When you think of Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, James Dean and Amy Winehouse...what comes to mind?
I bet it's not their talent, or the mark they left on the world.
It's their martyrdom.
We hang these people on our walls. We look up to them as icons. We revel in the fucked up way they died. We envy them. Little do we know, that admiration and envy probably aided in their downfall.
Earlier this year the documentary Amy pinpointed this exact concept: the tabloids, and ambulance chasers that read them are partly to blame for her passing.
Whether we like it or not there is a pop-culture bounty of fame on anyone who dares to self-destruct.
When someone flies off the rails, it's exciting. It sells concert tickets. It moves merchandise.
Shit...we should be paying drug dealers instead of record companies right?
The fall from grace is a coveted thing. It makes any star on the rise turn into an instant celebrity. The glamour and glitter turns to broken glass and everyone loves it.
It happens to a lot of people, even the ones you wouldn't expect.
This is true in "real life" as well. It's no secret that I'm my own car crash. Yet, since I've climbed from the wreckage, albeit with a few broken limbs, I've found that I don't have many friends. Self-destruction leads to admiration. And when you stop killing yourself for laughs, fans, love, whatever...those people leave. It's a sad, but true fact.
People clung to me because they thought they were going to be apart of my obituary.
Although a few people stood out, and had my back when things were at their worst, few understood what was actually happening: I was becoming a martyr.
Maybe my music, my writing, my life could be better if It was at its worst.
Th idea of the "tortured artist" acting as the pied piper for all the people killing themselves for others' gain, is still alive and well today. And whether you like it or not...it's a societal construct that has to end.
Don't believe me? Just watch this video.
This video came out today. In 2015, the idea of self-destruction as a show for people lives on. I've experienced it, and soon you could too if you're not careful .
The band explore the ridiculous self-hatred they've experienced over the past 15 years. Drugs, drinking, needles, bottles and physical pain are all a result. It's terrifying. And the worst part? Fans are watching them through a warped screen, putting coins into a slot for their guilty fix.
It's a shocking rendering of the sad, disturbing, voyeuristic world of "celebrity watching". I was brought to tears, partially because I know the struggle of this band and have experienced much of the themes personally. It may just be one of those disgusting societal indecencies. But I can't help to cringe every time TMZ or People magazine tears someone to shreds.
I see this video as a triumph. To show all of the critics that we destroy ourselves in order to fit, to help, to gain respect. It's a sick and twisted game. This video shows that people can take control once they realize that their self-destructive ways can't get them anywhere but the grave. I'm glad I figured that out too.
I can't help but still pose the question: How did they survive?
How did I survive?
The heart of the matter is this: people demand car crashes. And sometimes the person crashing has no choice but to give in.
When someone fights back though...who knows what could happen.
Do you have hero worship? What did your favorite artist have to suffer through?