Monday, February 9, 2009

An Olympian, A Televangelist, And A Senator Walk Into A Bar...

This has been a big week for people in the spotlight, a week that has left me perplexed, and I welcome any input you might have on the matter...

Let’s just say for a moment, you are famous. Maybe you are not as big as Ryan Seacrest, but you are still important. And almost everyone knows your name.

Own that one for a moment, and then answer me this: How hard can it possibly be to follow a few basic rules in public?

Maybe you’ve won some gold medals. Eight of them, hypothetically, in a sport like swimming. And, as a result of your careful attention to health and fitness, you’ve been offered a number of spokesperson contracts that turn out to be worth a truckload more than swimming typically pays.

And then a couple months later, you’re out with some buddies, and one of them pulls out a water bong the size of a small child and offers it to you.

And at that same moment, another buddy pulls out his phone camera with the number to the Associated Press on speed dial and says, “Hey, look over here! Hold up the bong, dude! Wait, I can’t see your face… hang on… hand me that bag of Cheetos (your buddy eats Cheetos for the next 15 minutes)… okay… dude, I’m ready now… hold it up… dude, quit laughing and look at me… tilt your head down so I can see your eyes… say ‘Rosetta Stoned!’… no, in English, dude... “

Do you look the camera in the eye while taking a hit or do you hide the monster pipe behind your massive delts and flash that wholesome Frosted Flake’s smile?

Or perhaps you are a Baptist minister. On TV. Who has made a living and won the hearts of many a God-fearing American with your unbending stance against one of the 'N Sync kids, the Purple Teletubbie, and every other homosexual on the planet, most of whom have nothing to with you.

And then, one day, you find yourself alone in a hotel room you drove to and paid for, with a few extra Benjamins burning a hole in your pocket and a gay hooker at your door waiting to help you spend them.

Does it not occur to you that there is a high probability that answering the door would likely land you on a couch next to Oprah two years later, outing your story to the entire world, a world that, quite frankly, would have left you alone had you not chatted it up with Oprah… or maybe not been such a closeted hypocrite in the first place?

Or maybe you are a politician. Charming enough to be a U.S. Senator, bright enough to serve on a Presidential Cabinet.

And you kick off the interview like this, “why, yes, I would be honored to serve on your Cabinet, Mr. President… my records? Absolutely, they are all up-to-date and squeaky-clean… surprises? Nope, I have never even inhaled… No, sir, I have never spent time toe-tapping in an airport restroom... Huh-uh, never cheated on my wife either, what kind of jacka-… Oh… you mean on my taxes… well, there was this one time… “


Have these people learned nothing from the fallen celebs who have tumbled before them?

Gone are the days when a celebrity can confidently hire a prostitute for a little recreational S&M, knowing it will stay private. And the days of being able to drive your car into the river on a Massachusetts resort island and still keep your job in Congress the next 40 years are far in the past.

This is a whole new world we live in. Thanks to YouTube, athletes can no longer party like Matthew McConaughey. Thanks to Karma, homophobic pastors will eventually be caught with their pants down. And, thanks to Facebook (I assume), EVERYONE now has access to your tax records.

Oh, you can try to explain it away if you get caught, but, let’s face it…

“I made a mistake” works fine for people who went to see “Four Christmases” after reading the reviews.

“I used poor judgment” is a perfectly acceptable excuse for someone caught wearing linen pants in November.

“I’m only human” explains well the second glance at the neighbor mowing her lawn in a push-up and stilettos.

… those excuses are not going to cut it for these guys. I know plenty of “humans” who aren’t being photographed smoking an Olympic-sized bong, who have never hired a hooker, and who are fully paid on all their taxes.

So I hope you all will remember this piece of advice from Weekly Jules if you ever spend enough time in the spotlight to earn your own Wikipedia page, and watch yourself. Because you never know who else is.


Bella@That damn expat said...

Brilliant post!

It made me chuckle and I agree with everything you said.
I worked with a large number of politicians and you wouldn't believe the shit they do. I was just left standing there, dumbfounded, shaking my head and thinking "And I'M the one working for YOU?"

Sassy Britches said...

I'm playing devil's advocate on this's hoping that so many people will be "caught" doing things because of YouTube, Facebook, etc., that in years to come there won't be an Olympian, politician, televangelist (well, maybe still THEM!) who HASN'T done a bunch of crap, and people will just be like, "Oh, well. Who hasn't?" And they'll have to come up with something more important to dish about on the news and Oprah.

la_vie_en_shoes said...

Rosetta Stoned. Love it!

Gay hypocrites + someone with the last name Phelps = I'm still waiting for Fred to be caught doing lines off a male escort's back. And Jules will be there to write about it in her witty, wonderful way!

Jules said...

Bella, SB, Shoegirl, glad you all enjoyed it.

I'm assuming all damning evidence that could be held against me has burned away with the death of 35mm film. I hope.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't quite follow your train of thought....but are you implying one of the Backstreet Boys is gay? Are you sure you have the right group? I think you got your boybands mixed up there......

Jules said...


Muchas gracias, you're right. I had my boy bands mixed up.

Lance Bass was never a Backstreet Boy, he was a member of 'N Sync.

Obviously boy bands are not my area of expertise, and I apologize for my mistake.

But I am pretty sure it was the purple Teletubbie the televangelists had trouble accepting.

I have corrected the story, though, and appreciate you bringing that to my attention. I hope you have a great week and that you will be back here next Monday.


Sassy Britches said...

Yep, it's the purple guy. Yaaaay, Tinky-Winky!

Anonymous said...

This post made me recall a wonderful Lily Tomlin line from the late 1980s play, "The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe" that really fits in with your thoughts:
"I Worry that no matter how cynical I become, it's never enough to keep up."

Don't you bet that the person Michael Phelps was most embarrassed to face was his normally super-supportive mom, who works as a school principal? She said something like...she supported her son. She was not happy, but she supported him.

Jules said...


Love the Lily Tomlin line.

And, yes, I would think Michael's mom would be disappointed in his pot-smoking whether he was an Olympian or not. The wrath of Mama Jules would certainly be unleashed upon any of my four kids if I discovered drug use! But the beautiful thing about motherly love is that it is unconditional. Love from the general public rarely is. Actually "love" from the general public rarely is "love" to begin with.

But that's getting waaayyyy deeper than I intended with this blog :)

Please feel free to email me directly (anyone else reading this is welcome to do so as well):