If there’s one thing messier than an tabloid-happy celebutante or aging diva, it’s the rare case when both egos merge within the body of a male celebrity who can’t help but feel, no matter what, he’s getting a raw deal. Some of our manliest stars have the queenliest egos, and here is a crop of the choicest man-divas:
In every diva’s life there runs some thread of tragic undoing. Pete Doherty’s drink of choice: overexposure. Famous more for his relationships than his own accomplishments, Doherty has been the darling of the tabloids in the mid-to-late ‘naughts for his entanglements with heroin, Kate Moss, and ex-fellow Libertine Carl Barat. Though it must be said that amidst the endless stream of drugs and models, there lies a genuinely interesting person, which is more than one can say for most of the poster-boys and girls of People magazine. Though this doesn’t excuse the fact that he somehow bends the laws of physics and manages to look like an even more bedraggled Robert Pattinson.
With his borrowed Boy George makeup and Kesha-esque hairstyles, Adam Lambert is a diva of the highest order. What’s more, no coming-out story could be more touchingly staged than Lambert’s pelvis grinding makeout session in 2009 which announced him as gay to the world â€” or the teensy part of the world that didn’t already know. In more recent antics, when Lambert tried to crash the Monster Mother’s birthday party he was swiftly ejected for his drunken unruliness. Unbelievably, Lady Gaga seems to still possess the ability to judge some behavior as too self-indulgent.
The lead singer of My Chemical Romance has had a storied history with alcohol and womanizing, but if we were going to talk about rock stars struggles with booze and babes we could simply say “Every one of them ever” and head out for lunch. The difference is most artists don’t let that rank over-confidence infect their lyrics, while Gerard Way makes smarmy rock ballads about cancer patients. Like the Nicholas Sparks of pop-rock for 13-year-olds, MCR’s lyrics drip with unearned self-importance. Unable to craft anything artistically nuanced, Way has the arrogance to ham-fistedly use mega-tragedies (cancer, 9/11, death in Iraq are popular ones) to make his point. Also while other celebrities have to change their look and adapt to recent ideas of what is fashionable, Gerard Way is enough of a diva that he apparently looked up the word “Emo” in 2003 and hasn’t changed since.
Apart from pulling a Vanilla Ice circa 2007 on the set of Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale also can’t seem to turn away any excuse to take on the persona of an under-fed person. To which the question must arise â€” is it because he knows it will get him an Oscar nomination, or because having a good six-week fast is a habit he simply enjoys? Maybe he just likes admiring himself in the mirror?
There has probably never been a more aimlessly talented fame whore in all of human history than Kanye West. And because humanity did something to piss off God (it might have had something to do with that whole “the 20th century” thing), he saw fit to give us Kanye right at the advent of social media. His tweets say it all, even without the Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, he’s a queenly force to be reckoned with. From his abstractly blaming women for using pregnancy as a cash-ploy, to the infamous Taylor Swift incident, to his consciously family-unfriendly album cover, Kanye knows how to be talked about as long as such a thing as social media exists.
The briefly sane actor who made waves in films like Gladiator and To Die For has since become famous for getting lost in the shuffle â€” as publicly as possible. Not content to come up with his own shtick, he stole pretty much every idea Andy Kaufman ever had and pretended to go seriously off the edge for more than a year. And just to make sure everyone noticed, he made a film about this dropping under the radar and nearly refused to be saved by Werner Herzog in a car accident while pretending to seriously pursue a rap career. In the typical mistake of a super-diva, Phoenix overestimated his own fame, and the whole ideal was met with little more than some confused yawns.
Where to begin with the man Sheen? Since his wars with tabloid indecency sparked a public battle cry, the beleaguered star now goes around carrying a Violent Torpedo of Truth around with him, like some magnificent burden. And yet where will the torpedo land? In all its delicious absurdity the tantalizing saga of Sheen seems to perfect to be real. There’s really no way to describe Sheens “meltdown” using mere mortal words, so here are some quotes that reach a Salvador Dali level on the Confusing vs. Awesome scale:
On Whether he was on Drugs:“I am on a drug – it’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”;
On Chuck Lorre: “I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon. Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words â€” imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists.”;
On AA: “[A.A.] was written for normal people, people that aren’t special. People that don’t have tiger blood, you know, Adonis DNA.”
