Afterword: How She Threw It All Away

Anna Nicole Smith
They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow,
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.


— William Shakespeare

February 2007 Postscript and Eulogy

I write this afterword upon the publication of the July 2004 issue of FHM magazine. It is now two years since I completed the original five parts of this encomium. It is now seven months since Anna Nicole Smith unveiled her TrimSpa-ravaged figure to the world. Her "amazing comeback" pictorial in the squalid pages of FHM hammers the final nail in the coffin of the fantasy woman that I once worshipped.

What a cruel task to write a requiem for one's own goddess.

People ask me what I think about Anna Nicole's drastic weight loss. Anyone who knows me, and anyone who's read my annanicological ramblings, should fucking well know the answer already. I hate it. She looks absolutely terrible. It sears my soul with agony to see what this supremely beautiful woman has done to herself. She was once an icon of classic feminine sexuality, the harbinger of an aesthetic restoration in an era of darkness and lies. Now she has thrown it all away. She has cast aside her singular, defiant beauty in favor of joining the legion of anonymous scrawny boob-job blondes who already infest our cultural landscape like cockroaches, while the world moronically applauds her achievement.

It is now one month since Anna Nicole made an appearance on the Jay Leno show, regrettably trading in her timeless bombshell style for the trendoid "skank" look of the Britney Spears set. Her once-majestic buttocks have all but vanished, with her silicone implants left looking preposterous jutting from the tiny frame that remains. She breathlessly shilled all her new corporate tie-ins, getting in plugs for that miraculous TrimSpa, her new official web site, her personal line of chic Von Dutch fashions, and her forthcoming exclusive layout in FHM. My stomach twisted in dismay at the sight of the magazine's cover. "Good Lord! It's ANNA NICOLE SMITH," screams the incredulous cover copy. "The Photos You Never Thought You'd See." Ironically enough, that's probably the only possible promotional statement for the feature in question that would be 100% true for me as well as the typical FHM reader.

Anna Nicole does nothing in moderation. True, this is one of the characteristics that made me fall in love with her, but by the same token her extreme behavior gives me reason to despise her. It is now four months since Anna Nicole appeared on Larry King Live for her first interview on her weight loss. I'd hoped she would cease her TrimSpa regimen upon reaching her Playboy/Guess dimensions, but her chilling Larry King appearance showed that she hadn't stopped there. She looked shrunken and frail, as if she were battling some terminal illness. Or more accurately, like a prisoner who'd suffered torture and brainwashing. When Larry asked what kind of food she eats these days, she claimed she couldn't remember. She said she doesn't even like food anymore. The Anna Nicole I loved was always a creature of passion and pleasure, an embodiment of hedonistic satisfaction. Now she doesn't even like to eat. Give me a break. Whether by chemical or monetary intervention, these TrimSpa hucksters have robbed her formerly boundless capacities to partake in the pleasures of the flesh, leaving an empty, lobotomized skeleton to promote their poison.

It is now three months since E! aired the ghastly Anna Bares All, the first in a purported series of specials meant to replace the canceled Anna Nicole Show. Lazily sticking on the old show's Emmy-nominated animated titles as an intro, the producers couldn't even be bothered to superimpose a new title card, betraying their level of faith in this new venture. The program consisted of a hour of the slim new Anna Nicole worrying and pouting and mewling with neurotic anxiety over doing a fashion runway gig. The goddess of times past never showed such a shameful lack of self-confidence when it came to her modeling work. She always relished the cameras and the crowds with delighted abandon, knowing she was hot and never giving a damn if anyone thought otherwise. She has since become a different woman, with her belief in herself as wrongly and woefully diminished as her hips and thighs.

It is now two years since I registered the annanicolesmithshow.com domain name and started up a fan site. It is now two months since I decided to let the domain lapse and archived the site's contents here on the Lard Biscuit Enterprises site. The Network Solutions expiration notices are piled up in my in-box, unheeded. It is now a few days since I checked my bookmark for the site and found that the DNS entry has finally been deleted, forgotten, lost to cyberspace past.

A few ill-conceived moments in the second season notwithstanding, I loved The Anna Nicole Show with no apologies and no regrets. The star of the show was frequently childish and exasperating, no doubt about that, but I accepted her foibles under the rationalized rubric of "the goddess on her day off." But I found this Anna Bares All program as insufferable as every critic had ever charged the original series of being. I have to ask myself, is Anna Nicole's personality really that much different now, or just her waistline? Was I simply blinded by her fleshy beauty and seduced into adoring a TV show that always stunk? I don't think I will ever be able to answer that.

