Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Live by the sword

The Michigan fellow who went "on strike" to protest his wife co-sleeping with the kids has suddenly gone down in flames. Someone who didn't care for his antics did some determined googling and found that he was listed in the states registry of sex offenders. After his foes repeatedly posting this information to the comments section of his blog, he finally had to shut down the comments section of his site. The same news media that garnered him instant national attention turned on this new bit of gossipy news, and suddenly being a celebrity wasn't quite so much fun.

I will ignore the opportunity to gloat, since once an opponent is disarmed and humilitated it's a lot easier to begin feeling sorry for them. But I was interested in the whole question of whether people deserve "second chances." This guy, and his wife, have the usual protestations: that crime was in past, I was a different person then, I've moved on with my life, I've got religion, let's just judge me for who I am now.

So . . . should we judge him on who he is now? Well . . . no, not really. I mean, if you have a good feeling about the guy and trust that he is reformed, you are welcome to take a chance on him. But that's a privilege, to be humbly accepted. No one has a right to a second chance. Especially when they are trying to seize the moral highground.

Lots of people have overcome their past sins to become prominent figures. Heck, it seems like most celebrities have some dark spots in their past. But if you want to be redeemed in the court of public opinion, you have to pay the price. The price is, among other things, admit your sins, accept the blame, demonstrate your change of being, and move on to do great things worthy of admiration. (When you think about it, it's not that much different from getting divine redemption.) People love a redemption story almost as much as they love to pull people down from high places. But redemption takes time and merit, and someone who's fame is based on a cheap gimmick should not be surprised that they are not instantly forgiven.


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