Athletes And Actors Aren’t Robots

By | July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

We sit on our sofas, munching snacks and growing fatter and flabbier by the day. We watch TV, the internet, and movies. We see athletes and actors. But we don’t see them as actual human beings doing difficult and sometimes dangerous things to entertain us. We see them as if they were robots, designed for our pleasure and destined for the junk pile when they are no longer useful.

We see Simone Biles, all 4’8″ and 104 pounds of her. Because of her short stature, we may think of her as younger than her 24 years. But she probably had little childhood and adolescence, so her emotional age may well be much less that 24. We condemn her for pulling out of the Olympics, causing  the US team to take silver instead of gold. But if she competed in less than top physical and mental condition, she might have been injured and brought the team down to bronze, or perhaps off the medal stand entirely.

We saw Jody Foster in her film debut in the classic “Taxi Driver.” The 12-year-old played a child prostitute named “Easy.” Explicit sex scenes were played by a body double, her 19-year-old sister. But who can know what permanent damage was done to her psycho-sexual development by method-acting as a child prostitute in the midst of abusive men?

But we didn’t think of Jody Foster as a 12-year-old child being thrust into a degrading environment. We only appreciated her excellent performance – if we thought about her at all. And we don’t think of Simone Biles as a young, perhaps very young, woman, subject to physical and emotional pressures of which we know nothing. We only condemn her dropping out and not entertaining us as we expected.

Actors and athletes are real human beings. Many of them are narcissistic – how else could they do what they do? But let us not be even more narcissistic. Let us not act as if other human beings were put on earth solely for our entertainment. They have physical and emotional problems at least as severe as our own. Give them a break.

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