Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Follow us on social
  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

They are only human, kinda …

American culture is in a serious state of emergency.

This is true for a variety of reasons, but one of the most current is the downfall of those whom we hold in high esteem. From Michael Phelps to a couple more prominent figures here on the University campus – a women’s basketball player and the president of Undergraduate Student Government – folks who aren’t supposed to are finding themselves in heaps of trouble.

For their ability to excel in their respective fields, many are held to a much higher standard than others in society. Unfortunately, this means when they make mistakes any ordinary citizen is just as capable of making, they suffer far steeper penalties.

As if the legal ramifications of marijuana use, for example, weren’t steep enough as it is, when a figure in a position of prominence is caught, the figure must answer to both the legal system and the far more insidious court of public opinion.

Michael Phelps is a mere 23 years old, not much older than any average student on this campus. For his stellar performances at the Olympics in 2004 and 2008, Phelps was deified by the media. It’s fair enough for him to be celebrated, but godhood is a dangerous trait to bestow upon a 23-year-old kid.

The marijuana photo also raises an interesting fallacy in mainstream American thinking. When it first came to public light, Phelps was immediately knocked down and criticized because we have come to expect such great things from him, and smoking marijuana is not a great thing.

Still, there is an inverse to this argument. Rather than saying Phelps isn’t as sturdy and immune to failure as we thought, the media could just as easily have called into question the veracity of our demonization of marijuana. If it’s good enough for a 14-time Olympic gold medalist, perhaps it isn’t the wicked drug we have so long made it out to be.

Phelps isn’t the only prominent user of marijuana. Carl Sagan, maybe the most famous man of science since Albert Einstein and host of the groundbreaking PBS series “Cosmos,” used marijuana regularly. In 1971, he penned an article under the pseudonym “Mr. X,” which advocated marijuana use, claiming it inspired many discoveries and ideas.

After his unfortunate passing, he was revealed as the author of the Mr. X article, and nary an opinion of the man changed. Nor should it have – America loved Carl Sagan for his ability to express complex scientific ideas in terms understandable by the general public, and for pushing people to think outside their comfort zone – not because he was clean and sober.

Holding anybody to a higher standard than anybody else is, above all else, unfair. It is certainly possible to hold Michael Phelps to a higher standard when it comes to swimming. But impervious to flaw he is not, nor is anybody else.

How individuals choose to live their lives is nobody’s business but their own. Anybody who looked up to Michael Phelps for his incredible athleticism, then abandoned him after the marijuana photo was released, is missing some perspective.

Rather than offering profuse and insincere apologies, mandated by the media, figures of prominence who get in trouble should simply ignore the media’s reaction. When someone is in violation of the law, they will deal with it in court and pay whatever debt they owe society, a society which is more damaged by the overblown exposure their transgressions receive than by the crimes themselves.

There are no gods; there are only mortal men and women. We have no right as society to build up so high those who enhance the human experience, only to tear them down so viciously when they step outside what we commonly think of as proper behavior. Chances are, they know better than us what is good and what isn’t anyway.

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$1325
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$1325
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *