Get Back Up On That Pedestal, Dammit!

December 16, 2012

Humor

The other day some friends and I were talking about people falling from grace.  In particular, we were talking about the fall of Lance Armstrong – some of the people felt that the truth is the most important thing, and we should only draw our inspiration from “untainted” accomplishments; while others felt that the myth of Lance Armstrong was more important than the reality, and would have rather just not have learned the truth.  In other words, to paraphrase The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, “When the legend became fact, we should have stuck with the legend.”

*Side note: I realize nothing conclusive has been proven, merely that Armstrong ceased fighting the charges.  His titles, though, have been stripped and there’s certainly a presumption of guilt.

Pleeeeease be as great as appear to be.

Pleeeeease be as great as you appear to be.

This brought out other people – like this Elmo puppeteer guy – as well as people we just really, really, really hope are good people.  People we never want to see tarnished, or if they are in fact jerks, we just don’t want to know.  People like Conan O’Brian, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Keanu Reeves.  People who’ve accomplished amazing things, or are just generally known as incredibly good, kind-hearted people.

So who’s on your list?  For the Weekly Question of the Week: Who out there – celebrity or scientist, writer or philanthropist – do you just really, really hope never has some image-destroying scandal?  Or even, if they are in fact awful, you’d just rather not know?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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101 Comments on “Get Back Up On That Pedestal, Dammit!”

  1. stephrogers Says:

    Hugh Jackman. Possibly THE perfect man. I am not interested in hearing about his shortcomings. Ever.

    Reply

  2. k8edid Says:

    Rudolph, Carl Sagan, Ghandi, Elizabeth Berg and Officer Wilson.

    Reply

  3. A Dog With Fleas Says:

    Hopefully Anderson Cooper and Robert DeNiro would never disappoint!!

    Reply

  4. Daan van den Bergh Says:

    I don’t know. There’s not much that makes me think of people as ‘awful’. I guess if Bruce Willis, I think he’s a really cool guy, was caught molesting children I would puke and seriously start doubting my judgment of people. If someone found him in the gutter doped up and destroyed, his image would be destroyed, but I wouldn’t feel any different of him.

    Interesting question, sir.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      He bought coffee from me once when I worked at an uber-cool coffee place, and he was nice for that 60 seconds. Proof positive! Plus, he has the advantage of having a “bad boy” image as a starting point. The only thing I’ve heard is that he’s something of a whiner on the set.

      Reply

  5. Eagle-Eyed Editor Says:

    Joss Whedon and Capt. Chesney Sullenberger (Hudson River crash pilot).

    Reply

  6. Life With The Top Down Says:

    First in my mind is Ellen Degeneres, Morgan Freeman & my hubby. It’s so strange that you brought this subject up today. I have been struggling with a situation where a good friend took a fall from grace . It has been 5 months and I just can not wrap my head around the situation. Being let down by the least expected is devastating. I hope no one else ever has to feel this disappointment.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Isn’t it the worst? And not just among heroes, but – as you say – people we know.

      And I agree about Degeneres. That’d be awful if she turned out to be horrible. Like Anne Heche was sane as a judge until Degeneres was done with her.

      Reply

  7. LizForADay Says:

    There is no one in particular for me. I hate to hear bad thing about anyone. The media is always digging to catch people in the act, so to speak. I hate that.

    Reply

  8. stevenwwatkins Says:

    It all just makes me think about this: Just because they may fall from grace, are they any less worthy of our admiration? We’re all just human right? Mel Gibson is a wild man and has had his share of run-ins, but I think he’s a really good man. Just human, that’s all. When we give people the freedom to fail, we open up a whole new world of forgiveness so no one has to carry the heavy baggage of guilt.

    Reply

    • SimplySage Says:

      I really like your take on this. And I agree. I was thinking of Mel Gibson and I thought, yeah—the man is human. I’m sure he feels terrible for everything. But there has to be a balance. High profile people who influence the world for good must realize with that comes great responsibility. However, those who have fallen can regain dignity in public apologies and asking forgiveness.

      Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’s a good point – I would think of someone like Michael Richards (Kramer from Seinfeld) and his on-stage racial slip-up as an example. By all accounts he’s a totally decent guy who just completely blew it on stage and it got recorded.

