The Demi Dilemma
Quick recap: at around 11pm on Monday night, an ambulance was called to Demi Moore's. She was subsequently hospitalised. TMZ broke the story that it was substance abuse. Her rep has issued a statement reading:
"Because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health. She looks forward to getting well and is grateful for the support of her family and friends."
Oh the good old Exhaustion Excuse. They must know by now that Exhaustion is widely regarded, even among their peers, to be a joke. I know her publicist knows this. Has to. And still they went ahead with that statement. In other words, in their professional opinion, releasing a lie that they know convinces no one is still better than anything resembling the truth.
I'm not sure that was her PR team's decision or the strategy she herself insisted upon. So here's the dilemma I'm having with Demi's situation:
She's obviously struggling with some serious emotional issues. Her husband was a disappointment. She's approaching 50, a member of a social order that values youth and the superficial, torn between paying lip service to "inner beauty" and yet incapable of submitting to the standards of a shallow industry. The work isn't as rewarding and it certainly isn't offered as often. And she exists in a reality that's so fragile, supported by fakery and pretension, it cannot support itself when things do go wrong. I do feel bad for her about this. I do.
But still I am having a hard time suppressing the schadenfreude in favour of sympathy. Is that unfair? All that pontificating about self actualisation juxtaposed with the subtle tweaking, the nips and the tucks along the way while producing a TV show about Inspiring Women. And the pre-scandal sanctimony, the insistence that she had it all figured out, that she was above the fixation on aesthetics, that everything she had was based on the Real and not on the Hollywood. Even now, in personal crisis, it's "exhaustion" and not "addiction", not for privacy but rather for pride.
You could argue that that is her right. And I don't necessarily disagree. Insecurity is a beast. It has damaged her for a long time; it has followed her from the days of the Brat Pack, when she was ordered to get clean for St Elmo's Fire, all the way here, to the age of Twitter and TMZ. Only the drug has changed - cocaine replaced by pills, but still serving the same purpose.
At the same time, didn't you invite me inside when you gratuitously tweeted shots of your tight body? Didn't you tempt me to question your perfection when you boasted about your conflict-free marriage, suggesting that you were smart enough to find the elusive secret while the rest of us have to wait for enlightenment? Didn't you move from Hailey, Idaho, where you spent several years away from the glare of the business, taking pleasure in obscurity, only to eagerly return to the cesspool of fame?
As consumers of pop culture, we are increasingly demanding of honesty from our celebrities. I wonder though if it's unreasonable to withhold compassion until that honesty is forthcoming.
Where do you stand on Demi?
Let me know.