Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Celebrity Ego

I really like Oprah, and I really like Ellen. In fact, I often watch Ellen; one Tivo'ed episode lasts for quite a few lazy nursing sessions when Ada's feeling nap-nursey but doesn't want to sleep on her own.

But, like so many other celebrities, they have so much money and so many people giving them exactly what they want, telling them what they want to hear, that it's unsurprising when they lose a little perspective over time.

A couple of years ago, Oprah spent some time on her show and in the media talking about a recent and shocking experience with racism. (A nasty, but funny version is here.) The Washington Post piece does a good job of explaining the situation as I see it, especially the last line: "But after-hours shopping is a favor, a perk. Not a right. There's nothing wrong with a store saying not tonight, madame, as long as the reason doesn't have anything to do with skin color. It's okay to say no to a celebrity, even when her name is Oprah."

Unless the security guard or sales clerk at the door said or did something that suggested that race was a factor in their decision not to let Winfrey into the store after hours - something that the security video does not show - then why assume that race was the reason she was kept out? It's hard for me to imagine the sense of entitlement that goes into assuming that you'd be let into any store you want, in any country, even if they're closed.

More recently is the situation with Ellen and the adopted dog.

I have an adopted rescue pug. When we decided that we wanted to adopt a pet from the local pug rescue, I filled out an application and submitted it. Lots of people want pure-bred dogs, so our name was put onto a waiting list. After our application was considered, a representative from the rescue group came over to do a home visit and ensure that our home would be a good place for a rescue pug. It was made very clear to me that if - for any reason - we couldn't keep Lizzi, we were to contact Midwest Pug Rescue first. This is because:
- the organization is responsible for insuring the safety of the animals
- there is a waiting list for dogs
- the organization needs to know where the dogs are, be able to check up on them, and ensure that the dogs won't end up back in the shelter system

Ellen's sense of entitlement became apparent when she kept saying that the "situation still has not been resolved," when, I believe, it certainly had. The rescue organization had taken back the dog and had given him to another family - a family who'd passed the rescue organization's screening policies and had been waiting for a dog.

"Resolved," to Ellen, apparently means getting her way. In this case: violating a signed contract, and taking the dog away from its current home and family. Nice.

Celebrities do a lot of good with their money and their influence. But of those to whom much is given, much is also required. Trying to keep a sense of perspective is a good place to start.

1 comment:

grace said...

Absolutely! You hit the nail on the head.

And I didn't realize Lizzi was a rescue. Good on you.