Tag Archives: fighting against repression

Celebrity Meltdowns – On Opposite Day

Remember when you were a kid, the game “opposite day”? Anything you said, you meant the opposite. It’s kind of like the “lying game” from that book about using mind tricks to pick up chicks. Well, the other night, while researching for “Celebrity: The Meltdown Monologues,” I discovered that in another part of the world, celebrity meltdowns themselves were having an opposite day – in other words, there was an incredibly sensible and articulate woman making her voice heard against an authority figure who refused to, as she put it, clean his own house before criticizing hers.

Celebrity meltdowns are certainly not the exclusive province of men, but the first few monologues in this play have been from highly publicized male contributors to the “genre.” In pursuit of a female celebrity meltdown to work on, I instead stumbled across this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMnAmRa4NYw of a Pakistani actress being mercilessly castigated by a member of her country’s clergy for her appearance on the Indian version of Big Brother.

If you thought the Italians were pissed off about how Snooki and the rest of the Jersey Shore cast represent their motherland, wait till you check out what Pakistani actress Veena Malik says to Mufti Sahib when he rips into her supposedly “immoral behavior” – and casts aspersions on how she represented Pakistan abroad while on the Indian reality show “Big Boss” (a version of “Big Brother).

All I can say is, GO VEENA. Instead of submitting to the cleric’s condemnation, or losing her cool and jumping to insults and generalizations, Malik mounts an attack of her own. She stays on-message, on-point, and on fire. I watched her, thinking (well, first of all, “This woman is amazing,” but after that,) “This is like, the negative of a meltdown.” Referring to a photographic negative, which I then realized officially makes me old.

Veena Malik is coherent, articulate, and as far as I can tell, she follows all the “rules of conversation” present in this diagram of ‘how to have a rational discussion’ – or at least, as near as possible in the face of someone telling you you’ve acted with such dishonor that your future son will never want to look at a picture of you.  Her eloquence is well worth the seven and a half minutes that it takes to watch the entire clip. And yet (and I’ve struggled with how to phrase this) this woman’s actions are about as culturally acceptable in her country as the right claims the antics of American celebrities are. Aside from politics, what are the differences?

Maybe we can understand the phenomenon of a meltdown better by watching a celebrity who performs with such poise and presence of mind under such aggressive attack.


As always, if you’ve enjoyed thinking about the ideas on this blog, please consider donating to our Kickstarter fundrasing project, to take CELEBRITY: THE MELTDOWN MONOLOGUES to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Donations accepted until April 18th.