TOP OF THE WORLD, MA!
Throughout the time of humankind’s descent from the arboreal trees, wandering and hunting on the savannahs, and finally developing what we have all come to know as a civilization, people have risen to leadership positions. During the earlier tens of thousands of years of the species development, rising to positions of leadership did not involve fame. Communications were limited to what could be orally discussed in a small tribal organization. With the advent of technological innovations in communication, all of that changed.
Today, the word used to describe people who rise into serious and important leadership positions, be it in politics, monetary worth, movie, and television status, or even sports is called fame. Some human beings have become so famous that they don’t even have lives that can be compared to the lives of the remaining billions of humans populating the earth. Rare members of that tiny allotment of human beings indicated, time after time, that their lives, lived in total economic freedom and largesse, are miserable. Every word they say is analyzed and many times found to be untrue or faulty in substance. Where they go, what they do, and how they do it is constantly recorded, analyzed, and criticized. Famous people like Princess Diana, Prince Charles, Prince William, Mel Gibson, George Bush, and so many more have all said that they would do anything not to be famous anymore, once becoming famous.
But fame cannot be taken back. The culture allows for no takebacks in those it showers with seemingly unlimited amounts of fame. The word fame is not to be confused with love under any circumstance. Loving another human presupposes at least knowing that human. Mel Gibson, for example, while waiting to speak on a television program, commented that he could not go to Waikiki Beach or even the Ala Moana Shopping Center because he would be mobbed. When he and his family flew from Australia to Oahu the production company sponsoring his appearance had to book the entire first-class section so Mel and his family could travel in some peace. When Kevin, the lead singer for the rock group RIO Speedwagon spoke to his audience one night he told that them that he loved them, and they were all he had left after losing two of his families to drug addiction and his own poor response to being famous. After he finished his performance, he sat behind the curtains of the stage with everyone gone, alone.
Wisconsin is going through its own difficulties with one of its ‘blow away’ mega-stars. Aaron Rodgers is the NFL’s most famous quarterback. Mr. Rodgers’s fame is hard to measure it is so great. He recently tried to indicate that he had been vaccinated against the virus when he had not. His small usage of ‘immunized’ instead of saying vaccinated may well cost him his job and a good portion of his fame, depending upon just how fickle his fan base really is. Aaron doubled down on his denial and basically blamed the media and the public for holding him to a standard he didn’t deserve to be held to. Whether Aaron’s self-defense was accurate or right is immaterial.
It’s all about how his ‘adoring’ public comes to accept and continue its adulation. Mr. Rodgers can never again become unfamous, but he can continue to be famous but not highly regarded. There are plenty of serial murderers who are famous, but highly regarded, as Rodgers remains, is not something that could ever be used as a term to describe them.
‘Top of the World, Ma’ is a line taken from an old James Cagney movie. Cagney’s character stood atop a house with guns in both hands while the police collected below, in order to aim and shoot him to death. Cagney laughed, said those immortal words, and then got himself shot to pieces. Is Aaron Rodgers on top of the world, and if he still is (because he sure was) will he remain there? If he falls, will that ultimately be good or bad news for his future? His current conversations directed to the public would seem to indicate that he is certainly not happy living the life he’s ended up with. What else is out there for him, whether he remains unvaccinated or not? Will the media and the public ever pull back from giving this tiny group of humanity everything, and then making them pay for that ‘gift’ of everything with their lives?
Only time and the advances in technology will tell.