Sunday, June 03, 2007

Anna Nicole vs. Marilyn Monroe

You heard all the comparisons when Anna Nicole was found dead: how she looked like Marilyn Monroe, how she led a troubled love life like Marilyn Monroe, and how Anna Nicole died young, just like Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe was Anna Nicole Smith's idol from childhood and they both appeared in Playboy, on and on.

But there are some fundamental differences between Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith which few have bothered to mention and which speak directly to the state of our country and culture.

First of all, Marilyn Monroe had one very important thing which Anna Nicole lacked: Talent. Regardless of her personal life or how she acted off-screen, Marilyn Monroe was an actress and her talent shines through in the films she made. In particular, Some Like it Hot shows off her acting abilities like no other, but she appeared in many films (including one of the Marx Brothers') and did well in all of them.

Anna Nicole also appeared in a few films, but she was awful. She couldn't even convincingly portray herself (see The Hudsucker Proxy)! She knew how to work the cameras like a stripper (which is what Anna Nicole was), but that's as far as it went. Marilyn Monroe was an actress and Anna Nicole was a stripper.

As far as their love lives went, Marilyn Monroe was linked to important people - Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller, the President of the US. Anna Nicole was married to a rolling corpse and had dalliances with various skanky nobodies. And really, that old guy was kinda skanky, too.

Here's the point of all this: Marilyn Monroe was famous for being an actress. That she was an absolute knockout certainly helped propel that fame, but there was a solid foundation behind her popularity. Anna Nicole got famous just for being pretty, and she'd have been little more than a footnote in "supermodel history" were it not for her stripperific misbehavior. That she resembled Marilyn Monroe cannot be denied, but only in appearance. With the right make up, Anna Nicole Smith could have looked a lot like Jayne Mansfield, too. In either case, that's where the resemblances end!

I don't dislike Anna Nicole Smith, mind you, but I don't think of her so much as a "poor man's Marilyn Monroe" as I do a lucky skank who looked a lot like Marilyn Monroe. Both women led troubled lives that were cut tragically short, but only one of them was truly talented and had a real future in anything other than porn.

And this all came up because I saw a movie last night with Marilyn Monroe and I've said plenty of times before, "She was honestly talented!" But I couldn't help noticing just how much she and Anna Nicole Smith resemble one another. And that's really all it takes to become "famous" in America nowadays.

No matter how much I, and people like me, harp on this, it doesn't change much, but I wanted to make sure to clear that up for anyone who doesn't quite get It. Marilyn Monroe was finer than the hair on a spider's legs, but that alone is not what made her Marilyn Monroe; she was a talented actress who appeared in several films alongside true Hollywood legends. And to compare some two-bit Texas stripper whose only real claim to fame was a short modeling career to someone like Marilyn Monroe is ridiculous!

It really is like comparing whatever popular boy band is in vogue to The Beatles. And they do that at least once a year or so, too.

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