Fame, fortune and felony?

Kitty Knorr, Writer

Fame, fortune and felony? It’s surprising that even the most idealized celebrity figures, aren’t model citizens. Or is it surprising? From Lil Wayne to Johnny Cash–many artists have struggled with following the law. And while some may believe that not all publicity is good publicity, others have proven that sitting in the slammer helps them stay in the spotlight.

While Amanda Bynes and Justin Bieber’s DUIs may create global news, artists have always been temperamental. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is one of the most famous painters of the Baroque period. Caravaggio is best known for his work displayed in the Vatican within Rome, and while he was an incredibly talented painter, Caravaggio also had a lot of anger issues. During the last decade of his life, he was frequently arrested. Caravaggio’s antics include throwing a plate of artichokes at a waiter, carrying firearms illegally and street fighting. However in 1606, he killed a man in a fight over a tennis match and had to flee Rome. This man committed murder, and still went on to be the most influential European artist of the seventeenth century. Even though news didn’t travel fast back then, people were still well aware of Caravaggio’s rampages. However, nowadays news travels as fast as our internet connection permits.

From news stations to YouTube channels, many sources of journalism create a greater need for paparazzi. Nowadays a celebrity can’t sneeze without someone catching it on camera. But what does it truly mean to be a celebrity? While Hollywood maintains it’s glitz, other facets of pop culture are producing well-known names.

Andy Cohen’s Bravo network has covered the harsh reality for reality TV star Teresa Giudice. As a Real Housewife of New Jersey, Giudice and her husband were charged in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud. Basically the family attempted to keep up their glamorous appearance on a television series, and in turn found themselves in New Jersey’s finest clink.

However, Alfred Hitchcock’s experience in jail actually poses an explanation behind this director’s twisted and dark humor. As a little kid, Hitchcock’s father had a London policeman arrest young Alfred “for getting bad grades.” Little Alfred had to spend the night in jail. He was reportedly terrified and developed a lifelong fear and hatred of the police. Yet, not having respect for authority isn’t very uncommon.

Guns n’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose was held in the custody of Arizona cops in February 1998 and charged with verbally abusing an employee of Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. One year later, Jay-Z was arrested for stabbing a record executive at a New York City nightclub. However for whatever reason, society appears to be extremely forgiving towards these celebrities.

After determining that Chris Brown violated his probation in the 2009 Rihanna assault case, a Los Angeles judge sentenced Chris to a year in jail. Yet in 2014, the world let his latest album climb to number two on the Billboard hot 200 list.

Just because celebrities are in the spotlight, doesn’t mean they are good people. So don’t be a pushover and download a song just because it’s popular. And don’t be complacent, form your own opinions about these people. But lastly, please never envy celebrities. We all have our own issues, and they don’t magically go away when you become famous. Embrace who you are and take your time in choosing the celebrities that you look up to.