It’s Probably Me, But….

Can someone tell me why the actor Heath Ledger’s death is as important, let alone more important, than the death of a single soldier doing duty in Iraq? Why does a millionaire movie star with everything going for him, including the luck of the draw, who takes his own life (advertently or inadvertently), merit more attention and sympathy than a lance corporal who left behind a wife and small child after he was killed by a remote bomb in a place he didn’t choose to be, fighting for his country?

Why was it a couple of years ago when two African-American contestants on American Idol were eliminated, Elton John called the voting “racist,” but when the ultimate winner was African-American, he had nothing to say? Why didn’t someone follow up with him? Why do so many celebrities get to sound-off and get press coverage on topics about which they know less than most ninth-graders, yet are never held accountable for their ravings?

Can someone tell me why Hillary Clinton, who claims to have been at her husband’s side and closely advising him throughout his Presidency, has never been asked to explain the reasoning it took to grant an 11th-hour pardon to Mark Rich, a convicted swindler and thief, whose wife continued to be a major political donor?

Why is it that teachers’ unions lobby and press for changes which, 95% of the time, are about the well being of teachers, and rarely ever lobby for improvements for the students?

What kind of dullness does it take to continue to channel 250 people and more through a single ticket collector to board an airplane? Why are we still in the “one-jetway, one door, one collection point” mentality of the 1950s? imagine boarding a train that way?

Did you know that the postal service faces tens of millions of dollars in suits each year from its own employees and unions, requiring more and more lawyers and responses, and less time and money spent on actual mail service? Wouldn’t it make more sense to attack the causes of the labor/management conflict, instead of arming for continuing battle? Has anyone thought of cleaning house and introducing all new management?

Is anyone else out there unimpressed with people who predict a stock market downturn for years, and when it finally happens they say, “Told you so!” I’m going to predict that someday we will run out of oil. Just stick around, and you’ll find I’ve been correct.

Why do we consider the dinosaurs “unsuccessful”? The Tyrannosaurus Rex, for example, lived for about three million years or more and was wiped out by an external event from the cosmos, not by a natural enemy or smoking tobacco. Humans are thought to be about 130,000 years old. Are you sure we’re smarter?

When the government funds itself on a deliberate philosophy of debt, why is anyone surprised when consumers do the same thing?

Shouldn’t the rebate being given to stimulate the economy, which is denied to people making over certain amounts, be granted to high wage earners as well, since they are the ones most likely to immediately spend it, and that’s the point of the stimulus program?

Don’t you think that if performance enhancing drugs really worked that airline CEOs would be buying them by the barrel?

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to It’s Probably Me, But….

  1. Daryl Mather says:

    Alan, I am a big fan and read you blog regularly, but this was a bit of a rant mate.

    I cannot tell you much about most the questions you have there, but I can tell you heath ledgers death means a lot to me because he was a young Aussie with a lot of promise from the town where I come from.

    For me, he (and others Gibson excluded) are a sign of us successfully punching above our weight for decades when we live at the end of the world and only have around 20 million people.

    Yet we are everywhere, from Murdoch to Ledger, to Minogue to the CNN newsreaders. So for me it is yet another sad end to an Aussie celebrity (Check Hutchence and Bon Scot) who could have done so much more.

    Does that mean it is worth more than the life of a soldier who died fighting to protect a noble way of life? Not really for me to answer…. but it still mattered to me.

  2. Daryl,

    I am not here to defend Alan and it may be me but I think you are taking this a bit too personal. My interpretation of that paragraph is that it has absolutely nothing to do with Australia. For me, it simply suggests that the media and the public interest are focused on fame and sensational stories that grab attention.

    Why is the life and death of a movie star happen to gain more importance than that of a soldier that had to sacrifice his/her life for a noble cause?

    Please discuss.

    Chad

  3. Daryl Mather says:

    Chad,

    You misunderstood me. (Totally) I never thought he was having a go at Australia. Actually I am aware of his views on my country and they are generally not negative. (To the contrary)

    I spoke of why it was important to me. And that happens to involve my country. Not personal, just the facts.

    That was my point.

    Another point I tried not so subtly to make is that judgment of the worth of a life is not for me (nor you) to do.

    The soldier, god keep him, died for noble causes in my view. (Military family) Others don’t see it that way. (At all)

    In the end his (her) choice led to this loss of life.

    The actor, lived an inspiring life. (Or not, based on some of the reaction to his death)Maybe he contributed to his own death, nothing conclusive has been shown but it appears that way.

    (By the way, prescription sleeping pills are supposed to be found near your bed, thats what they are for)

    His life was one of giving of himself (actors seem to think that) as was the soldiers.

    There is of course a deeper conversation here – war vs entertainment, death vs Life, the gay role vs an “illegal” war, a wasted life vs one cut short nobly, or a selfless man vs a self absorbed one.

    All a matter of perspective.

    Who are you to judge? (Or I)

    In the end two young men are dead before their time, with a long road ahead of them and more potential than us old guys probably have left in us.

    A tragedy either way you cut it.

  4. Daryl Mather says:

    And as a footnote, not good fodder for making a statement about the media circus engulfing the world.

    Best to compare Britney spears and her suffering to retain her sanity with the death of a soldier. One does get a lot more attention than the other…

    Or the revelations of the madness of King Cruise and the plight of the millions in your country without health care… again there is a lopsided media view on this also.

    But the death of a kid who was 28? Do you remember 28? Was a long time ago right? And you were a different person then right?

    When I look back 28 was almost like somebody else that I recall, not myself….my basic values have stayed the same but everything else (including my own maturity) has changed enormously.

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