The Oscars’ Special Guest Star: A Conversation About Suicide

Watching the Academy Awards this past Sunday, I noticed that the word “suicide” was a lot more prevalent than in any awards telecast before it. We had Dana Perry, winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject for her film “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”, dedicate her award to her son, a suicide victim, and told us how we needed to talk about suicide out loud. Winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay award, Graham Moore, talked directly to those like him, who attempted suicide at age 16, and told them to “stay weird, stay different”. These people are the kinds of people affected by suicide. The saddest thing about the subject of suicide is the fact that it has always existed, it isn’t a new thing.

A little history about me, I attempted suicide at 22 and 23, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008. Since surviving my attempt, I’ve tried to make the people around aware that it is something that exists. Most people don’t believe that murderers will invade their home in the middle of the night, or that the brakes on their car will go out and cause a horrible pile-up. They also don’t believe that someone in their lives could feel so lost and alone that they would want to take their lives.

And this is why we do need to talk about suicide out loud. A key icon of the struggle of suicide, in modern times, is the late Robin Williams (it feels strange to say that, late) and as a child of the 90’s, I saw him in every comedy and thought the same thing that everyone thought, he’s happy. But I also didn’t see his personal struggles, probably similar to things that I experienced in my darkest times. Saddness, loneliness, and just a complete lack of a strong ego that most people have to prevent those dark, self-loathing thoughts from creeping up. People like to claim that suicide is for the weak and that it is selfish. And unfortunately, these are the stereotypes that survivors of suicide endure from those who choose not to understand or listen. It really takes a great amount of strength to hurt yourself and some times all that could pull you away from it is one person to say “I understand and I’m here for you”. However, the stigma of it and society’s constant pressure to keep it silent from our every day converstations make it easy for someone like Robin Williams to hide and put on a smiling face just because it makes everyone else feel better.

We all need to take responsibility for every suicide that happens in the world. That is not to say that we can prevent each one (my experiences as a bipolar sufferer have told me that if someone is determined to kill themselves, they will do anything to find a way) but our fear of just speaking about it makes it harder for people to find help. This is why I, as a survivor of suicide, appreciated every mention of the word suicide on Sunday night. Not only did we have someone who was very directly affected by the suicide of another, but we also had a suicide survivor. I truly hope that even after the post-Oscar glow disappears at the end of the week, people will still talk about Graham Moore’s call to the weird and Dana Perry’s heartbreaking dedication. I hope they talk about people they know who have attempted or committed suicide. I hope people will talk about their attempts or thoughts. I hope people will talk, and I hope soon we can all sit down and, at least once, talk about suicide seriously.

Humility & the Grammys: Song of the West

I recently watched the Grammys ( I don’t have cable so I always watch things after the fact) and I was a little confused by the whole Kanye West fake out that occurred when Beck won for Album of the Year. After, I reasoned, much as everyone else had, that he was making a joke out of his ridiculous moment six years before at the VMAs with Taylor Swift. I thought to myself, maybe he is changing, maybe he is becoming a much more calm and much more reasonable man now that he is a father and husband. I thought that until he came out and said it wasn’t a joke.

Shirley Manson’s response to his disgusting display is, by far, my favorite. My favorite line would be “you disrespect your own remarkable talents and more importantly you disrespect the talent, hard work and tenacity of all the artists when you go so rudely and savagely after such accomplished and humble artist [sic] like BECK”.

This response, not Buzzfeed articles comparing Beyonce to Beck, is the most appropriate in terms of what happened. I would never say that one artist is better than another. Each artist is different. Yes, Beyonce has other artists sharing the writing credits on her album, but how does that make her any less of an artist than Beck? I’m sure he was inspired by several artists as well. Sure, Beyonce doesn’t play instruments but that doesn’t mean she isn’t talented. To compare two artists who are so vastly different is not the way to stand up against such oppression as Kanye.

