Saturday, February 14, 2015

Here's the Rub about Piling On Brian Williams

It's possible or likely that Brian Williams, NBC news anchor, never tried to imagine the disgrace he set himself up for in lies and exaggerations about his war-journalist experiences. 

He "deserves it!" sums up rationale for ridicule being heaped on him now. All he has done of good or right is pretty much over-laid by his lies, now admitted. 

Having placed himself in fictional harm's way under RPG fire over a war zone (Iraq? Afghanistan? both?), he "asked for it!" Cliched phrases like "How the mighty have fallen" are figuratively post-it-noted onto the man's tall yet now-denuded pedestal.

Causes of public anger, resentment, and scorn against Brian Williams are part of the general sense of  being conned, bamboozled, and flimflammed by a trusted public figure. It's not the first time for public shock and disgust, and again to be taken in raises the same feelings of being a chump, a mark, or a sucker--each a fast poison to any residual feelings of respect.

Some say that pride proved the downfall of Brian Williams; as Mark Twain said, "Human pride is not worthwhile; there is always something lying in wait to take the wind out of it."

But here's the rub, the obstacle in the way, the question that comes to mind about continual piling on: "How far can this go without destroying a person?" Maybe I take this too seriously; perhaps the butt of the joke learns to laugh at it, too, at himself. I just can't imagine that ever happening here.

The first reaction that the public wants from the offender, Williams in this case,  is a combination of not only honesty and admission (key words here) but also of true remorse, repentance, and confession. Fake attempts are unacceptable, and people will carefully watch and listen for proof, as much as possible, of the real thing.  

"At what point forgiveness?" For those who forgive doing so puts an end to ridicule or harsh humor; judgments no longer satisfy or entertain. To forgive does not always mean to forget. You might forgive the stalker, but you do not forget that he still tracks you with a loaded rifle, to give a strong example. I believe that to ignore important information about present dangers or realities would be foolish.

Forgiveness is an act of grace.  

This time of high emotional reaction has an end; I hope for that. Yet, if that end can be or will be depends greatly on Brian Williams. The hope I see is an "If." If he exchanges the familiar mantle of authority for an average man's mantle of humility in the fog of his own war, then I see hope for restitution for him...of some kind if not a professional one.

For now, the public still sees  Brian Williams caught in a danger zone; his colleagues and fans remain angry, disillusioned, and hurt by what he did. I hope that Brian Williams has true friends of strong character from whom he will seek frank, personal appraisal, disregarding public reputation for now.

Otherwise, I opine, obstacles to his and his profession's good will multiply long after these piling on days. 

No comments:

Post a Comment