"I guess everybody has their own idea of fun."

what the fuck is wrong with you people?

i don't get this - don't understand your behavior at all. what's so goddamn funny about a person dying? where is the humor in suicide, overdose, depression, addiction?

so there's an understanding amongst you; a legitimacy in mocking the famous who suffer and fall - is that it? they are stupid, two-dimensional characters undeserving of our sympathy, unlike our three-dimensional loved ones who suffer these same travails. is that how it works?

almost. nearly, but not quite.

how shiny was the star? how brightly did they shine before falling? Brittany Murphy's career had taken a tumble prior to her untimely death, so it was "okay" to mock her with endless "clueless" jabs. nobody even remembered who the hell Andrew Koenig was until the news referred to him by his Growing Pains moniker, "Boner" Stabone. those jokes wrote themselves, didn't they? i wouldn't know. i read them online, on Facebook, your words, but my mind didn't revert to humor; it was too shocked, horrified by the sight of his father's wearied, pained face - a visage of sheer devastation - as he shared with the world that yes, Andrew had been found deep in the secluded forest of his beloved Stanley Park.

hung himself from one of the trees that used to provide him comforting shelter.

now, travel back in time two years, to New York City - Manhattan's artsy SoHo district, to be exact: Heath Ledger dies from an accidental mix-and-match of pills and what's the buzz? tell me what's a'happening? one would assume the man deserved the Brittany Murphy Post-Mortem Treatment, given their nearly identical cause of death. but one would be wrong. how can this be?

well, this is Heath Ledger! he's our Joker Christ Superstar!

Ledger thoughtfully ingested a cornucopia of benzos, narcotics and OTC sleep-aids to "treat" a prolonged run with insomnia and, of course, overdosed. naked and alone in his million dollar loft, he's discovered dead hours later by his maid and masseuse who, rather than dial the paramedics, put in a call to an Olsen Twin - who was then living in California - and Mary Kate very smartly called a NY security guard to "check things out" before everyone finally decided it proper time to ring 911 - 45 minutes after they found him.

back to the future, or very recent past: Brittany Murphy unwisely mixed and matched prescribed and OTC medications for long-suffered medical issues in addition to a recent bout with pneumonia. in a weakened state, she collapsed in the shower, into her mother's helpless arms, crying, pleading, clutching at her mother to help, finally sobbing, "Mom, I'm dying, I'm dying..."

Brittany's husband had been on the phone with 911 from the moment they found her at the bottom of the shower, but the cardiac arrest took her weakened heart, anyway.

how to remember these two? these two, two-dimensional people?

Ledger is immortalized as modern day James Dean. because his star wasn't merely bright, it was a veritable supernova. so much so, he managed to nab an Oscar posthumously. i don't know anyone, personally, who wasn't rooting all the way for Heath to win that award - including me. he deserved it.

i also don't know anyone who made a joke of The Joker's tragic demise. then again, A-list stars never fall. no.







they're pronounced Gods on Arrival, then cast into the sky - into their final roles - as mythical Cassiopeias.

from the moment news of Brittany Murphy's death broke, so did the damns. her character was made just that - a character to be lambasted, lampooned, mocked and my god, the cruelty some of you people possess it just boggles my fucking mind...

you ever have someone you love die - or very nearly die - mocked on the internet for their death or near-death? i have. i have and let me tell you people, you who get so much amusement from your lofty statuses and taunting twitters - it makes a person want to rip out the hearts and throats of all humanity, all at once. it makes you hit your knees and pray - you, the non-believer - pray that your loved one never sees this mockery of their tragedy, that by the time they've left the hospital six months later, that fucking atrocity will, magically, have disappeared or fallen from the sticky web and been swept away by the wind like some bloodless, dead fly - a forgotten nuisance.

but you never, ever forget.

i wonder if, when i was bogged down in 7 years of addiction, or trapped in 3 1/2 years of anorexia/bulimia, or depressed into the realm of insanity - without reason and without reasons - do you have any fucking clue what that's like? any of it? i have to wonder what kind of roasting my legacy would've taken had i, at any time, slipped surly those bonds. i'm somebody's sister. daughter. niece. friend. once, fiancee. but yes, i can certainly see how all of the above, which many of you find so goddamn humorous because most of you have never fucking tasted a moment of it, oh yes, i can certainly see the laughter. it's all so. damn. funny.

