Showing posts with label Famous Figures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Famous Figures. Show all posts

August 2, 2016

Why do We Make Terrorists Famous? Let’s Not Print Their Names


 

                                                                          
XXXX

 
There are at least three reasons why we should stop publicising the namesof violent jihadists who commit acts of terror. The first is that by doing so – by publishing and republishing their faces, living or (especially) dead – they become globally recognised characters in the showbusiness side of this terrorist war, thus fulfilling one of their keenest desires. Consider how during the Bataclan siege in Paris the killers demanded that their hostages call news channels in the moments before the massacre. The radical Islamist who attacked the kosher supermarket the day of the Charlie Hebdo murders took time to phone one of those channels to demand that it correct the banner it was using to identify him. And is it by chance that the mass murderer in Nice left his identity card in his truck for all to see?

The second reason is that by going into detail, as we are wont to do, about these zombie lives – by following the trail from a childhood that is invariably “unhappy” to a “sudden” radicalisation, by dwelling on the putative “mystery” of a monster who also happened to be a good father, a normal husband, a friendly neighbour always willing to lend a hand – we are taking the shortest route to the banalisation of evil, which we have long known to be a grave danger.

Why do we need to be told, for example, that the man who slit the throat of a priest in Normandy had a “brilliant personality”? What useful information are we getting when we are shown, over and over, the widow of one of the Charlie Hebdo killers telling us that even now, a year on, she still hasn’t uncovered the slightest warning of her mysterious husband’s radicalisation?

Was it really necessary to have spent so many years fighting the culture of excuses to now hand the stage over to the “best friend” of the Nice killer so that he can tell us that the latter was a “fantastic”, “almond-eyed” guy who once had proclaimed “Je suis Charlie” but who, alas, was so “frustrated” that he mock-murdered stuffed animals and that his “borderline” personality pushed him over the edge?

There is in this unending, often pathetic, chronicle of horror a way of neutralising the conscience; and, on the pretext of showing us the face of the criminal, a way of blinding us to what makes it so revolting.

The third fundamental reason that should convince the media not to focus on names whose hypnotic repetition has become the rhythm of our time (or perhaps to refer to them only by first names or initials, and so deny them the limelight) is that the present unstable mixture of trivialization and glorification – in which we are told that these are ordinary people who happen to have hitched their fate to unforgettable acts – will have the worst possible consequence: a copycat effect; an invitation to vulnerable minds to follow their example and to commit similar acts; a taste of the global glory their role models gain after their deaths. 

Aldo Moro, a kidnapping victim in Italy. where ‘people were wondering whether it was appropriate to publish the statements issued by the Red Brigades’. Photograph: AP
The mechanism is well known. It is what the French philosopher René Girard was describing when he emphasised the mimetic aspect of violence in general – and of terrorism in particular.

It is what Marshall McLuhan condemned at the height of the terror in Italy, when people were wondering whether it was appropriate to publish the statements issued by the Red Brigades. The author of War and Peace in the Global Village was so thoroughly convinced the war would ultimately play out in the theatre of the media that he proposed a news blackout on the acts of armed groups – an overly radical proposal that was nevertheless partly implemented by the Italian press.

But even earlier – at the end of the 19th century – witnesses to the first great wave of attacks that shook modern France had reached the same conclusion. A president had been stabbed to death and bombs were being set off in the national assembly and in cafes. For nightmarish months, readers of Le Temps, Le Journal and Le Petit Illustré woke each morning dreading the sight on the front pages of the name and picture of a new Ravachol or another imitator of Auguste Vaillant and Emile Henry, to name just three prominent figures in what was then called “anarchism”. France was petrified.

Terrorism, in this age of Islamist extremism, has reached new peaks in the refinement of horror. But what has not changed is the principle of morbid contagion, the apparently endless viral transmission from body to body, the chain reaction of names that inspire and are inspired by other names.

Of course, no one would claim that refraining from mentioning terrorists’ names is enough to break the chain of imitation.

First, because the reign of the supposedly social networks has greatly limited the power of traditional newspapers.

