Friday, October 21, 2005

The Pitfalls of Celebrity

Reality shows have given the common man (or woman) an opportunity to behave like Cameron Diaz or George Galloway. In other words, the opportunity to make an ass out of yourself in public. One of the exceptions to this egalitarian trend is "Extreme Makeover," the show that takes the truly needy and gives them a new house and a new lease on life. If you've seen the show you know it is one of the few reality shows that doesn't make you feel like you need a shower after viewing it.

There's a certain celebrity that comes from being rescued, but unlike some other reality show contestants, the "contestants" on Extreme Makeover seem to handle their new fame and fortune well.

However, Doug Goodale of Portland, Maine may be the exception. The recipient of a half-million dollar log house on an upcoming episode, Doug had a secret and now it's out: he's a felon. Which wouldn't be so bad if Doug had been convicted of passing bad checks or braiding hair without a license, but Doug's felony was of the armed and dangerous kind.

It seems that in 1982 (well before Doug lost his arm in a boating accident) Doug robbed a fast food restaraunt and forced the employees back into the cooler. Did I mention he was armed?

The interesting thing about this is not that a future 15-minute celebrity has a conviction from twenty-three years ago. Can you guess the punchline? Here it is: for the heinous act of armed robbery, Doug received from the state of Maine a 60-day sentence.

People forget how soft on crime this country was in the 1960's and 1970's; how long it took to even begin to turn the criminal justice system toward sanity; and how these liberal attitudes on crime hung on like grim death in the North East until the last decade or so.

No doubt Doug will now be raked over the coals. I mean, does a felon really deserve a $500,000 log cabin?

A more interesting exercise might be to seek out those who bestowed upon Doug 60-day sentence, which is roughly what you'd get if you refused to move your Nativity Scene off of public property, and subject their lives to a little scrutiny.

Now THAT would be a good reality show.


At 2:35 AM, Blogger Norma said...

My husband was on jury duty the last 2 weeks and was on 2 juries. The first: murder. The guy got 23 years. The evidence was circumstantial, but overwhelming. Far more than in the Scott Peterson trial. But there were no TV cameras, no 24 hour coverage. They weren't pretty people, just 2 blacks doing drugs and having sex occasionally in a houseful of guns. 15 years for killing her; 5 years for abuse of a corpse (put her in a dumpster behind his house); and 3 years for lying. Life is sure cheap.


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