Of recent, my thoughts have been beset by the way people have been reacting to certain emotive news subject featuring Oscar Pistorius. Here is a person, disabled as he may be, that in the wink of an eye, has undergone a life changing experience.
The incident in question refers to the ‘alleged’ murder of an up-and-coming female model at the point of his gun. The why it happened is the current furore of public speculation that is being driven to insanity by the media sharks, hungry for sensationalism, melodrama and sales.
In taking the time to read all the news reports on the Oscar troubles and their associated public commentaries, one gets the feel that all is not well in society at large.
In breaking down the commentaries into their various headings, which range from Religious pundits quoting scripture and their brand of theological edits to explain or bless the embattled soul, to the downright obnoxious who relish in making what-really-happened extrapolations fact based on mostly yellow-page styled journalism, and their own narrow life experiences.
Of course, in between all the ‘listen-to-me’ commentaries, one does find the down-to-earth type comments that express sadness, disbelief, scepticism, and pose elucidating questions relating to the muddled hype traveling the internet, the printed word, and the airwaves.
To my mind, the issue arises from the inclination we have of putting people on pedestals based on certain of their witnessed above-normal human prowess while casually ignoring, or not taking into account, their very human side. A side that plagues Homo Sapiens across all walks of life. Had Oscar or his girlfriend been one of the average billions, would the dastardly incident have caused a stir or even the lifting of an eyebrow?
What is on the table, although complex in nature is a simple question of a human being, being human. Oscar is a real human being that has to content with real-life fears, aspirations, mental torments: depression; misery; despair; despondency; and bouts of ego
Although there is a growing faction of activists who feel that the female girlfriend is being side-lined by the attention the fallen superstar is receiving while the victim lies dead, it cannot be denied that while she was an up-and-coming cover-model superstar, Oscar is the newsmaker of the day: he broke the moulds of human perceptions, he made history and he moved the human imagination to greater heights enforcing the new-age ethos that nothing is impossible.
Yet the pedestal was created, assembled, manufactured and cemented in place, firmly affixing the feet-of-clay of the disabled superstar to it. Is this because we need heroes to give credence to our feeble lives? Is this because we need hope to an otherwise humdrum existence? Is this because we need something to grab-onto which seemingly makes sense and affirms our desire to a better life?
There is of course the possibility that all the adoration and adulation that Oscar received over his period of fame played havoc on his frail human psyche which led to the development of the commonly known prima-donna syndrome: a rather common human weakness that has manifested itself in many Hollywood stars, musical idols and political statespersons.
The way forward for him is going to be tough and brutal. Fortunately he has the money to employ a high-powered lawyer which by all accounts, gives him a decisive edge in manoeuvring through the mazes of legalese and jurisprudence processes.
The way forward for the hapless family of the deceased model is likewise going to be filled with much despair, depression, anguish, sleepless nights and questions.
To me, the bottom line to the entire fracas is never to put a human being on a pedestal for in the end, it is only a human being. Yes, appreciate their achievements and accomplishments but there is where it should end.