If you know me, you know I don’t tend to make big deals out of little ones.
That being said, much has been written in the past few days about Michael Phelps, America’s golden boy, and his recently-surfaced pictures- pictures of him doing drugs.
It is quite interesting to see people’s/companies’/the media’s responses to what has occured. Kelloggs immediately dropped him off their support, while Subway said “Like most Americans, and like Michael Phelps himself, we were disappointed in his behavior.” … “Also like most Americans, we accept his apology. Moving forward, he remains in our plans.” Here we can see Kelloggs standing on moral grounds while Subway plans on keeping its cashcow.
The media seems to be split, whether or not to assail America’s hero or to let it slide, as in the case 4 1/2 years ago when he was arrested for drunk driving.
Michael Phelps refuses to outrightly admit he was wrong. He is quoted as having said “Obviously, for a mistake you should get punished” and “It was bad and stupid judgment, and something I’ll always live with.” We’re so caught up in these blame-reduction buzzwords… This wasn’t just a bad judgment or mistake. It was a clear decision to do something illegal and wrong. He has now started playing the victim, as evidenced by he response, “I’m taking it step by step, day by day. There’s still a long way between now and then, but I’m back here, I’m training for who knows what yet. But I’m back in the water, doing the thing I love.”
Most people I’ve talked to about this don’t even really care, and for good reason. It’s hard to see someone that we’ve looked up to fall.
This quarter I’ve been taking a “Heroes in Literature and Film” class. I’ve really gotten some insight into what we consider heroes now versus what they used to be. We idolize those who have a single great physical ability: singing, athleticism, etc, but being a true “hero” is more than just that. Our idea of the term has even perverted one of the greatest hero tales of all-time, Beowulf. In the book, there is no great fall of the man. He takes pride in what he accomplishes and does these amazing feats that no one could imagine. There is no successful seduction of a temptress, there is no greed for power or wealth. He did what he did because it was his duty and felt the obligation to his friends and family.
Yes, heroes have flaws, but the “hero” that does something solely for the act of bettering himself and for his own glory is no hero at all. A hero is bound by the rules and laws that bind the rest of us. There should be forgiveness, yes, but there should not be this idolization because, ultimately, we’ll be left disappointed.