Opinion: Creativity: The Sane vs. the Insane


Mike Richards is a senior English major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Mike Richards

When it comes to celebrities, directors, artists, writers, musicians, or basically anyone else who may publicly deliver some sort of creative medium, how do you want them to present themselves? Would you rather these people appear calm, collected and seem as though it all comes effortlessly, or do you want an extravagant train wreck of a personality, so destructive it could raise both eyebrows and terror threat levels?

Maybe that last piece didn’t land, but you get what I’m saying. Can you believe I’m about to leave Kanye out of this one? Because that goes without saying his presence, and we all deserve a break from my constant admiration.

I’m a fan of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, where he interviews comedians, musicians, actors, directors and more. Yesterday I listened to two, one with Rivers Cuomo from the band Weezer, and Rob McElhenny from the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Speaking of McElhenny’s first, he and Maron came to a great piece of their conversation where they spoke about Maron’s interview with director Paul Thomas Anderson, and how he came off as such a “normal dude,” and how everything he does, his vision comes so effortlessly and doesn’t have as big of an insightful meaning behind it as we would love to believe. Thus the conversation grew to my very question I posit to you today, about the psyches of those we creatively admire.

In regards to Cuomo’s interview, as many would like to believe, just from the rumors about his interviews and personality, he was not that depressed, disturbed man as one may believe from listening to “Pinkerton” a few times. He’s just a normal guy, and becomes surprised when Maron makes observations on his work and personality, with such calmness and humor.

But, what is it that we want from these people? Would it make us more satisfied to see the imminent decline of an actor as he performs for our amusement, or do we want them to be just a normal person doing their job?

Is Shia LeBeouf’s social decay a joke for him or us? Is Leo DiCaprio’s extravagant life, albeit actually pretty enjoyable and leaves me occasionally jealous so much that I’ve named my cat after him—Leonardo DiCatrio—a talking piece or just a guy with a lot of money doing what he wants just because he wants to?

Justin Bieber is trying to salvage his career. Scratch that, his PR team is trying to. But who cares? Why should he save his career? His Comedy Central “Roast” is one of the worst PR stunts of recent past and present, which made me dislike him even more.

Justin, you’re working with Kanye and Rick Rubin and will have money no matter what you do, just go with it. It’s over. One day you’ll make it to Celebrity Apprentice or some celebrity cooking show to get yelled at by Gordon Ramsey.

There’s no need to dig and destroy people’s lives for our own amusement, let them do that on their own and let them figure it out from there. Paul Thomas Anderson can be a normal guy who sits around and drinks beer and still make a movie like “Magnolia,” and Shia LeBeouf can wear a bag in public and make a nuisance.

We’re all different, and that’s what makes us great, whether we’re insane or not.