I feel it’s impossible to talk about this incident without discussing our culture of celebrity worship. I see you cheating with a sense of justice.
Really? A man pretending to blow up aliens for a living?
I guess I never understood celebrity idolization. After all, they are under 100 times more scrutiny and pressure than ours, and many of them come from difficult backgrounds and suffer from mental health issues.
Over the years, one of the traps I’ve pointed out in my relationship advice is idealizing other people. In relationships, there is a name for it: codependency. Codependency almost always leads to dysfunctional relationships and broken hearts.
Still, people do this with their beloved celebrities all the time. We expect people to be leaders in their communities, to have informed and nuanced political views (which is also our own), to have admirable ethics and little to no emotional dysfunction. Oh, he has to do all this without complaining.
Yet it is these same codependent types who spend their lives idolizing strangers on screen and then shocked — #ABSOLUTELYSHOCKED!!! — when it turns out to be so-so in basketball… well ,I am a human.
It reminds me of an interview with rapper Lil Wayne I saw years ago. The interviewer continued to obnoxiously bring up the fact that Wayne had recently been arrested for drug possession, expecting Lil Wayne to show some remorse or remorse about it. A bewildered interviewer finally asked him out.
Wayne responded, “If you want a rapper telling you how to live, you might not actually be living at all.”
Just as you can’t have a healthy romantic relationship without accepting and appreciating someone’s flaws, you can’t be a “fan” of someone without accepting and acknowledging their flaws. I argue that you cannot.
So where does this leave us Will? Can I accept and tolerate his shortcomings? I’m disappointed in what he did, but I can. But I have seen his incredible generosity before my eyes and up close. I have been around him and know that his heart is in the right place and that he is ashamed of what he has done.
I think our Twitter-driven world is too optimized for moral judgments and less optimized for forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard and doesn’t go viral.