I remember an interview with Kenny Rogers where Barbara Walters chastised him for choosing fame over family. I almost gagged,because I had this image of Walters pushing a family member to the ground to interview Gorbachev, or Sadat, or Brittney Spears' road manager. When a member of the press sits in judgment on a celebrity for behaving in a way that they themselves might have, it is disgusting,and never discussed.
So when Matt Lauer interviewed Michael Phelps about smoking pot, I was struck by the high handed attitude Lauer displayed. He used words like 'mistake' and 'embarrassed' and 'letting people down'.
Phelps didn't do anything except smoke pot. Would anyone like to bet their house -- if you still have one -- that Lauer never smoked pot? Of course not.
I loved the dumbest question -- were you smoking marijuana? No Matt, it was Bazooka bubble gum in the bong. Is that a necessary question? Did NBC do a survey and discover that their viewers are morons?
Here is the lessons that Phelps learned. Now that he is famous, there are vermin on two feet who will delight in revealing the private behavior of great acheievers in exchange for money and schazenfreude.
He has learned that he cannot trust virtually anyone. He has learned that those commercial enterprises who kissed his behind to sign him will drop him like an ember at the first sign of public controversy. He has learned that mistakes can only be made by the mediocre and vile know nothings. A certain radio icon stole drugs to feed his habit, and was punished with a huge new contract and a cover on the NY Times Sunday Magazine.
Two final thoughts. First, I will never eat a Kellogs cereal again for not supporting Phelps at his low point. Second, if he did smoke pot and won eight gold medals in the last Olympics,maybe reefer should be sprinkled on The Breakfast of Champions.
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