It is now a couple of weeks since I saw a preview of Anna Nicole's FHM pictorial on the Internet in advance of the magazine's publication. Wearing skimpy lingerie, she is seated with her back against a wall and her long spindly legs strewn out in front of her. She scowls vacantly, her eyes hollow, looking like a heroin addict who has just shot up, numb and uncaring. I am demolished by this image. This cannot be. This woman whose modeling photos have always been celebrations of life, and joy, and pleasure, is now made to depict a tableau of despair, a wretch waiting indifferently for death to claim her.

And the thing I just can't wrap my head around is the notion that somehow this photograph is intended to be sexy. This is an amazing comeback, this is a success story, this is far superior to the ditzy tub of lard who shambled through that deplorable reality show? I just don't get it. I knew from that moment that this FHM issue was a ticking time bomb set to destroy my emotions upon its publication, leaving an inhospitable blast radius of devastation for years to come. Every snot-nosed punk is going to be emailing me asking why my web site doesn't have those new pictures of Anna Nicole where she's all skinny and hot again. Every eBay search for "Anna Nicole" is going to trawl up copies of this "rare" mag where she looks sexier than ever. This posed a dire milestone that would have to brings things to a head, one way or another. I resolved not to purchase this magazine and avoid all exposure to its dreaded contents. I can't let this mockery of my goddess into my life. I would sooner destroy it.

People might call me shallow for basing my opinion of Anna Nicole Smith on her weight, and claim that I'm no different for hating her for getting skinny than those who hated her for getting fat. And you know, that's fair enough. As I explained at length in the preceding encomium, I was never in love with Anna Nicole Smith. I was in love with Anna Nicole's myth. Her mythological persona is a full-figured icon of pleasure and beauty, a fantasy that has flowed in and out of synch with the flesh-and-blood woman over the years like a sine wave. I don't know if we will ever find ourselves on the same frequency again.

My great lie, I now recognize, was my proposal in this encomium that Anna Nicole had attained the status of mythological icon for the world at large. This was a foolish and fatuous claim. Some other exceptionally devoted fans may have shared my feelings, but to paraphrase Alan Moore's marvelous ontological observation regarding supreme beings, the one place Anna Nicole's myth inarguably exists is in my mind where it is real beyond refute, in all its grandeur and monstrosity. Her potential as a universal symbol of timeless beauty has been ground into the dirt by tawdry scandals, quickie weight-loss schemes and the public's short-term memory. People have long since forgotten that she was the heaviest Playboy Playmate of all time, and a size 14 when she modeled for Guess. Everyone believes she started out skinny and beautiful, then got fat and ugly, and now she's skinny and beautiful again. What a happy ending and a lesson for us all. Anna Nicole Smith no more represents the virtues of full-figured beauty in the eyes of contemporary culture than Al Roker.

Would you believe, at the height of my insanity, I seriously considered founding an organized Church of Annanicology, and worshipping her non-ironically as my pagan deity? I was ready to register annanicology.org and everything. Such folly, such madness! I'm so glad I don't have to suffer the embarrassment of ever having gone that far. Anna Nicole used to be one hot babe, all right, but now I can see she was always a false idol, a golden calf. A golden fatted calf, you might say, until society starved her to skin and bones and sent her to the slaughterhouse.

I write this afterword upon the publication of the July 2004 issue of FHM magazine. I was confronted with the magazine at a newsstand on my 35th birthday. It is now 12 years since I encountered Vickie Smith's first Playboy appearance. I was 22 then, young and lost. It seems only appropriate that my relationship with Anna Nicole should end here, at a magazine rack. I should have turned away from that filthy magazine and walked out on her for good. But that's not what happened.

It strikes me now that this afterword pretty well discredits and trashes the whole "romantic encomium" aspect of the original work to which it is being appended. It is now five years since I first conceived of writing an essay called "My Love Affair with Anna Nicole Smith." At that time, as I noted in the original prologue written two years ago, the piece would have had an unhappy ending. But instead, I had waited until things turned sunny again before composing my tribute. Now I come full circle and wrap up the story on a down note, in sad accordance with my original vision. This is no longer an encomium — it has become an exorcism. Anna Nicole, I rebuke thee! Begone, foul emaciated harlot! Exorcizo te, omnis spiritus immunde! GET OUT.

To that end, I have deleted the popular "Anna Nicole Portfolio" from my web site in protest. It is now four years since I established one of the Internet's most comprehensive Anna Nicole Smith image archives, but now my fellow fans are going to have to look elsewhere for their downloading needs. Still, I'm afraid it's gonna take more than spiritual incantations and webmaster boycotts to drive this haunting presence out of my life for good. There at that newsstand on my birthday, as much as I wanted it otherwise, I simply couldn't imagine not buying a national magazine with an Anna Nicole Smith cover feature and photo spread. Maybe I'm just too weak. I took the FHM to the counter, hoping I wouldn't punch out the clerk if he made the excruciatingly predictable comment about how she's finally looking hot again these days, but he had no judgments to pass.