Second, because jihadism has many other roots – deep roots – not in communication, but in forms of religion and fascism.

And were terrorist X to be deprived of the dizzying pleasure of associating his name with that of terrorist Y in the new dark phalanx, he would still have that other, just as great, pleasure: imagining himself absorbed into the chanted name of an immutable God. Or yet another pleasure, no less delectable, of seeing two names – his own and that of the Almighty – cast in the same lead of the same nihilism.

Still, disarming one trigger among three, four, or even more – is that not worth doing? In this total war that has been declared against us, should each of us not resist as best we can, where we can, where we have responsibility, where life and our occupation have placed us?

And would it not be something to see the engineers of opinion, by refusing to serialise infamy, try to jam at least one of the engines of a machine that is now hurtling along at full tilt? We have to make the best of where we are.


We need a broad agreement within the media to limit descriptions of terrorist criminals to no more than the bare essentials.

Against all the mock heroism and copycat productions that bring us into unwitting complicity with violent jihadism, we need to relegate the terrorists to the deserved obscurity of infamous men.


• Translated from French by Steven B Kennedy

December 24, 2015

Charlie Sheen Opens up Regards Costs of his HIV Diagnosis and How He’s Fighting it


                                                                         

Sheen, who revealed his diagnosis on the "Today" show in November, said he's doing well. 
"I’m really clear, really good, positively focused. It was such a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders when I made the announcement," Sheen told The Enquirer's Editor-in-Chief Dylan Howard. "I realized afterwards, I wish I had possibly done it sooner. As we’ll discuss, there were a lot of different elements in the mix that prevented me from doing that." 
Sheen previously told Matt Lauer during his "Today" interview that he was a victim of "shakedowns" and extorted for millions of dollars in order to keep his diagnosis a secret. 
And while the diagnosis lead to a lot of reflection, anger and denial for Sheen, he told The Enquirer that it didn't last long. 
"It was shortly afterwards -- I think it was the second day -- I said to my mom, 'This disease picked the wrong guy.' If anybody can fight this thing and discover a cure, it’s me. I will exhaust every resource available to me. I will sit with every expert. I will move forward until something’s revealed." 
Sheen, who currently said that he takes three pills a day (at a cost of about $4,000 a month) knows that his treatment is unaffordable for some, but hopes to find a way to lower the cost. And by talking about his diagnosis and researching every option possible, the 50-year-old actor told The Enquirer he wants to spread a message of hope. 
"If there’s a cure out there, I will find it and share it," said Sheen. "You have my word."
To read more of Sheen's interview, head here, or pick up the new issue of the National Enquirer on newsstands now.   msn.com
                                                                           -*-

Years of personal torment came to an end when Charlie Sheen confirmed his HIV diagnosis back in November. But in some ways, his battle was just beginning. After weeks of silence and alone time to regroup, Sheen spoke out for the first time about his new life living publicly with HIV to RADAR, unloading new revelations that will both stun and inspire his fans.



DYLAN HOWARD: I didn’t think we’d ever be talking again (after Radar reported you were HIV-positive).

CHARLIE SHEEN: I didn’t either, to be honest, but here we are. Anything’s possible.

DH: Anything is possible, indeed. It has been a number of weeks since your announcement. How is Charlie Sheen today?

CS: I’m really clear, really good, positively focused. It was such a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders when I made the announcement. I realized afterwards, I wish I had possibly done it sooner. As we’ll discuss, there were a lot of different elements in the mix that prevented me from doing that.

DH: Why do you wish you’d done it earlier?

CS: Because of how I felt afterwards.

PHOTOS: ‘Burn!’ Charlie Sheen’s Ex Torches Photos & Other Mementos To Exorcise Their Chaotic Past

DH: Did you not think you’d feel that way afterwards?

CS: I didn’t realize the weight I was carrying — until it was relieved.

DH: After your diagnosis, how would you characterize your emotional state?

CS: I was angry. I was in denial. I was in shock.

DH: Angry at who?

