We love watching people flirt with death. Steve Irwin and his crocs, Anna Nicole and her drugs. Well now they are both dead (as well as her son). Why is this form of entertainment so popular? Reminds me of how the people around Janis Joplin encouraged her to drink excessively and act outrageous because the publicity was so lucritive for them.
I obviously feel very bad for Anna Nicole – what a tragedy – but this commentary on MSNBC summed it up for me:
While her public battle with the family of her octogenarian husband J. Howard Marshall kept her name in the tabloids, it was really her reality show on E! that cemented her spot in the pop culture bible.
That show gave us a window onto a wacky world, the daily life of a woman who battled weight problems, depression, and drug and alcohol addictions.
We saw her pigging out on barbecue, passing out in limos, and encouraging her beloved dog Sugar Pie to hump pillows and stuffed animals.
Much stranger than fiction, it provided a chance for us to sit on our sofas and munch Cheetos while laughing and gawking at a woman who seemed to have no filter, no self control, and no sense of reality, despite it being a “reality show.”
And, occasionally, we’d see glimpses of her shy, reticent son Daniel who seemed to always be trying to disappear. A boy whose most difficult years, adolescence, were broadcast on national television for our entertainment.
The water cooler conversations went something like this:
“Did you see Anna Nicole last night? What a mess. That poor kid, I feel so sorry for him. Can you imagine having a mom like that? Oh, and did you see ‘American Idol’?”
But if your neighbor or relative was constantly drunk or high and neglected his or her child, subjecting him to humiliation, you would be negligent at best for not contacting authorities.