If an Austrian Oak falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
The other day I stumbled a upon a Youtubian clip from the film "Pumping Iron" and it made me think about the very public downfall of Argh-argh-arghnold Schwarzenegger,
the "Austrian Oak".
the "Austrian Oak".
Like a lot of other testosterone fueled teenagers back in the 70s, I was in awe of Ahnold's uber-masculinity. He was the ultimate posterboy for the Bodybuilding craze that Joe Weider was cultivating and Ahnold was the dude who sold it to the world.
Before the 70s there had been hypermasculine celebrities and movie stars like Johnny "Tarzan" Weismuller. They counter balanced the female counterparts like Jane Mansfield. Today we still have a great demand to satisfy our voyeuristic appreciation of over-the-top physiques and we have stars with superbodies like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Sofia Vergara.
Most of us could never attain Ahnold's level of physicality because of the genetic limitations and fear of taking steroids, but the greatest impediment was the amount of physical labour required...it was just way too much work.
It was inevitable that Ahnold would appear on the big screen and from Conan to Predator and Terminator, he became the BIGGE$T box office draw in the world and according to Box Office Mojo, his adjusted lifetime gross amounts to nearly..wait for it...
THREE BILLION DOLLARS! http://boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?id=arnoldschwarzenegger.htm
He parlayed this notoriety into a post cinematic political career. He hitched his wagon to the mystique of American Royalty and married into the Kennedy clan. This secured some serious credibility and piggybacked the zeitgeist of celebrity worship, and became the Governator of "Kaleefornyah".
Now of course the revelation of his indescretions and illegitimate child with one of his domestic servants has torpedoed the magic and he is in the midst of a very public scandalous divorce. How the mighty Oak has fallen.
Last night I watched "Who's Sorry Now" on the CBC's Doc zone: http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episode/whos-sorry-now.html
"This episode explores big marquee moments of regret from public figures to take a sharp and timely look at the art, spin and billion-dollar business behind The Big Apology. The recent boom in public apologies is taking place against a backdrop where powerful people and interests have less and less privacy. With a mobile phone camera in every pocket and an internet audience instantly riveted to postings of fresh scandals, it‘s harder than ever for public figures to hide mistakes and misdeeds.
Inevitably when a crisis comes, an elite brand of "reputation managers" or "crisis control" specialists springs into action. They take control of the message by spinning the apology in an effort to "protect the brand" and salvage the image of the philandering politician, the cheating sports idol, or corrupt CEO. More often than not it all goes wrong."
Our society's obssession with celebrity has collided with the 24/7 365 world of the internet and it's Open Season on famous people. Our pathetic inclination to feel pleasure at the misfortune of others (Schadenfreude) is a deeply ingrained psychological need to measure up to others...and our prehistoric brain is hardwired to make us victims of our own insecurity.
Social validation increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, so we subconsciously strive to find ways to even out the playing field. Since many of us believe that we, the great unwashed hordes of workaday nobodies living in anonymity, allow celebrities the privilege of living these amazing wealthy lives, because we finance their fabulous lives by buying tickets or voting for them, so we think that they OWE us...BIG TIME!
The media has capitalized on our natural pre-programmed-pre-occupation with social grooming. "Humans live in a constant duality between how we see ourselves and how others see us."
Like our Ape cousins and ancestors, we evolved big brains that freed up a lot of time from food finding and sentenced us to the majority of out time being kidnapped by social grooming. Now this natural obssession has spun right out of control to the detriment of our participation in political and social activism..things which actually affect our lives.
It's sad that we need to invent and create heroes. If we spent more time concentrating on our own lives, we'd realize that the real heroes are the people we know, who actually affect your life. We also need to appreciate that the great unwashed hordes of workaday nobodies living in anonymity aren't looking at our lives under a microscope.
We should all be ridiculously overjoyed that when saplings like us fall in the forest, nobody is watching and it doesn't make a sound.