Letters to the editor

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Anna Nicole mess is just getting started

To the Editor,

Doctors supposedly have an oath to "first do no harm''. Anna Nicole Smith had a doctor in California, call him Godspeed, "prescribe" methadone to her, under an assumed name, for pain while she was pregnant, and now that doctor is being fast-tracked through ethical charges. Meanwhile, right after the end of that pregnancy, Anna's 20 year old son came to visit and didn't leave - alive, that is, and he had methadone in his system. Anna's lawyer - we'll call him "Happy", was there then, and also right before Anna died mysteriously, with a high fever (105), which could have caused brain swelling, which could have stopped her breathing.

Happy says she didn't want to summon a doctor because that would have caused "publicity". Happy also doesn't want to do a "DNA" test because Anna didn't want to "help Larry" (a person who claims to be the baby's father). Meanwhile, Zsa Zsa Gabor's long-time husband claims he is the daddy. Talk about reality turning into soap. What if the real DNA donor was the rich, dead husband, who won't be able to personally claim paternity?

That would help Happy, in some ways, because if he had his DNA there, he might face some problems with the ethical board himself. In addition, what with an "inquest" coming up right around the corner regarding the son's overdose death last fall, down in the Bahamas, an immigration minister was apparently close enough to Anna's " family" to help land them much faster than mere mortals could have hoped.

That political "tension" in a small, insular island community will certainly call out for a sacrificial lamb. Now that Happy was present for two potential untoward deaths, involving methadone, I believe he might be in some deep trouble right now. (And notice how the "Entertainment Tonight" people on Larry King Live stated, "no, they don't pay for interviews", rather than flat out denying that they paid Happy a cool million for the interview he gave?). In addition, the surfacing of Anna's 2001 will, with Happy to be the executor, at least implicates in an inethical pattern somewhere here.

Now, if I wanted to write a screenplay about this controversy, I would take the three most likely father figures here, Larry (the former boyfriend), Mr Zsa Zsa and the rich, older financier dead husband's estate, and work out a "deal", where the estate agreed to fund the upbringing and expenses of the infant daughter, and the other two agreed to keep the test results private, for the good of the privacy of the daughter. I'd and play this media frenzy for a really good reality show - sort of like that "Three Men and a Baby" story a decade or so ago.

And if the jovial, good natured and good intentioned pact were to give this story some positive spin, even if Happy were to be caught holding the bag, having impregnated a client, who died, under suspicious circumstances, along with her adult son heir. The courts might still side with the Three Men and a Baby slant. Of Course, this entire matter is oddly reminiscent of another media event, a really good song by Don Henley, called "Dirty Laundry", wherein a media feeding frenzy causes gossippersonalities to get cameras right in on public figures that die, and immediately demand to "get the widow on the set... we need dirty laundry," and boy have we ever gotten dirty laundry here!

Why is this case so interesting to the media? Because Anna Nicole Smith rose from the ashes of obscurity by availing herself of the best darned Cinderella vehicle that arose with the so-called sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's - Playboy, where any girl with attributes could become a pinup girl. And that fame brought her into close company with an elderly gentlemen (call him the prince) that invited her into his castle. Pop culture loves such a story, and it doesn't hurt that she looks a little like Marilyn Monroe (who also died under mysterious circumstances) so the girl also becomes a diet miracle product "spokesman" and hits the "reality show" craze.

And her death now has some of the drug use overtones that shadowed Elvis in death. And she even went through that perpetually popular phoenix rebirth device "rehab" (although for a slightly loger stay than Britney just did - about a day).

Pop culture media events need to have a strong drum-beat and this one has got it. Godspeed that ethics inquiry on Dr. Godspeed - and the Bahamans will certainly look for a scapegoat - and I think they've got him cornered.

- Paul Peterson, Storm Lake