November 6, 2007

Role Models? Maybe not.

Have you noticed how we seem to hold "celebrities" to a higher moral standard than we do most "average" people? Let me put a disclaimer here: I am not condoning the actions of any celebrity, nor am I excusing, or justifying them either.

Dog the Bounty Hunter was just yanked off the A&E schedule for his use of the N-word. Now, again, not condoning, excusing, or justifying. With that said, here's how I see it: He was just fired for something he did in what he thought was privacy. His use of that word was wrong, pure and simple, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. He should not have used it; no one said. I agree with most people, though, who say that if people really want that word to go away, the rappers need to stop using it, and so do every day black people. But, back to my point. He was saying something to his son in what he thought was going to be a private message. Since when do we get fired for things we do at home? How many of us would be fired tomorrow if our boss found out what we said about him/her at home? And really, we've all had that really bad day when we came home and told our spouse, child, friend, neighbor, whoever, what a jerk the boss was.

Now, I'm not saying that he didn't deserve some kind of repercussion. This got out, and as a public figure, yes he does have some responsibility to set an example. I think anyone in a position of that type has an obligation to set an example, and to try to do good with their status. But, at the same time, they're entitled to make mistakes, just like the rest of us. And yet, when they do, we act shocked and amazed, as if we thought that they just couldn't do that.

Let's be honest here: If this was your best friend, your spouse, your sister/brother/mom/dad, neighbor, co-worker, whoever, and they'd made this comment in their home, and it got out, you'd be up in arms, angry and outraged that they were being fired for something they did in their home. And yet, when it's a celebrity, we demand they be fired, lose everything they've ever had. Is it a case of wanting to punish the accused, or is it a case of being jealous and wanting to bring them down to our status?

Now, don't get me wrong: I've never been a fan of Dog. I only watched his show because I think his son, Leland, is hot. I've always felt that Dog seemed a bit...hypocritical, doing his little prayer circle before hunting, and then calling the bounties all kinds of names. And I realize that we're dealing with the criminal element here. He's not the mailman delivering the phone bill. He's a bounty hunter, hunting down lowlifes who've broken the law, and then chosen to run/hide when it comes time to face the judge. Yeah, calling them names is expected, and hell, I say appropriate. But it seems hypocritical to me to stand around and pray first. You're a Christian, fine. You believe, great. But something about that whole scenario just seems weird.

Anyway, my point was to say, why do we hold celebrities to such a higher standard? Is it because they really should be? Should we really expect them to be so much better than us morally? And if we should, why? Why shouldn't we expect ourselves to be better? As I said, I believe that they are in a position to set an example, yes. But, with that said, I prefer my children's role models to be someone a bit more...down to earth. Celebrities have plenty of money at their disposal to do anything they want, buy what they want, and change whatever they want about their lives. Us regular people don't have that luxury. We go to work everyday at jobs we despise, working for and with people we don't like, who annoy or anger us, and come home to clean the house, cook dinner, help with homework, and repeat ourselves five times before we're heard when we say it's bedtime. I'd rather my children learn from that than from the celebrity who can crack up a car in a high speed car chase, blame it on the drugs and go to rehab, or spend ninety minutes in jail.

That's not to say we can't admire celebrities. In a previous post, I've named some of the ones I look up to: Queen Latifah, Melissa Etheridge, Reba, and I've recently found Jenny McCarthy to be another. But the people I've looked up to the most, my entire life, have been my parents, my grandparents, and other people like them.

I think we need to change the way we look at things. I think we need to expect good from celebrities, but not demand a public beheading when they screw up. I think we need to encourage our children to look to us for their role models and their ideas of how real men and women should act. We need to take control of our lives and the future of society instead of letting it rest in the hands of celebrities who are just as human as we are and make the same mistakes that we do.

Second disclaimer: Britney Spears, Nicole Ritchey, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, and company are not included in this blog. They are just plain out of control and should be locked away somewhere until they get it together.

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