In 1735, Alexander Pope's metaphor of breaking a butterfly on a wheel alluded to the ways that people use excessive force to attack something that doesn't warrant it. This sentiment was echoed in 1967 when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were sentenced for possession of marijuana.
The pressure that media and masses puts on celebrity figures is not a new thing, but it feels like the pressure has been increasing. The consistent pain through judgmental tweets, and social media and group think is our modern day Catherine Wheel.
The media is prophesying that Tiger Woods' career has sunk; that his own gravity has given out and his star has not only fallen but that it has burnt out.
You might even find that you feel better about yourself after you’ve seen the despondent eyes and puffy face of the now infamous Tiger Woods’ mug shot. But have you thought:
What is the appeal of focusing on celebrities who have gone wrong?
Focusing on others who we have once admired but who now seem to be falling short of being their best, seems to buy us time. It’s a great delay tactic to deflect away from what we don’t want to see about our own life.
Most of us are sitting on our own personal mound – whether its personal, professional or financial stress. And the thought of what it would take to tackle our pile seems daunting. This reaction adds more weight to what we are sitting on.
How many times have you thought,
If I don’t have to look at it, maybe it just won’t exist?
How Do You Rule Your Kingdom?
In my work with clients, we end up exploring issues related to control and power (eg. Anxiety, depression, addiction).
We all have different ways that we want to control our own universe. And in a perfect world, you would be able to describe in detail how you would ideally like to be and feel. However, the world is less than perfect which leaves us seeking power and control in our own unique ways.
Aside from finger pointing being a very effective avoidance strategy, it also can have the residual effect of making you feel better about your life; Especially when you see people who seem to ‘have it all’. Pointing the finger can be a way of leveling out the playing field to take back some power that we don’t quite feel connected to in our daily life.
Lions, Tigers and Bears....Oh My!
In order to survive, we are evolutionary designed to run away from danger.
For many of us, it is certainly overwhelming to want to tackle those shadow parts that lurk around the dark corners within us. So it make sense that we would want to run away from the tiger or at least bring out our weapons to keep us safe.
In the case of this Tiger (and other flailing celebrities), our finger pointing and judgment seems to be a convenient way of helping us push the pause button for self-reflection which might otherwise feel dangerous. The more time we can spend marveling at how outrageous other people are acting, the more right we get to feel about ourselves.
But let's try and change that.
Catalyst Counselling specializes in relationship and addictions therapy and can support you as you put the focus back on yourself.
Contact Tanya at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation at no charge