Camille PagliaSalon
On to pop culture: Anna Nicole Smith. I heard the first bulletins about her death on the car radio as I was driving home from campus last week. At the Popeye's drive-through (where I was ordering Cajun wings), I blurted in agitation to the window lady, "Anna Nicole Smith just dropped dead -- tell everyone!" -- which she promptly did. The staff inside (all African-American) were startled and incredulous. Smith's sudden death in a Florida hotel, only five months after her son's death three days after she had given birth to a daughter in the Bahamas, struck me as terribly sad. ABC's "Nightline" called via my publisher for comment, but I felt far too upset to go on TV. Nevertheless, I was riveted to the tube all night and didn't mind in the least that this tabloid drama, with its mythic themes of ambiguous paternity and contested wealth, had pushed Iraq to the back burner.
Sacha Zimmerman