CS: Myself, the world. But that didn’t last long. It was shortly afterwards — I think it was the second day — I said to my mom, ‘This disease picked the wrong guy.’ If anybody can fight this thing and discover a cure, it’s me. I will exhaust every resource available to me. I will sit with every expert. I will move forward until something’s revealed.

DH: You mentioned your anger. Did you ever consider suicide?

CS: I didn’t, no, and I never considered it before the diagnosis. I’ve never been that guy. I’ve always said if somebody’s gonna kill themselves, they should jump off a building. It’s pretty sure-fire! Slashed wrists are usually just a cry for help.

PHOTOS: Inside Charlie Sheen’s HIV & AIDS Related Physical Deterioration

DH: How did you tell your dad Martin, and your mother, Janet, of the medical condition when you were first diagnosed?

CS: My mom was in the room with me so we heard it at the same exact time; we both dealt with it there.

DH: What was your immediate reaction?

CS: I thought I was going to wake up from a bad dream, but that wasn’t the case. Then I gave it some time. I told my father about a month later and he was shocked at first and sad, but ultimately, everyone’s come to a place of love and support and helping me stay and get healthier.

DH: Your mother didn’t tell your father for a month?

CS: I asked her to keep it between us for the time being. It was my condition and I had to decide how I was going to tell people.

DH: In terms of sharing your journey, how do you plan to educate yourself more about HIV so you can in turn educate others?

CS: I’m gonna continue to meet with the top experts in the field and continue to surround myself with bigger brains than mine. I’ll see where the future is headed with treatment. I am in a rare position to turn my diagnosis into a positive, and that began with telling my truth to Matt Lauer, and now I’m talking to you and The National ENQUIRER so that I can reach your audience with my story and continue to shine a light on this disease while brilliant scientists continue to search for a cure.

PHOTOS: ‘Burn!’ Charlie Sheen’s Ex Torches Photos & Other Mementos To Exorcise Their Chaotic Past

DH: Can this be a positive in your life?

CS: It already is. It makes me take pause and ponder the concept that perhaps everything that led up to this was to gain the spotlight of popularity to finally deliver a message that truly matters. I’m grateful for everything I’ve been able to do in life. I’ve made a lot of people laugh and see the world differently through me. Now, maybe it’s time to change the world.

DH: But there have been others who have come forward with HIV or AIDS. You obviously were afraid to come forward and, thus, keep it quiet.

CS: Well, I wouldn’t say I was afraid. But again, there was a privacy aspect of it. What I would say to others? If they’re living in fear or living in some shackled existence, take it to the next level and be free of that prison.

DH: What is it like for someone living with HIV today? What’s the medical regimen you have to go through on a day-to-day basis?

CS: I have to take three pills each day. The total cost is about $4,000 a month. I know that’s prohibitive to a lot of people’s economic scenarios. Perhaps in my research, and in my journey, we can help develop ways that make it affordable for all.

PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen’s Expertise Of Hiring Prostitutes, Hiding Porn, Drug Meltdowns & More In Jon Cryer’s New Book

DH: Did you ever seek stem-cell treatments to mitigate the effects of HIV? If so, where?

CS: I’ve done stem cells on two bum shoulders that have been chronic for years, and I was not really blown away by the results. I didn’t see it as a real hopeful treatment program for something this systemic.

DH: If you could summarize how you are today, Charlie, how would you describe it?

CS: Sober, focused, hopeful, vigilant and, um, poetic!

DH: And glad this interview is over!

May 22, 2015

Josh Duggar of ’19 Kids’ very Moral and Anti gay Turns to be Sexually Inmoral


                                                                    
 Josh Duggar  and the kids in the reality show 19 kids counting. Now reports show Josh a very anti gay Republican moral person is very  immoral

Before I take you to this story being reported yesterday  by the sub main press, today with the main press. I waited on this because I wanted to verify and and find out more about this character who happens to be popular because of a  TV program. I am going to give you  quotes from him on his twitter or other avenues which Josh sponsors. I want you to see for yourself that he considers himself a very moral guy and gays and liberals as very immoral and trying to destroy the fabric of the Republic:
  • Gina Miller says there is a "war being waged by the militant homosexual movement, which is tyrannical at its heart.  The forcing on society of perverse sexual behavior is part of the Marxist Left’s campaign to destroy the moral foundations of the United States."
  • Scott Walker was recently in Washington, D.C., where he met with leaders of the Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America.
  • Travis Weber of the Family Research Council calls for "legislation to be passed at the federal level and the state level around the country protecting people who support traditional marriage from the government, from the government discriminating against them, intruding into their affairs and penalizing them because of their beliefs.”
  • Finally, the researchers who debunked Mark Regnerus' anti-gay parenting study say that "if he were one of my students I’d make him redo the paper."

