Weird Habits of the Rich/Famous/Powerful

Not about MJ specifically, although he’s an obvious example.

ISTM, based on what I’ve read, that rich/famous/powerful people are more apt to have bizarre quirks than most people. Several possibilities suggest themselves.

[li]It’s not true, and results from over-reporting by the media, possibly in exaggerated and/or inaccurate form.[/li][li]The same factors that produce the great intelligence and/or drive that made these people famous are correlated with or related to the factors that produce weird behavior.[/li][li]Something about the rich/famous/lifestyle pressures people into this type of weirdness.[/li][li]Everyone has weird tendencies, but in the case of ordinary proles it’s kept in check (consciously or sub-consciously) by societal and peer pressure. Rich/famous/powerful people are not as affected by this type of pressure, so their natural weirdness has a chance to express itself.[/li][/ol]

People who earn lots of money generally get that way because they’re hard workers, intelligent, and willing to take chances. For the most part, they live rather boring, unexceptional lives that aren’t particularly worth writing about.

However, this isn’t so true of people in Hollywood or sports. These people are given lots of money because they have a particular talent and good looks. This forces lots of people who aren’t particularly money-wise, worldly, nor even just wise-wise to have more abilities and freedoms than they know what to do with, complicated by a financial impetus to keep in the media eye, and an entourage of people who also want to see the person do stupid things.

Of course the ones who don’t fall into this trap, or whose career is more manufactured than lucky, generally don’t end up in the media.

Actually, I suspect that poorer people are more likely to have weird habits. There are a lot of people who are smart or have some other talent that they could have made good use of, but they have mental problems. Instead of using their talents to become rich, they are wasting them on some weird habit.

The rich have the cash to indulge themselves. Michael Jackson bought a hyperbaric sleep chamber because he could. I suppose a lot more people would have them if they could afford them. He could afford to waste the money if he changed his mind.

Exactly. Having money means that you have more freedom to do what you want to do, and that you’ll face less criticism if those things are odd.

I know a lot of pretty weird people who are poor or middle class. I doubt celebrities are more likely to be any stranger then their counterparts, but if the guy down the street from you joins Scientology or has a hissie fit or buys a hyperbaric chamber (though I seem to recall that that was an urban legend, albeit one encouraged by Jackson himself), you don’t hear about it on the news.

Add that to the factor gonzomax mentioned, that celebrities have a lot more resources to devote to their eccentricities, and I think that explains the perception people have of them as weirder then normal pretty well.

To echo Simplico, you know he never actually bought a hyperbaric chamber, right?

Poor people are crazy. Rich people are eccentric.

Actually, in MJ’s case, most of the stuff that makes us think he was really weird turned out to be urban legends (Elephant Man’s bones, hyperbaric chamber). Even the skin bleaching turned out to have a medical reason behind it. In the end we are left with an addiction to plastic surgery (not too uncommon anymore) and some questionable involvement with children that is either kiddy-diddler weird or Peter Pan syndrome weird. In his case, I think most of his actions can be traced back to not being allowed to have a childhood until he was in his 30’s.

Most celebrities do what they do becase they have the money to indulge in these things. If Madonna decides she doesn’t like Kabala or if she wants to adopt another African orphan she is not committing her entire life savings and facing financial ruin if it fails. That kind of freedom can inspire you to try things that you would not otherwise.

Dennis Hopper is a wise, wise man.

Is it really “just” an addiction to plastic surgery? And how common is, that really? Other than Jocelyn Wildensten, I can’t think of anyone who, by their own hand, looks that horrible.

even though i believe that all people have the same capacity for being crazy, celebrities are more prone to develop narcissism (a legitimate mental disorder) and that in turn magnifies their “eccentricities”

You don’t have to rich to be into that sort of thing. Check out the Cat man who is trying to transform himself into a tiger through surgery as much as possible:

Also Google “body mutilation” some time. It is real and there are plenty of people that get in much deeper than MJ.

Wikipedia gives on overview but understates some of it:

Joan Rivers
ETA: and LaToya, so it runs in the family. She and Michael even sort of look alike now. Well, until he died anyway.

Sylvester Stallone is reputed to crap in his hotel showers. I wonder if he did this before his Rocky-level success, or if this behavior increased or decreased when his star began to drop? No current way of measuring this, I suppose.

No, depending on the embalmer, you may wait for YEARS before they diverge.

I’m sorry. I’m having a hard time with this. This thread is the first result in google for the string “Sylvester Stallone hotel showers” not related to a film. I’m not seeing anything that looks too promising further along. Not being snarky but can you steer me towards a reference to this. I just can’t get past the “why” part of it.

The media only lets you see what they want you to see.

Let’s say that there were 100 celebrities in the world, and 30 of them were completely normal and never did anything out of the ordinary. Depending on their success, you might not even know their names. Let’s say 20 other celebrities were extremely successful and became incredibly rich - they look at their bank account, it says 50 million dollars. (Take into consideration, having this much money tends to affect your decisions. Things you may have seen as useless before, suddenly become desirable. Why? …Why not?) That hyperbaric oxygen chamber sounds pretty good all of a sudden. The media then reports on the “quirkyness” of these 20 celebs while leaving out the 30 people who didn’t buy an oxygen chamber. And all along, the majority of these 50 celebrities were normal, yet based on what you’re given by the media you wouldn’t even have know better.
My point is that I think you’re missing the bigger picture, (regardless of your 4 solutions, you felt insecure enough about them to start a thread to debate the answer) and failed to take somethings into consideration.

I find the essentric habits of the rich but not famous to be far more interesting.

My college had a lot of kids who came from wealthy but relatively anonymous families. I’ve also worked with a lot of people who by the time they have reached their 40s have amassed quite a small fortuneas successful lawyers, bankers, consultants, and whatnot.

First of all, it turns a lot of them into douches. Not that they mean to be jerks or anything for the most part. They just don’t seem to care about physical posessions (theirs or other people’s), they often don’t help out with stuff because they are used to someone else doing for them and they sort of take for granted stuff that most people get really stressed out about - tuition, grades, rent, fixing their trashed BMW, etc. And since most of the people they know tend to view them with a mix of resentment and envy, they can be a bit standoffish. So what you get is a person who seems very lazy, entitled and frustratingly casual about everything.

A lot of them aren’t really raised by their parents. They are raised by au pairs until they are old enough to go to boarding school during the school year and camp in the summer. Then they go off to college. During parents weekend at my college, one of the parents asked why the guys in the neighboring fraternity were running around with Jack-o-lanterns on their head in the middle of April. I’m like "those kids tend to come from money. Their parents weekend usually consists of a letter saying something like
'Dear Hunter,

Having a great time with your new Mom skiiing in Aspen. Here’s $5,000 to tide you over until we get back.

Hunter Douchington Sr.’"

Not surprisingly, a lot of them get into self destructive behavior. Drugs, booze and casual sex are pretty common. Other than maybe accidently overdosing, there usually aren’t any negative consequences for them. Think of the coked up lawyer or stockbroker stereotype.

A lot of them get into weird hobbies too. One of my bosses was studing to be a mixed martial artist or something. He would bring in his sensei to give motivational speeches that mostly consisted of films of him kicking ass. Another senior guy used to take race car lessons and shit on the weekend. One of the oddest had to be this lawyer client my Managing Director went to meet. The MD comes back and tells me this bizarre story about this winetasting club thing this guy made him get all dressed up in Renaissance faire garb for. Like WTF dude.

I’m weird as all get out - you just never heard about it because I’m not rich or famous.