Ever since space travel has begun, we have treated America’s astronauts like heroes. Perhaps the star treatment, enormous expectations, and constant scrutiny, was more than she could handle. Although nobody knows exactly what prompted Nowak to drive 900 miles wearing diapers (yes, so she didn’t have to stop for restroom breaks) stalking a potential victim, many experts say the same traits that make astronauts such high achievers can combine to aggravate emotional problems and strained relationships.
"I really believe that NASA goes overboard in promoting how heroic and super all these people are. They themselves have forgotten these are ordinary people and in that kind of celebrity culture, there's a sense of entitlement." said Dr. Patricia Santy, a former NASA psychiatrist and author of the book “Choosing the Right Stuff”.
Fallen stars like Nowak are becoming more and more common in America. Maybe it’s the media, maybe it’s the culture, maybe it’s the family, and maybe it’s the genes. But whatever the reason, criminal behavior from America’s stars is a major problem. Infamous crime is more problematic than general crime, because it garners so much attention. Much of this attention comes in the form of flattery and support, which can be misconstrued as a positive response to an atrocious action. Moreover, whether they get released on bail, fined a few dollars, or suspended from a few games, the punishment for these icons rarely fits the crime. This creates a culture where youngsters believe if and when they get rich and/or famous, they too can act however they want. They believe that a fancy team of lawyers, an endless supply of cash, and constant support from their industry will keep them from ever doing “the time.” A sad cycle of misbehavior begins to exponentially grow. Every time a wealthy or famous person gets away with a crime, another one like them believes they can do the same.
Before the public could completely soak up the Nowak Astronaut saga, Anna Nicole Smith stole the show with her heartbreaking death. What was the fascination with Anna Nicole Smith, you might ask? Americans seem to thrive on the famous that possess outrageous behavior. Anna Nicole Smith gave her public what they wanted: flash– when she upstaged Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl stunt at the MTV Awards by pulling down her dress to reveal both breasts, each covered with the MTV logo; scandal – involving her marriage to J. Howard Marshall, who was 63 years her senior; entertainment – with her reality show and bereavement - over the death of her son Daniel and now her own death. What did Anna Nicole Smith really want? She allegedly stated that she wanted to be the next Marilyn Monroe – did she also know that she would die like Marilyn Monroe? Stay tuned.