|Soooo much more to celebrity, than wearing sunglasses.|
Okay. I cannot let the Whitney Houston situation pass without commenting. I tried, because I am very opinionated on the issue of addiction and celebrity, in general, but at the end of the day, I feel that my research on the subject, compiled mostly from the E! Entertainment channel, GQ, and my social work background, is worthy of, at the very least, joining the conversation.
Look, I loved Michael Jackson, and like everyone my age, I can do the Thriller Video, in its entirety, with my eyes closed, but here's the deal, the Michael Jackson that had little boy sleepovers and needed anesthetic to sleep every night, is NOT the Michael Jackson I fell in love with.
Just like the Whitney Houston who told Diane Sawyer and coincidentally, America that "Crack is WACK," and that she and Bobby are too sophisticated and rich to do crack (after further investigation, Whitney admitted that they smoke pot, laced with cocaine, big dif) is NOT the same person, in MY mind, as the woman who sang the National Anthem, that makes the hair on my arms stand up.
Okay, that being said, I find celebrity a fascinating subject. Celebrities are their own minority group, with their own special set of circumstances and issues. My two older girls have Beiber fever in the worst way. I keep trying to tell them that because his star shone so bright and rose so quickly, that when it crashes back to Earth, it is going to be a fantastic explosion.
I am already seeing possible evidence of this on Facebook, (Mills made me follow him), where Beiber keeps giving a shout out to his fans while he is in the studio recording his next album, for "ideas." Maybe it's just social networking. Maybe it's a cry for help. I'm just sayin'.
You see, with very few exceptions (read: Drew Barrymore) child and teen celebs are inundated with attention and praise and used up in their formative years because they have a "gift" that "needs to be shared with the World." In exchange, that child, trades in a normal upbringing, (normal being the operative word, here) that generally shapes a person, and is integral to their personality and how they will deal with difficult situations in later life.
If, at this point in your developmental timeline, you are surrounded with "yes" people, who stand to make a lot of money off of you, for as long as you can make money, rather than a more average upbringing of say, going to camp in the summer, or playing basketball for your high school team, but instead your youth is hijacked by endless tour dates and movie sets with effed up adult actors, then you stand a very slim chance of being able to "handle it" when you are no longer the center of the universe and everyone has moved on, but you. Breath.
I mean, I have a hard enough time helping my girls navigate the pitfalls of their little social lives, in modern day suburbia. I cannot IMAGINE what I would do if, say, Usher's agent, stopped returning their texts.
Wait. And another thing...where are these "handlers" when the celebrity derails. I'll tell you where they are. NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. Everyone wants to bask in the glory, until something goes wrong and then they move on, leaving the families to pick up the pieces. Look, I think the "Crack is wack," and the "Kiss my ass" videos are hilarious. But, seriously, what soul less person green lighted "Being Bobby Brown"?
Ryan Gosling (I know, right?), had this very interesting interview with GQ, in which his theory for why celebrities go down hill so quickly is that there are very long periods in between being on a very intense movie set where you are working around the clock and living out of a trailer, oftentimes on some strange location, and then you are thrown out in the real world for several months while waiting for the film to complete editing or whatever. From there, you live in some hotel room, where you can have anything you want, whenever you want it, rent free, while you are waiting for your next gig. He elaborated that this is a recipe for disaster for a young person with a need for structure. Let's be honest, this is a recipe for disaster for ANYONE. I don't know about you, just my abuse of room service is unprecedented - just because I can. Can you imagine if I also had access to anything else I wanted, whenever I wanted it? Luckily, sleep, unlimited food and wine, and "movies currently in theaters" at my fingertips are enough for me.
But, this is not about me, really, it is about celebrities with gifts, who become addicts, and then the World wants to immortalize them when they overdose, because at one time in their life, they were amazing. I guess I'm just not pickin' up what everyone is puttin' down. It's just the SPIN of it that is bugging the shit out of me.
Look, I feel bad for Houston's family. Bobbi Christina basically doesn't have a prayer of turning out even remotely normal. But, I think instead of romanticizing Houston, or Jackson, or any other of the long list of celebrities who have taken the wrong path, we should use them as examples for ourselves and our children, to demonstrate what can happen when a perfect storm takes the life of not just a celebrity, but a person - because that is what all of these celebrities that are dropping like flies are - just people with extraordinary gifts, but people just the same.
Case in point, when Len Bias died on the basketball floor after using cocaine "for the first time", (this was back when they used to air the video of something like this on all four stations during the 6 and 11 newscasts) I vividly remember my Dad turning to me and saying, "you see, he had his whole life ahead of him....a career as a big, promising basketball star, first round pick in the draft, and because he wanted to be cool and try cocaine for the first time, his heart exploded...so when you are presented with doing a drug for the first time, you just need to ask yourself, am I willing to die to get high?" Then, I looked back at the TV as they played the footage, again, of Bias convulsing on the basketball floor and that was it for me.
My point is, that instead of talking about how awesome Whitney Houston was, and how powerful her voice was, and showing our children footage of her "I wanna dance with somebody" video (never could get over how gurlfriend can't dance, singin' 'bout how she wants to dance with somebody), we need to show them the video where she goes to the bathroom on national television on her award-winning show, "Being Bobby Brown."
At the very least, I can teach Mills never to go to the bathroom on national television. You know, when she does The Bachelor, and then the eventual The Bachelorette, after she is jilted at the alter.