I'll Take the Jack with a Side of Shrooms, Please.

Alcohol, exercise, cocaine, porn, nail-biting, chocolate, caffeine, sex, and shitty tv- just all the things that I'm addicted to (kidding! Like I would watch The Bachelor). Fine. Maybe not all in excess, but these are common things that people do claim to struggle with, including very famous authors. Last week I read an interesting blog article about famous authors and their vices, most of which were no surprise. Fitzgerald and booze. McCullers and booze. Kerouac and booze. Faulkner and booze. Stevenson and booze, with a side of shrooms. Thompson and booze (and every other drug known to man). I see a trend.

Skip to Sunday night and the premiere of Showtime's Californica
tion. For those who aren't familiar with the show, Hank Moody, played by the dashing David Duchovny, is a washed up novelist who doesn't let a day go by without a healthy dose of alcohol, nicotine, and vagina. Hmmmm.

Obviously, you don't have to be an addict to be successful creatively, but it's never surprising to hear that someone with an amazing imagination is influenced by something that's going to leave them a little nauseous in the morning. It's not only writers, either- it's become quite the norm to hear about actors and musicians entering rehab on a weekly basis. For some reason, though, it seems to me that it's not quite as frowned on when writers and artists (as in painting) are alcoholics or drug addicts.

First of all, it's fun when the smart kids screw up- it makes normal people feel better about themselves. It would have been like witnessing Bill Gates get drunk off his ass in high school and puking all over his mom's couch. When someone with intellectual talent and creativity is vulnerable to alcohol or another dru
g it shows a weakness that the masses can relate to- it makes them human. I'm sorry, but when Bill Clinton got caught "not having sexual relations" with Monica, even at the oh-so-innocent age of fifteen I liked him a little more for being real (please note Bush's addiction to alcohol didn't make me like him any more, but that's because he's an uncreative dumbass).

Another reason why I think it's slightly more acceptable is because many writers and artists can be productive drunks. Busting out the Jack or taking a few hits loosens them up, it gets the creative juices flowing. We've all been there- after a few shots things don't matter as much and life is a lot more fun. For most people habitually abusing a substance impedes their work, but many writers can work through and around this. Interestingly, I think it's the opposite for a lot of actors, hence the need for Promises to start a punch card system for their frequent fliers (come in five times and the sixth is free). Not that it can't be done- I mean look at how well it's worked for Lindsey Lohan.

Am I condoning addiction? Nope. Am I necessarily criticizing it? Not really. We all have our weaknesses, and some fall victim to the ones that are expensive and illegal. I don't anticipate this happening to myself (though who does), but I sympathize with those that do get pulled off the wagon, or who were never really up there in the first place. To be a true creative genius and to deal with that sort of pressure to be brilliant, even if self-inflicted, must be tough. Forget story mapping, scheduling time to work, and all that other crap- if I want to ever start a novel all I apparently have to do is hit up Bev-Mo.

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