Friday, July 8, 2011
I Can Be Your Hero, Baby
"I am not a role model. I'm not paid to be a role model. I'm paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. – Charles Barkley circa 1993
After getting some feedback from my Pete Rose comments from the last blog, I felt the need to delve into this topic a little deeper. Almost 20 years later, do Sir Charles’ words still ring true? Did they ever? As far as I’m concerned, absolutely. They are probably even more true today than they were almost 20 years ago. Why should Charles or any other athlete or entertainer be a role model? Are they better than the average person? The way we act about them and towards them you’d think so.
Does Pete Rose’s gambling really affect everyday life? Not mine. Did it affect Major League Baseball? No. Were people not entertained by Pete? Yes. What was he paid for? That’s right; to play baseball and yes, entertain people. Now, is Pete Rose someone that you should tell kids to look up to? Hell no. The man is a degenerate gambler and most reports say he is an all around jerk. Does this change the fact he could hit a baseball like no other? Nope. Does it change the fact that he entertained millions? Not even a little. So why does this line between celebrity and human being get crossed so much? Why do we put our athletes and entertainers on pedestals only to be disappointed when they make very human like mistakes? The answer is disturbing.
Charles also said in that commercial that parents should be role models. Hmmmmmm. Therein lies the problem. We as a society are so quick to push the blame/responsibility for everything on someone else. Kids are gang banging? Must me the rap music, TV or Video Game’s fault. People are dog fighting? It’s Michael Vick’s fault. Men are cheating on their wives? It’s because of Tiger Woods. Stop it people and wake up. It’s not their fault, it’s your fault.
These people are not paid to be role models. Never were. They are paid to rap, play football, and play golf. So why then do we perceive them as role models? Easy, it’s easier to tell our kids to idolize them than to take responsibility and teach them right from wrong. We then get our panties in a bunch when they fuck up. At least it was them and not us who look bad in front of our kids. We are doing our kids a disservice. I’ve mentioned in Obstructed Views before that we as a society coddle our kids. By forcing athletes and entertainers on them as role models, we are giving them a false sense of hope.
What do I mean? Well, let’s be honest, how many people are going to grow up to be Pete Rose, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Lil Wayne, etc? Not many. So why let our kids believe they can? I’m not saying they shouldn’t have dreams but let’s be realistic. For every Lil Wayne there are millions of others who will never come close to being a rapper. For every Michael Vick there will be millions who can’t even make their high school football team. Yet those millions will have hope that they play in the NFL or sign a record deal. Instead we should be setting an example for our kids to follow. Why are there so many men with many kids with many women? Because that’s the example their parents set. Why are there people who resort to violence over the smallest things? Because that’s the example their parents set. Why are there people with gambling problems or who dog fight? You guessed it. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to stop.
Now I know that some of these people’s parents may not do these things but they are not setting the right example. If they were actually parenting, they’d tell their kids that these things are wrong. If they were actually parenting, they’d know what their kids were doing and would be able to influence them. So if a kid sees that Pete Rose gambles or that Michael Vick is fighting dogs they need a parent there to tell them it’s wrong. To tell them it’s not right. Does it work 100% of the time? No. There simply are some degenerates out there who are going to do fucked up things no matter how hard a parent tries.
Back in the early 1900s many kids looked up to baseball players. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, etc. Were these men better people than athletes today? Not a chance and they were probably worse. You didn’t hear people blame Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle for the problems in society. I know with today’s round the clock media coverage we have more access to our entertainers. But does that mean they are any different? Hell, one of the most beloved presidents ever had extra marital affairs. Was JFK blamed for people cheating? The point I’m trying to make is that parents need to step up. Am I saying that kids shouldn’t have sports heroes or celebrity heroes? No. I’m saying that parents need to keep it real with their kids. If a parent is keeping it real, then when a celebrity fucks up they are there to explain to their kid how what said person did is messed up and you shouldn’t do it. They also need to explain that these people are human and make mistakes. We all do.
A parent also needs to guide their children to idolizing the right people. How come we don’t teach our kids to idolize soldiers, firefighters, policemen, teachers, doctors, nurses, and the like? These are the people that make the difference in the world. These are the people who helped get the athletes and entertainers where they are. Oh that’s right, it’s not cool for your teacher or your local firefighter to be your hero. Even those these people are the real heroes.
It’s not Vick’s fault people fight dogs. Hell, it’s not even Vick’s responsibility to tell people not to fight dogs. His job is to entertain and play football. He and all the others get paid to entertain us. That’s all. Like Sir Charles said, they don’t get paid to be role models or to raise your kids. Stop putting blame on them for society’s wrongs. I’ll be honest, when Tiger Woods got caught cheating I was disappointed. Not disappointed for what he did. Truth be told I could care less. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to see him golf. I truly hope the Eagles win the Super Bowl with Michael Vick as their quarterback. As much as I hate to admit it, I actually like some of Lil Wayne’s music. Do I condone what these people did? Absolutely not. What they did does not affect what they do for a living. Sure it may make them scumbags but again, as long as I’m entertained who cares. That’s what I pay for; entertainment.
Do you think in Ancient Rome that the Romans cared what the gladiators or lions did in their personal life? No. All they wanted to be was entertained just like you and me. So lay off of celebrities and athletes when they fuck up. You don’t have to agree with what they did and that’s not what I’m saying. Be real. You’re going to fuck up at some point. Do you want people judging you? Besides these people are human and they make mistakes. Who are you and I to judge? Instead of crucifying the very people that you made your kid’s role model, you should be that role model for your kids. Step up and be a parent instead of looking for a celebrity or athlete to do it for you. It’s how I think it should be. It’s how Sir Charles thinks it should be. So therefore it’s how it should be. Until next time this is Jimbo saying if need be, I’ll be your role model.
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Posted by Jim at 2:03 PM