      Reply

  9. Go Jules Go Says:

    I was just thinking about this yesterday! I think about this all the time. I’ve been told my expectations of other people are too high. (And that’s why I’m often disappointed.) Hmph.

    I’m with you on Tina Fey and Tom Hanks. Also Jimmy Fallon. Ellen Degeneres (like Life with the Top Down already said). Sandra Bullock. …Rachael Ray.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      You know, I’ve never seen Jimmy Fallon. My entire knowledge of his career involves public reaction. Train wreck on SNL –> They gave giggly a talk show? –> He’s really nice –> He’s really funny

      Reply

      • Go Jules Go Says:

        *gasp* I won’t tell him you said that! BTW, Martin Short hosted the Christmas SNL this past weekend, and he was fan-friggin-tastic. I think he might be my real father. Long story. (I actually have a draft blog post about it. …Obviously.)

        Reply

  10. Le Clown Says:

    The Byronic Man,
    I’d say Rush Limbaugh. I’d hate to read one day that he did a good deed. As it would crush everything I believe the man to be……
    Le Clown

    Reply

    • SimplySage Says:

      Well, I’m going to crush this as I am from Rush’s home town. I know him and his whole family of lawyers. The nicest people you could ever meet. I even met his grandfather who lived to be 101. Worked up til the day he died. The Limbaugh’s, including Rush, are just plain nice. Even though they are high integrity lawyers they never have that air about them. His brother, David, does some television commentary time to time. Take a listen to him some time. Super nice.
      Gotta tell the truth on this one. Just sayin’. 🙂
      Sorry to burst it for ya!

      Reply

      • Le Clown Says:

        SimplySage,
        Rush might be a nice man in his community, as many men like him are… But it doesn’t take away the hate speech he promotes publicly… I do not want to hijack The Byronic Man’s thread, but being a swell neighbour while taking your Golden retriever out for a walk doesn’t absolve you from calling women sluts.
        Le Clown

        Reply

        • SimplySage Says:

          Yes, I don’t want to hijack this either but many public figures are guilty. I immediately thought of Bill Maher, who in the name of comedy said similar, even worse, (in my opinion) things about certain public women. Rap music is full of profanity-laced commentary on women, very degrading. I don’t hear any apologies from these venues. (Rush did apologize.) I also can’t seem to find the feminists calling these out.
          But the bottom line here is do we want to trade free speech and establish rules of engagment for it? We coexist with the good and the bad. And we don’t judge a person for one lapse of judgement. If a person feels bad and apologizes we forgive and move on.

          Reply

          • Le Clown Says:

            Simply Sage,
            I agree with you about Bill Maher, I don’t think being left or right makes you a better person when your speech is one of hatred. Hate is hate. Yes, Rush has apologized, but that was not his sole hate speech… Nor sole disgraceful comment. And I wouldn’t use the old “two wrongs make a right” adage to justify his acts, either…
            Le Clown

            Reply

            • SimplySage Says:

              I’m not justifying him at all. He’s human just like the rest of us. I’m just a bit tense about even the term “hate speech” as I’m afraid it’s a gradual step toward “controlled’ speech”. It’s gotten to the point where we’ve lost the meaning of that quote “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it.” Can we not disagree respectfully and honor our right to say what we want? We all have differing opinions and are not going to agree. Can we not respect that? I don’t in any way like what Bill Maher or many of the rap songs say but in shutting them down I shut down my own right to freely express. Right here, right now I have the freedom to express criticism.
              I fear the day when any differing opinions are labeled “hate speech” for it will eventually shut all of us down. Can you imagine a controlled Facebook or Twitter? In the muck and mire of it all true innovation and ideas come from the arena of free speech. Let’s coexist, shall we?

              Reply

              • Le Clown Says:

                Simply Sage,
                Of course. By no means was it an affront to your comment, and I do apologize if this is the way that it came across. Of course we can peacefully coexist. Truce?
                Le Clown

                Reply

        • dinkerson Says:

          It never ceases to surprise me, just how sensitive and ungracious our society has become. So he called an admittedly promiscuous girl a slut. I’ve done much worse, and still have not negated the fact that I’m an honest man, good neighbor, and committed husband ant father.
          I’m going to let it go at that. I, too, want to be respectful of this blog.

