Gossip columnists have a term for what Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is doing: “playing the exhaustion card.”
Whenever a celebrity wants to recover from a substance abuse problem, duck publicity over a scandal, or simply avoid the press, he or she checks into a rehab facility and has a publicist issue a “treated for exhaustion” statement.
The most recent player was Lindsay Lohan, who was “treated for exhaustion” after working all night on the set of her new movie, Liz and Dick. (Lohan has previously been treated for drug and alcohol abuse.)
Singer Ray J was “treated for exhaustion and jet lag” after last month’s Billboard Music Awards, at which he clashed with the family of former girlfriend Whitney Houston.
Earlier this year, actress Demi Moore’s publicist announced that “because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health.”
In March, Jersey Shore cast member Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino went to a rehab facility "to get control of a prescription medication problem I had due to exhaustion."
And in 1990, Winona Ryder checked into a mental hospital to be treated for “exhaustion, anxiety and depression.”
Former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry, one of the few politicians who’s more of a drama king than Junior, took an “indefinite personal leave,” citing the long hours he’d been working, as well as recent surgery for prostate cancer. Barry was back at work two weeks later.
Clearly, being in the public eye is exhausting. But claiming that you can’t appear in public because you’re being “treated for exhaustion”? That excuse has pretty much exhausted itself.
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