- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

‘Freakish’ fame

“Somewhere around the time Broward County circuit judge Larry Seidlin began weeping, inexplicably, as he read his decision in the Anna Nicole Smith case, I thought to myself, ‘What are we fighting so hard for? Let the terrorists win. They have a point.’

“Of course, I wondered why the judge was crying at all. … On the other hand, after weeks of idiotic wall-to-wall coverage of the death of a minor celebrity, we were all feeling a little bit punchy. …

“Anna Nicole Smith was a freakish oddity, one of those creatures who bounce through the pachinko game of life and somehow end up on the front page. Because she was beautiful, she became a model. Because she became a model, she captured the attention of a Texas oil tycoon. Because the Texas oil tycoon was 89 years old, she became an heiress. Because she became an heiress, she ended up in probate court. Then she got fat. Then she got skinny. Then she got her own reality show. Then she died. Then she ended up back in probate court. And now she has her own reality show again, this time as an off-screen star, which is something to be grateful for.”

— Rob Long, writing on “The Story of Anna Nicole,” in the March 19 issue of the National Review at www.nationalreview.com

Vanity and misery

“Kids these days. They’ve got these things called blogs and Myspace, and they post nekkid photographs and videos of themselves doing crazy things on the Internet. I don’t get it. It frightens and confuses me. …

“I’m one of the last of the Boomers — or first of the Gen Xers — so I wasn’t part of that millennial generation raised on an overdose of self-esteem and self-promoting technology that have combined to create a perfect storm of narcissism. …

“[A] study led by San Diego State University psychologists finds that about two-thirds of college students have above average scores in self-adulation. That’s 30 percent more than when I was in college in 1982. These millennials make Narcissus look like a self-hating Greek.

“But while millennials are more confident, assertive, and head over heels in love with themselves, they have less reason to be. The study’s authors note that Gen Y is shallower than its parents’ generation and less well educated. It is emotionally challenged. And more miserable.”

— Christopher Orlet, writing on “The Look-at-Me Generation,” Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.specator.com

‘Tween tarts?

“Just how far along the slick slope of cultural decline have we fallen? … The American Psychological Association’s ‘Task Force On the Sexualization of Young Girls’ has been hard at work chronicling our sexed up, dumbed down culture. Liberals and conservatives alike are convinced, it seems, that a toxic mix of toys, music, and media is turning ‘tweens into tarts. …

“We’ve apparently moved beyond the age of the tarted up ‘tween and into the era of the prostitot. … And let’s not even get started on Bratz.

“The report is short on numbers, heavy on anecdote. But it’s easy to be persuaded that 8-year-olds are dressing more like ‘tweens, ‘tweens more like teens, and teens more like 20-somethings. Which means — what, exactly? Kids ape their older peers, and they’ve never had more access to images of underdressed celebutants. … Fashion can suggest sexual availability, or it can imply inclusion. Are they dressing for men, or for one another?”

— Kerry Howley, writing on “Invasion of the Prostitots,” Monday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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