          Reply

      • Roberta Says:

        I live in Rush’s hometown and agree, the rest of the family is superb (don’t like David’s opinions but…).

        Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Who’s Rush Limbaugh? Isn’t he the guy who made the first inter-continental flight?

      Reply

      • SimplySage Says:

        No. But you’re close! Think the guys name was Limburger or Lindbergh … somethin’ like that. 😉

        Reply

        • SimplySage Says:

          That was supposed to be a wink. And with that I’ve just added another. The emoticons have fallen off their pedestal! I’m crushed!

          Reply

        • The Byronic Man Says:

          I know, but I really like the idea of people getting in to an argument about the quality of Lindbergh’s character. Just my little attempt to lighten the mood.

          Humor as defense mechanism! It’s what’s gotten me through life!

          Reply

          • SimplySage Says:

            Totally agree with you but LeClown and I emerged friends. We took it over to my place and he decided he kinda likes it there. I just love to spar in debate. Bloodless, of course. But even in my advocacy for civil disagreement I’m bound to fall off the pedestal! It was all good today.

            Reply

  11. 1pointperspective Says:

    I’m hoping none of you ever find out what a reprehensible jack-ass I truly am. I suspect that some of you already know, but I’d love for the rest of you to hold me in moderately high esteem. Of course, making such a self-serving comment in this forum might not help my case. On the bright side, people who are savvy enough to read other peoples’ comments on blogs probably already have me figured out.

    Reply

    • Hippie Cahier Says:

      I’m disappointed to learn that about you. 🙂

      Reply

      • 1pointperspective Says:

        Mel Gibson gave me the number of his public relations guy. If things go too far south, I’ll call him.

        Reply

        • The Byronic Man Says:

          You want Gibson’s previous PR guy – the one who kept his mental unhinged state and wild anti-semitism a Hollywood inside thing. Not the one he’s had since then.

          That’s what happened to Tom Cruise. Fired his PR person and hired his – I think – sister. Suddenly he’s jumping on Oprah’s couch and telling people he can cure heroin addiction with his mind.

          Reply

          • 1pointperspective Says:

            Well…Tom did cure my addiction to Jack Reacher movies.

            Reply

            • chellbyjaye Says:

              I can’t wait to see the box office numbers for that film. I read Killing Floor, and some other Lee Child book, awhile back. (Ok, I listened to the audiobook. Don’t judge me.) Anyway, I pictured Reacher as a Dolph Lundgren type (huge and blond). When I heard that Cruise is playing the role in the movie, I was shocked. I kept wondering how he’d do the head-butting thing.

              Reply

              • The Byronic Man Says:

                I think 5’4″ Cruise playing Reacher could make a psychologist’s head explode. Hm, a little man playing a character whose defining trait is his massive size… hmmmm… I wonder if there’s something going on there… hmmmm…

                Reply

                • chellbyjaye Says:

                  I’m sure that there’s some psychologist out there who’d love him for a patient. Think of the number of hours he could be billed for… possibly even for years. I mean, no one ever CURED Napoleon, right?

                • pegoleg Says:

                  Are you serious?? Cruise for Reacher? Is this a joke? I think I’ve read ALL the Reacher books (just finished Wanted Man yesterday) and there is no way Tom Cruise can do that role. No way. I’m speechless.

              • 1pointperspective Says:

                Horrible casting as far as anyone who’s read (or listened to) the books is concerned. Don’t let that stop you, Hollywood!

                It doesn’t matter which Lee Child/Jack Reacher book you’ve read, they’re pretty similar – but none of them feature an elfin pretty boy in the lead role.

                Reply

                • pegoleg Says:

                  I think the sameness is what attracts me – you always know where you stand with Lee Child’s novels: “Reacher said nothing.”

                • 1pointperspective Says:

                  Agreed. Sadly, now I’ll see Tom Cruise’s little dimpled grin when Reacher says nothing.

                  Jack Reacher loses his edge when pictured in white cotton socks as he lip syncs Bob Seeger on a polished hardwood floor.

