships with others are based on our fulfillment, not on our deprivation.” And Corey goes on to say that “if we feel personally deprived, however, we can expect little but a clinging, parasitic, symbiotic relationship with someone else.”            I feel nothing but an utmost sympathy for Anna Nicole whose tragic death, I believe, is the direct result of bad choices and her inability to see beyond the cynical media frenzy and beyond the flattering, false approvals by her entourage.NoteFor a complete biography of Anna Nicole Smith, visit www.wikipedia.com  NoteDr. Ardain Isma is also a novelist and chief editor of CSMS Magazine. He teaches Cross-Cultural Studies at Nova southeastern University. You can read a synopsis of his latest novel “Alicia.” Click here:  http://www.themulticulturalgroup.com/books.htmlAlso see Contemporary Novelhttp://www.csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20050626I9And see Best tips for emerging writersand also Helping our children understand the magic of academic writing  Jimmy Carter is under fire

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