Fatal Distraction: Or How I Conquered My Addiction To Celebrities And Got A Life

Paperback | January 1, 2005

byEmmi Fredericks

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"My name is Eliza H., and I am a celebraholic."

So begins this cautionary tale of how celebraholism can ruin one's life-- or at least one's twenties.

Once, Eliza dreamed of walking down the aisle (at the Oscars) and having a meaningful existence (every minute of which would be chronicled by People magazine). But by her twenties, her soaring ambitions have been reduced to friendships with two people who have some small chance at fame: Danny, a gorgeous and sadly untalented actor, and the unscrupulous Dinah, who has no attribute she will not exploit.

Oh, and not to mention a lot of E! True Hollywood Stories and The National Enquirer.

But when her boyfriend dumps her because she has no life, Eliza resolves to try to kick her celebraholism once and for all. Consulting a sham shrink and going cold turkey on People, Eliza seems to be on the rough road to recovery when the unexpected happens: Dinah's boyfriend, white rapper Lylo, is involved in a hit-and-run accident that claims the life of a beloved citizen-- bringing Dinah tantalizingly close to fame...and jail.

Can Eliza get Danny his big break as a cute but expendable sidekick in action flicks? Will she save Dinah from taking the fall? Or will this finally be the opportunity for the Barbara Walters interview she's waited for her whole life? Hip, humorous, and self-aware, this sublimely witty novel parodies today's cult of celebrity with hilarity and sympathy.

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From the Publisher

"My name is Eliza H., and I am a celebraholic."So begins this cautionary tale of how celebraholism can ruin one's life-- or at least one's twenties.Once, Eliza dreamed of walking down the aisle (at the Oscars) and having a meaningful existence (every minute of which would be chronicled by People magazine). But by her twenties, her soar...

Emmi Fredericks has been a celebraholic ever since she asked the doctor who delivered her, "Are you someone?" She is a graduate of Vassar and should know not to read things like The National Enquirer, but she does and is no longer ashamed of it. She lives in New York City with her husband and basset hound. Her young-adult novel, The T...

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Kobo ebook|Mar 4 2014


Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.7 × 5.06 × 0.94 inPublished:January 1, 2005Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312312954

