Archive for November, 2009

When Is Suicide Ever "Honorable," Morrissey?

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Los Premios MTV 2009 - Show

Last Friday, I talked about Kate Moss’ “pro-ana” comment and asked you what you thought about the public’s response – specifically, whether the public has the right to hold the model, and celebrities in general, responsible for the things they say.

Now I’m wondering what you think about Morrissey’s recent comments on suicide.

During a recent Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young interview (BBC Radio 4), the British singer and songwriter, who’s pretty well known for his melancholy lyrics, admitted to having contemplated suicide and claimed the act of taking one’s own life was “an act of great self-control” and “honorable.”

During Desert Island Discs, each “castaway” (guest) is asked to choose eight records, one book, and one luxury item to bring with him to a desert island. As if Morrissey’s opinions on suicide weren’t disturbing enough, he chose two items as his luxury items: A bed and a bottle of sleeping pills, “in case he might want to make a quick exit.”

(Because castaways are only allowed to choose one luxury item, Morrissey eventually settled on the bed. Feel better? Me either.)


Celebrities And Influence: Should We Be Angry With Kate Moss?

Friday, November 27th, 2009
Kate Moss And Tyra Banks - Waxwork Unveilings

Although Storm modeling agency issued a statement assuring the public that a seemingly “pro-ana” comment Kate Moss made (you might know the one: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”) during a recent interview with Women’s Wear Daily was “taken out of context” and “completely misrepresented,” and that Moss “does not support this as a lifestyle choice,” and although Moss recently threw an outdoor dinner party (perhaps to give the paparazzi a chance to photograph her eating), the public and media are still talking about it – both negatively and positively.

(Yes, positively – today, Washington Times writer Kelly Jane Torrance suggested that maybe Moss’ comment was exactly what the doctor ordered for folks dealing with obesity.)

Although I don’t really think Moss’ quote was taken out of context (WWD asked, “Do you have a motto?” and Moss’ entire answer was, “There are loads. There’s ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.’ That’s one of them. You try and remember, but it never works.”), it’s not really Moss I’m thinking about right now; rather, it’s the backlash celebrities receive when they do or say something the public feels encourages dangerous and unhealthy behavior.

It’s a slippery slope, really.


Dear Ellen: Help Megan Jackson Get Her First Kiss…From Robert Pattinson!

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
THE CINEMA SOCIETY and D&G host screening of THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON

Dear Ellen (and Andy),

I know you’re a busy gal, so I’ll cut to the chase: My friend Megan Jackson is an amazing person with a crazy idea – and she needs your help.

In May 2009, 28-year-old Megan Jackson created EmsCharityKiss, a campaign to help increase mental health awareness and raise money for research. With the help of Everyday Hero and so many generous people, Megan has helped raise more than $1,000 for One in Five, a small nonprofit group in Australia also geared toward raising awareness and research funds.

You’re probably thinking, “How noble of her! But, there are campaigns and charities and organizations all over the world doing similar work – what makes Megan’s amazingness so unique?”

Well, that’s where her “crazy idea” comes in:

What makes Megan so amazing is not that she created EmsCharityKiss; it’s that, after dealing with depression for 10 years and trying desperately to avoid attention, she’s chosen to come out of her shell, speak publicly about her struggles, and…

convince Robert Pattinson to give her her first kiss.


Mary Weiland Hopes Her Memoir Helps Someone "Connect"

Friday, November 20th, 2009
Mary Forsberg Weiland Signs Her New Book "Fall To Pieces"

Back in May, I told you about Mary Forsberg Weiland’s then-upcoming memoir, Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘N’ Roll & Mental Illness.

The book has since released and there’s been an increase in attention paid to that particular Celebrity Psychings post, which is sort of unfortunate because, well, it doesn’t exactly offer any “news.” :)

This morning, however, I was directed to an interview with Weiland posted yesterday at ARTISTdirect.com – an interview that does offer some news. Well, some insight, at least.

Upfront, ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino describes the book -

In her book, Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘N’ Roll & Mental Illness, she chronicles her extraordinary life with equal shades of whimsy, humor, honesty and hope. From an international modeling career and her marriage to legendary Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland to struggles with mental illness and addiction, Mary has crafted a poignant and essential portrait of growing up. It’s impossible not to identify with many of the moments in this tome—some heartbreaking, some hilarious, all real. It’s easily one of the most powerful books you will read this year.

- which (fortunately) doesn’t quite line up with what many of the Blabbermouth readers had to say after the initial announcement of the book.

