Sunday, July 15, 2012

This week's blog challenge: "Out of Rehab"

The task: In 200 words, substitute the silhouette below with a character or someone you know or yourself.

When I first read this week's challenge, I immediately pictured an endless list of celebrity names ranging from Judy Garland to Michael Jackson.  But how to write about a single celebrity among the massive numbers who have been institutionalized for everything from life threatening addiction to "exhaustion and dehydration"?  Rehab has become a buzz word that dilutes the seriousness of true physical and psychological addiction with stories of the rich and famous who sign themselves in to medically supervised spas and "lodges" for a few weeks of catering and manicures.

What's more, rehab among the celebrity set has become a criminal justice diversion, where starlets like Lindsay Lohan can avoid jail by agreeing to treatment for any number of alleged problems.  After they sign themselves in and let the media generate a little career-boosting publicity, these self-proclaimed addicts walk out of their treatment facilities with their perfectly coiffed heads held high for the cameras.  Regardless of the fact that they will continue life as usual on the outside, they have rehabbed their careers.  Recovered their popularity.  Even the conservative fans who may not be fond of the drinking and drugs often warmly embrace the humble and the reformed celebrity, because everyone loves a comeback. Even a comeback that minimizes true human suffering.

In a world where image is everything and popularity is fleeting, the creation of a compelling human interest story can rescue a Hollywood career overnight.  But really, whose fault is that?

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