In a prior post I wrote that arguably the most abused power in the world is that of celebrity. 2009 has done more than justify this claim. This effed-up year has shown me (and hopefully the masses) that investing admiration and hope (or money, in that scumbag Madoff’s case) in iconic figures will almost always lead to disappointment.
Think about it. This year, we’ve been let down by President Obama (he’s still the African American Fonzie, though) Alex Rodriguez (despite his 2009 playoff heroics, his past cheating was a sobering revelation), Chris (“Bobby”) Brown, Jon and Kate Gosselin (assholes), Balloon Boy’s parents (see John and Kate), Michael Jackson (tragic, yes…but the “This is It” comeback tour never came fruition), office pimp David Letterman, and now Tiger Woods (thats what she said).
While many celebrities do use their wealth and fame to positively change the world (Bono, Oprah, Bill Gates, Lance Armstrong, Brad Pitt, etc.), the majority of our heroes end up abandoning or abusing their unique positions of influence. Leading lives of excess can certainly be difficult, but we need all of our revered public figures to lead by example.
With so many celebrities meeting their respective demises in 2009, it’s become harder to trust those whose actions actually warrant our attention, love, and respect. Seeing Tiger Woods hit rock bottom exemplifies how there is no line separating a famous individual’s public and private lives. In an age where TMZ is now considered a viable news source, I’m frightened. I’m scared that more of the people I look up to will turn out to be just like that fragile old man behind the curtain posing as the Wizard of Oz (he actually did fly away in a balloon).
With the media scavenging for juicy stories, I can’t help but wonder what we’ll learn about other celebrities in 2010. What’s next? Are we going to find out that heroic US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger mistakenly landed in the Hudson River due to alcohol-induced confusion from a LaGuardia Airport Chili’s Happy Hour? Are we going to discover that Adam Lambert is actually straight?
As we near the great ball-dropping of 2010 (ha ha), I can honestly say that nothing would surprise me anymore. If in the past, celebrities have represented who we most want to embody…maybe it’s time to rethink this position. Perhaps it’s the other way around, and our icons best embody us! We grow up believing that our favorite athletes, actors, and leaders are flawless. While this obviously isn’t true, it’s time we start viewing these famous individuals as what they truly are- extreme examples of humanity’s natural imperfection and inadequacy. My New Year’s resolution is to shed my ignorance and do just that.
***Thanks to all who have supported me and this site throughout 2009. While I’m going to take a brief hiatus, I look forward to bigger and better things in 2010.
Happy Holidays and best wishes,