Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Entitlement, Soapboxes, and Being Like Jesus!

I’m not a celebrity! Ergo: I don’t know what it feels like to be one, nor do I know what it’s like to have to deal with the very artificial world created around them. Many celebrities are inundated with obsequious people singing their praises and telling them how great they are. Sadly, many celebrities believe this truckle. I’ve stayed out of the Kanye West fray until now for good reason. I’ve been an idiot many times in the past and I realize that anything I post in a public forum is ‘quotable’ ad infinitum. I don’t want to appear any more idiotic than necessary, and so I choose to observe and listen first before I “step in it.” Now though, I’m ready to engage my soapbox even at the risk of appearing idiotic! From athletes to Hollywood actors, to rappers, musicians and other so-called celebrities, an entitlement mentality comes with the territory. I have news for you though; it’s no different than the rest of us (especially us professing Christ-followers).

It is an entitlement mentality that caused Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick to make the choices they made that landed them behind bars. They somehow bought into the lie (no doubt fed by the people around them) that they were immune to the laws of the land. Why else would Plaxico take a gun (for which he didn’t have a permit in the state) into a nightclub? Why else would Vick fund an illegal dog-fighting ring as if there weren’t more laudable things to do with his beleaguered millions? It was an entitlement mentality that influenced Jay Cutler, Adam “Pacman” Jones and Brandon Marshall, so that they whined and complained because things didn’t go their way in the Not For Long (NFL) league. In spite of the kind of lifestyles their profession afforded them, they felt that they were entitled to even more and so each one of them has made a profound ass (easy… an ass is a donkey) of himself in the public eye.

Kanye West has a history of bad behavior because he feels entitled. In 2006, at the MTV Europe Music Awards, he took the mic from the artistes who had won music video of the year, and in an expletive laden speech declared that his music video should have won the award because it, “cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it…. I was jumping across canyons…. If I don’t win, the awards show loses credibility.” At the recently concluded 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, as Taylor (apparently a teenage singing sensation) was accepting her award for best video in her category, West jumped up on stage, grabbed the mic from her and stated, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyonce has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” Then he shrugged, handed her the mic and walked off stage. Kanye has quickly tried to make amends by appearing on the Jay Leno show and apologizing profusely for his actions. Whether you believe his apology to be sincere or not is irrelevant, he apologized and wants to move on with his life.

What struck me the most was the gentle way in which Jay chided him, causing him to reveal the fact that he has carried a lot of hurt and pain with him for much of his life, and has consequently projected that on how he relates to other people. Many of us do the same thing as we interact with God, other Christ-followers, and people in general. Our feelings of entitlement suggest that we shouldn’t have been treated the way we have been, and so we are motivated to pass and execute judgment on those we view as the source of our pain. In truth though, we are not owed anything, and so feeling entitled to being treated a certain way sets the stage for explosive responses a la Kanye West. I don’t personally listen to or even know his music, but my heart truly goes out to him and I hope that he has puissant relationships around him so that the only voices he hears are not the voices of obeisance.

While we’re at it, we should probably all surround ourselves with people who’ll tell us the truth even when it hurts (instead of feeling entitled to be treated with kid gloves 'cos of all the difficulties we've encountered in life). I have a feeling that that sort of pain is far less degrading than having to take your foot out of your mouth after the fact. There, I feel much better so I’ll climb down from the soapbox now.


ATP said...

Well said.

Bret said...

Call me culturally deficient but I've never heard of this guy until this totally rude behaviour.

Ash said...

good stuff. i have to say, what i love about that night is that beyonce did get up and do the right thing and gave the spotlight back to taylor...putting the young starlet above herself. i found that honorable.

in our faith too~ how many opportunities are we taking to give the spotlight back to Jesus or the people of HIS heart...setting ourselves aside for the sake of another? ...it's a thought.

hope you're having a great week!

Thea said...

I think this falls more under the category of "honesty from a friend" than "soapbox" cut yourself a little slack! :) Good post.

Joseph said...

Ash, great thoughts.

Bret, I know of him only because I have teenaged kids.

ATP, thanks and welcome to the conversation.

Joseph said...

Thea, you're always such an encouragement to me! :)