(Reposted from Inkyworld)
So we have again reached the stage where the general population (egged on by the Mainstream Media) appear to have decided that the Great Britain Olympic Team should all be knighted or turned into Dames merely for doing what is effectively their day job.
I am beginning to wonder what has happened to the idea of being rewarded for actually giving something back to society.
I have blogged before about how I feel that the last Sports Personality who deserved any kind of Honour was Sir Jackie Stewart. After all, he actually did something to improve the safety in not only F1 but also in road cars.
There are very few people who have the ability to turn me into a gibbering wreck when I see them. I happen to know five of them personally (one I have known for almost my entire life). I suppose if you were to stand me in front of someone like Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Bill Bryson, Billy Connolly, or Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill (the writers of my favourite comedy programme “Still Game”), things might be different. However, I can behave reasonably normally around most humans I meet.
There are lots of sayings which tell us how alike everybody really is. There is a saying “No Man Is An Island” – on the flip side to that there is also one which says “Hell Is Other People”.
There are videos on Facebook which show how easily racism can be put back in its box – merely by showing that everybody is related to everybody else in some way. (You could say I am a good case in point – My family has got links with England, Holland, Scotland, Germany, France, and possibly both Canada and New Zealand. My friends are from England, Holland, Scotland, South Africa, the Czech Republic.)
Of course – there is a hidden danger in the adulation or idolisation of famous people. We start to compare ourselves to them – even when we don’t have a chance of being like them. Some people take this to extremes – plastic surgery to make them look more “socially acceptable”, extreme dieting (to the point of anorexia and other eating disorders), entering “Reality” TV shows or even programmes like “X Factor”.
Even organisations like the UK Government and the Mainstream Media are getting in on the act. The UK Government have decided they want us all to be physically healthier and the BBC have decided that every single sporting event they feature (even though there are not that many unless the Olympics are on) should inspire people to take up sport and get fit.
I have to say that I can see a couple of problems with this approach. The main one being the way the athletes are presented in the media. They (particularly the females) are presented in such a way that their physical bodies are more important than how they achieve their goals in their particular sports. Apparently you cannot even start to take up exercise unless you already have a toned abdomen and muscles all over your body.
The other problem is that there is very little focus on Mental Health – either in the portrayal of the athletes’s stories or in the wider world.
Yes – I understand that exercise releases endorphins and improves Mental Health to a certain extent. However, what about those people who take it to extremes. Or even those who do it for the wrong reasons.
There is too much pressure on everybody to have the perfect life and to dress, behave, think, and look, a certain way as it is.
We need to teach people to accept everybody as we find them. This means more realistic portrayals of a wider range of people on TV. We need to be exposed to a wider range of views – however distasteful we may find them.
I have been pretty open about my views on things like Plastic Surgery, Disability, Mental Health, Inequality, Bullying, even (to some extent) religion, on here. And – before you say it – I don’t just hide behind a keyboard and computer screen. I am prepared to get on my soapbox in person as well.
I believe we have all got a duty to speak out against intolerance, racism, Hate speech, etc.
However, I also believe the Government and the Mainstream Media could do a lot more to put out a positive image of the most despised in society – as well as tackling things like the way rape is still usually seen as a “women’s problem” instead of being the fault of the rapists themselves.
Another issue which could do with more work is the decline in respect in this country. As in respect for the people who put their lives on the line very time they go to work in order to keep us safe. This is not just from society at large- it stems from the ideas of successive Governments, as well as other organisations and bodies who should really have their best interests at heart.
Until we get back to something approaching a society where everybody is respected and valued for themselves – as well as being given proper opportunities to help themselves and others – we will keep seeing the divide between different sections of society getting wider and wider. The rich will become richer at the expense of the poor – the able-bodied will feel even more superior than the Disabled. As for the divides between the employed and the unemployed, and the different religious and cultural minorities – just don’t get me started.
We need a total rethink about how to get people to feel comfortable with themselves before we even begin to sort out the differences between all the various factions in Society.
I could end with a variety of quotes from Facebook on the subject of how similar we actually are – however, I have decided to give you an Inky-style quote;
Even the best looking person on the planet is reduced to a mass of blurs when I take my glasses off.