We watch a friend's personal tragedy and somehow think we could and should have done something to stop it. After a public train wreck of a life, everyone knows what should have been done and who should have done it.
With Anna Nicole Smith, while there's plenty of blame to go around, including Smith's own indulgence, culpability at E! Entertainment is big time.
Documentary and news cameras catching children in all phases of starvation has always been a bit of a curiosity. I've always wondered how these kids could be shot without the crew attempting to feed them all. Of course, news crews wouldn't have the wherewithal to feed them all or rid a country from turn around a country's malnutrition problem. On the positive side, they are getting out a message to the public and other countries who could do more.
But how, other than profits, can the E! Entertainment explain away their weekly (and rerun ad infinitum during the week) exploiting 100 car pileup known as The Anna Nicole Show. To describe the show as anything other than a voyeurs' inside look at a person in the midst of self-destruction would be much too kind. Wonder what took place in the editing room when they put together the raw tape? Think they chose material that would make Smith look sane? Think they were disappointed when she was obviously stoned or said something unintentionally stupid. Or do you think they high-fived because they had their trailer for the next show.
Anna Nicole was beautiful and she was tragic. Playboy showed off her beauty. E! flaunted her tragedy. E! was not responsible for turning her on the healthy and righteous path. But E! pathetically chose to profit from her tragedy. For that, they bear some responsibility in greasing her heartbreaking slide to what was a far too early and far too lamentable death.
Award-winning TV comedy writer Steve Young is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" and http://www2.dailynews.com/steveyoung">his column appears in the LA Daily News Sunday Opinion page...to the left of O'Reilly's...really. And if you want to overdose on Steve, click here for :Steve's Latest Blatant Infomercial.