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Apr. 7 2010 - 1:57 pm | 356 views | 0 recommendations | 7 comments

Why is Jerry Brown obsessed with Corey Haim & Anna Nicole Smith?

Former Governor (now California Attorney Gener...

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Jerry Brown is campaigning for something – I’m just not sure whether it’s governor of California, or mayor of Hollywood. Recently, he’s been talking more about the death of Corey Haim, and his office’s efforts to warn people of the dangers of prescription drugs.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Brown has held press conferences, and even appeared on Dr. Phil’s show, to talk about Haim – meanwhile, his opponents are discussing illegal immigration, and the city of Los Angeles is so broke it can only afford to operate a few days a week.

On Tuesday, he sent out this missive on Twitter: “Corey Haim obtained at least 553 doses of potentially dangerous prescription drugs via “doctor shopping” - http://bit.ly/dn5QWI” (That followed an earlier tweet announcing a Haim-related press conference.)

Brown has been similarly gung-ho about bringing to justice Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal doctor. A March 23 tweet announced: “Brown Asks Court to Prevent Michael Jackson’s Former Doctor Conrad Murray from Practicing Medicine.”

The same goes for the doctors who prescribed medicine to Anna Nicole Smith, even though her death actually took place in Florida.  When Brown handed down indictments for those doctors, LA Weekly (disclosure: I work there) noted the bizarre nature of Brown’s fascination with the case:

“Is it self-indulgence, is it some power trip, is it just getting some contact high off a celebrity? That remains to be seen,” Brown continued. “The law’s been violated, there’s a conspiracy, someone’s died here. … People think drug dealers on the street corner are the only threat — as a matter of fact, people in white smocks and pharmacies and with their medical degrees are a growing threat. We mean to curtail it the best way that we can.”

People in white smocks. With their medical degrees. Was I the only one in the room who thought the Attorney General’s words sounded less like an anticrime crusade than like Stalin’s invention of the Doctor’s Plot?

Now, I realize that being the attorney general in a state that is home to so many celebrities will inevitably bring Brown in contact with high-profile cases. But it certainly seems questionable that he’d pursue doctors so aggressively if they weren’t linked to famous people, and therefore a sure-fire publicity-getter.

Still, trumpeting your efforts in such cases while your opponents are talking about serious issues seems like a dubious route to take. I’m not from New York, but I’d be surprised if New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo spent half as much time dealing with, say, Heath Ledger’s death. Is Brown’s celeb-obsession a move to make him seem more relevant given that he’s pretty old? I’d expect celebrity fawning from, say, Sarah Palin (Frank Rich slammed her for her “wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities”), but for a supposedly more serious politician, it remains a strange tack.


7 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    Sara, you were doing fine until you took a cheap shot at Sara Palin, or is that required content?

  2. collapse expand

    Ironically, candidates like Reagan and Schwarzenegger would never have won if they’d focused on Hollywood. It makes you wonder…why even attack him on issues when you have something this shallow to point out?


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    I'm a Los Angeles-based writer and editor focusing on pop and politics, race and culture, and where Gen-Yers fit into it all. My writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, WashingtonPost.com, the San Francisco Chronicle and People magazine. Among other things, I'm Oregon-born, hip-hop-addicted, and weirdly optimistic that the journalism business will stay alive.

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