Monday, June 01, 2009

I don't know what it takes to be hospitalized for exhaustion.

This post is not immediately relevant to myself, at least not today. For once, I was smart about my BEA/New York weekend, and didn't push myself beyond reasonable limits. Yes, I was out until 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, but went home early on Saturday night and flew home yesterday rather than taking the train to the bus. (Trains on Sunday are expensive; flying was about the same price as the train and bus together.)

Anyway, this morning's news reported that Susan Boyle, this year's star of "Britain's Got Talent," has been hospitalized for exhaustion. I feel sad for Ms. Boyle, who looks like a prime example of the dangers of getting what one wished for. The spotlight seems to have overwhelmed her, and the UK tabloid press make the US gossip reporters look like kindergarten helpers.

It would be enough to send anyone to a rest home, but I always wonder what it means when someone is hospitalized for exhaustion. Exhaustion is a real medical condition, in which someone is too tired or too sick to perform basic self-care functions such as eating, drinking, and bathing; these cases require hospitalization so that people can be fed and rehydrated, and have their body chemistry restored to equilibrium.

But being "hospitalized for exhaustion" is also quite often code for detox, suicide prevention, or some other scandalous life crisis. The saddest thing about Susan Boyle's hospitalization is that it will probably make a bad situation worse, in calling attention to her fragility and making her the subject of even more intense public scrutiny.

BEA was fun, my friend Matt's show was great, and now I'm scrambling to catch up with everything neglected while I was in New York. I know it's been a long time since I posted a reading list, so I might make the rest of the week a set of recommendations for summer reading.

1 comment:

Get A Life! said...

Sadly, you are correct. Being "hospitalized for exhaustion" just means you are enough of a public figure to have an agent to make the claim. I wish Susan all the best. This whole cult of celebrity is out of hand.