Tonight I was talking on the phone with my sister about all sorts of different things. She lives in Colorado and I'm in Oregon, so we don't see each other very often. But we stay in touch by talking on the phone pretty frequently, having these wild, tangential conversations while we cook. I was chopping bell peppers and boiling pasta on my end and she was browning pork chops and tossing a salad at her house while we talked about all sorts of topics, ranging from our kids to our siblings to world events.
Somewhere in there we got onto the subject of the media coverage of Anna Nicole Smith's death. Now, don't get me wrong... It is sad anytime a young mother dies. I'm not saying it was unimportant or insignificant that this woman so suddenly left this world. But OH MY WORD why on earth has her death sparked such a media frenzy? We came to the conclusion that it was a toss up between the size of her boobs or the size of her bank account that held people's fascination. Also, my sister believes that people with normal, mundane, average lives take some sort of morbid pleasure in knowing that someone more rich and more beautiful was also more screwed up in many ways.
I'm not so sure about that. What is at issue for me is the opportunity cost involved in the media frenzy. There are only so many inches of newsprint in each edition of a paper. There are only so many minutes of airtime on every evening or morning news program that we watch. What OTHER events were occurring that we DIDN'T read or hear about because we were being bombarded with speculations over who will win the paternity lottery of all time to get to claim control of the estate to be inherited by one very rich baby girl?
In the Spring of 1980 there were a rash of destructive tornados that destroyed property and took lives that most Americans never even heard about. They were overlooked because on May 18 of that year Mount St. Helens errupted -
Every time we receive one message it means we are not receiving something else.
So Goodbye Anna Nicole. I'm sure your friends and family will grieve your loss. But as for me...excuse me if this seems cold and heartless, but can we please just move on?