The misery of celebrity

Nobody wants to hear celebrities complain, because they’re rich and gorgeous and famous and … blah, blah, blah.

I don’t buy it. I’ve never bought it.

Through my years in journalism I’ve interviewed an endless number of famous people and, with rare exception, I’d rather be a festering pile of horse shit than legitimately famous. Why? First, there’s no privacy. Second, everyone wants your time. Third, It’s a vapid world. Fourth, it’s just so incredibly overrated.

Every so often someone will tell my mom they saw me on TV, and she’ll say, “Jeff, you’re so famous.” Which is utterly laughable, considering I’ve been recognized in public a grand total of two times; and because we writers are a dime a dozen. That being said, there is a slight bit of fame that comes with writing books (fame is probably the wrong word), and it’s a level I dig. That brief spotlight time that comes with a new book is fun and exciting and—most important—fleeting. Nobody cares about me or seeks out autographs or anything like that. It’s just fake fame—on TV to whore product, then back into the cave.

Why am I bringing this up? Just read a truly sad story about Cheryl Cole, the beautiful British singer who apparently suffers from depression. Seriously, read this. I hurt for the poor woman.

5 thoughts on “The misery of celebrity”

  1. her self-worth appears to be wrapped up in whether she gets on a TV show.

    I’ll save my “hurt” for those who really need it.

  2. I can understand to some degree as I dabble in entertainment at the smallest degree, playing in a band and having been a competitive athlete. Whatever you do, people are watching and judging and comparing you to someone better. Your self worth is measured by your performance or by crowd reaction. In order to be successful, you have to raise the bar high, but having a high bar means you will ultimately fail to reach your own standards.

    I remember a night where we watched a Led Zepplin DVD and thought, “wouldn’t that be awesome to be those guys?” We then saw stuff from beyond their peak and thought, “how depressing.”

    In most other avenues in life, its easy to be content, and no one cares if you aren’t great.

  3. Chris: You’ve obviously never dealt with clinical depression. Take it from someone who has: that whole concern about the TV show is the symptom, not the disease.

    When you deal with depression, there’s this thing called a “trigger”. A trigger is something that brings on a depressive episode. And, to those people that don’t have depression, triggers can appear to be stupid trivial crap.

    The whole yes-no-maybe thing about the TV show has clearly triggered this woman’s depression. “I have to force myself to get out of bed and do things I’m supposed to do” is such a *textbook* sign of depression. This woman needs help.

    Been there, done that, thank goodness for Prozac.

  4. I should have said, *some* triggers can be stupid trivial crap. Sometimes they’re not. (My first trigger was the death of one of my best friends when we were both 15, which isn’t trivial even by a non-depressive definition).

    It’s also often true that the longer you suffer, the more trivial triggers can get. Each successive depressive episode is easier to trigger.

  5. Great explanation Frank.
    I think most of us have had to deal with depression of some sort.
    Fortunately I have never had to deal with clinical depression. I appreciate the explanation.

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