That is now, the way of life in North America; the Cult of Celebrity. Hit celebrity status and you never have to answer for your wrongs, for your criminal acts. Big money will protect their investments and only when public outcry, when Joe Normal’s dollars are not finding their way into corporate coffers, will there be change.
Michael Vick is a prime example. The man is a sociopath. According to guidelines, with regard to recognizing sociopathy? He fits the description to a tee. One of the signs is deliberate cruelty to animals. Vick went beyond cruelty, he gave animal cruelty a whole new meaning to a society, to a civilization that didn’t require a new definition.
His fans still support him. Why? Because he can play football. That’s it – that’s all. He can play a game and as a result, is above the morals and ethics of society. He is, effectively, above the law. Oh yes, he went to jail but his crimes were never fully disclosed to the public. Plea bargaining, and big money, got this guy off with a sentence of 23 months. He’s back playing football, earning money that most of us can but dream of ever earning. For playing a game. A current rumour is that he made a donation of 1 million dollars toward the care of his canine victims. He did not donate willingly, he was instructed by the courts to do so. The man should have had everything afforded him through his fans dollars, taken away. He should never have been permitted to play football again. He isn’t a doctor, he isn’t a social worker, teacher. He contributes nothing to society, he takes plenty from us however. He does not deserve the privileges he has been given. There are so many young men out there, who would give their eye teeth to play pro ball, young men with morals, with ethics and are not sociopaths.
Vick isn’t alone. Take a look at the train wreck otherwise known as Lindsay Lohan. This woman would be a street wino if not for the fact that she attained celebrity status. She, like Vick, contributes nothing of value to society, yet both are treated as gods. Common laws are not applicable to them or so they are told by their toadies and PR firms.
Mel Gibson. Charlie Sheen. Paris Hilton. Brittany Spears. The list goes on. This isn’t a new phenomenon. I’m in the midst of reading “Life” by Keith Richards, a good book by the way, and it occurred to me, had he and his band mates, the hangers-on, not been who they were, celebrities, they would have been tossed in jail and some would, perhaps, still be there.
The cloud over the late Michael Jackson, was a cloud created by charges of child molestation. We’ll never know the truth because celebrity is not held to the same standard of law as the rest of us.
Where I live, a prominent politician, while under the influence of alcohol and was driving drunk, killed a man. The story was kept under wraps because of who he was. The man he killed was a nobody, rumoured to have been a “rubby.” We’ll never really know. My province is not alone, Ontario saw their own case of a drunk driver killing a man and walking away. Their drunk driver was also a prominent politician and friend to their premier.
The majority of us shrug our shoulders and exhibit astounding apathy when our celebrities are caught breaking the law. We feel these people are different and this, somehow, excuses them, relieves them of responsibility.
This apathy is dangerous. It has helped to create a generation of young people who feel that breaking the law is okay, as long as you don’t get caught, as long as your face doesn’t end up on YouTube or Facebook.
The time to hold these people up to society’s standards is long overdue. They have all the privileges that we can afford to heap on them and are not appreciative. They are arrogant and dangerous to us all.
Nike, Subway and BETtv have raised Michael Vick up, once again, as some sort of beacon to young, aspiring athletes. He is not a role model. He is not a hero. He is a criminal who managed to escape from a good lot of his crimes by virtue of his money and the money of the football league.
Too many of us believe that we have no power to hold these people accountable. We do have that power. We have the power to fire off an e-mail, mail a letter or make a phone call to Nike, to Subway, to BETtv and revoke our support of these corporate giants. Without our money, buying their products – they have no power, they can’t hold these criminals and moral degenerates up as heroes to our young people.
The same goes for entertainers who feel that they don’t have to show respect for law, for society. What kind of irresponsible parent pays money and takes their child to see the likes of Brittany Spears? A drug user, an alcohol abuser and neglectful parent, up there – pretending to be someone worthy of our hard earned cash.
It is time we spoke up, as a thinking species and held these people up to our standards. Show them that if they want the privileges that our dollars buy them? They need to earn it, in the same way as do we, by working, by living according to the laws of the land and by showing ourselves to be worthy of respect, through our actions.