During the interview, Weiland talks with Florino mostly about the process of writing the memoir, pointing out that:

  • She had to “interview” many people about herself because much of her “memory is horrible,” which helped her “learn a lot” about herself.
  • Music is often a trigger for memories, and in addition to Stone Temple Pilots she listened to some Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Radiohead, Winger, and Lisa Lisa.
  • Although she’s grown, she still feels like she and the four-year-old Mary Weiland “are the same person.”
  • She hopes the book is indeed a “coming-of-age book for girls,” as Florino suggested.

I found most all of the interview interesting, but the question that stuck out for me the most (aside from the ones related to music and “coming-of-age”) was …


NBC Nightly News Honors Charity Work Of Celebrities

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
March Of Dimes 4th Annual Celebration Of Babies

In case you missed it, NBC gave its Nightly News “Making a Difference” series a celebrity spin last week and shined the spotlight on five celebrities who are currently heavily engaged in charity work:

  • Alicia Keys, for her work with Keep a Child Alive, the organization that provides life-saving medication, support and care to children and families in Africa that have been affected by AIDS.
  • Bon Jovi, for the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation (which “exists to combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair”) and his partnership with Help USA (a partnership that’s helping create homes).
  • Tim McGraw, for his and Faith Hill’s charity Neighbor’s Keeper, which “seeks to strengthen communities by contributing to diverse projects with primary emphasis on children’s initiatives.”
  • Glenn Close, for her work with the mental health advocacy organizations Foundation House and Bring Change 2 Mind.
  • Halle Berry, for her work with the Jenesse Center, which is a domestic violence program that offers shelter, training, legal services, health services, and counseling for women and their children.

Although Glenn Close and Halle Berry are the only two celebrities in that list helping out with organizations directly related to mental health and/or mental health services, that certainly doesn’t undermine the mental health and wellness help the others indirectly provide with their charity work.

Actually, “indirectly” might not be the best word to use.

Taking care of one’s mental health and wellness goes way beyond properly managing and treating mental illness with medication and/or therapy. Mental health and wellness are often related to overall health and wellness, so it’s pretty easy to imagine that the help Alicia Keys is providing people affected by AIDS, Bon Jovi is providing people affected by economic hardships, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are providing to communities in need of children’s programs all assists in the overall health and wellness – and mental health and wellness – of the people.

You can check out the series online, and if you’re interested, be sure to check out each organization’s …


Actress Debi Mazar SPEAKs About Bipolar Disorder

Monday, November 16th, 2009
5th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards - Arrivals

Last Thursday, actress Debi Mazar joined the likes of Glenn Close, Paige Hemmis, and Joe Pantoliano.

Mazar didn’t launch her own mental health campaign, but the actress did take part in a panel discussion as part of the SPEAK and Be Heard…Living With Bipolar Depression campaign, where she talked about how bipolar disorder has affected one of her family members who was diagnosed with the disorder 10 years ago.

According the Mazar, her family member dealt with symptoms of bipolar disorder for years before getting an accurate diagnosis, beginning proper treatment, and learning to manage the illness, which is so often the case with many folks dealing with mental illness.


John Mayer To Raise Money For Veteran Charities

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

In addition to Tobey Maguire, another famous name in veteran- and PTSD-related news lately is seven-time Grammy Award-winning musician John Mayer.

Mayer’s fourth studio album, Battle Studies, is scheduled to hit shelves on November 17, 2009, and in addition to the same-day performance at Beacon Theatre (one that Fuse.tv will stream live) and the North American tour that kicks off in February to promote the album, Mayer will perform two shows with the John Mayer Trio in December – events meant to help raise money for two veteran-related organizations:

In place of Mayer’s annual Holiday Revue, these concert events will raise money for two veteran’s charities – Military Outreach Ministry Camp Pendleton (MOM) and NCIRE – the Veterans Health Research Institute. MOM is a nonprofit organization that supports young military families of all faiths and NCIRE is the largest non-profit research institute affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among other investigations, NCIRE researches the causes and best treatment for post- traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related injuries. (www.jambase.com)

Whether or not you’re a fan (actually, sometimes it seems like Mayer is one of those people for whom there is no middle ground – you either love him or hate him), you have to admit raising money to help organizations that help our nation’s veterans is pretty damn cool of him.

Learn more about Military Outreach Ministry Camp Pendleton and NCIRE online, and don’t forget to check out additional PTSD resources as well as learn how you can email veterans, troops, and their families about them.