                • chellbyjaye Says:

                  From everything I’ve heard, it seems that the real Reacher Creatures (people who love the books) are going to hate the movie, even if Cruise does a good acting job. I’m interested in seeing how it’s received by people who’ve never read or heard of Lee Child. Will they sense something is off. Since I’m not a Cruise fan in the least nor a huge Child fan (though I think that he is a very good writer that I will likely read again), I don’t think I’ll see the movie, at least not for 10-11 dollars.

                  Besides, I think more people are going to see the Hobbit instead.

                • 1pointperspective Says:

                  Tom Cruise as a Hobbit?! That’s good casting!

  12. Hippie Cahier Says:

    You picked two of my top three: Keanu Reeves, Tom Hanks, and Morgan Freeman. If there should be a mix up in the paperwork and I should find my way to Heaven, I hope Morgan Freeman really is God.

    Reply

  13. Michelle Gillies Says:

    Great question. Finally one I can answer Maya Angelou, Ellen Degeneres, Pauley Perrette, Mark Harmon, Allan Hawco … I actually have a long list and a lot of them are Canadians you probably wouldn’t know.
    I have a different question … who would you like to see fall from grace but for some reason everything just slides off them and they always come up as saints? I have one answer for that – Oprah.

    Reply

  14. Polysyllabic Profundities Says:

    I love posts that make me think (and many of yours do). I have to say Anderson Cooper. I would be devastated to find out he had a dark side hiding behind that benevolent facade.

    Reply

  15. dinkerson Says:

    Well… Tom Hanks is on my list of the fallen great ones.

    You know what I love, though, is that Steve McQeen appears to have been as awesome as he seemed. I love that.

    Reply

  16. karensamenow Says:

    Thank you for a good post. I’m a recently new blogger, & find your blog is helping me grow! Keep up the good work, for my sake, & your own!

    Reply

  17. WSW Says:

    Shari Lewis gets my vote. I’d hate to find out something untoward had been going on while her hand was up Lamb Chop’s…Oh forget it.

    Reply

  18. SimplySage Says:

    For me it’s my two 007 favorites—Sean Connery and Daniel Craig.

    Reply

  19. susielindau Says:

    I am with K8edid. My husband and me, and my family gets my vote. It’s true that I am a Wild Rider, but I’m not that wild…

    Reply

  20. Lily Says:

    I’ve said this about EVERYBODY I ever liked: I don’t want to know.

    George Harrison was my favorite Beatle. I took up uke YEARS before its ‘resurgence’ because of him (he composed a lot on uke & was known when banging around with friends to choose uke above all other instruments). I never wanted to meet him. If he acted an arse, it would’ve messed with my vision of an idol (idol as in: who I wanted to be more like). I know that he was a human. I know that he stole girlfriends and probably did a lot worse…but I’d rather not know those things and surely never wanted first-hand knowledge of aholeness.

    Reply

  21. aliceatwonderland Says:

    Selena Gomez. She’s one of those Disney girls, and so far she seems to be keeping a good head on her shoulders. She’s pretty, funny, and she can sing. But judging by what happened to Miley Cyrus, and the dozens before her . . . . it’s sad. Mostly I want her to not fall because it’d be nice for my girls to have someone they could look up to – but at the same time I understand the incredible pressure they are under at too young an age.

    Reply

  22. JackieP Says:

    I give everyone the benefit of the doubt when I read about them. News doesn’t always get it right, and they are human and there fore full of faults. Maybe not really big ones, but no one is perfect. Personally, I am always trying to be good, not always making it, but I try, as all these others probably try. Just because they are famous does not make them any less faulty.

    Reply

  23. winopants Says:

    I was pretty bummed when I found out Mel Gibson was a complete lunatic. Now that I’m older I appreciate the comedic value of his tirades.
    We have a celebrities who come in from time to time at my restaurant, and it’s very interesting to see how they act towards the staff. Your character should be judged by how you treat those who can do nothing for you, amiright?

    Reply

  24. musingsoftheamusingmuse Says:

    You know, I don’t have a person to put in the hat as my “Pedestal Person”… I do, however, like where you’re going with this post… but sadly, I’ve fallen off of my pedestal too many times to know that it’s a really long fall…

    Reply

  25. jcgator1 Says:

    You know, I think to some point we have to understand, no one is perfect and to that effect everyone somehow or another will dissapoint, not only because of what they say or do but because of how the media inflates and spins whatever happens. I personally would not want to see or hear of Tim Tebow doing anything crazy. But it will probably happen, not because he is a douch bag or something, but just because he is human.

