My boyfriend and I were watching TV the other night and someone mentioned the name Steve Nash. A big question mark appeared on my face and my boyfriend looked at me and said, "You know, Steve Nash. The Canadian NBA player." "Huh?" I responded. My boyfriend was in disbelief.
Apparently, this Steve Nash guy is a highly successful NBA player. Who knew? Then it dawned on me. I don't know him because he hasn't been at the centre of some scandal. He hasn't been exposed as a dirty, cheatin' ho so I had no idea who he was.
Mention the name Tiger Woods and, well, there's immediate recognition. Unfortunately, it's no longer for his prowess on the golf course. Or Magic Johnson. Although Magic has certainly redeemed himself over the years, the announcement that he was HIV positive and that this was most probably due to multiple sexual partners pretty much overshadowed his stellar NBA career.
Or Kobe Bryant. I wouldn't have a clue who this guy is if he hadn't been accused of sexual assault.
It's a bit sad really. If you're simply a formidable athlete with a great career and a relatively normal life, you could go virtually unnoticed in the media and no one would really know who you are. But misbehave in a most shameful manner and everyone knows your name.
Of course, this trend applies to any type of celebrity, not only athletes. Anyone caught doing stupid shit is immediately catapulted to worldwide fame, or should I say infamy. The point is, those who stick in our collective consciousness are usually the ones who have irrevocably marred their reputation due to bad behaviour.
This is somewhat disturbing considering we deify celebrities. These are our "heroes", the people we idolize and look up to. But why do we place these people on a pedestal? Because they can aptly dunk a ball in a basket or have their pretty face plastered on promotional material?
I admit, I'm just as celebrity obsessed as any other (although I now consider it research for this blog. What can I say, I'm a pro at rationalizing my addictions). However, on occasion, I do ask myself where our values lie and if they're not misplaced. Why is an athlete making millions while a school teacher is barely making a living?
Why are people like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan filling up magazine pages and airwaves while humanitarian crises barely get a mention? I mean, how important is Kim's latest boyfriend or Lindsay's most recent brush with the law? It's f*cked up.
That being said, I spent last night watching The Bachelorette with rapt attention. In case you thought I was thumbing my nose at our collectively low standards. It's just food for thought, people. Food for thought.