Add Mindy McCready to the list most recently including Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, “troubled” celebrities whose deaths by drugs, alcohol or suicide—or any combination—were foreseen long in advance.
McCready’s was possibly most tragic, in that like next-in-line Lindsay Lohan, she really hadn’t accomplished much with her talent in years—other than to ride fast and loose on it into the scandal pages for atrocious conduct.
For the next few days the sordid details of McCready’s life and death will fill the tabloid papers and shows and overflow into the more legit media, for none can never get enough of a fallen idol—and none fell lower than McCready, and the lower the better.
And who is the media serving, besides themselves? Us, of course. If we don’t demand it, we certainly pay for it, in sales and ratings. So it behooves us, once again, to consider idolatry, what it means, what it does, for our idols and we who idolize them.
Let’s start with, Do we really need a show called Celebrity Rehab, which, the stories say today, has now experienced five deaths among cast-members over the years? Do we need to sit in front of the set and watch the pitiful disintegration of someone once famous—and thereby encourage it?
Why do we care about someone so troubled as Mindy McCready, whose hits were few and long ago? Did she show us a good way to live as a decent, giving, caring human being, caring of others including her own children? Did any of those who preceded her in tabloid death?
At some point, shouldn’t we all just change the channel? Read a good book? Put on a good record? Engage ourselves with good people?
And can we retire the word “troubled” in describing those who constantly exhibit such self-destructive and self-centered behavior?
Unless, that is, we use the word in reference to ourselves....
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