So, Let's Talk About Amanda Bynes...: The Mendoza Line of Celebrity Schadenfreude
Somewhere around tweeting Obama, why didn't someone help her? Why didn't someone stop this?
I spoke to someone in the mental health field (my source requested to remain anonymous, but if you know what my husband does for a living, I mean, it's not that hard to guess) who said Bynes is exhibiting symptoms of psychosis (perhaps schizophrenia), along with some form of personality disorder, common among celebrities who show signs of mental illness.
We would never laugh at a mentally ill person we saw in a library, or at the grocery store. But, apparently if that mentally ill person starred in Sydney White, all bets are off.
When Britney Spears started flashing her c-section scar all over town, it was amusing. When she talked to the press in an English accent, the reaction was very "LOL BRIT." When she shaved her head, people thought it was funny enough to make it THE Halloween costume of choice that year. Then she locked herself in a bathroom with her child and had to be hospitalized. While her official diagnosis has never been made public (court records have been sealed to protect this information as her team fears it could damage her career, though they allude to a personality disorder), she has remained under a conservatorship ever since.
And people still laugh at her.
I laugh at famous people all the time. I do it for a living. So, I understand that when we already live in a society that accepts the notion that these are not people, they are things for our amusement, we've already begun the roll down the hill. Why stop when it gets sad? Paparazzi photograph stars at their craziest all the time--of course they're going to up the ante when those photographs show a legitimately "crazy" person. Tabloids shill woes and heartbreaks and fabricated stories of drama every day. Why stop when it's real?
Because there needs to some modicum of humanity. We live in this world and that's that. Celebrities do exist as fodder, many of them with complete and total involvement and management. I mean, the paps don't keep GPSes on all of these people; if you're not the Brad and Angie-level of fame, someone has to make the phone calls. And that's fine. I don't think that's so bad. But there is something so old timey freakshow about reading about sick people as entertainment that makes me so uncomfortable.
Now, the line is, of course, subjective. For me, Lindsay Lohan isn't there, because she's more "entitled asshole" and less "unwell person." Charlie Sheen is still okay to smacktalk because he's less "tragic drug addict" and more "fucking shot a lady."
So the line has been drawn. Upon hitting "post", you won't read about Amanda Bynes on Pajiba again unless it's trade news or actual news (or unless I'm not the one writing it because I can't tell these other people what to do, I'm not their mom).
Get well soon, Amanda.