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Stateside: All Anna Nicole, All The Time

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

All Anna Nicole, All The Time

::Anna Nicole in '08!::

While wishing no disrespect to the human being known as Anna Nicole Smith who died last week, I do think that the "media icon" she was turned into has a good shot at being elected President of the United States in 2008. And it makes such good sense!

No need to drag out the Dirty Laundry Brigade to go sifting through trash to find emails to publish--Anna Nicole was only too happy to wash her dirty laundry in public. No need to hunt down some disgruntled family member, sexually-harrassed former staffer, or inheritance rival willing to call her a gold-digger--all those disputes and court records have already been made public.

::Anna Nicole expert in 2012!::

At the very least, that cheerful chappy on NBC's Access Hollywood who's now doing the rounds of all the network talkshows and morning shows to talk about Anna Nicole should run for President now that he has such a high profile. But, no, he wouldn’t, would he? Not if this 2004 report from his college magazine is anything to go by:

'Of course, with a surname like his, one might be expected to go far in the nation's capital. But Bush has done everything within his power to downplay the fact that he's the nephew of the elder President Bush and first cousin to the Bush now in the White House. In 2001, when Billy Bush was invited to make his first TV appearance--as a guest on the entertainment magazine show Extra--it wasn't until he saw the episode that he learned the producers had decided to introduce him as the president's cousin. "I realized, 'Oh! They're using me. It's not that they think I'm funny on the radio.'" Here his normally jovial voice gets unusually somber. "I told them I'd never do their show again."'

Colby magazine, Winter 2004

::Is Obama the Democrats' Anna Nicole?::

Despite--or perhaps because of--his carefully planned adult life and grooming for political office, Obama's stirring speech outside the state legislature in Illinois on Saturday morning did not make the front page of the Sunday edition of the Oakland Tribune. A vox pop about it did get a spot above the fold of the Metro section, but even on that page an item about an attempted rape and a photo of a community beautification scheme were far more prominent.

I watched his speech on MSNBC online and was struck by the staging and speechwriting. The skin tones of his face almost melted into the stonework of the building, lending him an air of permanence and wisdom, and he kept repeating the phrase "Let us be the generation" and "We can do this", which lent an air of youth and energy.

But, ultimately, he's a figment of the Democrats' imagination, a fantasy candidate whose real achievements in the communities he's lived in will be always overlooked because of the whiff of studied self-creation that surrounds him. That particular perfume might be a an irresistible pheromone for a celebrity like Anna Nicole, but it's a definite turn-off for voters.

::The United States IS Anna Nicole!::

Come to think of it, The Celebrity That is Anna Nicole is a great metaphor for the US political system. Starting with ordinary material, the Founding Fathers decided an ideal structure of government was possible and set about creating it via the Constitution. Somewhere along the way, various forms of plastic surgery were used to make the US more in the image of something desirable, manageable, and steerable by just a few people.

A nice little bit of gerrymandering here, some tinkering with the voter registration laws there, an insertion of vote implants in the right places, plus the constant use of media circuses to keep the voters' attention distracted, and Voila!

It doesn't seem to matter how grotesque the results of the manipulation are, just so long as there are enough political stylists to skew public opinion in favour of the fantasy US that so many people in this country believe they're living in. At least Anna Nicole’s fans had the gumption to face ugly reality when it presented itself to them.



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