Anyway, with the recent Sens. Ensign and Sanford (and everyone else) stuff it's easy to make jokes about politicians and affairs and the bizarre number of "family values" spokespeople who keep being destroyed by personal scandal. And I definitely like to make mean jokes. But this piece just made me think a bit about how people are people, even if they're famous. A relevant excerpt from the Slate article:
Sometimes I just want to take a second and feel bad for people, even famous people who are obviously vulnerable and human and maybe slightly crazy. I mean, I'm crazy too, it's just not in the tabloids and I don't have to give a press conference explaining my crazy to the unforgiving masses waiting to twitter about it. Aren't you kind of crazy too? Maybe it's partially that I have the public figure/private figure NYT v. Sullivan defamation and libel stuff on my mind (thanks, First Amendment). Maybe it's that with the scandals and the King-o-Pop, there are a lot of (often hilarious) harsh jokes about those whose lives just ended or are falling apart. But on some level the bleeding heart in me thinks geez, we ARE all brothers and sisters, and I can and do and should feel bad for the poor Sanford family (even the dad who caused this mess) just like I can feel bad for poor crazy Michael and his nightmare of a childhood.
The snap judgments failed to acknowledge a grain of the fundamental human carnage we were witnessing. You can laugh at Sanford, as you can laugh at a video of a wrecked Amy Winehouse falling all over her house. But at some point, even though they did it to themselves, you have to feel sorry for them as human beings. You can do that, I think, and not be a fan of adultery or drug use.
But really, I appreciated John Dickerson's article and the fact that a regular reporter would say "Back the train up, this is a PERSON," which is probably not easy in the world of journalism when it's about juicy headlines and skewering the vulnerable and the flawed. Anyway, I'm glad I ran into it and it caused me to really reflect on that for a while and want to hug everyone.
II. On a completely unrelated note, I ran into this article about supporting your kids' dreams a while ago. Maybe it was even on your blog! I can't remember. But it's given me a lot to think about, and I like it. Here's how it starts:
"I've changed my mind," said my 13-year-old daughter, Francie. "I don't want to be a lawyer anymore. I want to be in the FBI." I tried to imagine my daughter's bespectacled face staring back at me from the climbing wall at Quantico, but the image didn't come easily.Go read it and come back and tell me what you think, okay? We can have an internet book, I mean, article club about it. I like the idea of just being in someone's corner, not just with your kid but in life. If my kid wants to be an astronaut, she can be an astronaut. If my buddy sincerely wants to be a trash collector, she'll be the best damn trash collector around. Seriously. Who am I to pee on someone else's dreams!? There are plenty of Debbie Downers in the world and the last thing any of us need is a PARENT or FRIEND to be our Debbie. I like that when I think up something ("I want to start my own firm! No, I want to go back to school! No, I want to be a corporate bastard! No, I want to start an on-ramping program! No, I want to work on immigration! No, I want to build a barn and save up for a pony!"), my hub or mother or friend will often say, "Ooh, now you're thinking. You'd be good at that. We could make it work." If it's a dumb unworkable idea, I'll figure it out soon enough. It's just really nice and important to have someone that says "Hell yeah!" when you have an idea. What do you think?
Still, I replied, "How cool is that?"
"Yeah," Francie said, arms folded in satisfaction. "It's going to be good."
I hope it is. I hope that her life turns out absolutely according to her dreams. If she doesn't quite hit the bull's-eye, then she'll still have aimed in the right direction.
p.s. If you need a pep talk from me, just let me know. I will happily counteract the bummer patrols in your life because guess what? You can do whatever you want.