Archived Story

Celebrities have their details picked apart

Published 9:44am Monday, July 1, 2013

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

I had dreams of becoming an actress when I was in the growing-up stage, meaning 10 or 11 years old. It seemed to be such a glamorous life. Beautiful clothes, good-looking guys (I loved Roy Rogers) and a lifestyle that seemed to be fun and easy.

I have always been kind of dramatic so I got my acting fix in high school and with a few community theaters. As a grown-up, I went on to live life more realistically. Over the years I have changed my mind about wanting to be a famous actress. Of course that never would have happened anyway, but in the world we live in today being famous doesn’t seem so appealing.

In the old days of Hollywood, things were kept under wraps. If a star made a mistake or had a secret life, it was kept quiet not only by Hollywood but by the press. The same happened with politicians. Their secrets didn’t come out until many years later, exposed by the modern-day media. They were not who they were portrayed to be back then, and they were allowed to recover from their mistakes in private.

I make mistakes. I make many mistakes and sometimes words come out of my mouth that I do not mean and later I wonder, “Where did that come from?” I do not believe in using bad language, but if someone asked me if I ever had I would truthfully have to say yes. If asked if I had ever hurt someone I would also truthfully have to say yes.

Did I regret it? Absolutely. I have done things in my life that I am sorry for, and hopefully I have been forgiven.

I wonder, had I been a celebrity if those mistakes would have played out in the media and possibly ruined my life, my business and hurt my family? Why would anyone want to be famous or be in politics today when, big or small, their mistakes would be played out in the media for all of us to judge? The world wouldn’t know the true story, the entire story, only the slant and the bits and pieces possibly taken out of context that the media reported. The louder and meaner the reports, the louder the clamor and the judgment would be. Not only that, but sometimes it would be repeated 24/7 for days and weeks and possibly months.

This happens in the media to famous people every day. We latch on and judge not knowing the full story. Do we need to know the full story? Do we need to be the ones to judge?

Lindsay Lohan is one whose story is played out in the media. I have to wonder how hard it must be for her to straighten out her life in the midst of all the media buzz. Then again, she might be among the ones who get in trouble just for the attention, even if it is negative.

We elevate these people to celebrity status, and then when they make some of the same mistakes as normal people, we crucify them and lash judgment on them.

Of course, if you are reading this you probably know that all the media surrounding Paula Deen is what is prompting this column. I am not condoning the words. I do think the terms she used was very wrong and yes when people use that language they need to be called on it. But I am not judging either, because I suspect we do not know the entire story or the nuances about the lawsuit that is filed against her. Yet we judge someone that used a term that judges a race. We are doing exactly what we are chastising someone else for doing. If we look at our lives, how many times could we be called out for something similar?

It is Fourth of July week. We celebrate the Independence Day with fireworks and parades, barbecues, picnics and more. How many people or kids today know what the day is about? The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration on Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the kingdom of Great Britain. How many people have read the Declaration of Independence? Have you?

I can’t help but wonder if we would be celebrating this national holiday if in 1776 we would have had the social network, the news resources and the freedom we have today to put anything out there, true, suspected, gossiped and picked apart. Would only bits and pieces have been reported and taken out of context?

One of the most famous lines that most people probably have heard is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I suspect that statement would have been picked apart by the media if it existed as it does today, because in 1776 not everyone had those unalienable rights. Would there have even been a Declaration of Independence? How would our world have been changed if because of public judgment it would never have been written. Would the United States Constitution, adopted in 1787, giving us the First Amendment of free speech ever have been written?

When you are celebrating the Fourth of July this year, we can look back at our past and see how we got to our future. We can also decide how each one of us moves ahead in this media crazed world today to make it a better world without judgment and with privacy for those who need time to heal from their mistakes.

 

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net.