Friday, 30 January 2015
On a pedestal
Of course there are also those who refuse to idealise or venerate anybody, or even systematically tear everyone to bits with icy contempt.
But it's the urge to idealise that fascinates me. I was especially curious about the massive eulogising of Barack Obama when he was still the presidential candidate. It was hard to find anyone willing to criticise him.
Yet right from the start I assumed he was unlikely to be the brilliant president people were predicting. Surely everyone was aware of all the presidents (and prime ministers) who turned out to be bitterly disappointing? But no, people wanted to believe Obama would be a dazzling success, and they refused to think otherwise. Surprise surprise, many of the same people are now sadly disillusioned.
So many people are painted as saintly figures who can do no wrong, even when the grubby reality is plain to see. We seem to need someone to look up to, however much varnishing and laundering it requires. Seeing everyone as they really are is too depressing, too sobering.
I like to think I'm immune from such stupidity, but of course I'm not. I always remember how besotted I once was with Elena, in blissful denial of the humdrum reality. I worshipped her calmness, her wisdom, her sophistication, her gracefulness, unwilling to believe that inside she was probably harbouring the same neuroses, anxieties and prejudices as all the rest of us. I refused to look past the no doubt carefully crafted exterior.
We all have our rose-tinted spectacles to hand, ready to enhance some unlikely person.