This week something crazy happened.
Because this is an anonymous blog and I don't want to risk giving my identity away, all I will say is that a very close family member of mine ended up making global headlines for something they did. (Don't worry, no murder, genocide or ponzi scheme was involved. What they did was a good thing.)
So one minute they were my family and the next minute the entire world is reading about them, questioning their thought process, motives, claims, etc. It's completely insane. I've never had someone I grew up with become famous over night -- it's both thrilling and disappointing. Thrilling because they deserve every interview, front page, and award they get; disappointing because the media was never one to be unanimously accurate.
Sure, outlets like the New York Times and Time Magazine wrote stunning, well-researched and accurate accounts of my family member. Many others, though, did not, even going as far to skew headlines into something my family member did not actually say. In these instances I can't help but think of Fellini's "paparazzo" in La Dolce Vita, who were so hungry for the next story or picture that they would go to great lengths to make it happen, even if it was a blatant lie.
Of course, following these cleverly twisted headlines are the masses of comment trolls, sometimes upwards of 7,000 comments on a single story (I actually saw this yesterday). People attacking my family member under the guise of anonymity, ripping into his intellect, his credentials and his reputation. I hate this part, but I suppose I should get used to it. There will always be nasty people out there who find great ease in expressing their ugly selves on some web forum or comment thread, hurling insults and barbs (which, to me, are cries out of their own insignificance). It's just hard to stomach when their insecurities and negativity and pathetic, underhanded comments are pointed at someone you care deeply about.
But I guess that's what fame is all about. Taking the good with the bad, being proud of your accomplishment(s) and being confident in your abilities and talent. Kind of reminds me of Steve Jobs' parting comment in a personal email exchange he had with an Apple user who wrote to complain about the iPhone 4. After the iPhone user snipped back a few times at Jobs', saying that the iPhone was essentially a terrible product because a list of reasons, Jobs' responded (one last time) with:
"Do you create anything, or just criticize others' work and belittle their motivations?"
I think that says it all.