Beyonce seems like a classy, intelligent woman who doesn’t need the rude acts of a fellow artist to stand up for her. Artists lose, they get nominated and then, they lose. That’s how awards shows work. No one is saying that Beck is far more talented than Beyonce, but her album just didn’t win. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross didn’t win the Oscar for best soundtrack for Gone Girl, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented. Kayne’s outburst doesn’t help anyone notice Beyonce’s talent. Instead, it just makes a mockery of the awards ceremony and makes it seem like he’s a sore loser when he wasn’t even nominated! I feel sorry for him that he has to pout and stomp his feet to get the attention he needs. It has nothing to do with race, talent or recognition. It has to do with Kanye wanting to be noticed for something. He had a mediocre performance, wasn’t nominated and just had to be the center of attention so this is the only way he can get that attention. Maybe his wife told him he shouldn’t make an ass of himself so he stopped himself before going onstage and played it off as a joke but we all know tigers can’t change their stripes.

American Music Awards = Devoid of Talent?

Honestly, when the recent polls went out for the AMAs, what were the voters thinking? To place Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers in the alternative rock category was painful enough but giving the Icon award to a young artist like Rhianna was just unbearable. Its unfortunate that the categories only had three nominees because I just wanted to see if there was any type of reconciliation for the misguided choices like Mumford and Sons. Music isn’t what it used to be (previous winners in the alt rock category: Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, Smashing Pumpkins) and the AMAs show all of us over the age of 20 how different it is. As the years tick by, music with actual genres and categories become more blurred and genres, like the illusive industrial and heavy metal, disappear with their famous bands and devoted fans. Dubstep reduces the need for actual singers or musicians and auto tune allows former untalented artists to be successful album vocalists. The rare musical talent that acts like Fleetwood Mac, Nine Inch Nails, Queen, etc had in their time is unmatched by the Katy Perrys, Lady Gagas and Miley Cyrus‘s of today. There’s no actual talent being churned out in record labels anymore unless they come in the form of young female vocalists. Lorde and Ariana Grande make the future seem, at least, somewhat brighter because of their aversion of traditional teen bop music and trashy attire. If only we could see good bands develop and change the landscape of the music world and bring back the lost musical genre called alternative rock. Until then, we wait, watching mostly vocal lead bands like Imagine Dragons win alt rock awards because that’s all we have left to represent our taste in music.

Fall Programming Fails & Successes

I had intended on writing this post after I had watched ALL the new fall programs, however since many shows have still yet to be shown and I am impatient, I am reviewing the current releases.

I’ll start with Dads starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi. Individually, I don’t think that these actors could hold a show together for any length of time. Luckily, the producers paired these two and created an interesting and funny premise. I’m sure there are nay sayers that think this show is terrible, but in my opinion the issues between both son-dad pairs are real and intelligently executed. The Pot Brownie episode was a great way to have drug use in primetime television and its racist and sexist comments are most likely directed to bring attention to the fact that RACISM AND SEXISM ARE STILL PREVALENT! There’s been so much talk about how the show is offensive but the fact is, its realistic. I’ve never met anyone that is concerned with political correctness during everyday conversation and Dads makes sure that we know that.

Mom is another show that risks offensive-ness for the sake of reality. The cycle of teen pregnancy within the family is real, and so is the issue of alcoholism and boss/employee relationships. My opinion of this show was low at first upon seeing Anna Farris on TV but the humor is perfect for her talents and the first episode really forces the viewers to connect to her broken down life. As a sitcom, I think the premise is new and refreshing, and like Dads, the show finally brings real life to primetime television. If I didn’t feel as pathetic as Anna Farris’ character, Christy, I would feel sorry for her. Allison Janney also contributes to the fantastic talent in this show as Christy’s mom, Bonnie, a recovering alcoholic who “did the best she could” as a mother. I think turning a show with such a sad background into a sitcom really makes the characters so much more love-able and hopefully long lasting.

Now to the worst, which I don’t have much to say about.

