Monday, February 13, 2012

Role Models

Whitney Houston died on Saturday, February 11th at age 48.

She’s being touted as a role-model for young black girls.

I never liked Charles Barkley when he was a Philadelphia Seventy-Sixer, or ever, actually. I always thought he was a smart-mouth arrogant asshole. But I loved one of his quotes: When media idiots called him a role-model he said, “I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids.”

Similarly, just because Whitney Houston could sing and became a pop-music idol does not mean she is a role model for youngsters. She was a talented singer, and a not-too-bad actress. But she also was an unstable drug-addict who needed to go into rehab time-after-time.

Ignoring her flaws and calling her a role model reminds me of a comment I recently received on Facebook. I had roundly decried a chain-letter type post. The postee commented that if I didn’t like something, I should just ignore it.

Ignoring things we do not like is neither helpful nor effective.

We cannot opt to pick-and-choose character attributes when we call people role models for our youngsters.

Role models for adults are different from role models for kids. An adult who has been in jail and who has become a pillar of his community, or a recovered drug-addict may very well be seen as a role model for adults with similar problems. But to point to Whitney Houston who never conquered her demons and say she is a role model for young black girls makes celebrity a god and excuses egregiously bad life choices as mere peccadilloes.

And another thing…must we suffer through days and days and days of media attention on celebrities or well-known people who die? I was sick of Joe Paterno before he died. The blockbuster media death orgies for him made me hate him. I have found Whitney Houston's life tiresome for many years. I don’t like her any better now that I cannot escape the media's obsession with her death.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Cardinal Egan Asks for Do-over on Apology

Ten years ago, When Edward M. Egan was Archbishop of New York, he did the right thing and offered an apology regarding how the Roman Catholic church handled sex-abuse cases in the states of New York and Connecticut. His post had previously been in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

In his 2002 apology, Egan said: “It is clear that today we have a much better understanding of this problem. If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.”

It was a bit weasel-worded with that “mistakes may have been made” nonsense, but still, it was an apology that needed to be made and was made.

Now, today, the New York Times reported that Cardinal Egan who is 79 and retired in 2009 has taken back his apology. In an interview in the February issue of the Connecticut magazine, Egan said, “I never should have said that, I don’t think we did anything wrong.” The NYT said Egan denied many things in the article that were facts. For instance he stated that  no sex abuse had occurred on his watch in Bridgeport. Egan told the Connecticut magazine “I never had one of these sex abuse cases. If you have another bishop in the United States who has the record I have, I’d be happy to know who he is.” In fact, Cindy L. Robinson, a lawyer whose firm represented Bridgeport abuse victims, said that more than 90 sex abuse accusations were made to authorities while Egan was Bishop in Bridgeport from 1988 to 2000.

I don’t believe this denial is due to senility on Egan’s part. Just as substituting lies for facts in political parties cannot be blamed on senility

What is happening is that members of elite groups are not aware they can no longer lie with impunity. They are not aware, for reasons of not wanting to be aware or for reasons of not being savvy regarding Internet technology, that lies and denials will be caught out and proved wrong in the blink of an eye.

Egan now looks like a idiot being manipulated by the Vatican. Which may or may not be true. But we will know shortly…within seconds, I have no doubt.