How the Internet Has Taken the Glamour Out of Behaving Badly.by Carly Jacobs
I spent yesterday sweltering in 40 degree heat which led to the consumption of three consecutive Frosty Fruits and the majority of my day was spent horizontal under the air con. Idle hands usually lead to excessive internet usage in my case, and I found myself randomly researching Hollywood starlets of the early to mid 1900s, with particular interest in their drug/alcohol abuse and sexual escapades.
Judy Garland struggled with an addiction to speed which, rumour has it, was supplied to her by her studio to keep her slim and perky during filming. She also struggled with alcohol addiction and eventually died of an accidental drug overdose in 1969 at the age 47.
Clara Bow was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and spent much of her adult life in and out of hospitals, being subjected to crude treatments such as electric shock therapy and lobotomies. She was also known to self medicate with alcohol and painkillers. She died of a heart attack in 1965 at the age of 60.
Marilyn Monroe, international sex symbol and star, abused drugs and alcohol through out her career and had several marriages and divorces in that time, including her very public marriage to Joe DiMaggio that lasted barely 9 months. She died of a suspected suicide drug overdose in 1962 at the age of 36.
After I’d read about ten biographies of these tragic, beautiful, talented and misunderstood stars, I found myself feeling pity for our current day celebrities that are badly portrayed for behaving identically to their vintage counter parts.
I was pondering why an old story about a delicate, emotional, drug addled actress from the 50s is so much more romantic than hearing about a supermodel hitting the runway with half a bag of coke littered around her nose. Easy. Photographic evidence. It’s simple to picture Judy Garland, swanning around her mansion in a caftan and jewels, wistfully drinking whisky, swallowing a handful of painkillers and falling asleep to her glamorous death but I certainly don’t envisage Amy Winehouse’s death in the same light. I imagined her death to be like a scene from Trainspotting, which more accurately, is probably what both of their deaths were like. My synopsis of Ms Winehouse’s death comes from seeing image after image of her looking skinny, scabby, dirty and angry on the streets of London, flipping the bird at paparazzi and chain-smoking. I’ve seen no such images of Garland, although I don’t doubt that she had just as many wild nights as Winehouse and died in much the same manner. The pictures literally tell the story.
There’s also a bevy of incriminating information available about these celebrities in the form of tweets, blogs and stolen text messages. It’s much easier now for other people to gain less than flattering photographs of stars and share them in an instant. Which is why we’ve all seen Paris Hilton’s snatch stepping out of a limo twenty times and yet any glimpse we’ve seen of Marilyn Monroe’s unmentionables was classy and planned.
I’ve rewritten a few tabloid articles about some of the ‘troubled’ stars of our era and placed them next to glamour shots. They sound quite different next to a pretty picture don’t they?
Britney Spears started her career as a child star and become famous for her pop music. She began abusing alcohol early on in her career and suffered several drug induced psychotic episodes and had to be admitted to hospital at regular intervals. Her children were removed from her care due to her erratic and dangerous behaviour.
Whitney Housten started her career as a gospel singer and became one of the most successful female recording artists of all time. In 1992, at the peak of her career she married singer/songwriter Bobby Brown. The relationship was abusive and drug fuelled and saw Whitney’s health rapidly and irreversibly plummet. They divorced in 2006 after a tumultuous 14 year union.
Linsday Lohan, rose to fame as a freckled, pony tailed, red-head Disney kid. Her short career peaked in her early twenties before she started abusing drugs and alcohol, leading to loss of acting work and consistent rehabilitation visits. She also had several run ins with law enforcement for crimes including theft and driving under the influence.
If the internet and twitter had existed in Marilyn Monroe’s day, would we still view her with the rose-coloured glasses that we do?
If we had heard of Lindsay Lohan’s struggle with alcohol and the demise of her career 50 years after her death, would we still throw her callously in the trash basket?
If photos like these…
…existed of Judy, Clara or Marilyn, would we think they were just as fabulous as we do now?
What do you think? Has the internet taken the glamour out of celebrity faux pas?