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EquaNImITYmag.COm
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rich and famous
balanced advice
The
Benefit
of Not
Becoming Rich And Famous
By Gini Graham Scott
R
ecently, I've been reading about the trials and
tribulations of the very rich and famous, and
realized the aspiration to be part of that elite may
not be so great as it's cracked up to be.. One reason is
that becoming rich and famous may become more of a
curse than a blessing, so maybe it's time to appreciate NOT
being rich and famous. A second reason is that the rich and
famous live in a publicity glass cage, like prisoners of their
fame, where they are continually onstage, like characters in
a modern-day soap opera, in which their sagas and scandals
are like modern-day morality stories.
Two recent stories led me to think about these issues.
One is the scandal surrounding Paula Deen, once the
fourth most popular chef, earning $17 million for her TV
shows, books, products, and fees as a spokesperson from
several food companies. What started the scandal ball
rolling is a statement she made in a lawsuit against her
and her husband that she used the "N" word as a racial
slur against a former employee. She has since been fired by
ABC; and many companies who used her as a spokesperson
or sold her products dropped her. So despite her multiple
apologies to the media, her brand has been severely if not
permanently damaged, because in an age supporting racial
acceptance and equality, her apology was not enough.
Instead, the media went into overdrive chronicling her
fall, like the end of the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.
Then there is the Aaron Hernandez story, where sports,
fame, celebrity, and money came together in the tale of a
bad boy athlete who allegedly killed his good friend Odin
Lloyd for disrespecting him by talking to the wrong people
at a nightclub. www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/27/aaron-
hernandez-murder-charge-texts-video_n_3508836.html.
Whatever the outcome, the Hernandez brand is forever
tarnished, and he has already been dropped from the team,
and will lose millions, both from his top lawyers and the
losses in income and endorsements.
These stories illustrate these key points about wealth and
fame. First, as much as becoming rich and famous is valued
in our age of media-driven celebrity, maybe it's overrated.
Certainly, one needs a minimum income to become secure
and comfortable. But once having that security, one can
lead a relatively peaceful life with family and friends,
without being caught up in the struggle for glory and
acquiring ever more money, while facing a relentless media
ready to find a flaw to bring someone down. For example,
if Paula Deen was an ordinary chef, little notice would have
been given to a similar lawsuit claiming discrimination,
but Deen's fame turned it into a scandal, destroying a
reputation that took decades to build in a few hours.
Secondly, these stories remind us about what we consider
right and good, whatever the outcome for the person at
the center of the turmoil. For example, the Paula Deen case
reminds us how far we have come in accepting diversity
and tolerance, though the media and corporate America
may have overreacted in turning Deen into a pariah for
something she did decades ago and disavows now. And
the Hernandez case reminds us despite fame and wealth,
one can readily fall by an evil action, and then there is no
going back.
Thus, while being rich and famous can bring many
perks, such as a luxurious, elegant lifestyle and the finest
products, services, and travel, there are many downsides.
Do you still want to join the rich and famous ranks? At least
keep in mind the potential risks due to greed, envy, excess,
missteps, and the media glare. And if you're not rich and
famous, think of all the benefits you may gain so the ideal
of gaining wealth and fame may not, after all, be so great.
Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D. is the author of over 50 books
with major publishers and has published 30 books through
her own company Changemakers Publishing and Writing
(www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com). Her
own website is at www.ginigrahamscott.com.