Lance Armstrong dethroned. Everyone has a strong opinion; either he was just the scapegoat (poor him) or he is a lying, cheating, disgraced human being. Me, I try to resist having a knee jerk reaction and (I believe innate) inclination to want to quickly classify someone as all “good” or all “bad”. Situations are complex, people are complex.
Society tends to claim heroes, we declare them as admirable, role models and expect perfection of them. Sports and movie stars generally don’t think of themselves as perfect (at least not in the beginning), that becomes a socially constructed expectation. We don’t allow them to be normal and they in turn, want to achieve impossible tasks, like 7 straight titles or shattering world records.
The social pressure has created a generation that feels it must achieve, at any cost. So when we look at Lance Armstrong (or Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt), we need to examine society. If we did not put our stars on a pedestals, or pigeonhole them as heroes, perhaps they would be more comfortable being normal people. They could simply be ordinary people who laugh, cry, struggle, hurt, achieve, and have great failures along with their great successes.
If we treat our stars like normal people, there will be no pedestal to fall from. Lance Armstrong did a lot of good things in his life, and, he has also done some bad things. But it is not for us to decide which way the weigh scale leans. We can only look at our attitude and treatment of stars in general.
How about you, what do you think about how stars are regarded in our society??