February 23, 2007

First Person:

Like a candle in the wind...

By Al Carlos Hernandez

I was saddened at the passing of Anna Nicole Smith; she was destroyed by the same media tabloid society that invented her.

Although her story is a classic Hollywood tragedy, and people look down their noses at her eccentric lifestyle, her story is really about a dirt poor girl who did what she felt she had to make it and be accepted into American society.

Poor Anna bought into the lie, like hundreds of thousands of others, won one of the highest levels of prominence, died with all the toys, but didn’t win the game of life.

She, like Marilyn Monroe before her, lived her life “Like a candle in the wind” and paid the ultimate price. I consider her passing to be a collateral casualty of American secular humanism, a religion that advocates, “If it feels, good do it,” and now the disgraceful race to find out who was the sugar daddy. Her infant daughter didn’t ask for all this.

Beauty pageant-stage door mama’s shouldn’t encourage their Baby girls to become Anna’s or Marilyn’s. Parents don’t sublimate your delusions of grandeur, impale your broken dreams onto your kids; this goes for weekend coaches too.

The country seems to have a morbid curiosity about young Hollywood starlets, unraveling and imploding in real time. It seems that young stars try to give the media what they want, to push the moral and lascivious lifestyle to the absolute edge. Then, the media taunts them into jumping off.

The Britneys, Lindseys, Pamelas and Paris’s become attention junkies, and in the process, lose all decorum and propriety. They fail because they have no accountability. There is no one who will stand up and say your lifestyle is wrong and will kill you. I blame the parents, but the parents are on the payroll.

In the weeks before Anna Nicole’s passing, there would be interviews the unflinching camera probing her face, absorbing, amused at her inconsolable grief at the untimely loss of her son. Her tears, her anguish was real, no actor is that good. I cried those tears myself, and America loved the drama, enjoying her pain because she was rich and beautiful. Her pain was no different than a mother who has lost an only son in Iraq, but the media celebrated her anguish.

It is hard, if not impossible, to come from dirt poor dysfunctional beginnings and make it in modern society. Almost every 70s or 80s rock star friend that I have known over the years has gone through some type of rehabilitation, and the ones who didn’t are not here to tell about it. The spotlight somehow melts your soul, snuffs out your spirit, and then makes a spectacle of your demise.

Media wants us to admire the rich and famous because they do themselves. Media folks are for the most part frustrated writers, actors, musicians, they choose the profession because it gets them a share of the limelight. There is no one more miserable, in my opinion, than an aging local celebrity, one hit wonder rock star, or one term politician.

As a father of young adults, I hate to see them imploding, destroying themselves with impunity in an effort to grab headlines. Some of these starlets need an intervention. Some of the parents need incarceration.

Society should also hold accountable the celebrity entourage leeches that enable these media mistresses to run wild. Someone who cares needs to say, “You are wrong, you are blowing it.” But they don’t because they somehow feel that by being a full time hanger-on, they enjoin a certain celebrity themselves and benefit from all the fast tract perks.

Rap groups have huge posses of broke hanger-ons called scrubs, they emulate the Hollywood paradigm, until the boss baller is out of favor or off the charts then they try to leech onto another shooting star.

I mourn for young Hollywood and the system that fuels their debauchery and individual demise.

“Their candles burned out long before their legend ever did”.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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