Is it hypocrisy to advertise (even celebrate) the Vegas lifestyle and then crucify those who enjoy it?
December 14, 2009
What happens in Vegas…
Is Tiger Woods a naughty boy, a truly bad man or merely a very, very famous person who got caught? I learned a long time ago not to cast stones at someone for his or her indiscretions. And I won’t here. My bet is few professional athletes come out against Tiger for much the same reason. They know too well the temptations that come with being a celebrity. They know how easy it is to cross the line. After all, these are young, obscenely rich men. They are worshipped and fawned over. Millions adore these athletes (and rock stars and movie stars and politicians and so on). Adoration can take many forms, some of which are quite alluring. In their Gucci loafers, what would you do?
Whether we participate in immoral activity or not, it’s safe to say we are titillated by it. Consider our most popular TV shows and films. The Real Housewives. The Bachelor. The 40-year Old Virgin. The Hangover and Knocked Up. Adultery is the most popular topic on earth. And that’s the mainstream! Pornography was (is) by far the most lucrative market for VHS and DVD rentals. The digital age has only increased this ardor. Fantasies and their fulfillment are alive and well on the Internet.
And then there’s advertising. The byline on my blog states ‘We make you want what you don’t need.’ I could have just as easily shortened it to ‘We make you want.’ And want and want and want. Granted, lusting after a flat screen TV is not the same as coveting a comely TV star but, according to most spiritual principles, wanton want is very much a sin. Creating it can be no less of one. For obvious reasons I hope I’m wrong.
Getting back to Tiger. It seems he’s quite the player. The pun is intended. A “player” knows how to have a good time and where to go to have one. For many of us (Tiger included), that place is Vegas. And nothing sums this up better than its notorious tagline: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Even though gambling is also a sin, I don’t think I have to point out that they are not talking about roulette.
As Woods (and many before him) found out, the Vegas hall pass for infidelity is only imaginary. (In the digital age nothing stays private.) But the advertising doesn’t make this distinction. On the contrary, the advertising would have you believe your fantasies are not only permitted in Vegas they are expected. And it does a damn good job of it. I think just about everyone on earth (men and women) winks when they hear about Bob’s trip to Vegas. And we’re the prudes! In other countries, they don’t even bat an eye.
An old boss of mine once told me that every good ad makes the consumer think they are going to get laid if only they’d use the product. He was talking about spirits advertising but in a way he was talking about all advertising. We make you want and the keenest form of want is lust.
So, to my original question: Is this hypocrisy? How can society cut down a person for participating in activities we not only advertise but also celebrate? Adam succumbed to temptation and we are no better. In the end, how we behave is our own affair, so to speak. That is until we get caught.