Voyeurism Unleashed

Posted: Feb 21, 2007 4:16 PM
Voyeurism Unleashed

Listening to the Broward County, Fla. coroner warn that the still-unburied remains of the late Anna Nicole Smith were getting a bit ripe reminded me of one of Ambrose Bierce’s more notorious remarks.

Speaking of a deceased actress in whose lifetime, he noted, was famous for her composure, Bierce, 19th century journalism’s precursor of our beloved Ann Coulter, said that unfortunately, the lady was now “quite decomposed.”

I can’t help but wonder what Bierce would have said about the current media mania concerning the aftermath of Miss Smith’s death, the disposal of her body, and the identity of the father of her last child.

How would he have reacted to the endless television coverage of the trial which is supposed to resolve the question of who will gain possession of her body before it falls apart? And what about the proceeding morphing into a showcase for the dramatic talents of the trial judge, who appears to lust after a career as a male Judge Judy and is accused of using the trial as a screen test?

“He is not as pretty as Judge Judy, but he is cut from the same tooth,'' Vinnie Politan, co-host of Court TV's weekday morning show “Bloom & Politan,” told The Miami Herald. “We here at Court TV love him. This is going to put him on the map, and he knows it.”

It is not too much of a reach to say that Broward County Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin has turned the proceedings into something of a circus, where he stars as the high-wire trapeze performer. Nor to note that television has encouraged his theatrics by covering the trial almost from dawn ‘til dusk.

I agree with whoever it was that said his honor is suffering from an advanced case of Itoitis, recalling the jurist in the O.J. Simpson case. Judge Seidlin, however, unlike Judge Ito, is amusing.

The endless coverage has been so intense that it has all but drowned out the comings and goings of Britney whatsername as she meanders from rehab to rehab having shorn her golden locks and tattooed the nape of her neck in what the media diagnoses as a cry for help. Previous cries, such as her refusal to don underwear and her penchant for making it obvious, have gone unheeded.

Perhaps the only person on this planet who has to be delighted by the media’s continuing focus on the question of the disposal of Miss Smith’s remains is the lovesick astronaut who has all but disappeared from America’s TV screens thanks to the circus in Broward County. Thanks to the trial, we haven’t heard a whisper lately about her having driven 900 miles wearing a diaper, which come to think about it, might suggest an alternative to the undergarments Britney can’t bring herself to wear.

I don’t think people are waking up in the morning desperate to learn what’s going on in a Broward County courtroom. I don’t think they are racing to turn on the TV to see live pictures of the judge and the other actors in this low-interest drama. I don’t think they could care less about who gets the body of a gold-digging stripper who appears to have died of the same drugs which killed her son.

If the public has any interest at all, I think it would be that somebody, anybody, get that corpse in the ground before it turns to dust.

In the end, what we have it is a further example of the mass voyeurism which the TV executives think is now afflicting the nation and which they are determined to satisfy.

Today it’s Anna Nicole Smith. Tomorrow it will be some other unfortunate female celebrity -- a Britney or Paris, for example -- who devoted her life to an orgy of self-destruction and paid the price.

There seems to be an endless supply of them out there.