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Sticking Up for the Successful

February 9, 2010


Dale Carnegie said decades ago that we shouldn’t condemn, criticize, or complain. Unfortunately, now it’s worse than ever. Everyone wants to be a Don-Imus-Don-Rickles-Simon-Cowell critic like Sue Sylvester in Glee, tearing down others for the thrill of it.


Quick: What do Jay Leno, Goldman Sachs, Tim Tebow, and Toyota have in common? Not sure? If Tiger Woods were added to the list, you’d guess that the one thing in common is that virtually everyone hates them.  

            If you trust the current mood of the media, you’d know that these once-upon-a-time good guys and good organizations have become downright evil with a capital E.

Jay Leno was the guy who stole Conan’s job, right? Didn’t Goldman Sachs screw AIG and the government by making so much money after being “saved” by the Federal Government and we, the taxpayers. Tim Tebow was the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback for Florida who led them to two National Championship but now is an over-rated-crybaby-not-ready-for-the-pros-goody-two-shoes-pro-life-possible-virgin who just had the audacity to be in a “pro-life” commercial displayed on the Superbowl. Heaven forbid that we had to see a commercial of a man and his mother in between the men’s underwear, beer-guzzling, and Doritos-chomping funfest.

Toyota was the once-superior car company that kicked the American car companies’ behinds and made the greenest vehicles possible but now obviously wants to kill all of its customers. And Tiger? Well, I won’t condone his fooling-around-and-trying-to-hide-it lifestyle but I’m not his wife and neither are you. Who ever made him the invincible-commercial-touting-best-guy-ever superstar anyways? The media, that’s who: the same bunch of 24-hour-TV channels, newspapers, magazines, and Internet sites that have tried and convicted Woods as the worst-ever-husband on the planet, a sick sex offender.

Let me throw in one more for good measure, but this successful man has some defenders left. But if you listened to the conservative-Republican blogosphere, you’d think Barack Obama is a Muslim-nearly-alien-not-born-here-anti-Israel-anti-capitalist-Socialist-radical who wants to destroy this country. I’ve heard and read far worse about him. I won’t say I’m a big fan of Obama’s policies and have been critical of a lot of what he has done in his first year of office. Still, I don’t think he’s the second coming of the devil. And neither is Tiger or Jay or Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, or Tim Tebow or Toyota.

Can’t anyone stick up for successful people? Do they all have to be taken down like mud wrestlers in a barroom brawl so that others can feel better about themselves?

What did Jay Leno do but agree to a show at 10 pm, giving Conan O’Brien a chance to take over the Tonight Show? I didn’t think the Leno show was that bad and actually watched it instead of all the police-lawyer-CSI shows on other networks. I actually believe the show could have worked if it was made into a more original comedy hour and given some more time to catch on. But the critics and then the local TV news departments convinced NBC that the Jay Leno Show was simply the worst show in the history of TV. So don’t blame Jay. Blame NBC and its higher-ups for this PR fiasco.

Goldman Sachs? They were and still are simply the best, most successful financial company in the world. Why shouldn’t they have negotiated the best deal for themselves with Paulsen and the government and taken advantage of AIG and the stupidity of others? If the U.S. government got screwed, be angry at the Fed and the Treasury for “giving away the store,” so to speak. Goldman is a public company that’s supposed to make as much as it can for its managers, employees, and shareholders. Would Goldman have been more popular if it was as poorly run as Bear Stearns or as stupid as Washington Mutual? Of course, it wouldn’t be here if it was.

Look, I have to admit I’m gloating a little that Toyota and not GM or Chrysler is going through grief for a change. Its leaders took some gambles and made some questionable decisions and now they’re paying the price in bad publicity. But Toyota’s cars are probably no less safe than Ford’s or Hyundai’s or Mercedes. And yet, I have to wonder why, in a world finally worried about car safety, that Volvo, with its pristine reputation as maker of the safest car in the world, was peddled from Ford to a Chinese manufacturer, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. I’m willing to make a bet that Toyota, not Volvo, will someday be back with a vengeance and known as a high-quality-car-manufacturer again.

I don’t care that the National Organization for Women can’t stand Tim Tebow or his mother for being thankful that she didn’t toss him into the fetal trash. I like Tim Tebow. He was lucky to be born because his mother didn’t listen to doctors who suggested abortion when she was ill.  He’s not perfect but he seems to be a good guy who gives the most effort he can, trusts his teammates, is a natural leader, cares about kids with cancer (he sent a wonderful note and his signed photo to Noah) and spoke at a Florida high school kid’s funeral (someone who idolized Tim and died in a high school football game.) Everyone seems to be picking on Tim, even the satirical company, Despair, Inc. who put his photo in its Bittnerness poster. So what if Tebow cried when he lost to Alabama (how silly, the blogosphere wrote) and might not be a great pro football quarterback? I sure wish the Lions would draft him in the later rounds. I think he would at least be great on the sidelines and a good backup to Matt Stafford. Yet, his bad press keeps spreading and the scouts who rate passing style, speed, and accuracy give Tim very little chance to succeed. I hope he proves them all dead wrong.

Dale Carnegie said decades ago that we shouldn’t condemn, criticize, or complain. Unfortunately, now it’s worse than ever. Everyone wants to be a Don-Imus-Don-Rickles-Simon-Cowell critic like Sue Sylvester in Glee, tearing down others for the thrill of it.

I’d like these self-proclaimed critics to shut up or else give us a chance to give them some of their own medicine. A famous-for-fifteen-minutes man named Rodney King once asked credulously, “Can’t we all get along?” Heck, even Don Rickles once said, “If I were to insult people and mean it, that wouldn't be funny.”

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