Now that You’re Rich and Famous….

I was watching “Sunday Morning”on CBS this morning, and it bugged me that the interviewer asked both Charlize Theron and Harry Belafonte in separate interviews whether they were happy or grateful.

Of course, they both said yes. It’s more satisfying for me to hear it from people who are penniless, or physically disfigured, or chronically diseased. Satisfying because I might be finally hearing the truth that I believe we all know in our hearts (happiness is about more than looks, or money, or marriage), but rarely hear–anywhere.

It’s just an extremely stereotypical  question and I felt both actors (and singer in Belafonte’s case) probably felt pressured to answer stereotypically for rich and famous people or risk sounding ungrateful. I could be wrong.

Yet, Charlize Theron said earlier in the interview that she was a very troubled person when she explained why she enjoyed playing troubled characters. In answering the question about feeling fortunate, Theron mentioned a charity she organized, saying she was more fortunate than the people she helps in her home country of South Africa. She also mentioned having great friends.

I just think it does more harm than good to reinforce the idea that being rich and famous is what makes people happy. This plays a big part in suicidal thinking, the idea that one doesn’t have or is unable to have the things that America says proves someone is capable, unbroken, things such as marriage, money, friends, or social acceptance.

I would love to see more ungrateful people, as I believe Americans have a bad case of settling-for-less-ism. How many times have you heard, “At least you have a job!” or So and So’s “Mr. Right…Now,” or, “It was just time to settle down,” as football player Chad Ocho Cino said (not verbatim) in explaining why he was getting married. Even these explanations are better than people pretending they enjoy their job or being married, when they don’t, which is what people do when I start saying they shouldn’t settle.

Yeah, it’s enough to drive someone crazy… And I am. I’m schizophrenic, and I think living in America had something to do with it. Almost nothing here is mentionable, and it makes it almost impossible to put your finger on a problem no one is willing to talk about. Sometimes I feel nothing here is real, except me and The Wizard of Oz. I hope that’s not true.

I wrote another version of this post but I went back and added tags and wordpress didn’t have time (I guess) to retrieve my post content so it came up with zero words once I hit update. I wasn’t into retyping this, so it’s not as long or, perhaps, as good as my first post. This sucks, WordPress, in case you’re listening.

Anyway, I liked Belafonte and Theron a lot from their interviews and wish there could be a less stereotypical world for them to live in. Stereotypical expectations, I believe, make people feel alone and misunderstood. Just because someone is rich and famous doesn’t mean he’s happy.


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