RUSH: I just checked the e-mail to see if there are any sexy subject lines in there. A guy sends me a note: ‘I don’t care about Iran. I don’t care about the Brits. I don’t care about global warming. I don’t care about your golf. If you have any power, you will do what you can to get Anna Nicole Smith off the news.’ Ladies and gentlemen, I am powerless to get Anna Nicole Smith off the news. The fact of the matter is the reason she’s all over the news is that you watch it! Well, maybe not you, but ratings for these cable nets are through the roof on the Anna Nicole Smith story. I went over to some friends’ house last night and we were discussing the fate of modern culture. We discussed the Edwards situation, and this couple in their late sixties were just simply aghast that the Edwards would make all of this public. They come from a generation where a stiff upper lip and quiet strength were measures of character, and they were just stunned.
I said, ‘This is nothing. You better get used to it.’
All politics is public now. Nothing is personal. Everybody is out there; every kid’s got a MySpace page; every kid’s got something of himself or herself on YouTube. Everybody wants fame. Everybody wants to be famous. Everybody is doing everything they can to cash in on it. Nobody is interested that much in privacy as a culture. It really is a demonstrable shift on culture. This Anna Nicole Smith story is classic. It’s no different than Princess Di. I know people disagree with me when I say this, but look, here’s Princess Diana. She passes away. She had the accident, dies, and they throw big funeral over there, and look at the throngs, the gazillions that showed up to send notes. They posted notes up there on the fence at Buckingham Palace and then they had notes and flowers all over the funeral parade route. What was that all about? That was people wanting to be part of the story in combination with people who actually — well, we have a term for this. I did a story, and I forget the term, but there is a psychological term for people whose lives are so empty that they establish connections with celebrities that are on television and in the movies. That connection is not real. That connection is in their mind gives them self-esteem and so forth. So they all want to be part of the story. They all want to establish this. That’s what this Anna Nicole Smith is all about. Plus I’m sure there’s a little voyeurism in all of this. Some people watching it are just curious to see what the circus is all about. It’s a combination of things, but there’s no denying there’s a major cultural shift.