Tuesday, March 24, 2009

David Cook, Narcissism and his Fans

David Cook's latest post on his MySpace page is as insulting as it is arrogant. He spends one sentence thanking the audience for an “amazing vibe” but spends the rest chastising them like a parent correcting an errant child:

“I have to address some behavior that has become disturbing. We pride ourselves on being accessible to you as fans, but in contrast, we do enjoy what little privacy we can muster. To that end, the efforts by some fans to find our hotel rooms, call our hotel rooms, attach things to our bus, etc., is something I have to condemn. This relationship only works when it remains healthy for both parties, and should this behavior continue, the only thing we can do is take more preventative measures to maintain our privacy, which in turn makes us less accessible to you.”

He goes on to state:

"I hope this doesn't come off as harsh. I merely want to nip this in the bud so we can continue to have a great experience with all of you at the shows we have coming up. Take care and see you at the next show."

Is he kidding? Didn't we vote for him on American Idol? Doesn't that make us his fans? For all of that, this is how he thanks us?

Fine, you want something "healthy for both parties" you give me half your salary and I will do whatever you want. In this horrible economy we spend our hard earned, soon to be heavily taxed, money on your music and you are going to tell us how we should behave towards you? You are the trained monkey here, not us.

Can you imagine the backlash if George Clooney or Brad Pitt ever had the gall to say such things? No? You can’t, because they never would.
They aren't that narcissistic and/or arrogant. They appreciate that if it weren't for fans there wouldn't be no them--which is even more true for an American Idol star. Our votes got you a career!

For my book The Cult of Celebrity, I interviewed Ereka Vetrini (a contestant on the first season of The Apprentice, and Tony Danza’s sidekick for the first season of The Tony Danza Show). She told me that sudden fame feels like this:

“For a while I made the most of it. I went to the parties, got the VIP treatment, and walked the red carpet, but I remember feeling like a phony. What was I ‘famous’ for?” After it all faded—as it always does—she remembered who she was and where she came from, and realized, “I take pride in working hard and being good at what I do. I was not good at being famous just for being famous.”

Dr. Drew Pinsky published a study last year that points out that the highest rate of narcissism occurs in reality TV show stars. They ranked higher than comics, actors, and musicians (real ones like Billy Joel and Mick Jagger, not American Idol contestants).

David Cook doesn't come across like a guy who cannot handle fame or a guy who is overwhelmed by his enormous bank account or for that matter by his access to anything and everything he could possibly want. He comes across like an egotistical jackass who doesn't want to be bothered by the very people who made him who he is.

When and if Cook gets dropped from his record label like Clay Aiken, or Rod Stewart have, let’s see if he is as quick to tell his fans how to like him and what is acceptable fan behavior. Most narcissists who lose their edge will crash to earth because they have no idea what to do or how to handle their sudden failure. They have no coping skills, and baby, it's gonna be a hard fall if this is your attitude when things are good.