Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ted Wiilliams Debacle

I am constantly astounded by the ease of which the general public will display their baaaaad tendency to follow the herd. Ted Williams' rise to fame was fueled by the same frenzy. He was panhandling, using his smooth voice to bait a soliciting trap when he was discovered by an Ohio news reporter.
The story unfolded like a fairytale, and everyone wanted to see Williams take his rightful place in society. Like the young boy who drew the sword from the stone to become King Arthur, the public was eager for the derelict to sit on the throne with everyone singing his praises. Perhaps this is fueled by each person's secret desire to be rescued in some way.
Living vicariously through Williams, each of us can imagine what it's like to be plucked off the streets, to have executives clamoring for our talent, to be propelled into the spotlight. Everyone wants to win the lottery, hit the jackpot, get a piece of the proverbial pie. When someone like Williams does it, the average person sees hope. If a bum on a street corner can reach success, certainly the hard-working, honest, family man has an even better chance of grabbing the gold ring - right?
Instead of being enamored with his rise and disappointed by his plummet, the public should recognize Williams for serving another purpose: he is an example. People are looking for an easy solution to these tough economic times. Williams reminds us that nothing comes easily or without strings attached. Instead of giving up or escaping with drugs, people should stay strong. Being fortitudinous as the economy recovers will be more beneficial.
Williams also serves as a reminder that each individual controls his own life. When that control is turned over to other people, to drugs, or to any other element, life falters. Any situation provides choices, but by letting other people, influences, and chemicals make those choices, a person is not controlling his life. When those influences disappear, no one is in control; no one is steering, causing life to spin out of control.
Homelessness has spread beyond the victims of insanity and addiction, and now engulfs those who have lost homes to foreclosure, lost jobs to overseas manufacturers, and lost hope in themselves. While it is important to recognize not every homeless person is archetypal, Williams is a reminder that each should be judged on his own merits.
Blaming Williams for betraying trust, disappointing followers and supporters, and for destroying ideological plans, is much like blaming an actor for portraying a fictitious character in a realistic manner; it is up to an individual to discern fact from fiction, and to separate what might be from what actually is.
People should also remember that panhandling is illegal in most (if not all) areas; give money to the homeless by giving money to shelters and services - not individuals; and don't blame anyone else for a personal lapse in judgment. No one is infallible.

Related article: "Blinded by Ted Williams' surprisingly silky voice"

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