When the finger is pointed at you

Why do we take pleasure in shaming people for the things they take pleasure in doing? We all have our vices.

Some you can turn a blind eye to, and some you can’t because they are just too extreme for you, but that is not to say you have the right to drag someone to the village square and throw rotten vegetables at them for it. It’s like that saying which everyone loves to abuse “judge not, lest ye be judged”.

It’s fun when you’re the one pointing the finger, but not when the finger is being pointed at you. Perhaps I’m being slightly melodramatic, but it all started when I announced to my pose that I had this uncontrollable itch to go to the Showgrounds, and go nuts on at least three rides. I was giddy with excitement. Most people have an inner child, I have an outer child. Yep, I am just an overgrown baby, who has learned to string words together to form a sentence.

Unfortunately, no one else shared my excitement. In fact, they all started making fun of me. After I was done sulking, the conversation moved on to something else, and now I was leading the hungry hyenas making fun of other people. That’s when I realised that I am no better than the people who were making fun of me. I take offence, but expect other people not to take offence when I’m making fun of them. That’s a crappy double standard. But it’s one which I cannot bring to an end.

It is the very essence of my job, pointing out people’s vices and plastering them all over the paper. That is what our readers live for. They live for finding out which celebrity loves to cross- dress, who fought with whom or whose baby mama is stepping out on them with a taxi driver. You write it, and they will read it with the kind of excitement which can only be matched by that of a child unwrapping their Christmas gift.

Celebrities are the first ones who will bring you rumours of other celebrities’ scandals ‘off the record’ in the hopes that you spread it, or find a way to do so. But when the same is done to them, they are appalled. Is it part of the human condition that we enjoy other people’s misfortunes, so much so that people have built empires on them?

Tabloid magazines and newspapers are testament to that. I wish I could say that I will never do it again because I don’t want that done unto me, but I know that will be a lie. I could try it for a week, but I know I would be sucked back into it, if not by my pose, then by my job.

The life of an entertainment journalist is a tough one. I have had instances where people would write to me and ask why I didn’t write about the scandal of some or other celebrity. If you do not write something which is scandalous or controversial, your readers will accuse you of being boring and trying to put them to sleep.

I know asking people to stop doing it would be like asking them to stop breathing, but be gentle, consider people like me whose feelings get hurt easily. We can all dish it out, but not all of us can take it.

-faith@thevillager.com.na