- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
- Detroit porch shooting trial: Suspect says he didn’t know gun was loaded
FENNO: Oscar Pistorius only latest example of role model giving way to reality
Question of the Day
Somehow we confused athletic brilliance with morality, turned a sprinter into a savior, an ideal because of what his blades did on those synthetic tracks.
There’s another commercial, hastily banished to the Internet’s dark corners by Nike after the killing.
“My body is my weapon,” Pistorius begins in a determined voice touched by his accent.
Each move brings the sound of a gun being cocked. A cyclist snapping shoe onto pedal. A boxer pushing in a mouthguard. A sprinter backing into his starting blocks.
“This is how I fight … how I defend.”
An ominous rustle of drums.
“This is my weapon.”
A gunshot follows as a soccer player kicks a ball. A runner explodes from the blocks. A swimmer plunges into the water.
In real life, three more gunshots followed. They tore through the bathroom door in Pistorius‘ home in a gated community. One in Steenkamp’s head. Hip. Chest. Hand.
The Olympian claimed he mistook her for an intruder, in a country where an average of 43 people are murdered each day. But multiple reports Monday claimed Steenkamp’s head was bashed in with a cricket bat. Stories of domestic problems and a man who was jealous and possessive filled South African newspapers.
A sometime-model and law school graduate, Steenkamp had retweeted a call to wear black the next day to bring attention to the abuse of women. She didn’t live through the night.
So, the idealized portrait of Pistorius disappeared into a mess of blood and tears and questions.
The same fervor that gripped Pistorius‘ ascension turned to deconstructing his demise. There’s nothing unique in that. We turn strangers into heroes, think we know them because of what their bodies do and what the commercials tell us, then tear them down.
Maybe we’re too quick. Too trusting. Too willing to believe feel-good stories that too often are stripped of the ugly reality. Too ready to draw life lessons from someone who lives between the lines of a soccer pitch or football field. Maybe our role models, the real ones, are outside the lines.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Declassified cables from Berlin Wall tell tale of drama, dare,
- Judge denies settlement motion in NFL concussion lawsuit
- Jay Gruden's long and winding road to Washington
- FENNO: Championship game provides an opportunity to listen to those who play
- FENNO: For Redskins, nonsensical is the new normal
Latest Blog Entries
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- House panel OKs resolution to sue president for Obamacare delays
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Astronaut shares 'saddest photo' from space: Bombs bursting over Israel, Gaza
- Doctor, 2 others shot at Pennsylvania hospital: reports
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq