Gladwell - Simmons III: The War To Settle The Score
On The Sports Guy's World, it's the third installment of "conversation" between Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell. Suffice it to say that productivity around the country has slowed to a crawl while folks work through this.
It's all worth a read, but Gladwell's comment on the public reaction to celebrity misbehavior is worth re-posting, re-reading and committing to memory because it's spot on:
How random are our reactions to celebrity misbehavior? You'd think there would be some general moral principle at work here, but there just isn't. Barry Bonds and Shawne Merriman allegedly did exactly the same thing: took performance-enhancing drugs that gave them a decided advantage over their peers. Bonds became a pariah. Merriman went to the Pro Bowl.
Leonard Little left a party, got into his car and hit and killed a young woman. He blew .19 on the Breathalyzer. What happened to him? He did 60 days. Six years later, he was arrested for drunk driving again. He still plays for the Rams. Michael Vick did bad things to dogs and went to jail for two years and become the personification of evil. I mean, I love dogs and I was appalled by Vick's behavior. But in what universe is it a bigger crime to fight pit bulls than it is to get wasted and kill an innocent person? (Let's not even get into Plaxico Burress, whose case proves, I guess, how unexpectedly seriously New York state courts take the crime of stupidity).
And now we have Tiger Woods, who fooled around on his wife and hit a fire hydrant. And in the middle of this absurd circus,[Kobe Bryant,] the reigning King of Kings of the NBA and role model to millions is a man who not that long ago was accused of rape and lucked out of a trial because, by all appearances, he was able to buy off his accuser in a civil settlement.
I think sometimes Gladwell states the obvious in a way that seems especially clever and gets too much credit for it. But here, he's stating the obvious - which far too many people seem to ignore or dismiss, and they shouldn't. As he said, "Huh?"
Edited to add: Later in the discussion, Gladwell cites former classmate of mine Cade Massey. Dang, that's cool.