FILED UNDER

Josh Duggar, Mark Regnerus, Gina Miller 


Now the breaking news about this sexual child molester:
(Adam)

The hit TLC show “19 Kids and Counting” shows the Duggars as a wholesome and religious family, but a report Tuesday claims Josh Duggar was allegedly involved in an underage sex scandal. The exclusive report by In Touch Weekly says that Jim Bob, Josh's father, turned him in to authorities. The charge dates back to 2005 and occurred when Josh was a minor himself, according to “multiple sources” who saw the police report.

Jim Bob called the Arkansas State Police Department after he discovered Josh left a young girl’s bedroom and “learned something inappropriate happened,” an insider said, according to the magazine. “I saw and read the report and it clearly stated that Jim Bob brought his son Josh into the Arkansas State Police and spoke to a state trooper about Josh’s involvement in alleged inappropriate touching with a minor,” a different person added.
Josh Duggar was not prosecuted. 

Sgt. Darrel Hignite, the officer who reportedly led the investigation, would not give a statement about the case. “I can’t comment or discuss [this case] because of the sensitive nature and because it involved a juvenile,” he said, according to In Touch Weekly.  (There are unconfirmed reports that the original officer who took the report was himself investigated as a child molester and no longer with the force. It remains unconfirmed because the police wont talk).

“A technicality prevented any further action,” a source told In Touch Weekly. “That’s been the biggest regret in all of this.”
  


Jim Bob Duggar waited more than a year after his son, Josh, confessed to sexually molesting several female minors before contacting police, In Touch Magazine is reporting exclusively, based on information contained in the official police report.
What’s more, Jim Bob informed the elders of his church about Joshua’s actions and they waited three months before contacting authorities. The explosive new information is contained in a Springdale, AK police report obtained by In Touch magazine. 
The report has been hidden since 2006 and was just obtained by the mag through a Freedom of information Act request. Jim Bob also refused to allow police to interview Josh when they opened a felony investigation in 2006. The Duggars star on TLC’s hit show 19 Kids and Counting
In Touch magazine first broke the news of the Duggars’ underage sexual molestation scandal in this week’s magazine. (Note: Josh’s name is redacted from the police report but In Touch has confirmed the passages that refer to him.)  
Other bombshells in the police report are: Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview by the Springdale Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities.
Jim Bob told police that about nine months later in March, 2003 “there was another incident.” Josh was again accused by a female minor of touching her breasts and genitals. Josh was accused by several minors of touching their genitals, often when they slept, but at times when they were awake.
Jim Bob then “met with the elders of his church and told them what was going on.” No one alerted the police or any other law enforcement agency. Instead they decided to send Josh to a “program [that] consisted of hard physical work and counseling. James said that [redacted, Josh] was in the program from March 17, 2003 until July 17, 2003.” 
He said the program was a “Christian program.” Michelle Duggar later admitted to police that Josh did not receive counseling and instead had been sent during that time to a family friend who was in the home remodeling business. 
Asked about the training center that Jim Bob said Josh was sent to, Michelle told police, according to the report, “it was not really a training center. Det. [Darrell] Hignite asked if the guy [redacted, Josh] talked to was a certified counselor. She said no. She said it was a guy they know in Little Rock that is remodeling a building. Det. Hignite asked if the guy was more of a mentor. She said “kind of.”
The Duggars told police that Josh “apologized” to the female minors and that they had “forgiven” him.
An alleged victim told police in 2006 that Josh had told “mother and dad what had happened… (and) asked for forgiveness." The report notes the alleged victim says Josh “sought after God and had turned back to God.
Jim Bob told police that “several members of their church were aware of the situation and had been supportive of the family.”
Police interviewed several of the alleged minor victims in December, 2006. They told police that Josh had touched their breasts and sex organs.
Jim Bob told police in 2006 that when Josh returned home in 2003, Jim Bob, accompanied by some of his church elders, took Josh to Arkansas State Trooper, Jim Hutchens. Jim Bob knew Hutchens personally. Hutchens did not take any official action and instead gave Josh a “very stern talk.” As In Touch magazine reports exclusively in this week’s issue, Hutchens is now serving 56-years in prison for child pornography. He took no action on the Duggar case.
The Duggars told police that at the time Josh was accused of, and admitting to, these sexual acts, “a family friend aware of what had happened had written down in a letter what he knew of [redacted, Josh’s] actions…That letter had been placed in a book and had subsequently been forgotten about. Just recently [in 2006] the book had been loaned to someone else with the letter in it and another person discovered the letter.
The Duggars refused to tell police who wrote the letter and who found it.
When the family was scheduled to appear on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show in 2006, an email was sent to the show warning them about the alleged molestation. The email was written by a 61-year-old female who is not identified.
Harpo Studios faxed the letter to the Department of Human Services hotline. The report was then opened for investigation, leading to the investigation by Springdale police.
When police asked Jim Bob to bring Josh in for an interview in 2006, he attempted to hire a lawyer and refused to produce his son for questioning. At least two lawyers refused to take his case. “Det. Hignite received a voice mail from Mr. Duggar stating that [redacted] had hired an attorney and would not be coming in for an interview.”
In Touch magazine broke the story of Josh Duggar’s dark past in the issue currently on sale. The magazine obtained the police report, hidden since 2006, through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Police had to abandon pursuing charges because the [then] three-year statute of limitations had expired.
The alleged victims all described a consistent scenario of Josh touching their breasts and genitals and later apologizing. They said Jim Bob was aware of the situation and did not go to authorities for more than a year.

February 2, 2015

Whitney Houston’s Daughter Found Like Her Mom but Revived at Hosp




 Singer Bobby Brown on Sunday asked for privacy regarding his and his late wife Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who according to police was found unresponsive in a bathtub at her Georgia home before she was revived at a hospital. 
The incident comes nearly three years after Houston, a superstar who battled substance abuse, drowned in a bathtub in Beverly Hills, California, in February 2012. Authorities have said cocaine use and heart disease contributed to her death. 
Brown, 21, was found on Saturday in the bathtub at her suburban Atlanta home by her husband Nick Gordon and a friend, the Roswell Police Department said. Gordon started CPR and police continued life-saving measures until an ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital.
“Privacy is requested in this matter. Please allow for my family to deal with this matter and give my daughter the love and support she needs at this time,” said Bobby Brown in a statement issued by his lawyer Christopher Brown. 
Brown was taken to North Fulton Hospital in Roswell, a suburb north of Atlanta, police said.
Doctors put her in a medically induced coma, according to CNN and other media, all of whom quoted a single source close the family, but the hospital would not confirm those reports or give any updates on her condition. 
In January 2014, Brown married Gordon, who was also raised but never adopted by Houston, one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. 
Houston, whose dozens of hit songs include "How Will I Know" and "I Will Always Love You," was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and a cousin of pop singer Dionne Warwick.
Bobbi Kristina Brown's father, Bobby Brown, is a Grammy Award winner who started his career as frontman for the R&B group New Edition.
Both of Bobbi Kristina's parents struggled with substance abuse, and Houston described their 15-year marriage, which ended in 2007, as drug- and alcohol-fueled. Bobby Brown was sentenced to 55 days in jail in 2013 after admitting to driving drunk in 2012. 
Bobbi Kristina Brown was hospitalized twice with anxiety after her mother's death.
(Reuters) -(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Eric Walsh)

