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By: Carl Langley

EdgefieldDaily.com Guest Columnist

A starlet’s death exposes the empty minds of millions

web posted February 13, 2007

COLUMN – All she ever did was stand there, flashing a manufactured smile, tossing her bleached blonde hair in come hither fashion and mumbling the one-syllable words that exposed her intelligence - and all the while looking as pretty as she could.

And Anna Nicole Smith did look pretty. But, as anyone should know, her looks were only skin deep. It is always this way with these kinds of people. I can think of only one beauty in my lifetime whose looks were overshadowed by her mental skills.

Years ago only a few people knew the superb intelligence possessed by Hedy Lamarr, the dark, brooding beauty of my youth. She was not only a movie queen, but in her sunset years she was presented with one of the world’s most notable and most honored scientific awards.

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation, a global organization that focuses on high technology achievements and the geniuses who create them, said Lamarr helped develop a code system that enabled the U.S. Navy to launch torpedoes without interference from enemy defense systems.

My focus today is on Anna Nicole, the flashy blonde who shot to fame through a display of pictures in Playboy magazine two decades ago but lost her life to what investigators suspect was a fatal cocktail of drugs and alcohol.

Playboy’s publisher Hugh Hefner has done more to destroy America’s moral fiber than any single individual. I believe he has proved himself more dangerous to our society than a serial killer or a drug merchant.

Hefner got rich by building his publishing empire on the tawdry images of pretty young women, whose numbers included Anna Nicole, whose death at the age of 39 has unleashed a flurry of media publicity unlike anything seen since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Anna Nicole, a former fast food restaurant waitress whose IQ some say could be measured in the low double digits, fell victim to the world she and Hefner created for her. She binged on drugs and alcohol until the lethal combinations stopped her heart. She had it all, as the old song goes, but in reality she had nothing.

I cannot bring myself to mourn for Anna Nicole, and that separates me from her enormous base of fans who are weeping and wailing these days for a woman who probably wouldn’t give them the time of day. It was obvious to anyone that Anna Nicole had time only for herself and the few enablers who stuck to her like flypaper.

If there was a singular thing that came out of this tragic ending it’s the sad testament to Barnum’s laws of entertainment. It was old P.T. who said most people will buy anything and there’s a sucker born every minute. I speak here of the millions who became star struck with Anna Nicole. One fan, a simple-minded teen-ager, wept and remarked, “I don’t now how I can go on without her.”

Anna Nicole’s death does remind us of the validity of several of the human failings that are referred to as the seven deadly sins. Those with claims on her material goods, including the infant daughter she leaves behind, seem to be coming out of the woodwork. The madness, it appears, didn’t die with her, and we now wait for the deluge of post-mortem publicity that is likely to continue for weeks, months and perhaps years.

At last count at least three men have made claims to being the father of the five-month old child orphaned by Anna Nicole’s death. Her other child, a son, also died last year under mysterious circumstances but from what forensics experts say was a mixture of drugs. His death was a harbinger of things to come.

There is a lot at stake for those who would declare themselves to be Anna Nicole’s favored on in the final distribution of her assets and the wealth yet to come. A lawsuit she filed in an effort to declare herself the recipient of millions of dollars from a late spouse’s estate is bouncing around in the court system.

In an insult to the institution of marriage, Anna Nicole married J. Howard Marshall II, an 89-year-old Texas oil billionaire, when she was 26. The poor fellow lasted only a few months, but her lawyer argued that was good enough to entitle her to about $450 million from his estate.

To illustrate how ridiculous this one is, there is talk being circulated that Anna Nicole may have had sperm from Marshall saved in order to impregnate herself after his death, which another lawyer said was unexpected. Can this reality show, this soap opera of the absurd get any crazier?

As I write this Anna Nicole’s body is in repose, lying in refrigeration in a Florida morgue while forensic tests are being done and lawyers are preparing to put on the legal gloves and do as much bodily harm as they can to each other and this unfortunate life tale.

Anna Nicole’s life and death, while joyful and sorrowful for her fans, is proof that the American public, saturated with too many people whose lives read zero on any measuring scale, can be sold anything at any time. That cold, hard fact is far more tragic than the passage of another entertainment icon.

Anna Nicole couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance and couldn’t act, but she could flaunt herself better than any diva I have seen in my lifetime, and that, thanks to a picture centerfold published 20 years, was good enough for those who worshipped her and knelt at her altar.

Lord, how far this nation has fallen!


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