Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Deadly Nature of Celebrity


It would seem that there is no longer such a thing as the "Hollywood ending". Unless of course, nervous breakdowns, rehab, suicides, and murders are what's to be aspired to. These days, to sit through Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood means exposing yourself to half an hour of dramas and tragedies, as well as the intimate moments of other people's lives.

Most recent in the news is the death of model and actress Anna Nicole Smith, who gained notoriety by marrying a man fifty years her senior. Although Anna Nicole had given birth to a baby girl this year, an event that causes great joy among most, we have to question the quality of her life in its last months. The death of her son, Daniel, created a media frenzy in the Bahamas, where Anna Nicole had escaped to for seclusion. Questions of the paternity of her daughter fueled the fire, as well as concerns about her citizenship in the Bahamas. While this incessant coverage was great for photographers and reporters, we have to ask ourselves: what is it like to live under that sort of microscope?

If we answer this question by looking at other media hounded celebrities, the answer is a frightening one. It seems that there is not a person alive who can survive that kind of scrutiny completely in tact. Princess Diana of Wales, considered almost a saint to some, suffered from anorexia nervosa in the years before a paparazzi car chase took her life. Britney Spears can be seen on any website or entertainment news show with her head shaved, smashing a car with her umbrella. Marilyn Monroe, however one believes her death came about, is nonetheless dead. Men are not immune to the stresses of celebrity life either. Robert Downy Jr., Mel Gibson, and Stephen King have all had notorious battles with alcohol and drug addiction. The inability of celebrities to handle the pressures of non-stop media coverage can be linked to all of these behaviors and outcomes.

Many people would argue that celebrities are attention seekers, and media frenzies are the nature of the beast. While many celebrities do dabble (or submerge themselves) in attention seeking behaviors, no one asks to have their picture taken with a camera phone while they're urinating in a public bathroom. No amount of attention seeking justifies that constant media hounding that drives celebrities to the edge, and in some cases, to death.

Which brings us back to Anna Nicole Smith. Although the details of her death are greatly unknown at this time, how many of us will be surprised if this turns out to be a suicide? Are we ever surprised to hear that a celebrity has committed suicide? Mostly, no. All too often, we've been following their slow demise on the evening news. Like anyone who's employed in a dangerous field of work, we are never shocked to hear that another person has succumb to the dangers of being a celebrity.

AP photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta

About the Writer

S. Manfredi is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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