No doubt something to the same effect could be said about most countries, most societies. They, as we, are a series of contradictions and about faces. We find ways of avoiding the truth: namely that we often sit on both sides of the fence. And we don’t seem particularly troubled about that fact.
Arguably, one of the main reasons for our Revolution was the desire to make it clear that we are not a class society. We disapprove of such things, and we rejected the model of monarchy as a godly right of the aristocracy.
We in fact rejected aristocracy. We were to be a free nation, one governed by equality. Everyone can grow up to be president. And so it goes. There were to be no castes, no serfs and masters, no proletariat and oligarchy. Yet, in opting for the concept of equality, we hinted at communism, which is based on such a theory. We just as quickly turned our back on such principles when we instituted and fought over slavery as a means of economic and social convention.
We staved off communism, by pursuing a free market economy, wherein each was free to compete. There would be winners and losers, wealthy and poor, but it was conceived that this was a personal decision to work hard or not, achieve or not. Thus we come to our conclusion that government mandated “welfare” however defined is somehow unAmerican.
We carry this far, this notion of “nobody is better than me” mentality. If asked, probably half of the working “class” would insist it is middle class, though it meets no parameters that define that group.
We pursue this agenda today in the touting of candidates who are “just like us” and those we could comfortably sit down and have a beer with. These are pluses in our minds as to why a candidate is a good one or not. We downplay intelligence and education as indices of being “better.” In fact, we dismiss such people as “uppity” and elitist, and claim they are trying to be better than we.
Yet, we have created the most artificial of all classes, independent of all the usual motifs. Not the business class, nor the super inherited wealth class, nor the white collar, nor blue, nor any other rational standard.
The standard is simple: entertain me and I’ll place you on a pedestal and I will grant you all manner of excuses for your behavior that I would never accept in family or friend. I will make you a class unto yourself. And through this medium the gossip columnist, and The Inquirer were born. For however much we might allow them, we still enjoy cutting them to pieces. We choose our sides.
Enter one Sandra Bullock. A good actor, most would agree. I personally know nothing about her beyond that, other than that she seems nice. This however, has proven time and again to be no harbinger of truth.
I don’t know if marrying him was a huge leap of faith for her, or business as usual from her background. I don’t know if he is a brilliant unpolished gem of intellect, or a rough biker beer swilling idiot. No clue.
Yet, millions, or so it seems, are vested in this drama now being played out. For Ms. Bullock had lots of very nice things to say about her then husband, and the tragedy is that she was unaware than only days later his infidelities would be announced. The man who “had her back” had been having a very long affair. The man, most would think should be thanking his lucky stars every day that such a lovely lady had deemed him worthy, was shleping it to another biker babe and had for a good long time.
Most of these millions, have no knowledge greater than mine, but I’d be willing to bet that the mail is running about 95-5 against Mr. James. Sandra, for all we know, may be a she-witch and may have driven the mild mannered man to another’s arms by her miserable emotional abuse. I have no clue, but she is firmly the injured party, and Mr. James is the villain and that is not likely to change.
For you see, we have placed Ms. Bullock on a pedestal–granting her special dispensation to be more volatile, more demanding, more particular than the rest of us. She is a “star” and we all know that they have pressures upon them, the likes of which the rest of us can only guess. Stars are entitled to hissy fits and demands for particular brands of bottled water in their suites.
Not saying of course that Ms. Bullock is like this. But she could be, and all would still be fine with us. For we have admitted that the rules don’t apply to her. Much like Tiger Woods who acknowledged that his transgressions were the result in part of believing that he was somehow entitled to these “extras” in life.
So perhaps we cause these falls from grace when they do occur, and we artificially prop up those who deserve to fall but don’t. We cause it by our relentless turning aside all the bad behavior they often exhibit and call it just “creative” acting out.
But why we, who are so jealous of our equality, play this game at all, is still a wonder. Perhaps it is true of other places as well, but we have a long history if this. We now pay millions to each of these “stars” whether of screen or field or bandstand. And we turn a blind eye to their failings, and we talk of them as if we knew them, and we protect them as if they were our own family.
I’ve never understood it. As always, I ask the questions.