February 9, 2008

The entire entertainment industry is a total paradox. While it is supposed to entertain, it very so often imposes itself as a double-edged sword on unsuspecting victims. These victims, sadly, are the celebrities who have been so caught up in all the mind games played so realistically in the market.

It is somewhat ironic that simultaneously, while the world has been coming to terms with the unexpected death of one-time Oscar Nominee Heath Ledger, who passed away quietly in his Manhattan apartment due to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, and the gripping nature of how many purebred talents were lost simply because they have been unlucky with fate, dying young, we have celebrity icons in really really deep trouble at the other end of the spectrum.

The Britney meltdown, in itself, is somewhat unpredictable. From the moment she shaved her head till the time she went around exposing herself without wearing any undies, you see a celebrity who is way past her prime and seriously needs psychiatric help. Now, with custody of her children granted to her ex-husband, her only source of solace being some unknown photographer, and the gossipmongers working overtime to put her down, things just seem to go downhill. What a pity, considering the early success in her career. Too caught up in her own success that it becomes easy to succumb to a few falls I guess? Let’s just say that the signs were there early on when she married her childhood friend only to annul the marriage within 48 hours, albeit amicably, a few years back.

And she’s just the most high profile celebrity meltdown case out of a list of tens of hundreds who are also in some self-inflicted predicament, checking themselves in and out of rehab like it’s a holiday resort. Look at Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse et al. I suppose the hoi polloi like us will never understand how they could get so caught up with their own fame game.

The Edison Chen sex scandal is another incident which has gripped media watchdogs aplenty (as well as all those horny *chee ko peks worldwide of course). What amuses me is how the perpetrator of the photographs actually named himself as Kira, after the lead character in the Japanese Anime hit Death Note. Seems like he wishes to deal a Death Note of his own to Mr Edison Chen, whose popularity has definitely taken a huge knocking. And seems like he is so damn cocksure of himself that he will never get caught by the Hong Kong police, who incidentally have arrested several suspects but have yet to get to the root of the problem. Amazingly many netizens have stood up against the Hong Kong police for doing their jobs because of the elitism attitude they have exhibited in the attention they have showered on the Edison Chen case.

BUT let’s face it. Celebrities will always be celebrities. The media coverage on these celebrity cases are naturally HIGHER than that of non-celebrity mishaps. Do you think it feasible that the entire organisation would want people to think that they cannot handle a high-profile case competently? Of course they will deal with it as a big case lah. There has to be some proportion ratio between the media coverage and the need to get things done. C’mon, let’s face the facts that in every organisation, things are bound to have some practicality somewhat. Of course they’d react strongly to the case. (I mean, let’s lay things clearly on the table – You have two things on hand, one of which will lead you to a lot of recognition while the other does not. It seems like human nature to me to actually concentrate on the former)

What really baffles me is the sheer stupidity in which Edison actually sent the computer with all those sleazy pictures of himself and other female artistes for repair. It is pure common sense that when sleazy photographs of oneself gets into the hands of another stranger, it spells doom. Even in Singapore, which is a supposedly conservative society which has supposed respect for privacy. (Remember the NYP Incident?) Let alone in Hong Kong, the land of sleazy entertainment gossip magazines. So, case in point: If your computer dies and you know there’re indecent photographs of yourself in it, BUY A NEW COMPUTER. (Yes, I know I’m typing with the assumption that the photographs are real and they originated from his own computer, but face it – all those photo-imaging experts can’t be wrong)

With all these sagas going on, let’s give due credit to the people who actually manage to do their jobs well, stay sane, and not flirt with trouble or controversy. While the media is bound to find them boring, they can, and should, be seen as a breath of fresh air in the polluted entertainment industry.

At the end of the day, it depends on how the artiste involved actually picks up the pieces which determine whether his career bombs or peaks at new heights. Local actor Christopher Lee managed his entire hit-and-run accident jail term well, coming to terms with his ordeal and took responsibility for himself. Will all those artistes have the guts to stand up for themselves?

Meanwhile, let’s take a moment of silence to honour the works of the late Heath Ledger, a great and versatile actor.

* Dialect for pervertic

*Written by aR

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