October 17, 2014

Grisham comes on the side of Child Porn Users

NEW YORK - JANUARY 27:  John Grisham attends Barnes & Noble Union Square to signs copies of "The Associate" on January 27, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Grisham
One of the ways money makes you powerful is that you can say what you want and don’t give a hoot about who you offend. Up until this time Grisham is been not present on arguments dealings with any type of sex.
Well not caring that he is got a demographic of readers that are going to be appalled when  they learn that he’s come on the side of child porn holders.
On the other hand is me, I don’t have any money to talk about but my blog is completely independent and I express my opinion hoping not to offend but not changing my writing style because Im going to offend and loose readers.  I am against ALL child porn because even though there are guys that get off on it,  I don’t ...and know there is a child on the other end and a market to get those children wether is enticement or kidnapping to get them to do what they do which in most cases they are not fully aware how those pics are going to follow them in the future. Many stars of today have been embarrassed at having naked pictures of them turn out. Adam Gonzalez, Publisher
Now, You can put away your fake third boob, because John Grisham just found an even better way to guarantee that your name will appear in headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons. The best-selling author, who has a new novel coming out next week, told The Telegraphthat the U.S. justice system treats people who look at child pornography too harshly. "We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child," he said. "But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn."
He went on to describe the plight of a "good buddy from law school":
His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled "sixteen year old wannabee hookers" or something like that. And it said "16-year-old girls." So he went there. Downloaded some stuff - it was 16 year old girls who looked 30.
He shouldn't ’a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn't 10-year-old boys. He didn't touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: "FBI!" and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people — sex offenders — and he went to prison for three years.
There's so many of them now. There's so many "sex offenders" — that's what they're called - that they put them in the same prison. Like they're a bunch of perverts, or something; thousands of ’em. We've gone nuts with this incarceration ...
Grisham added that he has "no sympathy for real pedophiles," saying, "God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that's what they're getting."
Clearly, this is a very clever way to win over new readers. The internet is rife with images of 16-year-old girls dressed up to look like 30-year-old women, and anyone who's ever Googled while drunk knows it's nearly impossible to avoid all the child porn. Why should someone spend a few years in prison for downloading that stuff to their computer — you know, if they're a white guy?

October 11, 2014

Naked Photos of Former Dr.Who Online by Hackers


Doctor Who star Matt SmithGetty/Frederick M. BrownMatt Smith.

Naked photographs of former "Doctor Who" actor Matt Smith were leaked online on Wednesday night by iCloud hackers, the Mirror reports. 
The images reportedly show Smith with British model Daisy Lowe, who he was in an 18-month relationship with until late 2011. That could mean that iCloud hacking was gone on for far longer than previously thought.
Hackers likely obtained the photographs of Smith by accident after accessing the iCloud account of his former girlfriend.
The collection of photographs leaked online today appears to be the same series of images that a stolen photo dealer attempted to sell to Business Insider for 1 bitcoin (around $350). After learning of the existence of the photographs, Business Insider contacted Daisy Lowe’s representatives to inform them that their client had been targeted by hackers. 
No male celebrities are known to have been specifically targeted by the iCloud hackers, instead their photos usually turn up by accident.
Naked photographs of actor Dave Franco were part of the "OriginalGuy" leak that took place on Labor Day. However, those images only emerged after hackers were looking for photographs of actress Alison Brie.
The only other male celebrity implicated in the iCloud hack has been Nick Hogan. It's claimed that naked photographs of the reality television star were part of a trove of images obtained from his iCloud account, along with photographs of his mother in underwear and images of his former girlfriends. The hackers are likely to have hacked the account in search of the photographs showing Hogan's underage girlfriends.
The hackers behind the celebrity leaks continue to post photographs online on a regular basis, as Business Insider previously reported. Attempts to shut down their forums and chatrooms have been futile, as they simply move to new sites and continue sharing stolen photographs.


