So, explain, who is Anna Nicole Smith anyway?

February 14, 2007|by TIM ROWLAND


When I read about the tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith on the front page of The Herald-Mail last week, I had a number of pressing questions.

Most pressing was, "Who is Anna Nicole Smith?"

I felt pretty certain I had heard the name, but had never focused on it. Sort of like Ponce DeLeon, Charlie McCarthy or Joe Biden.

So I started asking around, and I was gratified to find out that no one else knew, either. Not really.

"Who is Anna Nicole Smith?"

"Anna Nicole Smith, omigod, she's, uh, she's real famous. She was, you know, the one who everyone was all the time talking about who, well, you know, for the past couple years she, uh, well, she started out as, well, I'm not sure, but everyone knew her because she was real, you know, doing something or other ..."


"Was she a singer?"

"No, not a singer, she was more of a - like, they'd write about her in the tabloids all the time, you know how when stuff happens they write about it, and lots of times, oh, probably at least every month or so, something would happen, and she got married and had a child ..."

"Ah, a family woman, now we're getting somewhere. But why was she famous? Was she an actress?"

"Oh no, no, well, not in any real sense of the word, but she would sometimes - you know how somebody's just, like, there a lot, and they're all the time really, and I mean really, all the time ... all ... the .. time. Like it was unreal how many times she'd ..."

"It might help if you could use a verb."

No one could. Anna Nicole Smith was famous because she was Anna Nicole Smith, a celebrity created of nothing. The major revelation on her passing was not how many sonnets she had written, but the contents of her refrigerator, which included methadone and SlimFast.

Big deal. Who doesn't want to be happy and thin?

And I am not one to pass judgment on an icebox inventory. Mine, at the moment, includes only a bunch of grapes and a carton of orange juice. To be fair, there is no actual juice in the carton, but I can explain this.

When I finished the orange juice, I realized that I failed to put a new bag in the garbage can and - call me a neat freak if you must - rather that sit the carton on the kitchen counter, I put it back. If I should go into a coma tonight and someone thinks to digitally record one of my appliances for all time, I want the record to be clear.

So anyway, were we, The Herald-Mail, a serious institution of record, wrong for devoting a quarter of the front page to a zero, may she rest in peace? No! Because the next day, that's all everyone was talking about.

I love the dorkus maximus who tells us, "all you people want to do is sell newspapers." This would be like waking into a Starbucks and saying "All you people want to do is sell coffee."

OF COURSE we put Anna on the front page, because people are IDIOTS and that's all they want to know about. What did you expect, something educational that would improve your mind? You would not read it. Like McDonald's could sell healthful food if anyone wanted it, but no one does.

What were we supposed to put on the front page - the latest from Iraq? You want the latest from Iraq? I'll tell you the latest from Iraq. It's in the sewer, and it will be as long as the yo-yo administration is peeping the screen through camo-colored glasses and yankin' on the joystick like some fifth-grade burnout. There, now you have the latest from Iraq. So who am I, Walter Freakin' Cronkite?

Everyone calls us "the media elite." I wish we were. If I were in charge of newspapers, we would patronize the top 10 IQ percentile and tell the rest of the people to get their news from Kent Brockman.

Hmm. Is that taking things too far? Perhaps. But if anyone dares call me on it, I will want to know their names and demand the right to look my accusers straight in the refrigerator.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

The Herald-Mail Articles