Say it ain’t so—Eric Camden, a child molester??
That’s as bad as finding out that Richie Cunningham’s dad beat his wife, Marion.
I’m not in any way trying to diminish this. It’s horrific. According to news reports that first came out, Stephen Collins’ voice has yet to be authenticated on that taped confession, but we all know that it sure sounds like him. And it probably is.
Let’s face it, sex addiction is very real—and it’s alive and thriving in our society. We see it everywhere—from Internet porn, to Jennifer Lopez flaunting her ‘booty,’ to the obvious glee that sick perverts very likely experience when they post nude photos of innocent celebrities taken in the privacy of their own homes. But please understand that sex addiction in the media is alive and well only because we—the audience—perpetuate it with our hard-earned dollars when we choose the movies we watch and the music we buy. That is the truth about any kind of addiction: the only way it can flourish is if it’s enabled to continue. And as a society, that’s exactly what we do. In my opinion, it’s a form of craziness.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we choose to be bamboozled into living in a fantasy space when it comes to our celebrities. We choose to forget that they are flawed human beings who put their pants on one leg at a time and who make mistakes, as we all do. We choose to forget that they are not, in reality, the characters they play when we invite them into our living rooms night after night. We don’t know these people! But we choose to put them on pedestals and pay them exorbitant wages to entertain us so that we can forget our own problems for a while—which is what addiction is essentially about. We are addicted to our celebs, and until they go horrifically astray—as Stephen Collins has allegedly done—we choose to believe they can do no wrong.
We are not responsible for Stephen Collins’ gross and perverse child molestation, but we have enabled his sense of entitlement—and I think that we, as a society, need to own this and make some different choices. We also have allowed our lawmakers to historically slap ridiculously small penalties on those who abuse children. Why, then, are we so surprised?
In our societal addiction to fantasy, we also enable in other ways—a case in point is the recent excessively, embarrassingly lavish wedding of George Clooney. How many millions did he shell out for that? Ok, so he loves the woman on his arm—hopefully he does see her as the powerful person she is rather than just the stunning eye-candy she also is—but that’s for another blog post.
The point here is that we, as a society, ooohed and aaahed over this on such TV shows as Entertainment Tonight and even CNN. Personally, I would have ooohed and aaahed a whole lot more if he’d donated those millions to feed hungry children, or to fight terrorism, or to fund research for Ebola.
I’m just sayin’…
But let’s be crystal clear: sex addiction of any kind—especially toward children—is never about sex. It’s about those who feel powerless within themselves, doing something absolutely abhorrent to avoid having to feel that way. I don’t want Stephen Collins to be a child molester. I don’t want ANYONE to be a child molester—or a rapist or a wife beater or a terrorist. I don’t want to see anyone misuse personal power by lording it over someone else. I don’t like entitlement in any of its ugly forms. But if we keep paying enormous sums of money to people we think we know to be the fictional characters they portray on TV, we are going to keep on being disappointed, blind-sided, and yes, sometimes horrified.
But hey, it gives us something to talk about at the water cooler, right? It gives us something to text our friends about. Once again, it gives us a reprieve from our own lives. And that’s what addiction is about in our society, in whatever form it takes.
Are we courageous enough to pop the bubble we’ve stuck our collective heads into and start living life on life’s terms—preferring to deal with reality instead of choosing to stay stuck in fantasy? If not, then we need to prepare ourselves to continue to see more and more of this type of travesty—for as long as we’re willing to financially fund it. Our entertainers are only human, nothing more—and if we continue to enable them, many of them will continue to feel—and act—entitled.
But alas, that’s not as exciting to discuss at the water cooler, is it?