 http://www.businessinsider.com/ 

July 1, 2014

Michael C.Hall and 6 other Stars that Hit Bottom Before they Turn


  Charlize Theron
Black Cloud: It was a succession of beyond-bad-luck stories for the stunning young South African. When Charlize was a 15-year-old farm girl, she watched her mother kill her abusive dad in self-defense. She moved to Manhattan to pursue a career in dance, but her knees blew out, pronto—and with them, her future as a ballerina. At 19, the neophyte actress was living in an L.A. dive, subsisting on stale rolls ripped off from restaurants. Final indignity: after begging mom for cash to stave off starvation, a Hollywood bank refused to cash her way-out-of-town $500 check. “You don’t understand—please,” she unsuccessfully begged the teller. So she freaked—a screaming, flailing temper tantrum in front of the lunchtime crowd. It was her biggest and most rapt audience to date.
Silver Lining: Little did she know, it was also her first successful audition. Talent manager John Crosby, waiting to use an ATM, was captivated by the gorgeous, if high-strung, young woman. “If you’re interested, I’ll represent you,” he told her. As Theron later explained to Oprah, “If I hadn't been in the bank that day, I honestly don't think I'd be here right now.” A few months of acting classes later, she landed her first screen role. Ok, it was in Children of the Corn III, but still.  
Liam Neeson returns to his West Side home after his wife Natasha Richardson was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital.











Liam Neeson 
Black Cloud: At an age when most lead actors are edging into supporting gigs, the Irish thesp seemed to be pulling off something truly unique in 2009: a late-career transformation into an action star. His down-and-dirty revenge flick Taken shocked pundits by earning a quarter of a billion dollars; Neeson was finally muscling onto the box office A-list. Then, tragedy: his wife Natasha Richardson died of a freak head injury skiing the beginner’s slope at a Canadian resort.   Paparazzi photos from the time show the face of a broken man.
Silver Lining: “Her death was never real [to me]. It still kind of isn't," Neeson told 60 Minutes earlier this year. But he survived—and thrived—by throwing his full energies into his career and raising his two young sons. Now Neeson is at the peak of his bankability. “I’m 61 years of age, man,” he says. “Going around fighting all these guys...I feel a bit embarrassed.” Taken 2, Unknownand Non-stop were worldwide hits, earning Neeson a $20 million payday forTaken 3. And many believe the kick-ass authority he brings to roles displays more than just the gifts of a skilled actor—it’s the work of a man who has known devastating sorrow and channeled it into performances of ferocity and passion.

Michael C. Hall 
Black Cloud: It was a turn of events as disturbing as Dexter itself. In 2010, while Michael C. Hall, lovable serial-killer lead of Showtime’s pitch-black hit, was in the midst of filming season four, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The news had an eerie resonance for the actor, then 38: his own father had died of prostate cancer at age 39.  
 Silver Lining: Hall kept his diagnosis a secret from his coworkers, and started an aggressive months-long regimen of radiation and chemotherapy the day after shooting wrapped. The treatment sent his cancer into full remission, and he not only was able to start season 5 of Dexter on schedule—and keep the large cast and crew gainfully employedHall says he“probably would have kept it quiet had the awards shows not come up, and I felt obliged to explain my lack of eyebrows.”What’s next for the guy whose two big-time roles—a good-hearted killing machine and repressed mortician (on Six Feet Under)—were all about corpses? “I can’t seem to get away from dead bodies,” Hall admitted recently. “Even if it’s my own.”    
Giuseppe Verdi conducting the Opera of Paris orchestra, at the first representation of Aida, in Paris in 1880.











Giuseppe Verdi  
Black Cloud: The great Italian composer fell into an abyss in 1840, at 27. His second opera had been a resounding flop, closing on opening night. Far worse: over the past two years, his beloved wife and both infant children had died, victims of cholera. Despondent, Verdi because a recluse, reading trashy Victorian novels and writing not a note. He planned to give up composing altogether. When a producer sent him the text for a proposed new Biblical opera, Nabucco, he threw it on the table in disgust.
Silver Lining: Call it divine inspiration or good fortune. But as the composer later recalled, “The roll of paper opened out; and without knowing quite how, I found myself staring at the page in front of me and my eyes fell on this line: ‘Va pensiero sull’ali dorati.’” (Translated: “Fly, thought, on the golden wings.”) The words—the opening of a chorus of exiled Hebrew slaves—gave Verdi a jolt: he saw the number as a metaphor for his nation’s patriots, struggling to free themselves from Austrian rule. He started writing obsessively. Nabuccoproved to be a smash, and Verdi went on to become Italy’s most celebrated composer, writing works like Aida and Rigoletto. “Va, pensiero,” meanwhile, is a melody everybody in Italy knows by heart; in 2008, an Italian senator proposed making it the national anthem.
Walt Disney Working in his Studio February 21, 1933.









