Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Everybody Loves a Train Wreck

"Fame makes a man think things over; fame makes him loose, hard to swallow; fame puts you there where things are hollow, fame!" -- David Bowie

The headlines are everywhere. "Drunk Mayor of City Caught on Video" "Celebrity Arrested for Drag Racing" "Singer Dies from Drug Overdose".

These events tend to set off a huge outpouring of sentiment, both positive and negative. Some of the comments that I have seen in various places inspired me to write about why there tends to be such a large to-do about such things.

The first thing one needs to understand is that being in the public eye is harsh. Your every move is flashed around the world. People intrude into your private life. You are viewed by many as a hero, as an inspiration. Some can't live up to their image all the time and try to banish their demons through alcohol, drugs, or risky behaviour. The strong ones survive the pressure. Unfortunately others don't, despite whatever their families or friends might have tried to do to help.

That said, we are partly to blame also. We are the ones who put these people up on pedestals and expect them to be perfect. We vote politicians into office expecting them to keep their promises. And then we are disappointed when they prove to be human after all. What gets me angry is the lack of compassion that some people appear to show.

Quote: "Let's talk a little less sadly about the woman who self destructed and threw her entire life away through drugs and alcohol for fifteen years, and let's talk a little more about the poor mixed up young lady she left behind."

Quote: "I have been a fan since I was a little girl. But, I am already tired of hearing about (it). We are celebrating as though she was doing everything right."

Quote: "Why are we wasting our time with this? We should forget about their poor example and devote our time to more important things."

I like to think that celebrities and people in high positions were good people before the pressures of fame and their own stupid choices brought them down. For part of their lives, they gave us happiness for part of our lives. Do we cast their works aside just because they made a mistake? Do we forget them because they showed themselves to be human and not superheroes? Certainly not. After all, aren't those who forget history doomed to repeat it?

Against all reason, we love flawed people. If a person is very creative they are often also flawed. It might not be an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it might be a behavioural thing, but we tolerate it because they are creative - just look at the artist Vincent van Gogh. We sort of expect it and we love them "anyway". But let's be more careful about who we choose as role models because they don't always meet those expectations.

1 comment:

  1. Your point about Van Gogh was interesting. I do think though that there is a difference between eccentricity (which is okay in my book) and immoral behavior, which is what so many stars get in trouble for. Plus, Van Gogh was Bipolar in an age where they had no real treatment for that. I also have Bipolar and can sympathize with him and others like him. But today we have medications and treatments we didn't have then. People can try to do better. Just some thoughts :)