By Jeff Girod
A “no-holds barred” TV interview with cyclist Lance Armstrong was scheduled to air on Thursday, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Armstrong admitted to blood doping and even offers an apology. (Of course it’s a lot easier to admit cheating your skinny ass off after you’ve retired from cycling, Nike doesn’t want you anymore and you’re still worth more than 100 million dollars.)
And did anyone get hurt—other than the countless riders who may suffer future heart attacks or hemorrhages from blood doping, plus all the kids who looked up to Lance as a role model, or the tens of millions in U.S. tax money he used to finance a cycling goon squad of drug cheats? Yes, to all of that.
But look on the bright side. It got us all off our fat asses and into a pair of bike shorts. Plus Lance got to date Sheryl Crow. U-S-A! U-S-A!
More importantly, Lance Armstrong is famous. And being famous means you’re not accountable to anybody for anything, anywhere at any time.
It’s the very reason most celebrities are famous to begin with: They never let obstacles stand in their way. Not morality, not common sense, nor intelligence, a guilty conscience, spouses, children, drug tests, sexually transmitted diseases, street signs or even federal tax law.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis plans to retire after the current NFL season. Everyone agrees he’s still one of the best defensive players in football and a certain Hall of Famer. He also spent time behind bars and has been accused of killing two people.
Singer/rapper Chris Brown was arrested for beating and choking his former girlfriend, singer Rihanna. Since then they’ve been snuggly as ever—once Rihanna regained consciousness.
They even recorded hit songs together. My favorite is “I’m Going to Choke You Again, You Stupid Cow.” It starts off strong, but the last 40 minutes are just rasping, and the sound of Chris Brown wiping down fingerprints.
If you’re famous, you can get away with anything. You don’t even have to be rich. Lindsay Lohan is broke as hell, has been arrested 472 times and has been accused of everything from theft to DUI to looking like the cracked-out, busted grandma of Emma Stone. And, oh yeah, Lindsay is still clubbing, still getting acting work, still on TV almost every day and will appear in Scary Movie 5.
Even when it seems like the entire world has ganged up against a famous person? Well then, just say you’re sorry, promise to do better, change your name, your diet, your hair color—“find Jesus” if you’d like—then go right ahead and do anything and everything you ever wanted (Just like old times.).
Hell, do things you never wanted and weren’t even sure were logistically possible—like, say, having sex with a McRib on top of a McDonald’s sign while dressed like the Hamburglar. Just don’t for a second feel bad about any of it. Or if you do, write a tell-all book and make sure to instruct the rest of us un-famous losers on how to live, eat, sleep, dress, breathe, think and pray.
All the lies, deception, the drinking and drug abuse, infidelity, violence—not to mention the jackassed behavior most of us would never even attempt in a video game . . . Who should we blame for all this? Everybody? Nobody? The devil? Jerry Springer?
We deserve celebrities like Lance and Lindsay because we’re the ones who ogle them, fund their lifestyles and keep them famous. And truthfully, I’m OK with it. Real life sucks ass. (So will some celebrities for a People’s Choice Award.) And somehow it makes it all bearable.
Famous people aren’t our best or brightest, or even the most talented. Most celebrities can barely walk upright or remember to put on underwear. Look at Kim Kardashian. She can’t rub two complete sentences together. But she’s famous. And in some ways that’s worth more than any Nobel Prize.
Quick, name three Nobel Prize winners. Can’t do it?
Now name three Kardashians.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.