Joe and I recently attended the European premiere of the new Terminator movie, at which some of the film’s stars, including Christian Bale, were present. We didn’t get to see Bale navigate the media scrum, as we were standing in line (with thousands of others) waiting to get our seats, but I did overhear someone express their opinion (in unprintable French) of the actor. That shook me. Earlier Joe had asked me if I would like to be so famous (for my writing, of course) that so many people would come out to see me. I gave him an unequivocal “NO.” I knew that I would hate to be the focus of so many people, but also would hate the fickleness of the crowd. Such hypocrisy in spending so much time, money, and effort to see a celebrity, yet still be able to turn on them at any moment.
I imagine that kind of fickleness is what proved so disturbing to Britain’s Got Talent contestant, and now global superstar, Susan Boyle. To have everyone build you up and then criticize you for the smallest misstep (as happened after her second performance on the show) would rattle the most jaded of performers, let alone an introverted person with little experience of fame. I thought it was telling that between her second and third appearances, those charged with her care thought it best to isolate her, from the media and from the public, I presume.
Isolation as an escape from an intrusive public seems to be the issue behind another story that came out today. Vanity Fair is planning to publish an article in its July issue about Johnny Depp’s private island in the Bahamas, and in a quote from the piece, Depp shares that life on the island is his “…way of trying to return to normalcy… Escapism is survival to me.” Never mind the fact that owning one’s own island is not “normal” for most people, I find his statement extremely depressing. Sure, it would be nice to have his wealth and opportunities, but if your only means of escape is to live Robinson Crusoe style, that means you look at the rest of the world as a prison. As tempting as it is, I would choose the ability to move (relatively) freely in the world over a private island any day.