The FHM sits on my desktop before me as I write this, still unopened and unread five days after I purchased it. It came sealed in a plastic bag to contain the bonus Anna Nicole Smith poster, which if I'm not mistaken is an enlargement of that heroin addict shot I previewed online. A suitable "bonus" for posting on the bulletin board of a rehab clinic, perhaps, with the addition of the warning, "Don't End Up Like This. There Is Hope."

At first I only knew I wasn't going to open it right away and spoil my birthday. Whenever I do open that plastic wrapping, the contents within are only going to cause me pain and grief. I briefly considered scanning the images and using Photoshop to morph her blighted figure into its well-fed proportions of old, but what a pointless and shallow exercise that would be, to try and resuscitate the corpse of a goddess. Masturbatory necrophilia. So for now, I've decided the wisest course of action is to leave the magazine sealed and file it away with the rest of my exhaustive collection of Anna Nicole memorabilia, mint in bag. Maybe in another week or month or 12 years, I'll tear it open and face the horrors. But at this moment in time, "The Photos You Never Thought You'd See" have become the photos I think I'll never see.

Maybe I'm full of shit, but somehow it gives me a sense of victory and closure to have bought this damn thing and then shun it. This ritual has given me control over the object of my fear and loathing. Her formerly potent temptations now hold no sway over me. The July 2004 FHM is now my own personal Schroedinger's cat, half-existing in a weird quantum state that will never become a concrete reality so long as the mystery within the locked container goes unobserved. This particular monstrosity cannot torment me if it never even enters my mind.

And this is where our love affair ends. If the world wants to welcome the new Anna Nicole Smith back with open arms, the world can have her. It's time for me to move on. I'll be honest: if she ever gains the weight back (or I should say when...) and starts looking hot again, I might be up for another fling or two. But my cherished mythological goddess is dead, leaving me only old photographs and fond memories of a love that could never be.

D. Trull
June 2004

POSTSCRIPT:

It is now two and a half years since I closed the book on my love affair with an imaginary goddess. Now the mortal woman who served as her vessel on this earth is dead.

I cannot honestly say that this tragic ending comes as a shock. When her son Daniel died in 2006, I said she probably wouldn't be around for long. He was the only source of stability and sanity in her life. Having disowned all her relatives, she considered him to be her only family in the world, at least until the recent arrival of her baby girl. I knew in my heart it was just a matter of time before she would self-destruct without Daniel in her life.

I must confess that for years I have been morbidly expecting her sudden untimely demise. At the height of my obsession during the run of her reality TV show, I used to suffer a neurotic phobia every time I loaded the CNN.com home page, imagining a breaking news report that Anna Nicole Smith was found dead from a drug overdose or suicide. I even had vivid nightmares about this coming to pass. So the news of her actual fate was accompanied by a bizarre sense of deja vu for me.

Despite all this, I still feel a sting of disbelief every time I hear a television announcer state that Anna Nicole Smith is dead, and every time I see her photo inscribed with "1967-2007." I have the disoriented sensation that I am experiencing bleak premonitions of the future, and have to remind myself that this is the present.

I can't bear to say that Anna Nicole is dead. I want to tell myself that Anna Nicole will never die. Vickie Lynn Hogan is dead, but the immortal goddess of beauty she created will live forever. That's what I want to believe.

But my fear is that her persona's former potential for timelessness is now being torn down by the scandals and tabloid tawdriness that have consumed all discourse regarding her. Her status as the modern symbol of plus-size sexiness has been negated and her history rewritten. Now her mythology is that she won the "battle of the bulge" and suffered an unfortunate "fat period" that she overcame. Pop historians will rush to place her in the pantheon of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, the legends who lived hard, died young, and -- most importantly -- left a good-looking corpse. Sure, she had a short and troubled life, the Entertainment Tonights and E! True Hollywood Stories will somberly eulogize, but at least she was nice and skinny when she kicked the bucket, unlike Elvis Presley, and we don't have to remember her as some giant fat cow. This destruction of her true legacy is what I grieve for most of all.

So what now? Part of me wants to delete every trace of Anna Nicole Smith from my web site, to eradicate the whole of my "annanicology" as if I had never wasted my time on this foolish and empty pursuit. But I can't. Lard Biscuit Enterprises is just a tiny speck of dust amid all the world's documentation of this poor little girl from Texas who lived such a strange 39 years, but I have drawn enough attention and respect from like-minded souls to keep this candle burning. I have reinstated the Anna Nicole Portfolio in a new incarnation, exclusively memorializing her plus-size prime, and this romantic encomium shall stand as a testament to her immortal grandeur or my pathological madness, or both. I can now pursue new mythological goddesses to take her throne, but I don't think we shall ever see her like again.

Goodbye, Vickie Lynn.

D. Trull
February 2007

My Love Affair with Anna Nicole Smith

Sources and Acknowledgements

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