Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Op/Ed

This is going to be a brief, disjointed, mental disgorgement kind of post, just because I feel compelled to comment on the what is apparently A VERY BIG DEAL in the grand scheme of things.

Michael Phelps smokes dope.

Holy Moly, the whole country is going to go to hell in a hand basket. Because clearly, that means he is not the demi-God we made him out to be.

I get that he is a role model. That's why Nike and Speedo and countless other corporations are willing to pay him big money to say he uses their product(s). And I get that because of his status as an Olympic champion and record breaking athlete, the eyes of the world are upon him.

But you know what?

This guy is TWENTY THREE years old.

Do you remember twenty three year old guys? They aren't much more mature than 16 year old guys.

I will go even further and say that men don't reach full emotional maturity until about 30. There are exceptions, of course.

But you know, my husband is exceptional. Ask anybody who knows him. People (women, mostly) are always telling me how lucky I am to have him, which can really be fucking annoying if you want to know the truth.

Because then he's all like..."But I'm superhusband!" when I bitch at him for leaving his dirty socks in front of the recliner every. single. night.

Uhh, what was I saying? I guess we can forget the "brief" part...

Oh yes....

My husband is exceptional. We've established that. I wouldn't trade him for anything.

But when we married, he, at 26, was not fully mature. It took us a couple of very long years to get to the point where he thought of us as a unit, and himself in terms of one half of a partnership.

The self intruded.

Not because he's a bad guy. He wasn't. He was a great guy. Basically, he was a kind, considerate, hard working, honest and loyal person.

But he hadn't matured to the point that he thought like a grown up; at least not all the time. He still did some things that an adolescent would do; and thought like an adolescent would think.

Once, on an episode of Roseanne, someone complimented her on what a wonderful husband Dan was. Her retort was, "Well yeah, but do you think he came out of the box like that?"

Amen Sister. Even diamonds need cutting and buffing. Raw materials, regardless of their value, still need molding and shaping to shine their brightest.

The point is....

Twenty three year old guys are not the epitome of selflessness or good judgement, gold medals and million dollar endorsement deals notwithstanding. Being a champion does not automatically confer upon one the mantle of perfection.

Not to mention that this kid has been training HARD for years. How many things did he deprive himself of; things every normal young guy does without even thinking about it?

He sacrificed all those things to hone his body into a lean, mean record breaking machine. He pushed himself beyond his limits. He was disciplined, dedicated and focused.

He's done what he set out to do, he made us look good, AND he still has the rest of his life ahead of him.

So if the kid wants to cut loose a little bit, smoke a doobie or two, bang a poptart or three, and otherwise sow all the oats he didn't sow while he was busy being an Olympic Champion...

I have no problem with that.

He's not hurting me. He's not hurting you. He's just making the mistakes that we all have to make to learn and grow.

And I certainly don't think it's going to bring about the moral decay of our youth. I don't think the Dow will fall any further, I don't think the recession will recede any further, I don't think the fat cats on Wall Street will grow any richer or Joe Q. Public any poorer, I don't think Osama will decide to launch another attack and this time make it count...

In other words, nothing much is going to happen at all, EXCEPT that one poor disgraced little merman will be forced to apologize in a very public way for doing something just about every red blooded American kid does, at some point.

The difference being that most kids get a lecture, maybe lose their driving privileges, perhaps even do a little community service, while he will lose millions of dollars. He will be humiliated, humbled and possibly dethroned.

We will make him PAY for his evil deeds.

Because everyone knows that once a person becomes famous, they are no longer allowed any human frailties. They must be perfect! Beyond reproach! Flawless!

Because we won't tolerate anything less, and because, if they are not perfect, we will find and exploit any weakness or imperfection. We will try and punish them in the media and hound them into stoop shouldered submission. Then we will leave them to pick up the pieces of their broken lives and move onto the next celebrity who has the misfortune to publicly misstep.

I feel sorry for him, to tell the truth.

We Americans sure are fair weather friends when it comes to our heroes.

21 Comments:

  • At 4:10 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    I totally agree with you. I definitely would not want my exploits from my early 20s to be made public. I felt bad for him too. He smoked a little weed. Big freaking deal. And as you said, he's spent the last several years in intense training, and now he's cutting loose a bit. Who can blame him for that? Well, some hick sheriff in South Carolina, apparently.

    When I first saw "USC" in the article, I assumed So Cal, until I read further. Marijuana is decriminalized in CA, and many Hollywood-types, like my boyfriend Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, and the band leader Kevin on the tonight show make no secret that they indulge. Then I realized it was South Carolina, not So. Cal. It just makes me mad. As long as he wasn't driving, who frickin' cares?

     
  • At 4:16 PM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    i totally remember that quote from rosanne

    i think more kids should smoke dope. it'll stimulate the economy.

     
  • At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Bunny said…

    You need a larger forum. People need to hear your voice - because it has lots of important things to say.

    I'm with you on this one, but the flip side will argue that it was Phelps' choice to accept the responsibilities that go along with being a role model and a millionaire. And therefore he has obligated himself to be held to a higher standard.

    You're absolutely right about America's short-sightedness and willingness to point the finger. It's a shame the way we/the media dig into the privacy of people's lives to put each and every fault on display. It's almost as if people are happy when they're focusing on someone else's misjudgement so that maybe they won't notice their own.

    I wish it wasn't that way, but it IS. Everyone knows that - even Michael Phleps, and all of his advisors.

