Those two words can change the lives of the rich and famous. It's no secret that, from a PR standpoint, the sooner celebs say "I'm going for treatment," the sooner the press gets off their back. After all, they're going to do penance (sometimes, it's even after winning a pennant). As the owner of a PR agency, zcomm, it's a tactic that works, but doesn't hold much water.
What's treatment for? Could be for sex, drugs, alcohol, bi-polar disorder, anger management... maybe even Ambien overload and stealing tchotckes from Saks and Neiman's.
Why is it so important for the public figure to fess up and dish out his disorder and say he or she is "getting fixed?" Because it makes all the rest of us recognize a new state of "normal" and feel much better about the stuff we do. I mean we might drink a bit too much, occasionally smoke pot, have an affair or two... nothing really earth-shattering given what's going on out there. That said, it feels really good to know that someone you actually read about or even admired just did a real "no-no."
And, for those of us (heck, just about all of us) already in therapy, it makes us feel like we're one of the glitterati. After all, therapy has reached a new level of cool. It's even on TV where we can watch all those flawed people spill their guts to Gabriel Byrne who's, naturally, himself flawed (as is the shrink he's seeing).
For me, I first started noticing folks seeking therapy with Betty Ford. I was surprised she came out with her drinking problem, but she not only paved the way for thousands to follow, but also created one of the best rehab facilities in the country.
Baseball player Wade Boggs scored big before he went to rehab as a "sex addict" and David Duchovny must have pulled from real life for his Californication show before he hit a 12-week program. He sure had enough material. Then there's Tiger. I knew in about two minutes when the story broke that his wife wasn't actually rescuing him when she bashed in his rear window with a wedge. And now to the latest testosterone-fueled gym rat and underwear model, Anthony Weiner. Bill Maher had a great bit on a recent show where he wagged his finger at Rep. Weiner for just having virtual sex and not the real thing. The lines are really blurring when you can be married, a dad-to-be, tweet your crotch and not have "real sex." In any event, in this PR vet's opinion, the dude has a real problem and should have waved the white flag and yelled "rehab" much sooner than he did. My guess is the writers of The Good Wife are batting out a new episode as we speak.
I love the story of Catherine Zeta-Jones who went in for bi-polar disorder including non-stop drinking and smoking because she was so stressed over her husband, Michael Douglas', bout with throat cancer thanks to all his drinking and smoking.
Lindsay Lohan -- an easy one -- a party girl who loves sex, drugs and rock n roll. Not sure she needs therapy, prison time or both. But she does look OK in an orange jumpsuit.
So, why is "in treatment" the magic phrase? Because it shows the rest of us radio listeners, TV watchers and online surfers that "the fallen" are taking steps to get their lives together. In reality it's a chance for the dude in the news to squirm out of the crosshairs.
Follow Rise Birnbaum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/zcommunications