The Goldbergs. Ugh, I get it, you’re trying to be like The Wonder Years. The problem is, you can’t be like The Wonder Years. I find the show to be lacking in some major things, like Comedy or general interesting dialogue. I have a feeling that the show will be canceled soon, and if it isn’t I’m not really sure who would want to watch a show about the ’80s through the eyes of a family with  no really dynamic. Adam Goldberg, who narrates the episodes, is no Kevin Arnold and because of that, his character is not interesting enough to keep audiences attention on what is happening to the family.

Another lacking show is The Michael J Fox Show. I want to like it, I really do. That’s why it’s still scheduled to record on my DVR and it’s because I love Michael J Fox as an actor. However, the lighthearted look at a Parkinson’s sufferer in the public eye is not as lighthearted as he probably intended it to be. I feel as if there is too much centered on being inspiring AND funny at the same time when the show should have been much more about the humor. I love that Michael J Fox is trying to come back and make his suffering less saddening, but the problem lies in the script and the dialogue. Perhaps we will have a turn around after the first few episodes, perhaps it will get canceled, who knows?

I know there are several other shows needing reviews (Agents of Shield, Season 3 of Once Upon a Time, The Blacklist, Hostages, etc) but this post is only so long so I’ll review them after we find out who gets the cut at the end of the season.

Why is society so gay?

Barilla, you know the pasta, is the most recent in the string of companies to begin a siege against homosexuals and homosexual couples as the new normal nuclear family.

Wednesday night, Barilla CEO, Guido Barilla, made some comments on an Italian radio station about the issue of homosexual families being depicted in Barilla advertisements/commercials. The comment was blown a little out of proportion, in my opinion. I understand his comments were directed to treat homosexuals as the perpetual “other” in terms of modern 2013 society, but as Michelangelo Signorile from the Huffington Post explained, Mr. Barilla was raised in a culture and society of spoiled men. Women waiting on hand and foot to their sons, husbands and fathers for their entire lives. The idea of homosexuality in a culture that prides their food as “mother’s comfort food” does not see men acting as women act.

That being said, and also playing devil’s advocate, is it really all that disgusting to see to men together now, in 2013? Hollywood will continue to churn out various sitcoms with strong gay characters, we see lesbian/homosexual couples all over the news and primetime, and some of the most popular fads and fashions emerged from gay culture. With the way the world has evolved over the years, I cannot imagine why so many people would be completely against the idea of people being themselves and loving who they love without considering whether it is acceptable or not.

Considering what milestones the world has gone through, we will be dealing with the stigma of homosexuality for a considerable amount of time. Slavery still exists in the world and we are well aware that racism is rampant in some major civilized countries. I see people like Harvey Milk connected to others like Martin Luther King Jr. and Alice Paul as a strong representative activist for HUMAN RIGHTS. HUMAN RIGHTS to do whatever you want to do in any place you want in the world with other humans.

But just because people like to watch the cute gay couple on Modern Family, The Ellen Show, or Rupaul’s Drag Race does not necessarily mean these same people want to see that gay couple, an Ellen, or a man dressed as a woman in their neighborhood Wal-Mart or Chik-Fil-A. As humans with rights, we who support LGBT culture should also allow those, like Mr. Barilla to express his personal feelings. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

Cocaine: It could be worse!

Watching TMZ, they were discussing the fact the Zac Efron has entered rehab twice for his cocaine addiction issues. This leaded them to discuss his intense attractiveness that has only increased as he has aged. The man is a beautiful piece of art and is a pretty reasonable actor as well.  It was said on TMZ that he had issues showing up to set on “The Neighbors” with Seth Rogen, which disappoints me about him because he really could do much better than a Seth Rogan film.  I know it might seem very chick-flick-y but Charlie St. Cloud was actually not a bad movie.  I don’t cry due to movies but if I allowed myself more than the two teardrop quota in a week I have enforced, this movie would have made me squirt one or few.  Interesting that he started in the TV movie “High School Musical” with a bunch of other slightly famous Disney children. Really honestly, it seems that Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are the only ones that have really done much more for themselves besides another straight to DVD romp about their character’s after story (really, Ashley Tisdale?) I can understand the fact Disney will jump through as many legal hoops to lock these kids into as many films and shows as they can turn out, and granted, work is work.  However, the nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens, although embarassing, really brought her name to the forefront of the Hollywood community’s mind. Without that exposure she would be stuck as a Disney kid and probably would have wound up molesting a foam finger on MTV.

