Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

You Love Me for This

July 12th, 2012 · 4 Comments

The above photo of Charles Bukowski on French TV, snapped by the Sophie Bassouls, is everything that we’ve come to expect of the so-called “laureate of American lowlife.” Yet for me, the image does not call to mind a scene from one of Bukowski’s stories or poems, but rather the wisdom of a less-noted public intellectual: Ozzy Osbourne. For it is Ozzy who, in his VHI “Behind the Music” episode, best summarized the feedback loop that keeps otherwise intelligent celebrities on the path to self-destruction:

If you went to your job in an evening dress with a Nazi hat on, drunk as a skunk, they’d say, “What are you doing, man?” But if I turn up [like that], they go, “Ah, should be a good night tonight, Ozzy’s up it tonight!”

This is the line I always think of when another talented artist falls into an early grave due to drugs or drink. How can we be terribly surprised when we offer them our warmest adulation for being their most bonkers?

(Image via Everyday I Show)


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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Jordan

    On my personal list of reasons why being a celebrity would be a nightmare. Once you’re there, it’s hard to avoid doing whatever you have to do to stay there. And if reality TV has taught us nothing else, it’s how far people will go to retain a shred of celebrity.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Jordan: I was thinking about this the other day in regards to celebrities who go off the deep end after their fame starts to wane. There is such pressure to stay relevant, and so much competition from younger up-and-comers. Outrageousness is one surefire guarantee of continued attention.

  • Jordan

    I can imagine that urge is even stronger if one has reached that pinnacle through sheer luck rather than hard work or talent. With nothing holding you up by fame itself, you have to ride that beast as hard as possible. It’s unlikely you’ll get the same chance twice.

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