(Published by Earthblog.net, April 1, 2007
Sequel to “The Tragedy of Premature Divahood”)
There was once a popular song with a catchy tune and an irresistible hook: “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.” Well, I know what Carly Simon meant when she wrote those words!
A while back, I wrote about an actress who finally managed to get a small role in a real movie, and quickly fell victim to the delusional belief that she is hot stuff. It’s a work of narrative nonfiction, with no imaginary embellishments, just a straightforward chronicle of a really tacky series of events. The Premature Diva who inspired the piece appears to be experiencing a celebrity meltdown, without ever having been a celebrity.
It’s one thing when Britney Spears shaves her head, insults the hired help, and fires a new nanny every week. But when a bit player in an uncredited role takes on the prerogatives of some legendary Hollywood bitch – well, the trouble with being a Premature Diva is, nobody even notices. Except the people targeted by Her Tackiness.
You can read “The Tragedy of Premature Divahood” here – but to sum up, it concerns a woman who could have made a simple polite request to a business associate, and could have accepted the reality that business calls are not always returned within the hour. Especially during the yearly holiday season, when people are (gasp! the shock of it!) sometimes away from their desks.
By exhibiting just a modicum of patience, this woman could have seen her request given consideration, and the whole matter could have come to a reasonable and satisfactory conclusion. But noooooooo. When she did not receive an immediate answer, this junior diva, for whatever reason, whether natural or chemical, became rabidly enraged over not getting an instant reply.
When instantaneous gratification of her demands was not available, she lost control, in the time-honored manner of sociopaths everywhere, and flew into attack mode, with a nastiness quotient that zoomed from zero to sixty in record time. Barely pausing to catch her breath, she launched a barrage of written and spoken insults ranging from schoolyard inanities to recklessly foolish accusations. This outpouring of spleen was directed not only against her primary target, but against several other people as well.
Nobody likes being exposed as a short-tempered, uncouth shrew who doesn’t work and play well with others – right? Nobody wants to think of herself as a person whose tombstone epitaph should consist of an apology for being born. But believe it or not, there are people who will read a personality profile about such an unenviable individual as the Premature Diva, and infer that it was written about them! Or to be more accurate, there is one person who saw it and recognized herself. The essay, which contained no names, was stumbled upon by an actress named Carina Rhea, who arrived at the conclusion that its subject was none other than herself.
Somehow Ms. Rhea got the idea that this piece, about an actress with an overpowering sense of self-regard and poor impulse control, was about her. It’s hard to understand the mentality. Is it like when a bomb explodes, and half a dozen fringe groups rush forward to claim the credit? Is it like the compulsive confessors who show up at the police station to take their bows for a gruesome murder? Why would Carina think “The Tragedy of Premature Divahood” is about her?
The piece describes someone vindictive, villainous, volatile, vituperative, vile, venomous, and a few more choice adjectives that start with V. It shows the world a deranged, small-minded Premature Diva, so the world can recognize one when it sees one. We’re talking about a real head-case, the epitome of self-centered, inconsiderate, over-reactive craziness, who incidentally and gratuitously also shows the most astonishing “political incorrectness” toward several groups of people and segments of society. This is a person who tries desperately hard to offend, and who succeeds in offending. In other words, a prime example of something which nobody in their right mind would want to be a prime example of.
But for some reason, Ms. Rhea thinks it refers to her personality and activities. Why? Unless she was, in fact, the intellectually bankrupt harridan who was so rude and uncivilized as to inspire the writing of it? Anyone who knows Carina Rhea (for instance, neighbors and classmates and suchlike from Clarion, Pennsylvania) can read the piece for themselves and make up their own mind whether it’s about her or not. But she seems to believe it is. She read an article about a chrome-plated bitch on wheels, and deduced that it referred to her. Why is that? Only her conscience knows for sure.
Meanwhile, after the Premature Diva article was published, the subject of it got even more outrageous, claiming, for instance, that she had never signed a contract. Which is a bare-faced lie. What we have here is rampant self-esteem that has far surpassed a swollen sense of entitlement and emerged into a full-blown mania.
By a strange coincidence, right at the same time, someone embarked on a campaign of character assassination against the people to whom the Premature Diva had already been maximally uncivil. Nasty little squibs on all kinds of scurrilous low-rent Hollywood gossip websites that allow anonymous comments from mental midgets with chips on their shoulders. That kind of crap.
Uninspired crap, too. Silly name-calling and juvenile wisecracks. Whereas the charges against the Premature Diva are very specific, and so numerous they lend themselves to arrangement in a bullet-pointed list. Make of that what you will.
Are Carina Rhea and PD one and the same? Who knows? One thing is for sure, only someone who knows she is wrong would go to such underhanded lengths to extract payback for imaginary grievances. Is PD responsible for the online hate orgy? Quite possibly, but then again, there are at least three solid reasons against the theory.
One: Some of the snippets of bile show a suspicious hint of cleverness, and quite frankly, PD doesn’t appear to have the requisite intelligence.
Two: It has been suggested that PD subcontracted the job, or possibly recruited a friend to act for her and do the dirty work. This is unlikely, however, because no evidence exists that PD has any friends.
Three: PD came from a small town back East – the kind of town where people probably warned her, “If you go out to that wicked California place, you’ll turn into a dreadful travesty of a human. You’ll forget how to treat other people, and think of nothing but having your own way.” Yep, the elders and the wisers probably all tried to tell PD that movieland is no place for a nice girl. But she went ahead and did it, migrated west to the film capitol, got her union card, and sure enough turned into a Bad Example.
So this couldn’t be Carina Rhea – because she was not brought up that way back in Clarion, and surely wouldn’t want to become the type of person the folks back home would be ashamed of. She would not want to be the kind of woman that other parents would point to and tell their kids, “Don’t go into show business – you might turn out like Carina Rhea!”
If I thought for one moment that Carina Rhea was that kind of harpy, a blog piece wouldn’t be enough. I’d feel obligated to warn the world. Certainly I would want to warn anyone who might possibly encounter her as an associate, neighbor, or – God forbid – as a coworker, and urge them not to get involved in any capacity with such a poisonous termagant. It would be my civic duty to point out that this person is a dangerously unbalanced menace, and any prospective employer would be well advised to think twice before working with such a one. I’d take out a full-page ad in Variety and warn the West Coast about her – more urgently than the folks back home warned little Premature Diva against Hollywood. That’s what I’d do.