Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

January 27, 2014

Tidbits: Look for better role models

CROSSVILLE — In 1993, Charles Barkley proclaimed "I am not a role model."

Barkley was a star in the NBA. When he retired in 1997, he was one of a handful of players to score more than 20,000 points and collect more than 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. His stats were impressive, but the professional athlete also found himself being called upon to be a role model to young kids who looked up to him and other professional athletes.

This, in his mind, was ridiculous.

"I'm not a role model," Barkley wrote for a Nike advertisement. "Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."

But still, people look to these celebrity's as examples, and when they fall from the public's good graces, it can be difficult for those who looked up to them. And, based on the reaction these superstar celebrities receive for their misdeeds, those watching the round-the-clock coverage may be learning other messages, like rules don't apply to everyone.

It's not easy to pin the blame for this celebrity worship we have in our society today. What came first, the media coverage or the reader insistence? Media companies, which are businesses, usually strive to give the customer what they want. In recent years, it's been more and more celebrity news and celebrity gossip. The tabloids and paparazzi are now main stream. You even have interviews with senior members of Congress discussing the abuses of the National Security Agency interrupted for live coverage of a spoiled little Canadian being arrested for driving drunk, drag racing a luxury sports car and resisting arrest.

But the networks want to give the public what they want and, sadly, it's often at the expense of what they need — coverage of issues that really do affect their every day lives.

According to the police report and media reports, Beiber was driving a rented yellow Lamborghini at 4 a.m. last Thursday morning. He was charged with DUI, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. His entourage apparently blocked traffic on the street. The police report states Beiber confessed to having beer, marijuana and prescription drugs in his system.

Now, it appears some of those charges Beiber have been dropped following further investigation and he only faces a charge of resisting arrest without violence.

But Bieber's legal troubles aren't over. He's facing felony vandalism charges in Los Angeles. And though criminal charges aren't likely, there have been photos of the teen smoking what appears to be marijuana, with reports the pop star is partying like a rock star.

Bieber is one of many child stars who reach a certain age and go off the rails, unable to handle their fame. Think Lindsey Lohan, Brittany Spears and Miley Cyrus. It's almost like they're consciously saying, "If you can't be a good example, then be a horrible warning."

If we want to change the culture of celebrity worship in our society, it has to start with us. If you don't want your children emulating the garbage they're seeing on the awards shows, the reality shows, or even the nightly news, talk to them about what's wrong with what they're seeing. Or, just turn the TV off. Maybe if we ignore them, they'll go away.

Even better, point to actual role models they have in their lives. From teachers to coaches, to family or friends, everyone needs someone they can look up to.

And then, be a parent to your child. Talk to them about right and wrong. Teach them the values you believe are important and actually model those values as best you can every day for your child. Sure, you're not as glitzy and glamorous as the celebrities on TMZ, but you can teach your children a lot more than the over-priveleged stars.

Like Barkley said, don't expect celebrities to raise your kids. That's your job. That's the job you signed up for. The folks who are famous didn't sign up for that, and we should stop being surprised when they fail to meet our expectations for them.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014