you may think addicts ask for it, but i didn't ask or choose to become a fucking addict. i didn't ask or choose to become eating disordered, either. some sicknesses baffle you with their insidiousness. i mean, blow your fucking mind with their serpentine slide. treating my arthritis pain: check. losing this freshman fifteen: check.

and then, you are checked right the fuck out.

i never asked or chose to be bipolar II. if i don't treat it with medication, every single day, i will get sick. think of a diabetic with their insulin - it's the same damn thing. i can die as a result of not treating my bipolar. i've been so close, i could smell Death's ripe, ketotic breath.

oh, how i cry with laughter now, remembering all of this. so damn funny...

i have to pause now, because i cry. because i am human. because i, like everyone aforementioned, am multi-dimensional.

******

nope - didn't know any of these people. famous people - we feel like we know them on some level, but not a human one - not personally. that gives us that leeway, doesn't it? allows us to laud them when they're great, hearten ourselves to them, cheer them on but when they die? it's a lot like watching a cartoon death - Wile E. Coyote falling off the cliff. fake. illustrative. we'll see him again on repeat - on DVD, movie channels, posters, the internet and so on. it happened, but...not really. not for us. not to us.

Corey Haim, today, found dead at 38 from "an apparent" drug overdose. i'll be bold and say definitively, a drug overdose, though whether it was intentional or not eludes my "apparent" omniscience. when bound by addiction, one often feels the only way out is death; however, addiction is slow-suicide. either way, without help, you'll eventually die from the drugs. that is a fact. i mean, it's just so laughable, isn't it?

my best girlfriend and i - oh, as kids, we were in love with The Coreys. our favorite movie for the better part of middle school (even a bit of high school) was The Lost Boys. (so much so, we listened to the soundtrack every night before bed during sleepovers.) we held serious discussions, debates: who was the better Corey to lust after? Feldman with his quirky humor, or Haim with his dreamy smile? i admit, i was always a Feldman girl myself - i like those quirky, weird guys who make me laugh, and pretty-boys weren't my scene, but that didn't keep me from posting Haim's image on my bedroom walls.

a few years ago, i saw Corey Haim on a "Where Are They Now?" special - believe it was on E! or some such channel. quite a bit of vagueness with details, i realize, but i was stuffed deeply within a pocket of addiction when the show aired, so details? they don't come easy. the only reason i remember the episode at all is because Haim was so wrecked with drugs during the interview, as a prescription drug addict, i could immediately recognize what he was on. "Jesus - he must be on as much Soma and Oxy as I am right now." that was my thought. a few years later, i saw another special that replayed the interview, this time with added "behind-the-scenes" info from those who'd been on-set: indeed, they had to stop filming several times because Corey either nodded off or "needed to take another two or three Somas." during his A&E reality show, The Two Coreys, Haim admitted to Oxy abuse, as well - amongst many other dependencies.

yes, we're all just so, so different from the stars. worlds - galaxies - away...

they were never children. they were never innocent. we never made mistakes. they never knew innocence lost. they were never scared. we never made poor choices. they never hurt. we never felt superior. they were born flawless. inhuman. stars.

i looked at my Facebook homefeed twice this morning and this blog is the result. that's how fucking awful it is. yes, yes, the bleeding-heart artist - bleed a little more for some child star who could've been something great but instead, wasted his talent, his life and died a joke and can't you just take a joke about this fuck-up, this total has-been of a joke?

but not River Phoenix. no joke there; no laughing matter at all. not the first of James Dean's second coming. not he who died of a speedball overdose on a sidewalk in front of The Viper Room on The Sunset Strip. no - he is an untouchable god; a messiah of movies. such a waste, yes, but never, ever a joke. because his star, like Ledger's, aimed stratospheric; on an upshot trajectory - not a downfall. not a sparkle and fade.

not a burnout. no.

i think of Andrew Koenig's most recent images and i'm struck, how handsome he was; i think of all those glittering stars who publicly expressed their concern when he disappeared, those famous friends of his as Andrew had been working behind the camera for all those post-Growing Pains years, working on a multitude of projects in a variety of fields but quietly, without fanfare and i hear his father's voice again, his throat tearing like bloody tissue, "My son took his own life..."

i think of Brittany Murphy in Girl, Interrupted and wonder how anyone could pass her off as clueless.

