Cycle 1, Research Round 3 - Does fame impact life expectancy?

Good evening everyone,

I'm back again, and this week I'm looking at how celebrity deaths can be prevented, the differences between today's celebrities and those of the past, and how music is reflective of the life that an artist is living.

Preventing Death and the Factors that Impact Celebrity Death
Often, celebrity deaths are, as discovered earlier, caused by substance abuse of some kind. People turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to cope with their difficulties. In the case of celebrities, their most difficult weight is their stress. (1)(2) Celebrities are constantly under the watchful eye of all of society; they constantly have false rumours spread about them, constantly have everything they do examined by a crowd of hundreds--sometimes hundreds of thousands. The pressure on them to maintain a show of perfection is crippling, and it's overwhelmingly difficult to struggle with. Once the connection between substances like drugs and alcohol and relief is made, an addiction is formed: "Stress + Relief = Repetition." (1) Also, peer pressure tends to come into play. Some younger stars don't know how to refuse an offer and often feel a craving to fit in. (2) Mostly, though, drugs and alcohol give celebrities something that they don't find in their lives: happiness and relaxation. Marijuana offers an intense relaxation, cocaine brings happiness, and alcohol brings a similar joy. (2)
It is difficult to determine just how these deaths could be "prevented". In today's world, there's no stopping the waves of paparazzi and flocks of fans that celebrities collect by stepping foot into the world. They're stalked, followed, abused, and harassed for the simplest of actions. (3)(2) There's no sure-fire way to stop all of that. Moreover, if this obsession didn't exist, would they truly be famous? Fame means the spotlight, and the spotlight means attention. You just have a normal person when you take the spotlight away.

Modern vs. Past Celebrities

Ask any old-timer what they miss in today's society and they'll tell you plain and simple: the music. Well, there'd be a long list of things that they miss, but music would be up there. Across the internet there is a widespread distaste for today's music; people find it talentless, meaningless, and too common. These days, it feels like every second person is a musician and anyone who can pick up a microphone can sing. With the assistance of autotune and monkeys to generate lyrics for them, anyone can be a star. (4) Many lyrics are about "going to the club" or "getting a party started", or the typical subject of love. (4) Compared to the celebrities of old who had to craft their own music and have genuine talent, the celebrities of today have rather low standards. (4)
In the old times, celebrities strived for perfection. They wanted to be seen as flawless, untainted, and holier-than-thou. However, today's celebrities place almost all of their focus on being relatable. (5) Musicians today often place a heavy emphasis on being "authentic". Take Miley Cyrus, for example, who went from being a laid-back, overly polite children's star to a confident, unabashed woman who wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed in. (5) From this transformation, we can gather that the stress on celebrities should be starting to lessen.
However, that's false. With the hounding eyes of social media and dominating mobile phones, every little misstep goes seen by the media. Every brawl, breakdown, breakup and shake-up is seen by thousands. (5) On social media, people are expected to advertise all of their best times: pretty lunches, pretty girls, pretty friends, pretty vacations. It always has to broadcast the message of I'm having fun. (6) This perfection that is maintained on social media place the same crippling standards that size 0 models put on teenagers. It makes everything seem better than it truly is, and creates a need for validation, a desire to measure up to others. (6) With celebrities, this is equally true. Social media places the pressure to be just as good, just as talented, and just as pretty.

How Music Reflects Emotion
Directors know that films without movie are impersonal, undefined, and carry a coldness of inhumanity. (7) Music carries the emotions of humanity, and it appeals to those who feel like emotions. It expresses a raw emotion that cannot be formulated falsely. That's what makes us enjoy music so much: we can relate, we can feel the emotion and it feels us. (7) Often, musical cues can even enhance or trigger specific emotions. (7)
John Lennon says that "music reflects the state that society is in. It doesn't suggest the state. I think the poets and musicians and artists are of the age - not only do they lead the age on, but they also reflect that age. [...] Like the Beatles. We came out of Liverpool and we reflected our background and we reflected our thoughts in what we sang, and that's all people are doing." (8) John Lennon, along with the rest of the Beatles, produced music that reflected what he believed in, what he stood for.(8) Take Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass", for example. The song is a message to adolescents that says that they should be proud of the body they're in and not be ashamed of who they are. Meghan has commented that "I wrote it for me, as well, because I've struggled with [body image] since I was very young. And, my friend is a beautiful goddess, but she'll pick on herself in the mirror. 'My forehead's too big,' or, 'My shoulders go out too far...' So, if other girls can relate to the song, it makes me feel even better."(9) Her song was expressing the beliefs and struggles she personally had experienced and the message that she learned from those struggles. (9)

Cites Used
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Thanks for reading! Any comments or feedback are graciously accepted. For next week I would like to tie up some loose ends and determine factors that differ between celebrities and "normal people", how celebrity deaths could be avoided (or specific examples stating how the death could have been avoided), provide ideas for how the world could be more accepting and respective of famous individuals, and conclude if fame is really worth it or not.

Original Post

Hey Joanna,

Another amazing post like usual. I agree with you when you explained how celebrity deaths are mostly caused by substance abuse or alcohol. Do you think that money could be a factor to why substance and alcohol deaths in celebrities are high? Meaning, drugs and alcohol can be expensive, so if celebrities weren't wealthy would they be taking their own lives a different way? I think that could be interesting to look into since a lot of celebrities are dying much earlier than they used to be. Here's a link on how wealth in celebrities can lead to substance and alcohol use.

Good luck on your next post.  

Hello , Joanna

I strongly agree on your opinions on modern celebrities when they are creating music. I feel like today's celebrities need more in-depth understanding of the music, they often impress us with the appearances of the albums and the post production of the music. If you want to check more information about the celebrities music making process these days, you can check the following links. Good luck!!


Hey Joanna,

You've written your research in such a comprehensible manner! Do you think that substance abuse affects those pressured by fame to a greater extent than it would affect those who live simple, mundane lives but have other environmental stressors that negatively impact their health? How great of a stressor is fame? Are there personality types or biological qualities of a person which affect the way one adapts to live under the watchful eye of the press? And how can fame change an individual in ways separate from their health?
You mention how social media has become a source of stress for younger people, and you provide specific examples. Do people's fronts of "I'm having fun" truly affect our youth in a detrimental way? Or are there other sources of media, such as through Disney or action movies, that have a greater subconscious affect on our youth?

Great research, and I hope to see more of your work!

This is a unique topic and interesting to read about. I liked how you discussed different aspects of celebrity life in order to analyse their deaths. Maybe consider looking at past celebrity deaths, the average life of a star vs the average person, and overall happiness. Some websites to look at:

Good luck !

Hi Joanna 

I have been following on your research and I noticed that nowadays,celebrities don't really know what music is,real music.Traditionally in Africa,music was considered a  very important aspect,by that I mean if the music is not meaningful, then you had better look on to something else to to do.I wish you success in your work and not good luck because you already have it in you.See you!!!

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