I am not a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids. -Charles Barkley
Lets say that you were just a regular old person. A plumber, lets imagine. A person just like you are now, who does all the things that you do now. You get up late sometimes, you drink too much on the weekends, you hang out with your friends and act like a tard.
Now lets imagine that you somehow got famous practically overnight because of a ‘reality’ tv show about plumbers. The entire premise of your fame is based on you just continuing to act like you, if you cleaned up your act and wore nice clothes, stopped saying dumb/funny stuff and acted straighter than a mormon on a sunday then your ‘fame’ would be taken away from you as fast as it arrived. The producers, sponsors, and majority of fans really want to keep seeing the crazy plumber they originally tuned in to see, not some straight laced nerd-plumber who self-conciously censors everything. Frankly, it makes for bad TV.
The drawback to all this is that a certain select group of plumbers and people who think of plumbing as a noble tradition of blue collar labor dont like you anymore. Sure they do the exact same shit, act the same way, say the same silly crap and cut corners the way you do, but since they are not on tv and you suddenly re they feel like you need to behave better. In fact they want you to do exactly what all the fans, producers, and sponsors of the show DONT want you to do, act like a role model. These puritans dont care that the plumbing business is booming because of your show and they dont care that they are now accorded a respect that plumbers never had before (in fact some of them want to back to the old days of butt-crack humor).
What do you do? Do become a role model to court the respect of your ‘peers’ at the risk of losing all this newfound glory and fame, or do you keep on being who you are for the fans even at the risk of turning into a caricature of yourself?
Some folks can do it, some cant, and some wont. Micheal Jordan is comfortable being a role model, a ‘good guy’, Charles Barkley is not. Neither of them became basketball players to do ads, sell books, or give commencement speeches. Whether they like it or not, though, their ability thrust them into the spotlight.
Its not a position I envy, at all. Im a big believer in personal liberty, even the liberty to act like a drunken retard on camera. I cant seem to understand the notion that because someone is famous that they suddenly start to owe us an explanation for their behavior. WE (the great unfamous masses) have no claim on those who have, through luck or skill gotten into that spotlight. Personally Id rather that these folks would act like the fine upstanding examples that I hope to be myself, but I dont have any right to expect them to.
Another thing to consider, when the guys on Miami ink get drunk on camera no one says anything, when Kat von D does, its all over the internet. Its clearly sexist in the same way expecting a ‘girl’ not to have too many tattoos is.