Build up to pull down
Have you noticed? Some show biz movers and shakers, media observers and fans appear to love building up new stars—only to eventually tear them to pieces and pull them down. The cynical process may take years, even decades to un-spool but, in too many instances, it eventually comes to pass.
Show biz pariah
Take Lindsay Lohan. As a child star, she delighted viewers with her unique combination of pertness, verve and cutely savvy portrayals. These days, she’s become a veritable show biz pariah castigated for her addictions and infractions, and even after rehab, she’s having a tough time convincing people that she deserves a second chance.
Over to the other end of this sad show biz scenario glowers Mel Gibson. Only five years ago, he was hailed as the movie industry’s moral compass, providing it and its viewers with its much-needed fulcrum, by way of his powerfully inspired and inspiring film on the passion of Jesus Christ.
Where is he now? In the industry’s version of purgatory, limbo or even hell, because his anger management issues have made him a veritable ogre in the the eyes of millions.
Sure, he left his wife and their many kids—but other middle-aged men have done that without being nailed to the cross of seething public scorn.
Yes, he shacked up with another woman, who later accused him of physical and moral battery, but it takes two to tangle. And, yes, even some of his peers have declared that they don’t want to act with him ever again—but, as tabloid TV and its swarms of video paparazzi prove each day, they’re no saints, either!
This year, it’s the turn of Charlie Sheen and Arnold Schwarzenegger to be “exposed” as screen idols with feet of sullen and common clay. Sheen earned the public’s displeasure when he “ungratefully” asked for a raise from the producers of his hit TV sitcom—and proceeded to colorfully bad-mouth them when they refused to pay through the nose. Outcome: Sheen was fired from the show and is now having a hard time financially—to which the outraged public shouts, “Serves him right!”
As for Arnold the former “Governator,” his “crime” was being unfaithful to his wife Maria Shriver, a member of the United States’ own “Royal Family,” the Kennedys.
How dare the former bodybuilder from Eastern Europe cheat on the woman who “transformed” him into a political comer? So, off to the political and social boondocks for the ungrateful cad, and even his film career is decidedly frozen in frigid limbo.
Why does the entertainment world love to build up some stars, only to pull them down when they’ve “sinned”? Everybody makes mistakes, so why are these stars so publicly scorned and humiliated?
Some say that this is an example of the principle of “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Others suspect that what’s at work here is “fan envy”—even as fans idolize stars, they also resent their exceptional looks, talent, popularity and success, and thus are only too happy to see them stumble and fall—all the way down to stellar meltdown and burn-off.
The light at the end of this tacky tunnel? Some “disgraced” stars have managed to bounce back and be forgiven, like Robert Downey Jr. and Britney Spears. Lindsay, Mel, Charlie and Arnie hope that in time, they, too, will be deemed similarly worthy of forgiveness, rehabilitation—and redemption.