CRAIG GLAZER SHARES IMPORTANT LIFE LESSONS AND CINEMATIC INSPIRATION!!!
TKC Note: Tonight, we have very artful post from our friend Craig Glazer inspired by a cinematic great and our turbulent pop culture. Check it:
Man in the Mirror
‘I'm Starting With The Man In
I'm Asking Him To Change
Over the weekend I watched a famous motion picture titled ‘Elmer Gantry’. Burt Lancaster starred as an evangelist who captured the imagination of the nation with his fiery sermons. Lancaster, a tall handsome, powerful figure of a man could only let his followers down when at the peak of his success it was discovered he had slept with many women including a prostitute. For that betrayal of the public trust, his followers stood and threw rotten fruit, eggs and garbage at him. He didn’t fight back, he stood there and took it; and in the end said ‘They found me out, I am only human just like them.’ Lancaster won the Academy Award for Best Actor that year.
The moral of the story is this: whenever you place another human being on a pedestal so much higher than yourself, that person can only let you down because after all, that person is human…just like you. In today’s overly judgmental society we see this insanity over our fallen heroes more than ever before. I look at comments on websites, blogs, and media in general about such people of note. It’s always the same. We cheer for them, we adore them, we want to be just like them until…they make that one mistake that reveals their human flaw.
Once exposed, our admiration turns to anger and even hatred towards our fallen hero. Avoiding this trap is nearly impossible because, after all, we are all just human. Maybe the best examples recently would have to be Tiger Woods and Brett Favre; both high-level professional athletes who were admired by nearly everyone until we found the holes in their respective armors. To be blunt, we found out that they slept with women outside of their marriages. In Brett’s case, he even sent naughty texts and photos to women he was sleeping with or wanted to sleep with. Tiger’s case is especially sad, since he came off as almost a naïve cheater. What made it especially hard on Woods was that he was almost universally accepted and respected by White America even though he was a man of color.
He betrayed the White Man. Yup, Whitey found out he was just another black dude. Black men like to sleep with white women? Who knew? Film at eleven. The truth is, Tiger Woods was only human just like you and me. The error he made really was between Woods and his family; in this case his wife, not us. Like most rich, famous athletes Woods was guilty of exploring his options after he was wed. A mistake most, not some, but most, celebrities make.
Maybe an even harsher example of this is President Bill Clinton’s rather public dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. He cheated on Hillary, the world found out, tons of negative press (at least in this country) and eventually he was impeached. Like the famous athletes named above, Clinton’s job at the time had nothing to do with his being immoral. Again, his crime was simply being human.
We could write a list that would take up page after page of celebrities who made the same mistakes and could even include the folks that used steroids to make them better professional athletes and those who lied to the public about their indiscretions in order to protect their legacy. In the end, most people put on a pedestal will only let you down because they are not Gods, they are people…just like you.
Man is capable of great nobility in so many areas; compassion, humility, charity and in the case of this Great Nation, being the world-wide protector of freedom. Man is also capable of being greedy, violent, war-like, selfish and maybe worst of all capable of coveting other men’s properties, accomplishments and achievements. Man is truly a riddle. We are all a combination of potential for much that is good and quite the opposite as well. For those who are deeply religious, I say this; it was man who wrote the Bible and decided that a person named Jesus Christ was the son of God. Millions want to believe this; the perfect human, Jesus, Son of God and therefor, God. Those same millions believe that men who call themselves priests are as God-like as you can be except for Jesus himself. Yet, in the last several decades we have discovered beyond any doubt that hundreds of these priests have had sexual relations, many with young boys. Not very God-like, huh? This is the extreme case of putting man on too high a pedestal. No, not all priests are guilty of such improprieties and not all celebrities cheat on their wives, though it seems most do. Nor do all politicians, celebrities and athletes break the rules; unfortunately too many do.
Now, back to Elmer Gantry. ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ This was Lancaster’s final comment in the movie once he was offered the pulpit once more after he had been cleared of his impropriety, however, he knew he was guilty and he had lost his belief in the Lord and religion as a whole and he turned it down. He decided to go on with his life as just a man, trusting his own abilities and knowing his shortcomings.
Next time you want to judge someone you really don’t know you might take a look in the mirror at yourself and realize how far from perfect you might be; but what you have in common with the person you want to ridicule is that you are both just human. Be the man in the mirror.