What do you do when people you admire disappoint you?
In your personal life, when someone disappoints you, you either forgive them and love them despite their failings, or you say goodbye and leave them behind you.
But what about those other people you admire? Famous people – celebrities, politicians, artists.
Maybe ‘hero’ is too strong a word. But you don’t have to be starstruck, only human, to connect in some strong, personal way with someone you only know through their fame.
They write, they sing, they act – they are truly larger than life up there on the big screen. Or they are ubiquitous and cease to be strangers but instead are somehow part of your life.
And you begin to to consider them friends. Important, influential friends.
And they aren’t of course.
You don’t know them.
You know a persona that they present to the world. Sometimes this is an admirable persona whose words really do make a difference to the world and to you.
But sometimes your admiration is suddenly interrupted by reality.
They are not heroes. They are just human beings. And maybe not even particularly good human beings.
It hurts to be disillusioned by your former heroes.
It’s happened to me. And on top of being disillusioned and ashamed of my prior admiration, I also had a practical decision to make.
Because I have written two different essays on this blog that include a couple of my fallen heroes.
One is Louis CK. I truly thought he was one of the most honest comedians of the past twenty years. And I thought he showed real consonance with women. One of his monologues, for instance, was about the bravery of women, who continue take a risk every time they date – every time they get in a car with a man. And yet they do. Eternally trusting in the goodness of people.
But then. Well, you know. Not trustworthy. Not safe for women.
So what do I do with that essay?
I could delete it. I could take out the reference to Louis C.K. I could leave it.
I wondered if deleting it or taking out the reference is dishonest. Is it like saying that I was never a fan? That I always saw through the bullshit?
But on the other hand, I don’t want it to look like I still support the man.
I feel like it is important to recognize that you were duped. Too many people are ashamed to admit they were conned. I need to admit it. Believing in someone long after you should because you can’t admit you were ever wrong is rather a big problem in the world right now.
And the other issue: I think it is a relevant, maybe even important, essay. I want it to be read. I have posted it twice (once in 2016, and once in 2018) because I thought it was important.
So in the end, I have removed the reference to Louis C.K. It is still a good piece. Just as good. Here is the link if you want to read it: Vulnerable.
And the other fallen “hero”? Well it is just a rather silly dilemma.
It’s Dustin Hoffman. Who I always thought was one of the best actors ever, but now, as I understand it – he’s not such a hot person. A lot of people who are great actors are pretty lousy people, I guess.
And my dilemma is that I had a very funny dream about Hoffman. And I wrote about it. I don’t quote him as a marvelous person. It’s not like the Louis C.K. post, where I think the message was too important to erase. If I were to delete the story, it won’t make one bit of difference to the world. It’s just funny. And I love to be funny.
So I guess it is just my own vanity that wants to keep the post. Because it doesn’t matter. It’s trivial. But I like it. I want it. Is that horrible?
So maybe I will keep it around. I’m just not sure. Here’s the link: Tootsie.
Does it make you laugh? Is it just plain dumb? Is it harmful or disrespectful to allow it to exist?
What do you think?