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PERHAPS WE NEED A HALL OF SHAME

Dec 7th, 2009 by James Breedlove | 0

Some people who have attained positions of power or status seem to possess a tragic flaw that can tear down everything they worked so hard to achieve.

 

Tiger Woods is the latest name to be added to a long list of the rich and powerful that have had their halos tarnished.  At least four women are alleged to have had affairs with Tiger and while he has not specifically addressed the allegations he did issue statements saying he had let his family down.  He wrote on his web site, “I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.  I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family.”

 

While sex scandals garner more headlines and titillate the public’s curiosity they are not the only scandals that undermine politicians, religious leaders, superstar entertainers, and sports heroes.

 

Cheating in general, not just sexual philandering, has become commonplace in modern society.  Attitudes toward cheating seem to be more permissive than ever.  Four out of five high school students say they’ve cheated on tests.  More than half of medical school students say the same thing.

 

Here are names of some politicians, entertainers, and religious leaders to illustrate the breadth of sex scandals over the last decade.  John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant, David Letterman, Bob Livingston, Helen Chenoweth, Dan Barton, Gary Condit, Henry Hyde, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Kwame Kilpatrick, Jim McGreevey, James West, Don Sherwood, Mark Foley, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Antonio Villaraigosa, Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson, Vito Fossella, Barbara Walters, Hugh Grant, Woody Allen, George Michael, James Hargis, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Earl Paulk, Paul Crouch, Paul Barnes, and Coy Privette.

 

Dr. Helen Fisher, research professor in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University and author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray says that she has studied societies all over the world, and, in all of them, people cheat.

 

Dr. Fisher argues that there were genetic payoffs to cheating for both men and women during the earliest days of human history.  While men sought to spread their genes, women sought to acquire resources through sneaking off with lovers.  It is possible, then, that cheating is a biological possibility for all of us, whether male or female.

 

If we do consider cheating, there may not be enough negative consequences to be a deterrent. Today, there are fewer societal consequences for those who stray.

“The opposite sex is very attracted to someone who is powerful,” Dr. Fisher said.

 

Perhaps we do need a Hall of Shame.  An official way to publically recognize the fall from grace of people that we have placed on the highest pedestal of admiration and adulation that we have to offer.

 

Currently, we honor those to which we have assigned iconic status with myriad awards that acknowledge high achievement via the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Golden Globes, Sports Hall of Fame, Nobel Prizes, Kennedy Center Awards, and numerous other venues.

 

Why not have a select committee come up with a set of universal criteria by which nominees are selected in various categories of shame and voted on to be honored for their low achievement.  While I won’t pretend to be an expert in formulating the criteria, a few suggestions are offered to initiate the thought process.

 

Nominees can come from any profession such as sports, acting, education, entertainment, religion, politics, or corporate.   The nominees must be considered leaders or “stars”  in their respective fields of endeavor.  The scandalous act of the nominee does not have to be sex related but could be drug abuse, alcoholism, theft, or anything egregious enough to tarnish the unique halo that the public has entrusted to them.

 

The Hall of Shame would serve two main purposes.  First, It would give the duplicitous and hypocritical “holier–than-thou contingent an official vehicle to extract their pound of flesh as recompense for their feigned betrayal of the trust they bestowed.  Second, induction into the Hall of Shame would be a reminder to the fallen hero, after iconic status is returned, that hero worship is not a right but something that is earned.

 

In the long run the odds are that Tiger will survive and flourish.  He is held to a different standard than everybody else.  The billion dollar phenom has transformed a staid sport into a money making machine.  Total prize money just for the PGA Tour was $65 million when Woods turned pro in 1996.  This year it was $275 million.

 

When it comes to golf Michael Gordon, CEO of Group Gordon Strategic Communications, stated the case quite succinctly.  “Tiger is at the top of the pyramid.  When Tiger is hurt, other assets could get hurt, too—potentially the PGA Tour, sponsors, his family.  It’s a little bit of a domino affect, and he’s the first domino.”

 

Even though science indicates that men may have a genetic predisposition to cheating the controversy still remains.  Is it about their biological genes or is it what is in their designer jeans?

 

Dr. Fisher said, “This is an old story.  It’s not just Bill Clinton or Elliot Spitzer or Tiger Woods — “Women are attracted to men who are powerful.”

 

James W. Breedlove

Comments or opinions may be sent to the writer at: www.truthclinic.com

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