Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

Believing your own press…

Before you martyr a rock star who lived and died tragically, ask yourself whether their mistake was simply that they believed their own press.

Back Story

There must be something about fame that is very addictive. My impression is that once some people experience fame, they will do anything to retain it—including engaging in self destructive behaviors that they believe their fans expect. When the cause of a celebrity’s death is something that they had at least some power to avoid (e.g., a drug overdose due to addiction), it does not necessarily mean that their actions can be attributed only to the dynamic described, but it should be considered as a possible factor. The purpose of this aphorism is to caution anyone who believes that they must maintain a certain way of life simply to cater to others’ expectations of them—to challenge such assumptions and correct course before it is too late. If you want to admire someone who dies tragically in the manner indicated, and mourn the loss of that person and their talent, feel free. However, martyrdom should be reserved for those who act from more lofty intentions.

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