February 9, 2007

"With Anna Nicole, she was pathetic but at the same time you thought, 'Gosh, if I could just scoop you up and fix things, it would be OK...."

"You wouldn't want to scoop up Paris Hilton.'"

Ah, yes. The classic two types of hyper-sexualized women -- the kind you think you can help, who just really need you, and the ones who seem ready to crush you if you came anywhere near. Anna Nicole is to Paris Hilton as Marilyn Monroe is to Madonna.


Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Palladas said...

Oh! The Pygmalion comment has vanished so I shan't respond as intended.

Perhaps best just to wish her good soul eternal rest.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

"You wouldn't want to scoop up Paris Hilton."

...unless she were in your kitty litter.

Sorry Peter Palladas: I erred. And perpetual light be upon her.

Gahrie said...

It's not so much that we are afraid of Paris crushing us, as we are afraid of her infecting us.

The difference is, despite both of them playing on their sexuality, you never really got the impression that Anna Nicole was a slut.

Pogo said...

Poor thing.
A baby left to care for, too. She did seem to have a good heart, and genuinely happy about her new child. Bless her heart.

Tibore said...

"You wouldn't want to scoop up Paris Hilton."

No, you just wanna grab her by the shoulders, shake her, and scream "Why are you famous?? What do you contribute to society??!!"

I mean... it's not like contributing to society is a prerequisite to being famous, but sheesh! If there was ever anyone who just lived off of celebrity status without producing anything other than an awful CD, an equally awful movie appearance (in House of Wax... how appropriate), and a fellatio video, it's her.

She's like the icing that wouldn't exist save for the cake of celebrity society underneath her.

David said...

No discussion of Anna Nicole could be complete without mention of the men who took advantage of her. The most egregious of the group may be her 'lawyer' and sometime Bahamian husband Howard K. Stern.

The group that surrounded Anna Nicole reminds me of the entourage around Michael Jackson and the fine job they did of protecting him from his proclivities. Honorable mention would go to the lawyers on both sides in the O.J. Simpson trial. Don't forget Nifong of Duke LaCrosse fame in a Tawana Brawley reenactment.

Where is this venality learned/taught to take advantage of the needy for personal gain?

Jennifer said...

What a perfect comparison. Anna Nicole always seemed like a very lost and troubled person with a good heart. Paris Hilton seems like a very focused and conniving person lacking any innate goodness.

MadisonMan said...

It's not so much that we are afraid of Paris crushing us, as we are afraid of her infecting us

Yes, you'd only want to scoop up Paris Hilton is you're wearing a HazMat suit.

TMink said...

In some strange way, Anna appeared guileless. She was a trainwreck, but an at times honest and vulnerable train wreck. Paris presents as guile incarnate. You have no sense of the person, only the image.


SteveR said...

Except that Madonna has talent or the appearance of talent.

RogerA said...

Sad--really sad, I think--losing a son within days of childbirth, then the ultimate tragedy--and what will be ever worse, is to be a subject of tabloid speculation after death. RIP Ms. Smith

rsb said...

Jerry Herron, a professor of American culture at Wayne State University:
The woman isn't dead 24 hours and some clown is calling her pathetic. Have some respect.

Pogo said...

The word "pathos" would have better described the thought of "sorrow" or "sad", where "pathetic" has come more to mean "contemptibly inadequate".

She has always reminded me a bit of Chaplin's Little Tramp character, a loveable sometimes winner-sometimes loser at life.

Paris Hilton is simply not that.

vbspurs said...

Quoting from the NYT article:

Scant hours after news emerged of her death Thursday at age 39, many people were hard pressed to describe what exactly Anna Nicole Smith was. Actress? Model? Reality star? Rich widow? ''

All of the above, but more than that.

Just like Princess Diana was evocative of the 1980s, and therefore representative of it, Anna Nicole Smith in many ways WAS the 1990s in America.

Jerry Springer-like.

Yet not without inspiring some affection, even now.

ANS was not very talented, heck not very good at ANYTHING, except being herself.

And since the 1990s saw the cementing of cable in our society's cultural dialogue, she was its poster child of overexposure, over-the-top pronouncements and actions, and overweening influence on a nation left scratching its head on how something like that could happen.

Anna Nicole Smith was Andy Warhol's prediction come to life.

So, I guess the 90s are really over, huh?


vbspurs said...

Paris Hilton is simply not that.

Yeah, but it's hard to love the spoilt, pretty, rich girl from an established family, who worst of all, seems to be having a ball.

In the book, Our Crowd, Stephen Birmingham said that America doesn't like rich girls (implying from Old Money families -- well, as old money as America can dare).

I would agree with that.

When was the last rich girl America seemed to take to its heart, collectively? Jackie Kennedy? Even then, she was hated by many.

Paris Hilton doesn't escape the barbs about being a ho, but at least so far, she gets a pass for vitriol usually aimed at heiresses because she's so damned dumb, no one really takes her seriously.


OddD said...


Julia Louis-Dreyfuss?

But I guess most people don't know she's worth 10x what Paris is worth.

Revenant said...

It's not so much that we are afraid of Paris crushing us, as we are afraid of her infecting us.

Yeah, that's what I was going to say. There aren't two types of sex symbols, there are at least three -- needy, intimidating, and "dude, I wouldn't touch her with YOUR dick". Paris is in category three. It is hard to be intimidated by a woman with moderately good looks and the brains of a gnat.

Beth said...

Thank you, SteveR. I'll add that Marilyn had talent, too, and was always working to develop herself into a more accomplished performer. The analogy of Anna Nicole/Paris::Marilyn/Madonna is one that reflects how thinly stretched our pop culture has become. In the not-so-distant past even performers whose persona is wrapped up in appearances took a few dancing, singing and acting lessons and made an attempt to hone a craft.

gemma said...

That was such a perfect thought -- Anna Nicole was so fragile and you certainly hit the nail on the head.

Love your mind.

vbspurs said...

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss?

But I guess most people don't know she's worth 10x what Paris is worth.

Whoa. I looked it up, since I hadn't realised that she was THAT Louis-Dreyfus, from the famous footballing family (they own OM currently), which seems ridiculous in hindsight since it's not that common a name, I found it stunning news, oddd. Thanks.

And yes, I guess that's the reason why JL-D is not that hated. People don't know.

"Hilton" is another kettle of fish, as would be Vanderbilt, or Rockefeller.


TMink said...

Well, Julia has talent. She is accomplished. And Marilyn studied with Strassburg (sp?) to try to learn to act. She certainly did not have to, and I can imagine the resentment and abuse she faced from the serious but poor actors she joined to learn some craft. That choice had to be brave.

But Anna was mostly an image that other people used to make money. Perhaps that is part of the sadness of her life.


Ann Althouse said...

TMink: She was a model, not an actress. It takes natural gifts and skill to create an image that compelling and to do the poses.