by Howard Meitiner
“Fame hit me like a ton of bricks,” the rapper Eminem once said — and he is far from alone in that sentiment. From Marilyn Monroe, who died 50 years ago this month, to Macaulay Culkin, who has experienced a recent flood of criticism from media and family members alike due to his alleged heroin addiction, celebrities are no strangers to the perils of their own fame.
Monroe, like Michael Jackson and so many others, was essentially used to death by her fans and critics. She was so loved, and yet so judged, that the difficulties of being a public figure and dealing with her own failings eventually got the best of her. She was given so much adulation at such a young age that she would have had to be extremely grounded and supported in order not to get swept away.
And here we are, watching that time-tested celebrity cycle repeat with Macaulay Culkin. Grown-up child stars like Culkin are particularly ill-equipped for failure because they never had enough time out of the spotlight in which to build their own strength and network of supporters. So when the Enquirer painstakingly chronicles that an allegedly drug-addled Culkin “was clutching his stomach, made a face, and then spit up, not once, but twice” — how can this type of excessive media exposure possibly help Culkin deal with his problems?
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