That Andy Warhol – he was one smart cookie. He knew we all would be running each other over for our 15 minutes of fame.
But, could he have ever imagined an ego-driven phenomenon which has been added into the mix . . . and that phenomenon is already-in-the-spotlight people are increasingly craving more in-the-spotlight time. I’m not speaking about us mere minions, sorry Andy, I’m speaking about already known people.
Is anyone surprised with Lance Armstrong’s mea culpa, or any other sports, television, movie star, business leader or politician’s admission – about anything? Can we really be “shocked” by the creepy weirdness of Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o?
The resounding, unfortunate answer is a booming, “No.”
Te’o was “one of the most decorated high school athletes in Hawaii’s history”; in 2008, was named High School Athlete of the Year by “Sporting News”; won numerous other awards; accepted at the prestigious University of Notre Dame, played as the star linebacker for Notre Dame’s Football team, a finalist for the prestigious Heisman Trophy and will likely sign with a professional football team for many millions of dollars.
All of that adulation, limelight, support and opportunity: Not good enough.
Becoming one of the greats evidently wasn’t so great. Manti had to add pity points onto his fairy tale life story by sharing with the world a tragic, personal double loss: The passing of his grandmother, bad enough; but also the passing of his girlfriend to leukemia – both losses in the same week. Not only was he tough and talented, but also vulnerable.
Listening to what is now considered a strange interview, Te’o said, “The most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. Not because of her physical beauty but the beauty of her character and who she is. . . . Even though she was fighting leukemia and various things, she always found time to serve someone else. And her biggest thing to me was always be humble.”
The issue: Although he lost his grandmother, Manti’s psychosis began to shine brightly. His reference to the death of his girlfriend was a lie. You see, there was no girlfriend . . . and his fake social media girlfriend didn’t die. Alas, now he’s playing the pity card once again claiming he was the victim of a cruel online dating hoax. Oh! there was a hoax alright . . . but was it really only on him? I don’t think so. It was on those who followed his successes, those who believed in him, those who invested their time and guided him – those people, they’re the victims.
Manti’s bizarre behavior is an example of how we interact with people, how we relate to life and one another, how society casually hoists the term role model onto an actor, personality, politician, or athlete in this case; catapulting them into the stratosphere of superheroes.
And, boy do we love to see them fall. Social media only enables them to fall quicker.
Instead of being nominated for the Heisman Trophy, he should have been nominated for an Emmy or Oscar – what an actor, quite a natural.
Te’o had all of the right foundation – much like building a good fire. You know, the wood has to be right, air ventilation has to be just right, the poking of the logs and stoking of the fire has to be done with care, but more important – one must tend to the fire in order to fuel the flames safely.
But, Te’o kept adding fuel to the fire. He placed yet another log onto the fire and didn’t know when to stop. He didn’t tend the fire or stoke the flames properly . . . the once perfect fire backfired and got out of control.
I guess Te’o will blame the logs, but it’s his doing and his doing alone – his house is in flames.