If I were to make a list of all the celebrities, so-called prominent figures and politicians that have fallen from (your) grace, that list will be long and staggering. And, the list will absolutely not be funny! Now, I say “your” grace because quite frankly I have never elevated those I have neither met or vetted for that exalted position. For me, there are stringent standards that must be met before I consider someone better than the rest of us; before I ascribe to them the label of my personal super person, my hero. But, that’s just me.
But I do realize that for many, having (external) heroes and heroines is necessary. That looking at those that we may have never met nor had a conversation with with stars in our eyes and placing them on the proverbial pedestal happens daily. Too often to count we buy into the public personas of strangers to the extent that we bring them into our homes and place expectations on them without ever knowing their limitations. We don’t just fling the (acceptable and understandable) words like “admire, like, appreciate” at them, but we pull out the big guns – “love, honor, respect.” For people we have never met!
On November 24th I addressed my thoughts with regard to (specifically) the Bill Cosby fiasco entitled, “… He Sure Sold Yall A Bill of Goods!” so, there is little reason to re-address him; my position has been made pretty clear (and, I did not have to slip yall nothing to get into that position!). However, today as I sit and think about him and the too-many-to-list others that have either slipped or downright leapt from atop your fancy pedestals, I cannot help but to wonder if there is culpability from us. Oops, I meant yall. I mean, are we partly to blame for placing these deeply fallible humans – yep, those just like ourselves – in positions that they have never said they wished to occupy? Or, are we correct in placing such responsibility on them to do better, live more exemplarily, be role models because they have dared to get up and do their jobs so well that now they owe us?
If I know myself well (and I certainly do) I know I must have asked a similar question when the Bill C saga broke; or maybe I did so when I used the Ray Rice incident to spotlight the ever-growing prevalence of domestic abuse. Because the question I still toss around and would love for you to weigh-in on is, “does the demand of their job, their celebrity and our worship take otherwise good men/women and break them?” Seriously. Will being left alone to just get up and get it up to do what they are being paid to do without the hero-worship allow these men to remain the men they were before we shined our starry eyes on them? Or is that just it – they are indeed the men they were before and our starry eyes have just illuminated the monsters that resided within? Lord! Could this be a “chicken-egg” scenario?
Listen, I am fighting here. I am trying my best to find some answers that will do two things, (1) validate the respect, belief and worship yall have heaped upon strangers and (2) validate that they had, at one time or another, the right to said honor. I am willing to turn over rocks in an attempt to unearth the moment that they went from being one man to the other. And, because I am a humungous supporter of consequences, I am willing to determine whether too much expectation was placed upon shoulders that struggled under its weight. Because see, I think that many times when we look at people at the top of their game, doing their jobs so very very well, we forget that when they get home, even as their homes may be bigger and better equipped than ours, they still de-robe, squat and shit the same way we do! Yes. Despite the money, the trophies, the statues, the vehicles (on the ground or in the air) or the help, no one has yet to ever have enough swag to have someone else take a dump for them!
So, are we doing it? Are the drugs (to hide, cope or enhance performance), the indiscriminate sex, the abuse, the unfortunate words (a la Kanye), the meltdowns (good ole Lindsay) or the wars (Biggie, Tupac) simply the external manifestations of the unintentional expectations we have placed on fallible and fragile human beings like ourselves? Should we answer the question, “how would I cope if tomorrow my world became a constant fish-bowl and a cesspool of demands and expectations because of my achievements” in an effort to understand that maybe, just maybe we too may break?
People, all I’m saying is this – in this world there are clearly defined standards of right and wrong; the things we know we either should or should not do. Fact. But, governing all our behaviors is that pesky little right called, “free will;” ours to exercise. And, therein lies the problem. But like most problems there is a very simple solution – ascribe levels of standards and expectations to those, on those only after you ascertain their ability to either live up to or fall short. I mean, what point is there in placing your child in a gifted program if you know damned well they are a C+ student at heart?! No amount of prayers to the grading-Gods will turn a C-paper into an A-one. Why audition as a drummer if your talent is as a tap-dancer? Spoken-word your thing? Well, unless Beyonce is looking for someone to drop some lyrics in the back-drop of her latest, stay the fuck away from her auditions for a back-up singer!
Get my point? Expectation must be married to limitation. And hero-worship? Well that should only be bestowed with very intimate knowledge. You don’t know these people!