Michael Phelps is my hero.

Primarily because he never marketed himself as some kind of perfect person. He got drunk back in ’04, and toked this year. Fine by me. The funny is his record of advocating against drug use. Opinion from Hillbuzz:

Phelps has made numerous appearances channeling Nancy Reagan at the behest of his corporate patrons, telling kids to just say no to drugs, all the while smoking marijuana from bongs like a pro. Phelps is a 14-time Olympic medalist, and a confirmed and proven hypocrite.

Hungry, hungry hypocrite, as some would call him. Isn’t that the trap that people we lionize fall into? Isn’t that the price of being admired by so many? More HillBuzz:

This is why human beings shouldn’t be installed on pedestals. We’re not a species of saints. Nobody’s perfect. And everyone eventually gets caught, especially when they tell other people not to do things they, themselves, do with great pleasure (like Phelps speaking out against drugs from a podium, then partaking in them anyway).

At one point in a famous person’s life, he is faced with a choice: will you bear the standard for a way of life that you seem to represent? This was the same crisis that Rush Limbaugh faced, with a few differences in minor details. What’s really awesome is that Phelps probably did it for the money! “Promote a clean lifestyle and we’ll give you corporate sponsorship.” Lovely choice he was faced, ya? All that money, or to walk away living an honest life. Too bad, these days transparency is usually foisted upon all of us and is no longer a matter of personal choice.

Of course Radley Balko has the fictitious letter that we would all want to see, but what are the chances of that, ya?

The truth is, Michael Phelps is now my hero because he has become the kind of celebrity that Americans just love tearing down. I think it’s a large cultural problem that we have. The schadenfreude at seeing someone fall is so tempting that we have created an industry that revolves around building someone up enough to see them get torn down.

I think this mini-scandal would end with Phelps getting a slap on the wrist. This could then at least help us re-examine current attitudes towards marijuana and maybe relax the rules for everyone.

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