James Dean was hit by an oncoming car - killed in a car accident. wasn't speeding, racing, rebelling without a cause - some poor schmoe missed a fork in the road, didn't see him and smashed Dean's car. bam. that's it. i love James Dean but let's get it straight - he was an actor. he was a man. he had a car accident. he didn't survive.

i know too many men. i know lots of actors. i've had innumerable car accidents. point being, James Dean was as human as you, me and the guy who missed the fork in the road and smashed into Jimmy's Porsche.

Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse shot himself over the weekend. Jay Reatard accidentally overdosed on cocaine and alcohol in January. Vic Chesnutt intentionally overdosed on muscle relaxants this past Christmas Day. DJ AM last August - again, prescription drug overdose - and so on and so forth. jesus, i just cannot stop laughing - it's too much!

somebody died. so what if you didn't know them? i don't know your mother, grandfather or sister but do you think if word got to me that they passed on, i'd update or Twitter a sarcastic jibe at their expense? be a little human and act accordingly.

fuck you people who think any of this is a joke. fuck your lack of empathy. you're fucking right i'm gonna bleed. because fuck you people who don't.

******



Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total darkness sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

W.H. Auden, "The More Loving One"



5 comments:

  1. That's a powerful post Annie, and I'm sorry this causes you so much pain. I think in our media saturated culture it's easy to stop looking at our stars as flesh and blood people. They're easy fodder for jokes particularly when the jokes were there in their lives. Any of the instances you mention look much different when you look at the people behind the public image, not to mention, as you point out, the loved ones who mourn them. For every one of these figures, someone just lost their whole world. Empathy yes, we could all use some more, at least I could. Its hard work not to be cynical, but not really it just takes a little thought. I don't think that people making jokes intend to be hurtful (speaking for myself at least.) it's more a case of forgetting that someone else is as real as you are. I can't stand people making jokes when a writer or a musician dies, because I feel it as such a tragedy, good or bad, that's a unique voice that won't be heard again. Actors I don't give as much thought unless they moved me in some way. But really, they all have voices that are silent now, and I guess even a non public figure has a voice, if only to those who love them. Thanks Annie for speaking up on this and reminding me (and anyone reading) to be kind. I'm glad that you're not afraid to have a heart and use it, just sorry if it hurts right now, particularly for my part in adding to your pain.

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  2. Good post. I was just saying yesterday that it shows stupidity in simply labeling it an accidental overdose. Either it was a "successful" suicide attempt, or it was a drug overdose, by self-definition accidental. I read that he was taking up to 85 Benzos a day. He must not have been drinking to sustain that kind of regimen. At any rate, still hooked on Valium though at a much more minor degree, and far less than I have been in the past, and at least legally so (not that I care, but "they" care), I can understand how a person could build such tolerance.

    Secondly, what people forget, especially when it comes to people whose high point comes when they're young, is that life must seem downhill from there. Naturally, their early success suggests that they got lucky and made it early, and their careers will continue. It reminds me of the astronaut who went to the moon and returned to face a continuing battle with depression. In many ways, I'm glad I haven't achieved anything I would call a peak experience in terms of career, so there's nowhere to go but up.

    To me, this tendency to enjoy the downfall of celebrities reveals the monotonous lives most people embrace. Bereft of all passion, they feed off the passion of others and mock it because doing so seems to justify their meaningless existences. Duty bound to their children's ridiculous schedules, they trudge about like ants.

    Whatever his faults, to me, the public participated in a metaphoric execution of Michael Jackson and very nearly did the same with Britney Spears. They're not unlike followers of Mussolini; almost fascistic in their devotion but also ready to hang upon any resemblance to an actual human being.

    In other words, these attacks resemble murders disguised as suicides, again in a metaphoric sense. Despising themselves, much of the "general public" act like vengeful lovers who less love the ones they kill than cannot bear to think of of lovers' lives more intense than their own.

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  3. I don't think, for me at least, that that could have been better said. xo

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  4. These comments are astonishing and I will come back and address them later, when I am more awake, but I wanted to be sure to add this now, while I still remembered. From last night's "Larry King Live" with Corey Feldman.

    KING: Well, what did you want people to do?

    FELDMAN: You know, I don't have the answer to that. All I can tell you is, you know, in this entertainment industry in Hollywood, we build people up as children, we put them on pedestals and then when we decide that they're not marketable anymore, we walk away from them.

