Joy of Watching Famous People Self Destruct
We’ve all done it at some point in our lives. The rolling of the eyes, the shaking of the head, or just outright laughter as another celebrity hits rock bottom. Whether it’s a DUI, drug conviction, stint in rehab, cheating spouse and subsequent high profile divorce, there’s something that brings us joy in watching a famous celebrity self destruct and meltdown before our eyes.
“There can be no joy in either being smug over the trials of the rich-and-famous or laughing at their addictions,” said Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, a well-known psychologist and author. “What have we become that we eagerly seek out joy in destruction? Is this just the modern version of ‘bread and circus?’ The frenzy that accompanies the current coverage of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, female rappers and TV actors is spiraling upward. My concern is that it will result in serious physical and mental harm to these individuals as well as innocent bystanders.”
Journalistic archives or “morgues” are full of the stories of the final moments of the famous. “Many of the stories tell about stars committing suicide and provide graphic detail or how they’ve spiraled into addiction. As I’ve said before, who wouldn’t want to escape from the constant pursuit? Do you think a fox in a fox hunt actually ‘enjoys’ the chase? And what happens at the end of the hunt, just before they go to those elaborate buffets? Does the fox come along and laugh about all the near-misses or stumbles of the horses?
These people hunt for what they believe is ‘sport’ of a type and they’ve recklessly rode over people’s property without consideration of the owner’s rights. They believe they have the right to ‘hunt’ and that no one can deny them that pleasure.
“Now, we have a hunt of a different type and the fox often lives to see another day, but in no better shape, mentally. The hunt also has a tradition where the first hunt for a rider is celebrated by smearing blood on the collar of this rider’s jacket. So, the whole intent is blood sport, not riding. I wonder how the papps celebrate their first ‘kill.’ Entertainment is a part of life that all of us need to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“Perhaps it is the war or the present sorry state of the economy,” Dr. Farrell concluded, “but one thing is for sure and that is that things are getting worse, more reckless and the people in the stands watching this chase seem to be giving that ‘thumbs down’ gesture. They don’t seem to want to see a happy ending and that’s not just sad, that’s disturbing.”
Dr. Farrell is the author of “How to Be Your Own Therapist” (Barnes & Noble, 2007, ISBN: 0-7607-9184-8), a licensed psychologist and medical disability consultant. She has appeared on major TV shows such as The Today Show, The View, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360 and is quoted in national newspapers, magazines and news services.