Farewell, Old Sport
I always liked Anna Nicole Smith. At first it was because she was such a curvy bodacious babe posing in those Guess ads, and then even more when she married that incredibly decrepit billionaire. It seemed to me that she was really embracing the cliche--this trashy, bleach-blonde boobtastic chick cuddled up to a ridiculously rich old guy who doesn't seem to be aware of much except maybe her enormous breasts rubbing against his ear. I loved the weird alternate memorial service she held for him when his kids kept her from the funeral, and the fact that she never gave up fighting for his money, maintaining to the end that their love was true.
After that I sort of lost touch with Anna Nicole. When she started doing that reality TV show, I saw it once and it seemed that she was having a mental breakdown in front of the cameras; it seemed irresponsible to me to air it, but people watched. She seemed completely unaware, which made me feel incredibly sad.
The TrimSpa ads were the real low point, I thought, because she looked so deflated and polished and orange--like a shrunken head. All the vitality was gone.
Recently, when her son died, I felt shocked and truly sad for her. Where once she was an unapologetic climber, now she seemed to be quietly fading, and surrounded by loss.
I'll think of her as a modern-day Willy Loman, or better, Gatsby. All the facade and grand schemes end in undignified tragedy, the pathetic hero unaware, or worse, knowing it.
"And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night."