Another scandal has descended upon our delicate sensibilities and we can hardly talk about anything else. Well, actually, I can talk about plenty of other things, but all I’m hearing about and seeing on the news is Tiger Woods and his harem. First off, let me say a few things. I could care less what the man does with his life because it doesn’t affect me. There are SO many more important things going on, that I think this country and this world should be less concerned with Tiger’s supposed inability to keep his pants zipped, and more about famine, disease, and the general state of humanity. Most of this post won’t actually be about the scandal, but about what it represents.
I think there are several reasons why Tiger-gate has us as a society so engrossed. For many years, he seemed to have a spotless image. So much so, that he was placed on the proverbial pedestal. No what the problem is with putting someone on a pedestal? They ALWAYS fall. It’s happened time and again, yet we always seem so shocked and disappointed each time it happens. Why? It seems to be a given that athletes and celebrities become de facto role models. If asked, most would probably say that don’t want to be in that role, nor are they really “qualified” for it. But we push it on them anyway. Is it any surprise that athletes and stars who make millions of dollars are so often in the headlines for some mistake or scandal? How long could you resist the money and the attention heaped upon you in their situations? I’m not condoning or justifying the bad behavior; I just think we should all take a step back and look at why it seems to happen so much more often and why we continue to be shocked by it.
Should we really look to athletes and celebrities for our role models? Generally speaking, I would say no. Are there athletes and stars that are good role models? Absolutely. There are stars who use their names to help those in need or to promote world causes that might otherwise go unnoticed here. But maybe we should look for our role models a little closer to home. People whose lives are more accessible to the average person. What about our teachers who work so hard in an education system that continues to be underfunded? What about the men and women who put their lives at risk each day to help others and keep our cities safe? Our role models should be the men and women we see every day who work hard. The single moms and dads who work and go to school so they can provide better lives for their children. The men and women who find time to help out in the community. The men and women who run charities. But we always have to be careful when we look to our role models. We can’t put them on pedestals and treat them like they are without human faults. That is one of the biggest mistakes we make as a society: expecting perfection from those we admire. It’s unfair to them, and frankly it’s unfair to us. If we expect our role models to be perfect, and we strive to be like them, then we don’t allow ourselves to have faults and our own failures are that more devastating.
For a little perspective, here’s some news from around the world this week:
- Life imprisonment is the minimum punishment for anyone convicted of having gay sex, under an anti-homosexuality bill currently before Uganda’s parliament. If the accused person is HIV positive or a serial offender, or a “person of authority” over the other partner, or if the “victim” is under 18, a conviction will result in the death penalty.
- Scientists have reconstructed the biological history of two types of cancer in a genetic tour de force that promises to transform medical treatment of the disease.
- Venezuela has blown up two pedestrian bridges on its border with Colombia in the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.