(That’s my wife’s riff on Dawn Eden’s rejected headline.)
The death of Anna Nicole Smith, nee Vickie Lynn Marshall, has caused me to reflect on some things.
The first thing is a bit of personal guilt. I have laughed at Anna Nicole’s antics since early days. I thought it was a hoot that this gold-digger got her hooks into a billionaire. I thought it was hysterical when the train wreck of J. Howard Marshall’s death and will became an enormous media circus. I watched her “reality” show with relish. And I can’t tell you how many good solid laughs derived from Jeff’s lovely series of Anna Nicole “greeting cards”.
I’ll confess, when she died I was a little bit sad (“every man’s death diminishes me”), but mostly I saw an opportunity for snark. In fact, I was going to write a snarky blog entry about it. While I was doing the “research” (hey, beef jerky and Coke doesn’t consume itself, you know), I came across this little nugget in Anna Nicole’s Wikipedia article:
She was the daughter of Donald Eugene Hogan (born July 12, 1947) and Virgie Mae Tabers (born July 12, 1951), who were married on February 22, 1967. Her father then left the family; he and Virgie were divorced November 4, 1969.
“Her father then left the family.” In other words, “mommy, why don’t I have a daddy?” “Because he left us, sweetie. Eat your oatmeal.”
Nothing desnarks a blogger like finding out that the target of his ridicule was abandoned by her father. Next up, we’ll be mocking the victims of the orphanage fire. Then, kitten-kicking until 5, when we switch over to the self-loathing session.
So, instead of sarcasm and ridicule, here’s my contribution to Anna Nicole’s eulogy: She was a sweet and ambitious girl, and her life appears to have been a series of undeserved tragedies compounded by the kinds of mistakes people make when the people who are supposed to guide and nurture them instead disappear. The disaster of her de-spiritualized and materialistic life was partially of her own making, and our sympathy for her should not erase her own agency over the life choices she made – nor should we forget that in the beginning, she was somebody’s little baby girl, and that somebody betrayed her in her innocence. Rest in peace, Vickie Lynn.