The glare of the public eye

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If there are pros and cons to be found in any given situation, it makes sense that individuals who somehow get into positions of public prominence are likely to be praised and upbraided in varying degrees. Those who are perceived as saintly by others are rarely as pure and beyond reproach as some would like to believe, while those who occupy the roles of pantomime villains in the public eye are bound to have some attributes that could be seen as positive.

Humans seem to be partial to categorising as many aspects of life as possible. Do we need to have heroes and villains so we can assess our values on a communal level? This is likely to be the case. Those of us who are willing to participate in the provision of stimuli that enable communities to explore their thoughts and feelings in this regard should be appreciated for their services.

At present, it feels like we are truly entering a new age. Many of the figures who helped to fuel our fantasies and dreams in the 20th Century are becoming less significant. Some of the names that used to be mentioned as embodiments of specific principles are not known to emerging adults and younger generations. I mentioned Elvis Presley to a group of ten year olds and they had no idea who I was talking about.

Having said this, perhaps we should all be mindful of the demands of being a public figure in the current age. There is a lot more scrutiny than there ever used to be. On the other hand, individuals have more control and agency over the signals that they can send out to everyone. Behind the scenes, there are issues such as mental health that need to be constantly monitored.

If it is obvious to conclude that no one is perfect, shouldn’t we be kinder to each other, especially in the comments that people express about public figures on social media platforms?