“Before you abuse, criticize, and accuse…” (Conductor’s Reflections #9)

“Now your whole world you see around you is just a reflection,
And the law of karma says you’re gonna reap just what you sow, yes you do,
So unless you’ve lived a life of total perfection,
You’d better be careful of every stone that you should throw.”

–From “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” by Joe South, 1969,
Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home

Why do some Elvis fans feel the need to rip apart others in the entertainment industry? This is not all fans, of course, but the ones who do it tend to be very vocal – especially out here in Internetland.

For example, any time one of Elvis’ old records is broken, some fans are there to insult whoever happened to break that record. “Who will remember them in twenty years?” is a common phrase in the comments section of Elvis sites whenever this happens.

The great irony, of course, is that other people said the same kinds of things about Elvis throughout his life and even at his death. Elvis fans should know better.

My sister emailed me a link to a nice story in which highly respected talk show host Oprah Winfrey speaks about people she would have liked to interview. Oprah has been in the news lately due to stepping down from her show after 25 years to launch a television network.

“Who got away was Elvis Presley,” she states. “When I was a kid, I always wanted to talk to Elvis. Another was Jackie Onassis” (Elvis Was “Interview that Got Away” for Oprah — Elvis.com). A brief, innocuous, quote, right?

Not in the Elvis world, of course. Predictably, in the public comments posted beneath the story, that certain subset of fans instead criticized Oprah for apparently daring to think she was good enough to interview Elvis. After all, Elvis did his charitable works in private while Oprah’s are all done in public, seemed to be part of their twisted logic.

Let’s look at reality, though. While it is true that Elvis kept a lot of his charitable work private, I point to the Aloha From Hawaii television special, which benefited cancer research, as an example of a very public work of charity on Elvis’ part. As far as Oprah not keeping her charitable works private, how are we to know what she does privately since, by definition, that information would not be public?

Of those who feel that only charity kept private is genuine, I wonder how many deduct their own charitable donations from their income taxes each year? It is easy to target the rich, but harder to examine our own hearts.

In any event, this incessant need to tear down other successful people does not increase Elvis’ stature. It just makes Elvis fans look bad.

2 thoughts on ““Before you abuse, criticize, and accuse…” (Conductor’s Reflections #9)

  1. Well said. A celebrity’s anonymous support of a worthy cause is a Good Thing. If a celebrity’s public support of a charity helps raise awareness and $upport for that cause, that’s a Good Thing, too.


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