The Life and Death of a “Celebrity”

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Any loss of young life is a tragedy; no matter who, no matter how it happens. For more than a week now, all media attention has been dedicated to the death of Anna Nicole Smith—her death took precedence to the one of starving people in many parts of the world, not to mention the lives of our troops in Iraq.  

The saga of the “why” and “how” captivated the world of ordinary people with the intensity that her tormented soul only dreamed about in terms of publicity and recognition during her life. We all followed the details of Princess Diana’s death and that of John Kennedy Jr. We felt compassion and sorrow for the absurdity of such tragic endings of promising lives. By no means is Anna’s Nicole life less than others, but some essential differences are more than obvious.

When Mother Teresa died, it didn’t make the same kind of news. And she was only a humanitarian devoting her life to the very poor and oppressed. She did not have the glamorous status of an “in your face” starlet. Fabricating legends out of the lives of people with dubious reputation, just because we need heroes, is sad and detrimental to our culture and the self esteem of our young that are starving for role models. It is an implicit admission that all it takes to get the world’s attention is a less than orthodox way of conducting oneself—climbing the celebrity ladder through scandalous behavior. The relentless information concerning every aspect of Anna Nicole’s life and death speaks volumes about what the media is feeding us with the excuse that we are asking for it.  

It is not flattering in terms of who we are or could be. Just sad and worrisome.


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