    I know it doesn't sound like it, but I do agree with you on this. It's sad that as soon as one does something admirable, they're no longer allowed to be human.

     
  • At 4:34 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I blogged about doobies yesterday, but not in this capacity - according to my kids, that's what was for dinner yesterday night.

    BA, I am in complete agreement with you. Big shocker there, eh? ;)

     
  • At 4:37 PM, Anonymous OmegaMom said…

    Hear, hear. You are right. Don't we have better things to worry about?! Sheesh.

    Check out A Letter I'd Like To See But Won't, Radley Balko on the Phelps issue.

     
  • At 4:38 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Personally, I enjoy a healthy relationship with weed and I am glad Michael Phelps knows how to cut loose and have a good time... A lil weed never hurt anyone.
    (everything is better in moderation though... ) :)

    There are definitely far worse things to be concerned about in this country today.

     
  • At 4:39 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Totally agree. Michael, you should smoked here in Massachusetts where we had the good sense to make carrying an ounce or less a civil matter, with a fine of under $100. You smoking a joint would have not become a criminal manner.

    I bet half of the people standing on their soapbox right now did a few things in their early 20's they may not want to admit to doing now. Shame on them.

     
  • At 5:57 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    TOTALLY agree with you, BA. Not too surprising, eh? I don't care what a 23 year old kid does at a college frat party if nobody is getting raped or given date rape drugs. He was smoking a bong. Big fricking deal. Who hasn't, at some point, done something stupid. I know I had a bong in my home for years before children.

    But you gotta check out this post. I decided not to comment, but WTF?

    http://iagreewithme.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/sometimes-your-past-will-come-back-to-haunt-you/

     
  • At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Apryl's Antics said…

    I would like it if he came out and said "I was HIGH the whole time, Bitches! Put that in your Olympic pipe and smoke it. Booyah!" But, I know that's not gonna happen.

     
  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger Pgoodness said…

    Yep!! Let the boy smoke some dope - he's not in training, he wasn't even in the US and he apologized to his fans (uh, for not really doing anything wrong IMO).

    He's young, he'll grow up...but if he doesn't, who cares? He's an athlete - I think we have better things to worry about in this screwed up world than a kid smoking some weed and sowing some wild oats.

     
  • At 8:52 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    oh fer goodness sakes I did not hear about this.

    and he would not have been busted for getting shit assed on a few beers cause its all 'legal' and 'sanctioned'. i am so very tired of theis hypocrisy.

     
  • At 11:21 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    he passed all kinds of drug tests at the time of competition, right?

    well then?

     
  • At 2:07 AM, Anonymous G said…

    I heahave it on good authority that Nancy Botwin sold Phelps his pot.

     
  • At 9:04 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    I both agree and disagree.

    I don't much care what Michael Phelps does.

    However, he has allowed himself to be mass marketed as an American hero. He has amassed quite a fortune as a result. Of OUR money. I do think he should be expected to hold a higher standard.

    And whether or not we agree with the moral issues....the fact remains that what he did----in the public eye----was illegal.

    And to say that what he does doesn't hurt him or me....well I think that's a bit shortsighted. I have a extended family member who was murdered. He was a young cop on a dope raid and was shot in the face by a pot dealer afraid to lose his source of income.

    No matter how inconsequential Michael Phelps' act might seem to some, I can guarantee that if you are in, or love someone involved in Law Enforcement, his actions have great consequences.

     
  • At 11:49 AM, Blogger jen said…

    i've found the whole thing to be so boring. i can't handle these sorts of pedestrian uproars. i just can't.

    ps. does that sound like i'm a snob? it kinda does, right?

     
  • At 11:13 PM, Anonymous AA said…

    If he wasn't a sports hero no one would even have known or cared. I agree that he must be held to a higher standard to a degree. Perhaps we can mark this down to personal opinion, but smoking a little pot is harmless to me. Yeah, it's illegal, but so is going 45 in a 35 mph zone and yet people do it (and cheat on taxes, etc.) My point being, we have higher standards and then we the unreasonable highest standards.

    I don't think kids are going to go out and smoke pot because he does. More likely because the guy next door does.

    And as far as making it a big deal where the swimming is concerned is just stupid. Um... pot is not a performance enhancing drug. Unless maybe your performance is eating stale chips with cream chesse because that is as close to dip as you can find, or perhaps power sleeping.

     
  • At 1:35 AM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    We're holding him to a higher standard because he is a good swimmer, which somehow makes him a "hero"?

    Your freaking readers are high.

     
  • At 5:07 PM, Blogger nina said…

    i have been feeling much the same way about the "Jessica Simpson is fat" refrain coming from the media. Good God.

    m

     
  • At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Karen said…

    It seems like they are using his vulnerablity and scandalizing him to make themselves look good and to pocket saved face like tucking away the get-out-of-jail card.
    I think it would suffice just plenty if he had simply been asked to come on national TV and admit he'd made a mistake. It isn't as if he's asking that cartoon image of himself be placed on dime-bags and sold to kids in the elementary school cafeteria at lunch.

     
  • At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    The most stupid thing of all was the camera. Don't we all have skeletons in the closet? Big Deal.

     
  • At 6:49 AM, Anonymous midlife mommy said…

    I felt sorry for him too. Unfortunately, there are (almost) always consequences for what we do, and in his case, they are much bigger than any consequences I would have faced. Loss of endorsements and suspension from the program. Rather disproportionate punishment though, and the only lesson to be learned the next time is to stay away from large parties.

     

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