Everybody loves a scandal. Especially a sex scandal. And there’ve been a couple of high-profile cases recently, one involving late night host David Letterman and the other ESPN baseball guru Steve Phillips.
Both cases were reminiscent of a certain ex-President and an infamous blue dress. Older, famous, entitled, married male in a position of power. It’s an ancient, if distasteful, story.
Not to delve too deeply into pop psychology, but Letterman and Phillips must have profoundly deep-rooted insecurities. I mean how much affirmation and validation could one man possibly demand? Both are beamed into the homes of millions of viewers each day. Letterman has a studio audience that goes wild every time he walks onstage or even just smirks. ESPN has created a culture of celebrity around the ex-jock whose need for 50,000 cheering fans never fades even as his physical skills decline.
The sad part is I love Letterman’s humor (not that I can stay up that late anymore). And I always appreciated ex-Mets General Manager Phillips’ keen baseball sense and insights. But I’ll no longer be able to see them in the same light. Which in Phillips’ case won’t matter much since he was just sacked by ESPN. After several days of vacillating the network determined the scandal undermined Philips’ credibility. Ya think?
It’s easy to vilify these two. And they surely deserve whatever gets doled out. But I’ll also keep them both in my prayers because they clearly have very empty interior lives. From a perspective of faith, God’s love is all the validation anyone ever really needs. Sure the adulation of fans and camera lights feels good. But when it takes over completely, when the outside affirmation replaces God, the soul quickly dries up. And that’s a pathetic thing to watch play out in public.