    Reply

  26. earthriderjudyberman Says:

    I’d hate to see anyone fall from grace. About a year ago, a friend of mine commited suicide. We hadn’t seen each other for about 12 years since I’d moved to Florida. I was told that he was charged with a very serious crime. His death was devastating to his family and friends. A real loss.

    Reply

  27. theyuster Says:

    Agreed… if you watch seinfeld’s “driving cars and drinking coffee with comedians”, you see he’s genuinely repentant… and besides, most comedians (even black ones) forgave him the very next day…
    “Damn, n**gas havin’ a bad set! Hang in their kramer!” — Dave Chappelle

    Reply

  28. theyuster Says:

    Will Smith… unless anyone counts Men in Black 2 and 3 as a slip up… or his song “miami”…
    You know what? I retract that…

    I’m just gonna go with… err… uncle joey from full house?

    Reply

  29. Eireen Says:

    The Byronic Man.

    Reply

  30. Tori Nelson Says:

    I never really thought about it before reading your post, but the very idea of Tom Hanks being less than wonderful would really mess me up!

    Reply

  31. Remediator Says:

    Barack Obama. This planet is so in need of a larger-than-life hero that he was given the Nobel Peace Prize just for getting elected.

    Reply

  32. spilledinkguy Says:

    Tom Hanks? Really? But… what about that poor, poor volleyball?!

    Reply

    • Barbara Backer-Gray Says:

      Yeah, Wilson is cool. My son the movie afficionado is still upset that Wilson wasn’t nominated for best supporting actor.

      Reply

  33. Barbara Backer-Gray Says:

    I think it’s way I don’t read the gossip rags. I just don’t want to know. But sometimes I learn stuff anyway that I would rather not have known. Like Clint Eastwood and the empty chair, or Meg Ryan’s freaky new face. I just hope I never find out anything that knocks Anthony Hopkins off his pedestal. For one thing, his pedestal is so high he’d break his neck. No more movies.

    Reply

  34. benzeknees Says:

    This is going to sound crazy, but I hope we never learn anything bad about Kurt Russell. He was a Disney kid & appears to have lived a good life! I also liked Lance Armstrong & don’t believe he did anything wrong, but did a whole lot of good.

    Reply

  35. ghfool Says:

    I’m gonna go with Charlie Sheen…and God.

    Reply

  36. pegoleg Says:

    There isn’t a person who has walked the earth, save the guy whose birthday is coming up on the 25th, who isn’t all-too likely to fall off that pedestal. Except for the truly horrific, like what happened last week, maybe we could all try to cut one another a little slack?

    Having said that, I would be truly disappointed if Martha Stewart turned out to be less laid back than she seems to be.

    Reply

  37. Blogdramedy Says:

    Well, I think you know who I’ll pick…

    Reply

  38. List of X Says:

    I’m going to go with Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian, because I’d love to not hear anything about their scandals.

    Reply

  39. pjsarecomfyn Says:

    If I found out that Stephen Colbert ate human brains I could maybe get over that, but anything else would suck the life out of me.

    Reply

  40. sj Says:

    As Lily said up there, George Harrison. I don’t even want to know. And Adam Yauch (still devastated, srsly).

    Reply

  41. Rumpleteazer Says:

    Amanda Palmer. And by extension although to a lesser degree, Neil Gaiman.

    Also, I’m pretty sure I’d get over it if David Bowie or/and Tim Curry turned out to be massive jerks, but not for a long while.

    Reply

  42. Elyse Says:

    I’m hoping that the Bryonic Man doesn’t turn out to be a jerk. Because I personally would be shattered.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] even quantify.  So, I thought, for my Sunday question I’d zero in on something positive.  Something that gets us thinking about who we admire so much we just hope they never fall from grace (and even if they did something horrible, we’d rather […]

  2. Don’t Let Me Down « Life With The Top Down - February 1, 2013

    […] in December I read a post over at the The Byronic Man that touched on this subject, but it also stirred some serious emotions for me. At the end of his […]

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