Friday, November 23, 2018

Walking on Broken Glass

In Democracy in America De Tocqueville remarked on how Americans can go from poverty riches and the reverse in one generation. His point of course related to the lack of aristocratic dynasties in American society where you don’t have Merovingians or Windsors or any of the like (though for a while the Kennedy White House was referred to as Camelot). Now with social media, it doesn’t take a generation for one’s fortunes to rise or fall. Andy Warhol famously anticipated our cyber society when he commented that “in the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.” Let’s take Michael Avenatti. When he first came on the scene he was a knight in shining armor defending Stormy Daniels against the Trumpocracy. His reputation has been like that of a great slalom skier who climbs to dizzying heights only crash land into charges of domestic abuse ("Michael Avenatti Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Violence in Los Angeles, NYT, 11/14/18) Then of course there is the former Attorney General of New York State Eric Schneiderman (whose reputation has obviously suffered despite the fact that he will not be charged in the assault case brought against him), former NYS governor Eliot Spitzer and former congressman Anthony Weiner both of whom it would be kind to describe as being in the dog house. Al Franken is a stand alone issue and a cause celebre among those who feel he caved in too quickly to colleagues like Kirsten Gillibrand who urged him to resign. Then of course there are all the media celebrities whose careers were abruptly ended by the #Me Too movement amongst them Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor and the Canadian Journalist Jian Ghomeshi whose non-apologia "Reflections from a Hashtag" caused an uprising that precipitated the resignation of the Ian Buruma from The New York Review of Books. In the current age of meteoric hyperbole, everyone is a potential Icarus, who walks on glass. "Walking on Broken Glass" sang Annie Lennox.

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