The scariest thing about Charlie Sheen’s meltdown is that, in a world as crazy as ours, he almost makes sense.
A man who needed attention badly enough to warrant a literal “nailed-to-a-cross” crucifixion of himself surely warrants the title of ‘diva’. Though Horsley himself would have preferred ‘dandy’. Horsley led a checkered life that involved outrageous artistic statements, drug use, and writing about his love of prostitutes â€” going as far as to fantasize about dying in a prostitutes arms. The exceptionally dressed, libertinous diarist of our times lived a sparkling life and died in a vague manner, as one following Horsley’s career could have only seen as befitting the ‘Dandy in the Underworld’ who always seemed too big, or too fabulous, for the Upper World. An annoying diva to some, but when New Jersey denies you entry based on your “lack of moral turpitude” and Stephen Fry speaks affectionately at your funeral maybe you’re doing something right.
Eminem has taken many approaches to his own strange celebrity. From shock tactics with his early violent rhymes to the later, Wildean approach of declaring he is no more than whatever we say he is, and recently to his (kind of lame) rivalry with rapper Nick Cannon. Despite all this, Eminem falls into a strange “So Diva He’s Not Diva” category. While most other divas are perpetually sporting a self-congratulating smirk, Eminem reportedly hasn’t smiled since he was 14.
An overenthusiastic Oprah appearance changed the public notion of one of the most generic stars in Hollywood, whose life henceforth became a public charade of matrimonial bliss. Cruise’s relationship to celebrity is noxious at best, but one thing must be said â€” he’s never above expressing his true emotions, publicly and for syndication.
High dramatics may not be completely uncalled for in a prose writer. But for the writer named ‘The Great American Novelist’ by Time, it’s hardly appropriate. Franzen has gone on several “scare-rants” about how dense, complicated literature is ruining the public’s ability to appreciate good writing. To be fair, Jonathan Franzen is talking about Ulysses, but, in a world where the most-read books are incoherent messes about vampires and abstinence, his rants seem like whiny rambling about the imperceptible differences between complex literature and slightly more complex literature. Writer Ben Marcus summed up Franzen (and perhaps all Divas) by saying Franzen is “eager for fame, but hostile to the people who confer it.”
Who but a true genius â€” and true diva â€” would risk an all-too-vast and certain public adoration by making hopelessly anachronistic racist comments where the press could hear them? None but the man himself, whose passion for morbidity and animal rights have factored into his eccentric appeal for well on decades now. One always looks forward to the next installment in the Morrissey saga, for it is never less than fascinating. As Russell Brand can attest, ‘the man speaks in epigrams’. Witty, elegant epigrams like “The Chinese are a subspecies”
Cowell is, in polite terms, a kind of cultural critic. In less polite terms, he is someone who needs to get his rocks off by giving young idiots a severe (and usually verbose) dressing down. Who could forget his legendary take-down of Kristy-Lee Cook in season seven, telling her she sounded like Dolly Parton on helium. The thing that catapults Cowell from cultural critic to diva is not only did he have strong opinions on amateurs far below his pay grade, but he crafted one of the most popular shows in television history around his ability to tell people how much better he is than them. It doesn’t take much to insult Cowell’s delicate artistic sensibilities, and so one must wonder how he ever thought that being a critic of any kind would be an ideal profession for one so already disappointed with the constant mediocrity of the world?
Ron Ron of Jersey Shore
Possibly the male star about whose bodily functions we know the most (why was Ronnie bleeding out of his asshole?), Jersey Shore’s spurned lover tops of the list of exemplary reality-television masculinity. During the continuous break-up session that was last season, his profound and ceaseless talk of souls rivals St. Augustine in vigor. In addition to being one of the most dramatic members of the house on the Shore, Ron Ron boasts a namesake drink that is now the basis of certain specialized cocktails. Dan Ackroyd and his limited-edition Crystal Skull Vodka now have some competition.
Though Franco isn’t the first star to attend a nationally televised event quite obviously blazed, he’s certainly the most recent, which makes him the talk of the press and the hero ofthis year’s Oscars. It’s one thing for an actor to be compared to such a romantic symbol as James Dean, but it’s another thing entirely to consistently stage photo shoots in order to deliberately court such comparison while maintaining the exact same look and hairstyle as James Dean. But to be fair, how else could he have followed his lead as the author of a set of the most boring short stories since Henry James?