I kind of feel sorry for Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods, Susan Boyle, Michael Jackson, and, well, I could name at least a dozen more tabloid-newsworthy names that I feel some sort of regret for. Certainly, what they are going through/have gone through isn’t new, and the circumstances, reasons, excuses, and environments they have grown up and operate in have been around since the dawn of civilized society.
Alcoholism. Abuse. Dysfunction. Unemotional or overemotional family members. Mental health issues. Lack of appropriate role models. The list goes on and on.
But, where is the “rule” book in this civility that dictates that we feel we must gossip about our heroes, our idols, our personally esteemed - when they fall?
Why do we feel the right to be privy to each and every detail of their lives, especially when it comes to their weaknesses, as if we have none of our own? Why must we crane our necks at the wreckage as we pass by, hoping to glimpse something interesting – the more sordid, the better? Why is it that we can forgive our boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, siblings, pastors, etc. because we know that there are so many variables as to the “what” and the “why,” and then have so little patience for those people who, of course, we know so much better?
It is true that these people, whether out of love of what they do, who may be talented, or gifted, or for whatever reason, put themselves into the public eye. However, I can’t imagine how many actually realized that as a bi-product, they would also be “obligated” to reveal their lives off-screen, off-camera, off-sport or whatever else off-life they might have. And for those who did, where are they now? Is it too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that the gifted, talented people who love what they do have decided the game is just a little too much, and they have relegated themselves to the cul de sacs and tree lined streets of any-town’s Wisteria Lane? It pains me to think of the talent that has been wasted, the dreams that have been quashed, and the love of a public job well done that have all been abandoned because of the fear of the personal becoming public.
I mean, there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t, at some level, crave to be recognized, to have their accomplishments acknowledged, and to be noticed for the good things that they do. Somehow, we all seem to be relatively successful in keeping our secret lives out of the churlish banter of the coffee klatch, bowling team or behind-the-hand whispers of neighbors. But we also have all been immersed in the fray when our, shall we say, less-than-perfect-blunders-that-we-surely-would-rather-not-be-known-by-anyone have been exposed.
It is certainly easier to keep what is our personal business out of the community eye without the near constant scrutiny of a multitude of other people. But being well-known? A celebrity? An athlete? A rock star? A politician? These people have no privacy with media tip offs and camera phones galore.
Sure, some could argue that these newsworthy personalities have, to some extent, manipulated and have been manipulated just about everything and everyone in their paths. And oftentimes, they take little, if any, responsibility for their actions. And yes, absolutely, they have been able to "get away with" more than the usual person, for the most part. Or have they?
Really - when and where have we drawn the line to what is our business and theirs? Or our friend’s, our neighbors, our families?
Most importantly, what IS the difference between them and us – I mean the basic, moral, real difference that separates what they do, and how they live from what we do every day of our lives?
They are human – just like the rest of us.
There are a hundred other more important things that we should be concerned with.