Part of America’s celebrity culture revolves around the idea of celebrity redemption. Basically, shamed or otherwise shunned celebrities gain a surge in, what may seem to be, unwarranted popularity.
In some cases this doesn’t take a lot of time.
For instance, Charlie Sheen was considered dangerous and crazy, for what feels like roughly a week, before embracing the persona and capitalizing on it. Others take a while and aren’t widely publicized.
After losing his mind on Oprah in 2005, Tom Cruise still gets movies like “Jack Reacher,” but I don’t believe general consensus holds that he is a sane individual.
Perhaps most recently, Tiger Woods’ return to the top in golf may surprise some of the more judgmental of the populace. Nike’s tagline for the returning champion, “Winning Takes Care of Everything,” is an accurate assessment of the athlete’s return.
In response to the obvious implications of that tagline, Woods’ sports agent, Mark Steinberg, stated that such implications take the tagline out of context.
Even if that is true, in the eyes of the crowd, winning does solve all of Woods’ problems.
Now the question is whether or not celebrities deserve second chances. It’s not for me to say, but Woods shouldn’t be allowed adoration for golf skills (and only golf skills).
On the other hand, I feel justified in stating my belief that someone like Mel Gibson should not be allowed back into the lime light.
I certainly still enjoy Tom Cruise movies and I think Charlie Sheen’s use of his insanity to make money is impressive.
If both of them had been found to be unredeemable, I guess I can’t say the world would be worse off, but it would have been an unfair judgment.
I could get into a deeper argument here about the problems with our celebrity culture.
Like, for instance, the fact that people like Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal get to weigh in on the gun control issue as if they were authorities on the matter.
However, I actually think celebrity redemption is a positive aspect of the celebrity culture.
Sure, in my cynical mind, I am still fairly certain that Woods is a dog and Cruise is mentally unstable, but maybe I’m wrong.
Celebrity redemption, staged as it sometimes may be, gives people hope and a positive fluff piece about overcoming addiction or personal demons.
Now, sometimes that hope is mercilessly trodden on when the bottom falls out a month later.
But, generally, the celebrity at least sticks to their story.
Basically, as long as we dramatize our celebrities, they will inevitably fall short of our expectations.
Admittedly, some fall faster and harder than others, but most of their missteps deserve the benefit of the doubt.
After all, they are still human.