Who Do You Love?
I'm going to admit that I'm sorta-kinda stealing this topic from an unnamed columnist (damn you Chuck Klosterman!), but it got me thinking - which between recent lack of sleep and excessive drinking is something to behold these days.
Question: Are the people we recognize as excelling (in sports, entertainment, politics,business, etc) people that we would enjoy hanging out with and call friends?
To me the answer is no, but I'm not sure the reason has something to do with some affinity I have towards underdogs and slackers in general, or if there is something deeper.
Example: Most people recognize Tiger Woods as the world's best golfer bar none and Phil Mickelson as somewhere farther down the list. The image of Tiger is ubercompetitve, focused, unyielding, etc. while Phil is a bit of a goof, slightly overweight, fratboyishly handsome, genial, doesn't practice hard, etc.
But - and maybe this is the yardstick we should use to measure this - who would rather spend a weekend in Vegas with? Tiger would be the guy at the Blackjack table, screaming at other players making bad plays in front of him, and over-celebrating at every opportunity. Just because he's "Tiger" does this make him more cool than the top insurance salesman from Wauseon, OH who is doing the same thing at the $10 table?
Phil, on the other hand, would have a running commentary going with the entire table, would be overtipping the dealer at every opportunity, would be busting your balls without being an ass.
The end of the night with Phil would invariably involve a limo ride out to Lake Mead with a leggy book editor from Harper Collins, a promising dirty blonde singer/songwriter from a Southwestern state and maybe a waitress getting her masters in art history (because, um, as you know, these are the types of people that hang out in Vegas - work with me people, it's my fantasy). Tiger's posse would still be in his suite trying not to look like they're purposely losing to him in Madden 2005.
Now, of course, it's possible to be respected for your craft and be very likable - unless Bono is keeping wifebeating under wraps, there is nobody that can rival him in either category - uh, in a strictly non-homoerotic way of course. The Arts are a different category here though. In general, in order to reach the top of your profession, you have to master qualities that are dickhead-ish (Word O' the Day) in nature. AND, it is difficult to compartmentalize these qualities from your everyday life. AND if you do mange to do this, are you not being true to yourself?
Wow, I've just managed to depress myself again - better luck next time.