We’ve recently been treated to a spate of notables revealing their inner child by making unguarded comments. Don Imus managed to offend women, minorities, moralists at the same time with his comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Some people have said we should give Imus a break. But he’s a pro, was speaking on his own talk radio and television program, and was merely illustrating a career-long pattern of low-life comments. So when he lost his job I didn’t feel too badly for him.
Alec Baldwin is in another category—Dad goes ballistic with degrading comments aimed at 11year old daughter. He’s followed his angry tirade with mea culpas on Barbara Walters’s program, The View, but who really believes the one time he was caught on tape is the one time he acted like a dead-beat Dad?
Comedian Michael Richards, famous for his portrayal of Kramer on the television hit, Sienfeld, apparently has an anger management problem, amply demonstrated in a comedy club gig when he shouted down hecklers, complete with racial slurs. Richards botched his “I’m sorry” attempt on Late Night with David Letterman. If he’s not a racist, as he claimed, where did his incensed use of racist language originate? Richards tried to pass it off as an “Oops,” but who believes him?
Mel Gibson got in the act with his drunken defamation of Jewish people. His public mea culpa was creative, in essence saying “I’m not an anti-Semitic, just an alcoholic.” So he hopes we’ll overlook his behavior because he substituted an “acceptable sin” for an unacceptable one.
We’re going to see and hear more celebrity crudity, and for that matter, “Joe Average” and “Jane Doe’s” meltdowns, lack of manners, sexual peccadilloes, too. Because there’s nowhere you can go anymore that’s out of the reach of video and/or audio technology. Video recorders are posted in businesses and everywhere they go people carry cell phones with multi-faceted recording capacities. Add YouTube and MySpace to this and you can see how rapidly a few moments of crude words or actions can make you a star in a universe where you don’t want to be. And worse, once your indiscretions hit cyberspace, they live forever.
The lesson here is not to avoid technology like a Luddite. The lesson is that one’s character is on display everyday in every way. Of course, Christians have always known this, for the Lord looks upon the heart. And if maybe Mom doesn’t know everything after all, God does.
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