RUINED BY FAME

  1. Michael Ondaatje
    Until "The English Patient," his books felt jazzy and impressionistic, daringly eccentric. Since "The English Patient" they've become bloated and self-important, like Sting's solo career.
  2. Sting
    See above. He seemed to be having so much fun with the Police, at least until "Synchronicity." Hard to know if he was ruined by fame, or just by going solo: Maybe he needed the group dynamic to restrain his Messiah complex.
  3. Cilantro
    I didn't taste fresh cilantro until my first year of college, when it was the revelatory flavor in ceviche I ordered at Gladstones Malibu. Now it's everywhere, and so assertive that it's kind of a bully, like Starbucks or Robert Parker.