LC Van Savage
On The Art Of Raising Up And Kicking Down
Well folks, let’s get it started. We’re a little late with this batch, but we can easily catch up. The list is growing longer. It’s time, isn’t it that we began to tear down the latest bunch of heroes, right? Let’s go.
Let us begin with oh, say the thirty-three Chilean miners who were in that mine for 69 days last August. Heroes all, right? We loved them, prayed for them, learned about all of them and their families, and when they were finally sucked up to freedom and fresh air, we applauded and cried and offered them anything they’d ever want for the rest of their lives.
So, isn’t it time we started to rip at them? Isn’t it time we began to bellow about how they could have gotten out of that mine if they’d just worked a little harder? Put their backs into it? Maybe dug themselves out with their hard hats? I mean come on, they’ve had their 15 minutes of fame. Let’s get on with it. Enough already. After all, they’re just Chilean miners. What right do they have to be given freebies or fame or trips or TV interviews or rewards of any kind just because there was some crazy malfunction in their mine? Sixty-nine days buried 2300 feet below the earth’s surface? What’s the big deal?
And what’s with that Elizabeth Smart kid from Salt Lake who’s now finally had her day in court? She was walking around in plain sight with her kidnapper, back in 2003. Why didn’t she run? Why didn’t she cry out? What was the matter with her, anyway? OK, she was being raped on a daily basis by her dirt bag abductor, big deal, and OK, he told her repeatedly that if she ever, ever once asked for help he’d see to it that her family was murdered immediately. This went on for nine months. Hey, she was 14, certainly old enough to be brave and not terrified, and strong enough to outwit that slime and his slime wife who did nothing to help her. Come on, 14, old enough to run, to scream for help. Everyone says so. Just read the comments on the Internet. No sympathy there, although there was so much concern when she went missing, all the prayers and posters and wishes and statements to the press. After all, she was only 18 miles from home, for crying out loud. But then after she got rescued, well, time enough for us all to turn our backs on her, frown and announce en masse that she could have helped herself if she’d only just tried, if she had just put her mind to it. Yes folks, I’ve read just those words, and actually heard those words coming from some of my now former friends. What was wrong with her? Being terrified and desperate and brainwashed at the hands of a rapist, kidnapper and torturer is a pretty lame excuse to not bolt because it’s so obvious she had so many chances. She was 14 after all, not a kid anymore.
Now let’s get started on William Windsor and Kate Templeton. Oh how we love to see that beautiful, loving and glowing young couple together, she wearing Britain’s beloved Princess Diana’s engagement ring. She is so tall, so beautiful and graceful, her smile just radiant, her husband-to-be and king-to-be fiancé, so handsome and charming with his mother’s up-from-under grin. So isn’t it about time we began to talk about their splitting up? Sure, it’s way, way overdue, isn’t it? We must be vigilant. But then, maybe we’ll wait for them to marry this coming April and then around June first, we can all start talking about their getting divorced.
We love to trash the royals, right? Remember how we bad-mouthed Fergie? Too fat. Too flamboyant. Too much her own woman. Too commercial. Too unroyal. Too too too. Talk about judgmental; we are awfully good at it.
Hey, there’s a brand new guy on the scene now we can all start shredding right away. He’s been in all the papers. His name is Ted Williams. No, not that Ted Williams but a new Ted Williams. This Ted is 50-something, and he was until very recently homeless, coming out of years of drug and alcohol abuse, living in a tent behind an abandoned gas station. He begged for money by the side of roadways and avenues. He was a mess but he was getting clean and sober, and he possessed a very rich, good voice. Someone asked him to use that voice while they held a video camera out of their car window, and poof, because of that great, smooth, deep voice, suddenly Mr. Williams is the darling of the world with job offers coming in from everywhere, a new house, a part in a Jack Nicholson film, a solid job in TV and radio announcing. After 20 years he was finally reunited with his 90 something mother who’d never lost faith in her son. We all love Ted Williams; we’re cheering him on, boosting him up the ladder. We’re all giddy with joy, devouring every single detail of this man’s roaring two day extreme life-change. Oh well, I say let’s give the man another week or so before we begin to trash him. I wonder how we’ll do that; perhaps we’ll focus on his dark days and so we can convince ourselves and everyone else that he really doesn’t deserve this mercurial gift, that all his blathering about God’s helping him, hearing him, how he never gave up his faith and prayed endlessly is all just bunk; he was just in the right place at the right time with a nice, mellow voice. I suggest we kick him to the curb as soon as possible, OK? How dare he succeed?
We do this to all our heroes. Think back to our war heroes. Sports figures. Inventors. Scientists. Medical people. Boot-strap people who’ve come from nothing and made huge successes of their lives. People who have rescued those in distress. People catapulted to fame for performing a heroic act. People in politics; we vote them in with cheers of joy and encouragement and once they put their hand on that Bible, we begin a campaign to tell anyone who’ll listen, especially the media, especially the Internet that they’re losers and ought to be immediately impeached. We love and cheer them on the way up, kick them hard when they’re up there and then viciously shove them down. We seem to be particularly livid at wealthy folks, most of whom have worked very hard and long to become wealthy. Not allowed.
Why do we do this? I don’t get it. Have I ever been guilty of doing this? Yes, I am ashamed to say. I was taught well and took years to stop that destructive and stupid MO. Now before I shoot my mouth off about the undeserved, newly vilified, I try to stop and think. It seems to come too naturally to us and we just keep on doing it and doing it. Is there a psychologist out there who can explain this to me? Do we have dark ulterior motives? Do we do this because we’re so jealous that these good things have happened to others and not to us? If that’s so, do we think if we trash these people we’ll somehow step into their place in the sun and get that warmth and fame for ourselves? What’s the deal with this behaviour? I honestly don’t understand. Do you? Do you do this also? Why? Is this a global habit or an American habit? Whatever, let’s stop. It’s just wrong.
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