Walt Disney  
Black Cloud: Early on in his career, Disney proved to be a sputtering, crashing business dud. In 1923, at age 20, Disney started the Laugh-o-Grams company—an animation studio supplying shorts to Kansas City movie theaters. Always the visionary, he embarked on groundbreaking and vastly expensive projects like a combo live action and cartoon flick called Alice’s Wonderland. (Spoiler: It was no wonderland.) Big Walt lacked the financial acumen to back up his high-octane creativity.  He soon found himself virtually homeless, sleeping in his office (where he befriended a tame mouse) and taking showers at the train station. Just a year after opening his doors, he was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Silver Lining: Obviously, Disney didn’t let the setback knock him down. He spent his last dollars on a bus ticket, headed out to Hollywood and started the company that bears his name. Oh, and he created a slightly obnoxious little cartoon character named Mickey, based on that office mouse. He always claimed that his Laugh-o-Grams experience, painful as it was, laid the groundwork for his later success, and helped him avoid catastrophic mistakes. We’re still not sure who to blame for Epcot Center.
Tim Allen  
Black Cloud: “Bottom” doesn’t get much lower than a cell in a state penitentiary. But that’s where Tim Allen found himself in the early ‘90s when, after a hard-partying youth, he was arrested at the Kalamazoo airport with over 650 grams of cocaine. Allen later admitted he had all the makings of a “really good” drug dealer. But clearly it was time to find a new profession.
Silver Lining: Trying to survive his stint in the big house better then most of the cast members of Oz (binge watch it on Netflix!), Allen played to his strengths. When approached for “dates” he’d make the local neo-Nazis laugh. He put on comedy shows for other inmates, and even made the orneriest prison guards chuckle by using a picture of Nixon as a target in his cell toilet. Observing his fellow prisoners, he developed his signature “tool guy” persona. After he emerged from his 28-month term, a friend dared him to stand up on an open mic night at a Detroit-area comedy club. Allen was an instant hit, and went on to star in the hit Home Improvement, and beguile kiddies as the voice of Buzz Lightyear. “Sometimes you have to hit bottom,” Allen later told a reporter, “to know where to go.”

Jon Hamm 
Black Cloud: True, getting shot down on a TV dating show isn’t a tragedy to match illness, death or prison time. But for a young waiter/actor hoping to strut his leading-man stuff, it hurt. Hamm was in his mid-twenties in 1995 when he was a contestant on The Big Date, a c-level Love Connection rip-off. With his floppy hair and surfer dude clothes, the future Mad Men star he didn’t impress bachelorette Mary, despite promising “fabulous food, a little fabulous conversation, ending with a fabulous foot massage for an evening of total fabulosity." Instead she picked Mark, a creepy self-proclaimed “stunt man” who promised he would “take her home later and show her my flexibility.”
 Silver Lining: After watching the show with clenched teeth, Hamm cut his hair, got a nice suit and some attitude and eventually became the People“Sexiest Man Alive” (circa 2008) we know and love today. When Mary found out who she burned years later, she told reporters “I don’t really know who he is and have never seen the show. I have found love since and I wouldn’t trade him for a thousand Jon Hamms.” 

Photo Credits:
Charlize Theron: Dave Hogan/Getty Images
Liam Neeson: Ken Murray/NY Daily News Archive Via Getty
Michael C. Hall: Vince Bucci/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty
Giuseppe Verdi: Universal Images Group/Getty
Walt Disney: Bettmann/Corbis
Jon Hamm: Courtesy ABC News/Lighthearted Entertainment
Tim Allen: Sherrif’s Department, Kalamazoo MI

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