Andrew Whitlatch - Courtesy Laugh Network - June 14, 2011
What does itmean when a public figure falls short? We see it time and again, when a celebrity or politician is caught in a scandal. Recently, Democratic Congressmen Anthony Weiner was the latest victim to celebrity shortcoming. If I only used news outlets to measure morals, I would have a bleak outlook on humanity. It seems like every other week there is a story or scandal swirling around a huge public figure.
I don’t blame the media for reporting the story because it’s an important piece of news and it earns them revenue.
However, Weiner has long been an advocate for the citizens of New York. Early in his political career, he initiated programs for at risk youth to clean up vandalized public property. He is also noted as one of the hardest working congressman. There are many other policy initiatives worth noting. I don’t want to justify his actions in any way. It seems to me that often times highly successful people possess an inner conflict or self-destructive tendency. Highly successful people push things to the next level and that’s why they have been able to achieve their level of success.
Many great American icons had exhibited self-destructive behavior. Christopher Columbus massacred Native Americans; Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and Martin Luther King Jr. had many affairs. The list can go on forever. Are these people any less important to us because of their horrible short-comings? Should we really be shocked when our heroes don’t live up to the standards we set for them?
We all have secrets and skeletons in our closet. The difference is that we can deal with it in private. I have definitely done some really stupid things in my life that I’m not proud of. Public figures have got to live extreme and unbalanced lifestyles. At the end of the day I get to leave my work and enjoy my personal and private time at home. Celebrity is a lifestyle I won’t ever understand. I think our failures tend to match our successes. For instance, Tiger Woods is probably the greatest golfer of all time, not to mention an intense competitor with a work ethic unlike anyone. There is nothing subtle about this man. His many acts of indiscretion are probably equally shocking to how talented he is as a golfer.
I’m not trying to justify adultery and sexting but I want to point out that the higher you reach in life the further you have to fall. Being the best in the world is abnormal and unhealthy. We can’t possibly understand the psyche of someone that successful or driven. Quite honestly, it’s a character flaw. However, there are very successful people that can make responsible personal life decisions but then again I’m sure it’s very difficult. I remember reading that Michael Jordan wouldn’t let his kids beat him in basketball. There’s something seriously wrong with that. I’m thankful to be able to watch a movie with my girlfriend and not have to be doing push-ups. I’m thankful for the great talents of our society but in no way do I want their lifestyle.