Saturday, February 09, 2008

The devil within us...........


I wonder what it is with human nature and the derivation of morbid pleasure out of someone else’s sorrow and suffering. I wonder why humans as a class are so hypocritical, wherein they need their privacy when they wish to grieve or when they go through ebb in life, but they don’t quite think that celebrities are human as well and need their privacy when they are going through their personal piece of hell.

A case in point is the rather heavily publicized mental trauma of a certain Ms. Britney Spears. Not a single day passes by without a mention of some new ‘antic’ as the media terms it. Thanks to the news channels professing to cover news 24x7, the people are continuously fed gruesome pictures of the ‘pop-princess’ smashing a window, going bald, and goodness knows what all. So she shaved her head off! Big deal! So did Persis Khambata ages ago, so did Salman Khan, so did a guy in my class not so long ago! If she is going through a tough time, she has the moral right to do so, and she has a right to go it all alone, or with the support of people around her, certainly not with the paparazzi hounding her every single minute, looking for a juicy shot, like a vulture looking for corpses!

Not so long ago, the same Ms. Spears was looked upon as one of the newest stars on the horizon. Every album of hers was a smash hit. Teens in schools all over the globe used to scramble to lay their hands on a copy of her newest CD. Post Cyndi Lauper, she was the first manifestation of ‘single’ girl power. (No offence to the newly regrouped Spice Girls). There were outrageous comparisons with a certain Ms Aguilera, who was also rising at about the same time, although her life, at that time too, was not an object of such intense media scrutiny. Britney went from Baby one more time, to Oops… to Overprotected to Toxic. But somewhere, someone missed the earnestness of a Lucky. Maybe that was a sincere call to attention, to something more sinister brewing inside. But we were all too busy adulating her for what she delivered, to maybe take a small step back and notice.

And then the pressure! How old is she? 26? I have been 17 and 21 as well, and I know what it feels like to be under immense pressure to try and match up to a dozen classmates and cousins, not to mention better them at what they do. I am sure all of us know how that feels. Imagine having millions of teenagers all over the world, looking at you, watching your every move, scrutinizing you, judging you! It can be traumatizing. One may argue that this is the flipside of celebrity, wherein instant defamation follows sudden adulation. Granted, every coin has two sides, but all we can do as humans is maybe criticize crass work, or bad career choices, but allow them to be human as well. They need some ‘alone time’ to gather their senses. Britney may be mentally ill, and needs medical help. Let us not make a media circus out of her trauma as well! It is crass to float opinion polls to make people vote for Britney’s approximate death date! Even more crass for newspapers to cover such outrageously inhuman activities. It is an exemplification of how the media relishes drawing blood. Newspapers more often than not, cover stories of a ‘happily married, satisfied mom’ – Christina Aguilera, Britney’s once arch nemesis, while at the same time insert an article of how Britney locked her sons up refusing to let go. Hers is a story of someone who got premature stardom, and now has lost almost everything, love, kids, and now even her dignity of being a human being, thanks to our ‘vulturous’ media.

Her case verily brings up the story of yet another star who met with disastrous consequences. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. He was the subject of intense media pressure all through his tumultuous life. He realized the extent of his social responsibility when his song ‘Polly’ (which is based on a true rape victim) was sung by a bunch of rapists after the song’s release whilst they committed the dastardly act. Legend has it that Cobain, unable to bear the pressure of his own life, decided to let go. Stark similarities can be drawn between the two stars – Kurt and Britney. Blonde, stars at a young age, breakaway music artistes, setting up a genre of their own ( grunge-alternative and girl-pop, respectively), turbulent relationships, intense media glare, heavy social responsibilities on account of their iconic status, hallucinations, bipolar disorder……

Let us hope they do not meet a similar end as well. Hopefully people and the media will realize their responsibilities and limits while there is still time. Or else, human society would just have lost yet another artiste in her own right, left only with numerous park benches as proxy memorials for their once-adulated ‘pop-princess’.

1 comment:

ajit said...

We often tend to forget all these guys are human after all, just like you and me on the inside...just the pressures of their lifestyle are enough drive anyone mad.

Even sportsmen today seem to have
their share of problems.