ABSTRACT Three investigations tested the hypothesis, that the attainment of fame leads to chronic self-consciousness. One of these studies also examined the relationship of self-consciousness with self-destructive behavior. Analyses of Kurt Cobain's and Cole Porter's song lyrics indicated increased use of first-person singular pronouns after each songwriter attained celebrity. An analysis of John Cheever's short stories indicated greater use of the first-person narrative voice following his first brush with fame. Other analyses revealed that variations in Cheever's fame were positively correlated with use of first-person singular pronouns in his private letters and journals. These measures of self-consciousness were also positively correlated with Cheever's self-reported alcohol use. Together, these, three studies offer the first empirical support for a self-consciousness hypothesis linking celebrity to self-destructive Behavior.
In the urge to find a better, more perfect self, the possibility of uncovering a worse, more misshapen one hangs like a threatening cloud. Lurking behind every chance to be made whole by fame is the axman of further dismemberment.
(Braudy, 1986, p. 8)