In “Why Garrison Keillor’s Fall From Grace Feels Particularly Queasy-Making” Ruth Graham writes:
“But there were always reasons to suspect that Keillor’s folksy persona wasn’t a true portrait of the man: the unseemly lawsuit against his neighbor, the messy personal life. In interviews, he often comes off as aloof and awkward. A profile last year in the New York Times ended with the radio host breezing past the reporter after a show without acknowledging her, or even seeming to recognize her. “He is certainly the strangest person I know,” the writer Roger Angell, his one-time editor, said in that piece. ‘I don’t think he’s necessarily a happy man.'”
Word of 2017. . . p-e-r-s-o-n-a.
Lesson of the year. Never say you like an actor, athlete, President, business leader, comedian, musician, religious leader, etc., because you don’t know them, just their public persona. Let’s seize this moment to distinguish between people’s true selves and their often carefully crafted personas. Do that by referencing the specific part of the public figure’s work you like, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Taylor Swift’s music, Bill Cosby’s Cosby Show, Russell Wilson’s athleticism, Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
The people who wear Russell Wilson jersey’s to Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd this time of year do not know Russell Wilson. It doesn’t matter that they hear he visits the Seattle Childrens’ hospital regularly and is beloved by Alaska Airlines execs, they still don’t know him. All they know is he can play quarterback.
Despite listening to her music all the time and reading about her regularly, the Youngest doesn’t know Taylor Swift. All she can know for sure is she can sing, make slick vids, and sell music. That’s the 1% of the iceberg that’s visible, the other 99% inevitably includes lots of unflattering stuff.
TSwfit is a performer. Like Garrison Keillor, Bill Cosby, Russell Wilson, the President, your member of Congress, and quite possibly, your pastor, boss, and neighbors. Everyone.
You might know a couple of people. Their hopes, dreams, inner demons. None of whom are likely public figures.
Our shock at each name added to the list of alleged sexual predators speaks volumes about our susceptibility to celebrity culture. Their abuse of power and often criminal treatment of people is the story; but our collective, predictable naivety, is the silent subtext.