My dad loved the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He would sit at the dinner table smiling discussing the book with my older brother and me as the audience. I would dutifully tell him I liked the book. I had read enough to discuss rudiments of the story to please him. My 14 year old self hated the book.
My 22 year old self read the Scarlett Letter and liked it.
Isabella Rossellini stated her mother Ingrid Bergman would never return to the United States because it had a puritanical streak that could turn on you. At the time, I thought that she had led a life that was not above reproach and just did not want to accept the public indignation of the famous having their shameful secrets exposed. I was probably about 25 at that time.
I'm 58 now. I do understand that puritanical streak. The only difference in opinion I have from Ingrid Bergman is that I think it is universal. Each culture has its own gray line or crisp black line in some situations that it measures people. Media can sway where the gray line starts and ends.
What got me on this topic? John Rocker.
I don't personally know John Rocker. I know what got him publically shamed in the news. What got him voted off Survivor is he was honest with people. He could have lied by omission and gone farther in the game. The other players have felt free discussing his public disgrace and calling him a bigot.
I don't agree with the negative comments made by John Rocker that were published in Sports Illustrated. By no means am I saying it was OK what was said. Afterall, I belong to the great unwashed.
What I am saying is John Rocker was saying what others also felt. He did us all a favor in that many learned for the first time that opinion was not liked and offensive.
Prominent African-Americans in Georgia spoke up for John Rocker. John Rocker paid a huge price for his statements.
John Rocker is a modern day Hester Prynne. He has a Scarlet B for Bigot sewn into many people's mindset.
When I first heard about John Rocker's statements in Sports Illustrated, I thought, how stupid for him to share that with a news reporter, Jeff Pearlman. This made Jeff Pearlman's career.
The second thought was some of the news personalities reactions were incredibly outraged for folks that lived in gated or sheltered communities where someone could be pulled over for driving a rickety car or not having the right profile. Places that don't touch subway folks unless they are the help.
It is a shame that some people are deemed more important than others based on socioeconomics. Socioeconomics drives the other factors.
I know my first thought should have been that his statements were terrible. Its just that I know it was a common and pervasive opinion. To be surprised would be disingenuous of me.
When the former Secretary of State, Andrew Young, the mayor of Atlanta and the mayor of Macon, C. Jack Ellis came to his defense, I saw what made him a target. He talked too much. He is a good looking man with an athletic talent. A Golden boy who did not experience that filter everyone of us knows well, Be careful what comes out of your mouth. That pass for being outrageously popular was biting him in the proverbial ass.
As an American, I root for the underdog. John Rocker is an underdog in that he has been made a pariah. Like Hester Prynne in the novel the Scarlet Letter, he has been branded for a sin. But is that his sum total. Shouldn't he be forgiven.
I watched a Dr. Phil show with the children of Doris Duke's heir. He was an alcoholic, drug abusing, child abuser. His children spoke of how they had a hard time trusting people because they were only after their money. I had the same thought for them as I have for John Rocker.
The only way they can escape the problems of people only liking them for their money is to do good work. In becoming philanthropists, they can have a more meaningful life.
John Rocker is a human being who is still trying to explain himself. He needs to realize this is where talk is cheap. He can never explain it away. He just needs to let his actions do the talking.
I think he is like many people who move up the ladder quickly in their youth. They don't know how high they have gotten and how hard they are going to fall when their ego gets the best of them. God has forgiven me for my sins and I can forgive John Rocker of his.
Below is the link for Jeff Pearlman's follow-up.
It was right to have reported what John Rocker said. It was inevitable that he would have been exposed.
Jeff Pearlman crosses the line when he insinuates that John Rocker is hopeless. I don't think John Rocker is hopeless or a bigot. John Rocker talks too damn much.
Jeff Pearlman was the messenger. He is not responsible for John Rocker's losses. Every year a few athletes, actors and newsmakers find themselves as players of a scandal.
I'm also flawed. Being a Baptist, oh boy, I know I have sinned.
For all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
He who is without sin throw the first stone. John 8:7