    And then we taunt them and we tease them and things like TMZ, outlets like that, where it's acceptable in society, it's OK for society, as a whole, to -- to poke fun at, to -- to point fingers at, to laugh at us as human beings.

    Why is it OK to kick somebody when they're down?

    I don't think it is. And I don't think it should be tolerated anymore. I don't think it should be accepted anymore with our -- within our society, within the entertainment industry, within the world as a whole.

    KING: Did he feel that way?

    FELDMAN: He very much felt that way. He very -- he had nobody to turn to. I was one of the few people he had left in his life. You know, you see these people making great statements and that's wonderful and I hope they're all there for the memorial and I hope they're all there for the funeral.

    But where were they during his life?

    And that's something that I believe that everybody in this society needs to hold themselves accountable for. I think that we all need to grow up. And we need to think about every time we laugh at somebody in the tabloids, or every time we poke a finger at somebody and say they're a joke or they're fat or they're a drug addict or they're washed up or they're a loser, we need to look at ourselves and say, who am I?

    This makes me think, Paul, of trudging ants winding through the grocery store check-out line, spitting on their glossy Mussolinis. Because they aren't glossy.

    Because they can.

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  5. This is an epic response - bear with me:

    Compelled to reread this entry today, thinking of the recent death of Brittany Murphy’s husband and how the news...wasn’t. He died of "natural causes" what - six months after losing her? *He died of a broken heart.* Thought about Haim; recall reading after writing this post that his autopsy showed little if any drugs in his system. Pneumonia or such - weakened heart brought on by years of drug abuse. Again - compelled to know more so went off to see the Wonderful WikiWizard of this cyberland Oz:

    On the advice of his lawyer, Haim went to a M.D. doctor in California with the goal of sticking to a program to wean off pills without multiple doctors, in order to demonstrate that he was working towards getting clean. Haim's agent stated that the doctor was reluctant to drop Haim from his current level to zero pills, fearing a seizure, and took him to an addiction specialist to get mental help: "This guy prescribed Corey four prescriptions. I think it was five days prior to when Corey passed." [May all "addiction specialists" rot in HELL.]

    On March 10, 2010, after a 911 call from his mother, Haim was taken from their home by paramedics to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, and pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. Los Angeles police stated that his death appeared to be an accidental overdose and that four bottles containing Valium, Vicodin, Soma and Haloperidol [non-addicts can look those up] were retrieved, later confirmed as prescribed by a specialist, but that no illegal drugs were found at the scene. [Because only *street* drugs are lethal - obviously!] It emerged that Haim had used aliases to procure 553 prescription pills in the 32 days prior to his death, "doctor-shopping" seven different doctors and using seven pharmacies to obtain the supply, which included 195 Valium, 149 Vicodin, 194 Soma and 15 Xanax.

    Haim had been ill with flu-like symptoms for two days before his death. A doctor called on him and took his temperature, but did not suspect serious problems. At one stage, Haim woke his mother and said, "Mom, can you please come and lie next to me, I'm not feeling very good." [The Brittany flashbacks - horrifyingly chilling.] After he attempted to walk around shortly after midnight, she saw him collapse. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said: "As he got out of bed he felt a little weak and went down to the floor on his knees." Prior to the official autopsy reports being made available publicly, Haim's mother stated that the coroner had given her a "courtesy call" to state his preliminary findings that Haim died of pulmonary edema and was suffering from an enlarged heart and water in the lungs. [Results of years of RX drug abuse - believe me, I know.] Haim's agent discounted the possibility of an overdose, citing his recent drive toward clean living and affirming that he had been completely drug-free for two weeks. Haim's primary doctor confirmed to Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement investigators that Haim was addicted to pain medication. [The violent contradictions abound...]

    Haim's death was reported by the worldwide media. The 10-minute 911 call made by Haim's mother was leaked on the internet, in which she was heard saying, "Oh, my God. I think my son is dead," before following the dispatcher's instructions and administering CPR. [Brittany all over and again with this sadness, heartbreak - this loss.]

    That ends the WikiWizard's run; now, me: in the wake of his death, the DEA busted a prescription drug ring of such large scope it boggles even *this* former pill-popper's mind - the details too long for what has already run too long so I will just link you:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corey_Haim

    My too long running point is: overdose - accidental, intentional, absent - drugs damned that passionate star. Though I cannot see him now, I say: I'll miss him terribly all day.

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