ISBN - 13:9780312312954

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Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter OneIn which I Introduce the Affliction of Our AgeA warning to the reader . . . This story is not for the faint of heart. While mine is ultimately a tale of triumph, it is also a harrowing chronicle of a trial of the human spirit. So, if you're not in the mood for peril and heartache, just put the book down. You can find enlightenment and self-awareness some other time. It's okay by me.All right. Now that we've sorted out the players from the poseurs, let's continue.A plague is sweeping America. An addiction that afflicts the unsuspecting citizen without warning. Early symptoms are often missed. Denial leads to postponement of treatment-or, indeed, failure to seek help at all. Inexorably, the sufferer is gripped by a state of near delusion. Relationships suffer. Isolation sets in. Normal, everyday life as most people know it becomes unbearable. Larger and larger cash outlays are required to sustain the habit.What is the plague I speak of? The disease that enslaves and weakens millions around the globe?Celebraholism.Yes, you read right.Celebraholism: a complex psychological disorder characterized by an excessive, compulsive need for exposure to celebrities.To further illustrate the affliction of our age, I present two scenarios.In the first scenario, you and I pass each other on the street. What happens?Nothing. (What did you think, I was going to run up and assault you with a hammer?)Second scenario: You and a celebrity pass each other on the street. What happens?Your mind explodes. You think . . . n0 Oh My God, it's So-and-So! (Reader, feel free to supply the celebrity of your choice.) I can't believe it. So-and-So-on the very same street that I am walking on.You hope maybe they notice you, that your eyes meet, and they say, You. Yes, you. Come to me. Be my costar, my sperm donor, my slave . . . Or you start wondering if maybe they've had a little surgery since you last saw them. You sneak a look to see if the difference shows.Or you think, Gee, he's shorter than I thought.But whatever you think, however you react, these thoughts are not just passing impressions. These thoughts have far greater significance than, say, if you walked by me and thought, My God, that's an ugly sweater.Skeptical? In denial? Let's take another look at Scenario Two. Maybe you pass a celebrity, and you don't think very much at all about it. But it's a good bet that at some point in your day you're going to say something like, "Hey, you know who I ran into today? So-and-so. He's shorter than you'd think." And someone will say, "Oh, no, I knew he was short . . ." And so on. You are now engaged in conversation, connecting with another human being. All because you ran into a celebrity.Celebrities say they are just people like anybody else. This is a lie. In our world, celebrities are conversation, connection. They are walking, talking, breathing Opportunities. They are conduits to happiness. I'm anybody else, and believe me, I've got nothing like that to give out.How do I know this? What makes me an expert? It's very simple.My name is Eliza H, and I am a celebraholic.It takes enormous courage to open this book. It means that you are ready to take that first step. To look beyond the veil of your pain to a brighter future.That's good.How to know if you are a CelebraholicThis is not always easy. Celebraholism is a socially acceptable disease, covertly and overtly encouraged by a number of societal norms. The key is to know how much you can handle and then ask yourself, Do I indulge within my limits?1. You read People magazine and Entertainment Weekly. One or the other is more or less safe. The combination indicates addiction to toxic levels.2. You are always one of those people caught in the hall discussing Not That Fucking Trial/Scandal/Divorce again.3. The word overexposed means nothing to you.4. Pleas for privacy strike you as self-indulgent.5. Next to the gossip column, the obituaries are your favorite part of the paper.6. You are willing to listen to self-styled "experts" with no credentials, as long as they're not discussing politics or economics.7. You feel the people on E! are the only ones who understand your needs.8. Who wins a presidential election matters far less to you than who wins, say, the Oscar.9. In spite of all rational, adult thought processes to persuade you to the contrary, you feel you have no life because it's not played out on the pages of a magazine or on film.Some of you might ask, Well, what's the problem? Why shouldn't I obsess about celebrities if that's what turns me on? It's a free country.The fact is, celebraholics are not happy people. At certain levels of exposure, famous people become toxic. Real life in a world of celebrities has a way of getting you down. You know that the good life is out there and you know it ain't yours.Celebraholism: active and passive formsThere are two forms of celebraholism: the active and the passive. The active form (or stage I) involves a serious psychosis: to wit, the actual desire to be a celebrity. Later stages of the active illness involve several unpalatable symptoms: depression, alcohol abuse, and, of course, actual celebrityhood.The passive form (stage II) is more common. (For the obvious reasons that out of all the deluded schmucks who yearn for fame, very few actually achieve it.) Often, they become passive celebraholics, people who simply want to know every detail about celebrities' lives-no matter how trivial or disgusting.For years, I was in the grip of the active form of the disease. Yet inexorably I sank into the deepest depths of stage II celebraholism. My life became dedicated to watching other people have lives.Which brings us to a crucial point . . . That's right, just like any other addiction, celebraholism cannot be cured, only controlled. You will never look at the cover of a glossy magazine without wanting to know the contents. You will never not care if a famous person gets married, dies, or switches gender. You will never not be in thrall to the power of celebrity.So, I hear you say, what's the answer? If it's all hopeless, why should I bother giving up my subscription to People? Why should I pretend that the activities of ordinary people are as fascinating as those of the rich and famous? Why should I give up my dream of one day becoming a celebrity?It's time to realize that. Take a deep breath and say it to yourself.I will never be a celebrity.I will never be a celebrity.I will never be a celebrity.Good. Now, take a moment, cry it out.Take your time. It's a big step.Done?Okay. You have faced the fact that you will never be a celebrity. (It's okay if the idea still causes you pain. You're just starting the process.) You have acknowledged your loss of control over your own identity, admitted your infatuation with and addiction to the identity of others.You will never be a celebrity.But you can be a Great Bit Player.This book will show you how.Copyright (c) 2004 by Emmi Fredericks

Editorial Reviews

"An extremely witty, supremely cringe-worthy, and highly original take on the cult of celebrity-- from a desperate wanna-be's point of view. Her scheming and conniving ways to get herself and her friends noticed by the public are laugh-out-loud funny but, ultimately, rather moving. While the book's wily heroine mightn't deserve fame and fortune, expect its author to be catapulted into the limelight soon." -Adèle Lang, bestselling author of Confessions of A Sociopathic Social Climber"Hip, witty, laugh-out-loud funny-- for every woman (like me) who claims to read the Enquirer ironically-- yeah, right!" -Sue Margolis, author of Apocalipstick