03 December 2009

Celebrity train wreck

Train-wrecks fascinate us. I mean the proverbial kind, not literal train-wrecks. But actual train-wrecks do, coincidentally, fall into the train-wreck category of fascinating disasters.

I was reminded of this the other day when I mentioned to Cristy that I had watched a disturbing clip from the television program “Hoarders” on the internet. She asked my why I bothered to click on it, knowing in advance that it would be disturbing. Good question. I defer to my thesis statement: train-wrecks fascinate us.

Our current example is Tiger Woods. Distinguished athlete, philanthropist, loving son, husband, father. In the public eye, he is poised, focused, an A+ specimen of celebrity. Until now. Oops, train-wreck.

Hey, all humans mess up from time to time, right? Right. But it is fascinating when something out of the ordinary occurs. Mr. Woods’ behavior, at least from the public vantage, has deviated significantly from its normal evenly-modulated path. We’re curious. It’s as if we have been slapped in the face by disbelief, but deep inside we knew all along that he was human. We just mentally neglected to connect the dots. Until now.

Celebrities get all bent out of shape when the spotlight shines brightly at an inconvenient time. Understandable. I’d get pretty embarrassed and bent out of shape myself if every news outlet in the free world picked up on the story of my latest mess-up. But in celebrity life, in my humble opinion, you don’t get to have it both ways. If you reap the benefits of a friendly spotlight and positive media coverage, you have to own your mistakes in the same spotlight. Harsh as it may seem.

Sorry Tiger. It does seem invasive. But it’s a train wreck and we can’t help ourselves. It is fascinating.

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