I admit it. I watched portions of the Anna Nicole Smith “custody hearing” last week. Not, mind you, because I intended to, but because I’m in the habit of keeping a muted TV set turned on in case some real news might intrude on the daily gossip roundups and grave reports of snow in February. After reading somewhere about the odd conduct of the judge in the case, when Fox News went to live court coverage, I decided to see for myself.
Usually, contact with network or cable television fare leaves me merely disgusted, but the sounds and sights of the goings-on in this case produced in me a profound state of sadness. Not just for Smith herself or her family, or the sorry cast of shysters, finaglers and hangers-on that modern wealth and fame seem to produce; but for our country. In a way, her piteous saga is a microcosm of much that is wrong in our once blessed and morally prosperous society.
Smith’s is a modern-day American success story. She saw what she wanted and went out and got it. A sugar daddy, a new body and her own reality-TV show; in short, everything the new all-American girl could want. The price? Not too expensive when you consider that sex is today’s currency. It’s not a new story either; in fact, it’s one of the world’s oldest.
The practice of using sex appeal as a lure dates back to Biblical times. However, just as in the past we were cautioned that “crime never pays,” so too was the mantra that “good girls don’t” a reminder that sinful behavior has consequences harmful to society in general. And for most of our history as a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values, it served us well; but those days are fast disappearing.
The introduction in the early 1960s of the Pill, “liberated” women from the dreary task of having and raising children when inconvenient, and separated the sexual act from its naturally designed purpose. Shortly afterward, legalized abortion and the gay rights movement further demonstrated that bearing children had taken a decidedly unimportant backseat to a kind of sexual recreation; devoid of responsibility and thus any real fore or afterthought.
Those who decried these happenings were (and are still) told that what goes on behind closed doors is nobody’s business. Except now, it’s America’s business; and one which constitutes a huge industry dedicated to the cult of unbridled sexual gratification, and one in which its exercise extends even to practices and drugs that may put one’s health or life at risk. A maxim for the Third Millennium might just be the old line from the '60s: If it feels good do it, and if it does good, feel it.
And so the coverage of Miss Smith’s life, death and apparently unending afterlife sadly reflects the times. Cable news cannot resist running constantly looping clips of her various photo ops which only short years ago would have been classified as soft porn. Heartbreaking images of a human being put through her paces like some sort of performer in a sexual dog and pony show turn ever more minds away from thoughts of love and the protection of women to their mere objectification. The results are truly soul-stealing.
Adding to this brutal modern tragedy are the oh-too-obvious depredations on marriage and parenthood. Smith — herself the daughter of woman married five times — and her lawyer Howard K. Stern held what is odiously called a “commitment ceremony” only weeks after the death of her 20-year-old son and the birth of her daughter whose parentage remains a mystery. In a true sign of our times, a friend of Smith’s took to TV to proclaim her doubts that Stern was the father because Anna told her that she’d wanted a blonde, blue-eyed child to “match” her son Danny.
That the drug overdoses which allegedly killed Miss Smith and her son are so often referred to as “medication” is not so much a reflection on them, as on a society in which the predictably disastrous effects of lax morals are simply dosed away as if they were merely symptoms of the malady and not the cause.
A punctuation mark to this tragic tale was the sideshow act of Florida Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin. His court — which was little more than a setting for a pathetic screen-test — produced a weeping opinion that “We all come with some broken suitcases”; a wretched substitute for the justice our system used to guarantee to all Americans.
So the next time images of Anna Nicole Smith roll across your TV set, mourn not only the death of a beautiful woman whose choices were mostly her own, but the fact that she was doubtless also a victim of a society where all of the above is hailed as “progress.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online