For example, Freddie Prinze is not as well regarded as Bruce Lee due to his suicide (I am generalizing). The older the celebrity and the more respectable the cause of death the more admiration the media and the mainstream is giving that particular person.
Does anyone agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Old Lyme, Conn.
THE other day at a Los Angeles race track, a comedian named Eddie Griffin took a meeting with a concrete barrier and left a borrowed bright-red $1.5 million Ferrari Enzo looking like bad origami. Just to be clear, this was a different bright-red $1.5 million Ferrari Enzo from the one a Swedish businessman crumpled up and threw away last year on the Pacific Coast Highway. I mention this only because it’s easy to get confused by the vast and highly repetitious category “Rich and Famous People Acting Like Total Idiots.” Mr. Griffin walked away uninjured, and everybody offered wise counsel about how this wasn’t really such a bad day after all.
So what exactly constitutes a bad day in this rarefied little world? Did the casino owner Steve Wynn cross the mark when he put his elbow through a Picasso he was about to sell for $139 million? Did Mel (“I Own Malibu”) Gibson sense bad-day emanations when he started on a bigoted tirade while seated drunk in the back of a sheriff’s car? And if dumb stuff like this comes so easy to these people, how is it that they’re the ones with all the money?
Modern science has the answer, with a little help from the poet Hilaire Belloc.
Richard Conniff is the author of “The Natural History of the Rich.”
Running from trouble with the law over his illegal drug use, WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS left New York for Texas in 1946. He sent for his common-law wife, Joan Vollmer Adams, and together they lived in Texas until 1948, when they moved to New Orleans. Again in trouble with the law over narcotics charges, they moved to Mexico City in 1949 and continued to fuel themselves with booze and benzedrine. On 6 September 1951, during a party of sorts, William decided to show off his pistol skills and called for Joan to help him with his "William Tell act." She placed a glass on her head and turned to the side and Bill fired the pistol. The bullet hit Joan in the head and killed her, and Bill was charged with criminal imprudence, then released on bail. He sent his infant son to stay with his parents in Florida, and he lit out for South America and Tangiers. Burroughs later claimed that he never would have become a writer had he not shot Joan in the head.