Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Fourteen: The root of all….stupidity?

 Intelligence and money seem to be like oil & vinegar these days.

“Why”, you may ask? Because it seems like they – for whatever reason – just can’t mix. As we all know, with money can come fame. But is also looks like, in some cases, happens to bring along idiocy with it, as shown by some of the outright stupid things people tend to do.

I guess the most blatant example to illustrate this point would be to look at the plight of one Gilbert Arenas. For those not familiar with his current situation, he was the franchise player, and starting shooting guard for the Washington Wizards of the NBA. A respected player, a jokester, and all-star and pretty much of the coolest, fan-friendliest guys in the league, he was considered to be one of the bright spots of the league’s resurgence, post-Jordan. (along with guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul) Then one night has, for all intents and purposes, ruined it.

While on the team plane, he gets into a heated argument with another Wizards player, Javaris Crittenton about a gambling debt. Then, later on in a locker room, he brings unloaded guns in his bag and draws one out on his teammate. Now, of course he had to know that this was going to raise a red flag or three. So, in the face of the now very serious event, what does the man known in the league as ‘Agent Zero’ do? The next night during a pre-game warm-up huddle, he mocks the whole event, pretending to shoot shots in the air with his fingers. As if the community couldn’t be outraged enough.

I remember thinking at the time, that this guy couldn’t be a bigger dummy if he tried. Here he is, in the 2nd season of a 5-year, $110 million contract with the Wizards and he is willing to throw it all way for something he told the media that was “just a joke.” I just don’t understand it. As if we all know that security isn’t air-tight at sporting events, and players have gotten jail sentences for having guns on them in the past (i.e. Plaxico Buress), he should’ve known a lot better than this. Now, he’s been indefinitely suspended (without getting any more money, of course) by the commissioner of the NBA, David Stern until further notice until the investigation is complete. So let me get this straight: he’s been kicked off his team, his reputation is now in PR-shambles, he’ll probably lose his contract, and the little endorsements he had already have separated from him. All for what? A stupid gambling debt that was probably in the thousands of dollars, in comparison to the millions he was going to amass by season’s end….yep, idiocy.

O f course, he isn’t the only one that has done rather unexplainably dumb things to possibly ruin themselves. So, we find ourselves asking a good question: why, if a person has worked hard their whole life amassed a fortune to live lavishly, do so many choose to ruin it at what seems to be rapid paces? The answer is simpler than you think.

Once people get to a certain status of not only income-wise, but place in society, many now have an aura about them that can sometimes believe that they’re above reproach, failure, and interestingly enough, bankruptcy. So, they’ll go out and spend, spend, spend. They’ll go out and say things publicly that normal people wouldn’t get involved in. They’ll make the business decision most of us would think is insane to start in the first place. But that’s mostly based on the influence we give the wealthy over the common man in their place in society. We let them do stupid things, and cheer them when they rebound. Why? Well, for the most part, they’ve done what most of us haven’t: made it in the world, and so many people enjoy living vicariously through others, we’re willing to overlook that. That not to say we should have a say in what a wealthy person should do with their fortunes, but that’s also why regular scoff at famous people when you hear that “the rich just got poorer”.

This is also why regular are willing to take those chances for shots at becoming rich. If you see shows like “Fear Factor” or any reality-dating show these days, most of the people are willing to do stuff you normally would never consider doing for free; whether it be stuff like eating worms, racing across the country, or even tongue-kissing Flava Flav. However, there is a point to this: shows like “Fear Factor”, and “The Amazing Race” won awards for their programming; the “Flava of Love” series remains as vh1’s highest rated show.

So, while money maybe the root of all evil, it more then likely is the biggest cause of idiocy as well. But, if it keeps us all entertained, we’ll still watch and call them idiots. I guess the million-dollar question is: who’s REALLY the stupid ones here?

1/13/2010

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