Fame: Pop Culture’s Deadliest Disease English 100 Research Paper

2328 words - 10 pages

Hartman �1
Bridge Hartman
Lauri Sagle
English 100T
April 20, 2016
Word Count: 2,137
Fame: Pop Culture’s Deadliest Disease
In 2003 at the age of twenty, Amy Winehouse’s timeless voice and unforgiving attitude
would breathe life back into a matte music-industry saturated to near disrepair by processed pop-
divas and manufactured mainstream radio. Her rocketing fame had seemingly no dip in
trajectory. Both her albums—Frank and Back to Black—grew monstrously popular with
international success, but little did the fanatic masses know, that by the end of her fluctuating
career the woman who was consumed by the shadow of her own success and soulful music, was
already thirteen years a bulimic and severely dependent on alcohol and cocaine. Defamed by
numerous tabloids and characterized as a crazed alcoholic in wildly popular movies and
television shows, such as South Park, her career spiraled into disarray. Her already thin frame
bordered on skeletal, and her voice suffered because of it. On July 23, 2011, the last breath Amy
Winehouse would ever take, would reek of the alcohol that killed her. She like the many other
tragically short lives of the women and men who rose and fell in stardom before and after her,
are the reasons why society and the media should not expect young artists to meet and even
exceed this unachievable ideal of physical and mental perfection, because these social
expectations can have serious detrimental repercussions psychologically, leading to social down-
spiral and not uncommonly, death.
Hartman �2
Fame and celebrity have been synonymous with drugs and alcohol for years, most
famously since the Rock ’n Roll era of the late sixties, seventies, and early eighties transforming
the landscape of American pop-culture, because of that the rough-and-tumble lifestyle of a rock
star made drug use and heavy drinking a societal norm, adding four high-profile musicians to the
tragic death toll of the notorious ‘27 club’ in the span of just two years, Janis Joplin and Jimi
Hendrix being among dead (O’Connor, par. 3). In an interview held by National Public Radio’s,
Jacki Lyden, she discusses fame in relation to drug abuse with former publicist for the Rolling
Stones and coeditor, Gary Stromberg of the book ‘The Harder They Fall’: Fame and Addiction,
he highlights the tumultuous stories of celebrities and their respective experiences with drug
abuse and addiction. Stromberg states, “There’s something special about artists and talent…” He
goes on to say that most celebrities who suffer from addiction believe that their talent is not
theirs, “but it's stimulated by [their] use of alcohol or substances.” The belief held by many
artists who think they have to take destructive measures such as drug use to make art is raised,
but Stromberg explains that the need to be under the influence so they can ultimately ignite the
artistic inspiration that they think is unreachable while sober, is false, and with recovery these
artists can find the same...

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