Another contributor makes a welcome guest appearance. Kim’s comments to the Kobe Bryant piece earlier today are below in Purple Text – As always, Italicized Text of any color is quoted material from previous posts.

I’m not suggesting that I find Kobe guilty or not. To be honest, I really haven’t followed it at all simply because it’s getting too much press. Personally, I may almost think he isn’t guilty of rape, but only because of the fact that she did willingly go to his room. She does have bruises, but only to the extent that a friend of hers says so a week later, but we haven’t seen them. (To be fair, maybe the bruising evidence was published before I got so disgusted with the whole thing.) I’m not sure at all that she didn’t go to his room to be with him just because he was such a celebrity. I’m sure that played into it. And maybe once there, she changed her mind. She’s entitled to that too. However, the part of this that got me completely NOT following isn’t (as you state) the ‘amount’ of coverage it’s getting, but the ‘type’ of coverage is what’s bothered me the most. This is as typical a case as any other rape case… once public, the press immediately go after the alleged victim and HER past. Then when it actually gets to trial, it is SHE that must defend herself to the world… not him. That behavior in the press, the courts and the system at large is exactly why there are so many victims out there that no one will ever hear about. It’s simply not worth the public scrutiny… especially when going against such a public figure. There is the only reason that would make me believe her without all the facts. Why would she want to be dragged through this as she knew she would be, based on who she accused, knowing she’d face this. OTOH, maybe she never had a clue what happens to those that are the “victim” in these types of cases. Surely, if it were me, 15 minutes of fame no way out weighs what she’ll go thru, if it’s not true. Still what I do agree with you on is that if the people out in the world today weren’t so fixated on others lives to the extent they are, maybe we’d have to endure a lot less of it on TV.

You raise a good point with regard to what she is going through and how this makes it all the more difficult for people to report any sort of sexual assault. In this case, it seems exacerbated by the fact that Kobe Bryant was not a celebrity “bad boy”, and because of his popularity and gentle clean-cut image, many in the public seem unwilling to think of him in a felonious light.

If anything, I think you are making an even stronger case for removing the celebrity spotlight from criminal or even potentially criminal cases. If Kobe were just another Joe on the street, then this woman would not be hiding from the press camped out in her front yard. The rape shield law has kept the mainstream press from releasing her name, but her name is being used by certain talk radio hosts and web sites. And given that all her friends have been interviewed on CNN, she is probably the worst kept secret in the nation. Under the circumstances, the assault by the press may well be more damaging to her than the (alleged) assault by Kobe.

Further, I find that I feel sorry for him. Let me clarify that at a minimum he was guilty of some seriously bad judgement. (I can’t help but think >that his alleged victim was minimally guilty of equally poor judgement.) Kobe may also be guilty of a felony. I don’t know. But why I feel sorry >for him is that it no longer really matters whether he’s guilty of more or not. We are increasingly a society where people of any amount of >celebrity are tried by the over-zealous media long before they ever get a day in court.

I’m sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for him at all. If he’s innocent of rape fine. But he knows what celebrity status means. He signed up for that. So even if he had an “indiscretion”, he had to have known there was a possibility that it would get out. The fact that it did, regardless of rape or just adultery, he knew it was possible. If he didn’t want the attention he’s getting, he should’ve known better.

I must disagree that he signed up for celebrity status and therefore has this sort of publicity coming. He signed up to play basketball. By virtue of his exceptional skill at that, he has become a celebrity. I disagree that this somehow makes his entire life subject to public scrutiny. I do agree that he should have recognized that our society currently dictates that celebrity status, whether via sports, politics, entertainment, or whatever, suddenly puts your life under a microscope. But I assert that this is a moral shortcoming of our current culture.

Generalizing the discussion away from Kobe Bryant in particular, we have reached a juncture where you almost have to question the sanity of anyone who would willingly subject themselves to the media microscope. Especially for sports and entertainment celebrities, for them to practice their chosen careers they have to be in the limelight by definition. In politics, exceptional people have other options such as success in business or academia, where the spotlight is not nearly so bright. In fact I’m beginning to question whether anyone who seeks political office could possibly be qualified for the job. If their talents were that good, they could enjoy success any number of places.

The result of all this being that we have reached a point where we destroy heroes in the name of “truth”. Many an author and researcher have lamented that today’s youth have no heroes. How could they? Heroes are larger than life. They are exceptional people who are buoyed by stories which have been enhanced and romanticized through the retelling. The press observed a certain respect for personal privacy at one time. This allowed hero status to gather around exceptional people. Sure, heroes throughout history have all had their dark sides – their skeletons in the closet. But that didn’t make them less exceptional in their fields. Scandals existed and were reported, but celebrities were not hunted for sport the way they are today. Success could be had by being a great athlete, astronaut, or orator, without worrying that somebody was following you home every night.

I’m not advocating that we sweep criminal activity aside for celebrities. I am advocating that we provide a spotlight to celebrities when they are on the stage, on the court, or behind the microphone. But let them live normal private lives when they are not. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I don’t think too many of us would want every nuance of our personal lives broadcast to the audience of our professional lives. Therefore, it would be hypocritical of us to be interested in the sordid details of some celebrity’s life.

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