We…the rest of us who aren’t you…we really like you guys. We like some of you more than others. We like you for reasons that have nothing to do with who you really are. And as quickly as we decide that we like you, we can decide that we hate you. We like you for your face or for you butt or your boobs or maybe for your talent. We like the characters that you play. We think we know you because we have witnessed the edited 10% of your hours and hours of effort that was put into your latest movie. We daydream about running into you at Chili’s so we can tell all of our friends. We want to share just like a 10th of a % of your fame, just for like a minute. It’s all we could handle.
And we get “sad” when one of you dies. We get sad, but only for a few minutes or maybe a few days. We may watch a documentary about you ten years later and feel sad again, but only briefly. You aren’t real people to us. We want you to be. And we know, on some level, that you are real people with mothers and fathers and sickness and maybe even decorating dilemmas. But for the most part, we can’t identify with you at all.
And so you guys, not all of you, but many, are destroying yourselves for a bunch of people who don’t even know you. You’re killing yourselves for us. Maybe you’re killing yourselves for the money or awards or the respect of your colleagues, but ultimately you’re killing yourselves for a bunch of people who don’t even really care about you. And maybe that’s why you’re killing yourselves. Because you know that it’s all for nothing. Because you know that once you’re gone, the world will mourn you for a few weeks.
And when I see one of you, today it’s Philip Seymour Hoffman, who dies at a young age because of addiction, it’s heartbreaking. But let’s be honest, it’s only heartbreaking for a time because like I said, we don’t really know you. Stop throwing your lives away for us. When it gets to be more than you can bear, take the money and run. Walk away. Start a new career that doesn’t demand so much of you. Get yourselves better. Go be a librarian or something. You are in the position that you’re in because you have a great amount of God given talent. And maybe some of you aren’t that talented, but at least you’ve been blessed and are lucky in some ways or you wouldn’t have the success that you’ve had. Stop throwing it away on people and stuff and accolades. It’s not worth it.
I realize that as a small town nobody, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I know that. But I wouldn’t trade my simple life for anything. Sure, it’d be nice to have more money. Money is fun. Sure, I like to be liked. Who doesn’t? But at the cost of my sanity and my life? No, thanks. And yes, I know that addiction is everywhere, not just among the Hollywood elite. But you guys have so much more to give than the rest of us do. You can be the voice of great things. People listen to you. Use your fame for something that actually matters. Be remembered for your greatness, not for your death on a hotel bathroom floor.
And for the rest of us, can we maybe try to remember that celebrities are actually real people? People with families. Can we maybe not love or hate them for their looks or abilities? And can we try to remember their successes and how their work impacted our lives, rather than their addiction or the circumstances surrounding their deaths? Could it be that we’re all just adding to loss of beautiful lives? Are we “loving” them to death?