Two unrelated but equally intriguing thoughts have been rattling in my brain over the Thanksgiving holiday. Oddly, it’s taken a fair bit of moving around the procrastinating in my schedule to find the time to formally write them down. While it’s true that the magnitude of my procrastination has reached epic proportions, I am yet to completely veg out and abandon all conscious thought.
Let’s start with the trivial—and like most trivial concepts, we’ll begin with the wide world of sports and entertainment. When Michael Vick, convicted superstar of the Eagles (convicted of taking part in the systematic fighting and execution of dogs, not specifically of being a superstar), was accepted to the Philadelphia team, he was met with a fair level of dissent. The rally cries were either “Torture Vick the same way he tortured helpless animals” or “Give Vick a Second Chance.”
Both of these statements were short-sighted and made hastily with no real sense of what the fuck Vick as a human being was (and certainly still is) capable of. It seems that when celebrities, athletes, or marginally talented famous people are convicted of a semi-serious criminal activity, they are treated with the most delicate sensitivity by the majority of Americans.
I’ll explain. So often do we hear the naïve battle cry of, “Celebrities get away with everything.” And, of course, this is true. The rich do enjoy a certain buffer zone within the laws many of us take for granted. A parking ticket or traffic violation that may take groceries out of our budget could quite easily be pennies and pocket fluff for someone else.
Automobile violations aside, how often does our celebrity culture jump to the defense of the rich and famous when they’re taken in for a crime that would land any “normal” American either behind bars, or up to their tits in court fees and bail costs?
Stop me if any of these sound familiar: FREE WEEZY, FREE WINONA, OJ’S INNOCENT, GIVE VICK A SECOND CHANCE!
The truth is that Vick has had several blown chances (not as many as McNabb though! ZING! No, I don’t give a shit) and his true nature is simply ignored and pushed aside in favor of him being a possible golden ticket to the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, celebrities who’ve really done nothing wrong but be cocky, arrogant douchebags are vilified despite their undeniable talent. Just ask a bunch of Football fans what they think of Kanye West.
Changing gears on the conversation a little bit, I wanted to touch on an issue that’s already been covered at length. That issue is, of course, simple-minded, willfully ignorant, probably racist, redneck conservatives. Specifically, the notion their acceptance and/or denial of the necessity for proof.
As a self-proclaimed reasonable, rational, and often skeptical human being, as I may rightly or wrongly assume most of you are, I can honestly say that I do my best to seek out proof of stories and new bits of information before I accept or deny them. If no solid proof is available, I’ll generate a reasoned opinion based on the facts available depending on who they information is coming from. But, obviously, you know all of this already, because you, like me, live in the real world.
You and I live in a world that is almost certainly godless; a world where people are only as good as the content of their character; a world where judgment is only passed based on outside factors like racism, jealousy, bigotry, love, honor, or stupidity…not in the unseen and unknowable opinion of an obsolete bronze age deity.
Yet, to the faithful—that is, to the stubborn and myopic faithful—god, faith, stereotypes, and misplaced ideologies are the only things that seem to be accepted with no determinable evidence.
But where do they put their collective foot down when it comes to the “burden of proof” in the 21st century? Obama’s Birth Certificate, Global Warming, Evolution, Healthy Living, and whether or not it’s actually Michael Jackson’s voice on his first of inevitably too many posthumous albums.
I don’t mean to be alarmist, but I don’t think our species has long left.