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On Kazoo, Louie Armstrong

If only Anna Nicole Smith had died while defending her country in Iraq.

Then we wouldn't have to worry about the overcoverage, the constant video of her from every conceivable jiggly angle, the Larry King reminiscences of how bouncy and beautiful she was, the medical reporters' getting their 15 minutes of fame talking about possible drug interactions or vomit, even video of the blanket-draped body being downloaded from the emergency vehicle (a helicopter shot, I think).

No, if she had died in Iraq we wouldn't get to see any video of her and we would probably only know her as  part of a larger number, i.e. "four soldiers died in Iraq today in a car bombing."

We have always been star-struck, but now add to that forensic voyeurism. News coverage of talk about the contents of the poor dead woman's stomach, as I just surfed to, just blends into the background of our prime time dramas. And yet we are not allowed to recieve the full measure of the loss of our countrymen and women in Iraq. Bad for morale, I guess, but Anna Nicole coverage wasn't doing much for my morale either.

One e-mailer to CNN put it better than I, though I must paraphrase and then take a fraction of credit in the process: Watching CNN cover Anna Nicole Smith, the e-mailer said, is like watching Louie Armstrong play the kazoo.Yes, they can do it, but so much talent is squandered in the exercise.

Heve we stumbled into a Joseph Heller novel, or been transported to one of Kurt Vonnegut's many weird worlds?

Strange, strange indeed.

By John Eggerton