So about this cocaine addiction…is it really that bad? I mean yes sure, drugs are bad, mmkay. But honestly, it could have been much worse and also, it could have been much more embarrassing. He wasn’t found in some bathroom snorting and blowing some random guy, he didn’t do a speedball and kill himself, he didn’t decide to make “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure“. Instead, he checked into rehab, quietly and discreetly and he did it for himself, not for Hollywood. The troves of celebrity wannabes and socialites that enter rehab with a slew of photogs behind them may or may not be actually suffering from an addiction but the fact is, they mostly suffer from Munchhausen’s.

Ties that Byne[s]

Who lights a fire in someone’s driveway?

Sorry, I digress.

This post was originally supposed to be how mental illness is serious and should be something that people find ways to help or throw money at. Whatever, I have one of those and no one throws money at me. In fact, I cannot even afford the “help” that people say is “out there” for people like me. But Amanda Bynes, I’m sure she can afford that, right? She just has no idea how to think without that voice in her head telling her to be insane.

Of course, that’s what makes crazy people so interesting. It’s the element of surprise. Don’t show all your cards until your enemies are thoroughly confused. In my opinion, accepting the crazy gene within your family tree will ensure that you are one step ahead of the “normal” people that tend to want to put you away. Who needs to be normal when you could be considered dangerous to yourself and others? Besides, its like riding a roller coaster that never ends and constantly makes you feel like your life is more exciting that it truly is.

Imagine, you’re eating dinner with your parents and your mom asks you what you’ll do with the rest of your life.

You say, “kill myself.”

Suddenly, you’re admitted to a mental hospital.

Lights, camera, roll film.

Otherwise, your life is school, love, marriage, kids and then death. And that just boring. Honestly, how does anyone live life without some kind of medication to stop the crazy from taking over. Without mine, I’d be laughing one moment then crying in another for the entire day. I’m not at all condoning acting insane, just trying to explain how acknowledging it will make you a better person. Demi Lovato, Catherine Zeta Jones, Paris Jackson all realized after an “episode,” that confronting the illness was the only way to actually make it through.

Take off that wig girl and get yourself together.

Addictions – Ode to Cory Monteith

A few years ago, I spent some time at a lovely “behavioral center” across the street from Sea World. Of the various group sessions I attended, I’ve found myself continually recollecting one particular session about addictions. I remember sitting there trying to decide what I was going to share as my addiction in the group. I listened to the others, crying over stories of crack addicts, alcoholics, dope fiends, and meth heads.

I finally just said that I was addicted to hurting myself.

For weeks afterward, I shook my head as I remembered the smiling faces of the addicts. They probably wondered what a girl like me would even know about pain.

Last week, Cory Monteith was found dead from a combination of heroin and alcohol. For years, he said he had struggled from drug addiction and even stopped by a few rehabs along the way to his rise to fame in Glee. But even with the help of on screen and off screen love, Lea Michele, the act of injecting and imbibing drugs to feel better about himself became too much for him to ignore.

Cory Monteith, gone too soon.

Or maybe not as soon as he wanted. I have found in my experience that those who do drugs do so to heal a pain there is no cure for: Self-Loathing. Those smiling faces in the group weren’t mocking me, they were supporting me by saying “dude, we like to hurt ourselves too”. People willing to destroy themselves physically are most likely feeling destroyed mentally already. The fact that he was on Glee and probably had enough money to life the rest of his life doesn’t mean much if you consider that he probably didn’t feel all so hot about himself in recent months. All speculation but could you really imagine a happy drug addict?

Alas, Glee will return in September, without Finn Hudson. And not only will writers have the difficult task of writing the beloved and well developed character out of the show, but the cast will have to perform in the same room where they had once stood with their fallen co-star.