John Mayer heads up courtesy of Michele Rosenthal, mental health advocate, public speaker, blogger, writer, workshop/seminar leader and Licensed Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and founder of the PTSD advocacy organization Heal My PTSD, LLC. To learn more about Michelle’s work and Heal My PTSD, check her out on Twitter and Facebook.

Image Source: Wikipedia


Tobey Maguire Urges PTSD Awareness, Responsibility

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Veterans Day is supposed to be a day of honoring our military veterans for all their dedication to and sacrifices for our nation, and while Veterans Day is always an important day, it seems that now – with PTSD on the rise and tragedies like the recent Fort Hood massacre – honoring America’s veterans is more critical than ever before.

And, actor Tobey Maguire believes we should go beyond just honoring our active troops and veterans and take steps to more thoroughly educate ourselves about what our troops are dealing with and learn how we can help them.

On December 4, 2009, Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman will hit the big screen in the new Jim Sheridan-directed war drama, Brothers, a film that affected Maguire – who plays Marine Captain and Afghanistan captive survivor Sam Cahill – in such a way that the actor is urging Americans to become more aware of what our troops are going through and take more responsibility for the results.

“In the area of our veterans coming home with traumas or PTSD or whatever, it’s one of those issues that isn’t pretty to look at,” Maguire says. “We ask these people to fight for us and risk their lives, and certainly potentially alter their outlook of the world or how they react to things. I think it would be nice for us as a society to have some more awareness of what they go through, and to take on some more responsibility for the results of our asking them to go over there.” (Los Angeles Times)

Will his very watered-down glimpse into the lives of our nation’s service men and women prompt Maguire to go beyond just urging Americans to become more active and actually become a celebrity spokesperson for the cause?

Eh, probably not – but it’s wonderful that his role in the movie had such an effect on him.

If you’re looking for ways you can become more aware of the issues our troops are dealing with long after they return home, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, get …


Where Does Rihanna Go From Here?

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so – or, for some reason, haven’t visited anything online except your email – I’d be willing to bet you’ve at least caught a whiff of Rihanna’s upcoming interview with Diane Sawyer tonight on ABC’s 20/20. It’s the first time the star has spoken publicly, and at length, about not only the night Chris Brown physically attacked her, but also the whirlwind of events that followed including how the media storm that followed made her feel like “Britney Spears” and how she wanted to forget the entire thing and for life – and their relationship – to just return to normal.

Although you’ll have to tune in tonight to catch the entire segment, Good Morning America showed brief clips from the interview yesterday morning and this morning, both of which feature Diane Sawyer and Rihanna addressing issues we looked at here shortly after the incident became public and it looked as though Rihanna might reconcile with Chris Brown – for example, the concern that, by going back to Chris Brown, Rihanna might be sending the wrong message to girls about abusive behavior:

“It’s completely normal to go back. It’s not right. I learned the hard way, but again, this is what I want people to know [...] When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part. I couldn’t be held responsible for going back.” (ABC News)


Bid To Meet Glenn Close At 3rd Annual Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction

Thursday, November 5th, 2009
FOX Emmy Party - Arrivals

If you were excited about the chance to bid on “God of Carnage” tickets and schmooze time with James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden, you might also be happy to know that at its third annual dinner auction, the Karla Smith Foundation is going to accept bids to meet Glenn Close, the Oscar-nominated and Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe award-winning actress and the famous face behind the new mental illness organization Bring Change 2 Mind.

On November 7, 2009, the Karla Smith Foundation will hold its third annual dinner auction at the Fountains Conference Center in Fairview Heights, Illinois, and in addition to a trip to New York, a trip to West Palm Beach, a baseball autographed by Albert Pujols, jewelry, and a week spent at Camp Ondessonk, attendees will be able to bid on the Glenn Close package (it’s not really called that; I just made it up) which includes a meeting with Close and:

  • Travel and accommodations
  • Theater tickets
  • A tour of the set of Close’s hit television show Damages

If you’re wondering, “Who is Karla Smith? What is this organization that’s offering such awesome auction items?”, the Karla Smith Foundation website sums up its history and purpose best:

Karla Smith’s seven-year struggle with bipolar disorder began when she was 19. It culminated with her suicide at age 26. In her memory, the Smith family continues her commitment to help other families face these challenges.

Karla Smith Foundation, founded by Tom, her father, Fran, her mother, and Kevin, her twin brother, is an avenue to share family experiences which similarly impact thousands of others.

(Of course, you can learn more when you peruse the entire website.)

To my understanding, you have to attend the dinner auction to be able to bid, so it might not be the most convenient thing for those of you who don’t live near Illinois; but, if any of you do attend, be sure to stop back by and let us know how it goes!


 

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