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10 February 2008

Dress the Pig

"Character is what you do when no one is watching"

Okay. But what about when everyone is watching? Should we expect that people would have even more character than 'usual'?

I love the meaning behind the original quote. There is no shortage of people that act on their best behavior when the light of supervision is on them. But in the shadowy corners of our private lives, when temptation is there, when misbehavior beckons, when we can act up or act out without getting caught....who are we really?

Note: while this concept has been adopted by organized religion, that is decidedly not what I am talking about. Regardless of our religious beliefs, we all still have to walk in our own shoes and look into our own mirror. Can we do that without blinking?

We can't throw a rock these days without hitting a public figure who has stepped on their own proverbial wee-wee over something....and has been over-exposed in the media as a result. Politicians, TV and films stars, business magnates and musicians. Most people that show their ass and the organizations that sponsor them try to cover up, usher away, deny and misdirect the attention. So how odd - how pitifully odd - that the music industry seems to do just the opposite?

The Grammy's have been handed out since 1959 to award "outstanding achievements in the record industry". Detractors largely agree that it is the music industry celebrating the music industry and is a disguise for marketing their music. Hard to disagree with that logic, huh? With sales in the toilet and sustainable, productive artists vanishing without development money, there is not much to celebrate anymore. Unless they lower the bar that is.

This week the music industry's spin doctors will be working over time trying to gussy up their latest two big Grammy winners, Kayne West and Amy Winehouse. They are the new poster children for the recording industry.

Kayne is the imbecile that went off the written script during a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser to spew racist rhetoric like "been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black" and "America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible" and of course "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Nothing heals a nation after a disaster like a mental midget like Kayne. Jeesh. But the music industry loves him and can't promote him enough. I could find ZERO condemnation of Kayne divisive comments by any music industry person anywhere.

Winehouse couldn't attend the Grammy's. The story the industry press sold us was because she was not able to get a work Visa in time. The reality is that she is a drug addicted criminal (she has several notable criminal charges pending in Europe) and the USA would not grant her a Visa to come into our country (a decision that was later overturned after the music industry appealed, by the way). This gal's life is a train wreck of epic proportions and I can't imagine a Grammy will bring help or balance (she left rehab to perform via satellite for the Grammy's for goodness sakes - nothing like priorities, eh?). Ironically, her father begged her fans earlier this year to not buy her records or see her shows because it would only hasten her demise into drugs and her well documented self destruction. Leave it to the music industry to milk that cow dry though.

Speaking of farm animals, we used to call what they're doing dressing the pig. You can make a pig look pretty and even smell pretty....but they are still a pig and they still roll in their own feces.

"Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character." - Henry Clay

Should Pete Rose get into the Hall of Fame for his off-field betting? Should married politicians be re-elected if they lied about being gay (for the lie, not for being gay)? Are their contributions in one arena (sports, politics, music, etc.) separate from their character in the rest of their life? At what point do we hold people responsible for their poor character and banish them instead of celebrate them?


Dana said...

I struggle with this almost daily, primarily due to the impact on my son. I don't expect anyone to be perfect as I could never live up to that standard, but they do need to take ownership of the mistakes they make. It would be a bonus if they could actually learn from those mistakes as well.

I won't say that public figures are role models (although they are for some) however they do represent what becomes acceptable behavior in society.

Wouldn't it be nice if they used that power to better society rather than to bring it down.

Average Girl In Average World said...

See, with Amy Winehouse, she portrayed herself as a drug addict, not a nun, so this odd behavior of hers is expected. Come on now, her big song is titled "Rehab" LOL...... I personally do not think it was crack she was supposedly smoking in that video, I say it was Mary Jane, and that is another topic. Just my opinion

I also agree with Dana, well said.

Michael M. said...

Dana....and that is the rub isn't it? If all we had to hear was their music, etc. then that's one thing, but the excessive promotion of people with such poor character? Please. I know the difference and I hope my kids will too, I just think it is asinine that so many people willingly overlook such poor character and instead celebrate them instead. Your point about what defines acceptable behavior is so spot on...

Deb in OPKS said...

I'm tired of having the famous shoved down my throat and their not being held accountable. I'm tired of hearing about Brittney and Lindsey. I think we need to seriously look at what we find newsworthy and who we make role models for our children. The fact that Nickelodeon is keeping Zoe 101 on after Spear's sister, the star, announced she is pregnant at 16 frustrates me. I will not let my girls watch this.

Michael M. said...

AG/AW: Thanks.

Odd behavior is expected from all kinds of drug addicted, revidivist criminals ...but does that mean that we excuse them...and then publiclly celebrate them?

You think she is more or less likely to clean herself up now that she is the belle of the ball?

Michael M. said...

Deb...Great comment! It's tough to find any programming that is not sucked into the desire to quench the public's thirst for the dramatic.

Until their own kids start acting the fool like these celebrity space cadets, most folks tune out the bad and focus only on the 'cool' parts. But ignorance is not a good excuse when it is our kid on drugs, pregnant, etc. because they want to be like the person celebrated on TV every day.

The Exception said...

Integrity and accountability are two principles that my daughter has as a foundation for her life. We don't watch much television and her exposure to Hollywood etc is minimal at most. (but I swear I am not a strict parent). Her life is all about balance and playing outside and creating, and being helthy, and working hard to be a ballerina and loving learning and exploring.

Through it all, she is learning to have integrity and to be accountable for her actions, her words, and the results that each has. No one owns her actions and their outcome but her. I can complain and voice my objection to Hollywood and the media etc. But at the end of the day, I am responsible for raising my daughter and for providing a model for her to follow.

(Linked from Kat... Hi!)

Michael M. said...

Exception: Welcome! And thanks for your comments...sounds like you are an attentive parent.

Average Girl In Average World said...

Michael M.
I do not believe she will clean herself up. No need to, she is accepted in "her little world" as she is. Whether it be right or wrong.

Zoey 101 and her pregnancy, her managers should have fired her on the spot. These kids look up to the kid stars. My daughter is 6 and loves Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana), and sorry but if Miley goes on a bad girl streak, she will be stripped from my house, by me.

Michael M. said...

AG/AW & Deb: Does stripping away our kid's access (supply) to harlots like Zoey 101 also reduce their demand, or does it make it increase, kind of like a forbidden fruit?