Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the silly, sick man who hoaxed his alleged friend, Notre Dame star Matti Te’o, into a public humiliation that will shadow the rest of his life, has everything he wants now. “Dr. Phil” is featuring him on his show with a long interview—a match made in the stars, since Phil achieved his fame as a fake doctor, and Ronaiah his as a fake girlfriend to the most gullible college athlete in captivity. More interviews for the hoaxer will follow, with a book and movie deal near certainties. He behaved abominably, and now the American celebrity machine will reward him for it. I predict he’ll travel the same road as other bottom-feeders who have parlayed a lack of principles into fame, however brief. Joey Buttafuoco. Jessica Hahn. Octomom Nadja Suleman.”Tanning Mom”Patricia Krentcil. Levi Johnston. They all were boosted to semi-star status by being slimy, foolish, or both, and Tuiasosopo fits right in.
Does it bother the media that it has now provided a permanent incentive for any lost soul or bitter outcast to manufacture his or her own celebrity, assured that if the plan is well-conceived, an empty, pointless life will be magically transformed into a trivia question for decades or longer? For these pathetic and self-obsessed souls, at least that’s something! In fame-addicted America, where shallow and vulgar individuals like the Kardashians can make millions, this can pass as success, especially for individuals whose meager talents and slight natural abilities have them on the road to part-time employment at Target…at best. Every time we make the awful equivalents of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo into media stars, we spawn the zygotes of a thousand more. Not all will succeed in achieving infamy and public disgrace, but some will, and there will be innocent victims along the way.
No, the media doesn’t care. Dr. Phil, shameless huckster that he is, only concerns himself with ratings. He doesn’t care a whit that by his attentions he is eliminating the one traditionally effective societal means of discouraging the creeps and predators in our midst: making sure that bad things happen to people who do bad things. Now good things happen to such people, at least things that good people, sadly, want and envy. What does that do to society’s values, indeed society’s sanity? When the surest path to the celebrity and fame everyone yearns for is to harm others, what chance does ethics have?
I need not mention, I assume, the sudden increase in shootings in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, authored by disturbed individuals hoping to engrave their names in the history books as a last ditch effort to salvage some significance in their desperate lives. As with the less deadly Tuiasosopos among us, the Adam Lanzas, Jared Lee Loughners, and James Holmeses will only multiply if we keep giving them what they want.
And no, no gun laws will stop them.
Graphic: Daily News