We all know that even a split second appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show guarantees wealth and fame. That’s the power of untrammeled capitalism. If you mix that in with the word ‘humbling’ and a couple of sparkling crocodile tears carefully stage managed and filmed from the right angle and boy, do the sponsors start lining up.
Remember a while ago when Rupert Murdoch gave his first performance on the inquiry about the phone hacking scandal? After Mr Murdoch got down on his chair and felt comfortable enough he turned his face upwards towards the camera and announced with the sincerity of Bill Clinton’s ‘no, I did not have sex with that woman’, ‘ this is the most humble day of my life.’ Today, Rupert’s media empire is capitalized at , give and take a couple of billions, 63 billion and the sixth largest company in Australia. It would not be surprising if the word ‘Humble’ will be subject to copy-rights in the future, might even get a patent taken out on it. During the beginning of the scandal the company was hovering between 32 and 45 billion. Crime paid off handsomely and the ‘humbling experience’ certainly proved it to be for Newscorp.
I am sure Lance Armstrong’s future is now guaranteed just as much. Film rights, book rights, biographies. Boy oh boy, it’s just the beginning!
Banal confessions dripping with insincerity seems to be mainly the domain of the US. Surely, if Armstrong was sincere he would not seek an interview at the feet of the Goddess of Money and Fame, with all the world-wide fanfare and publicity that it would entail and instead lie low and hide his head in shame. He spouted again and again ‘the humbling’ of it all.
The most ‘humbling’, ‘oh, I am now under a death sentence.’ ‘I don’t deserve that’, he mumbled and humbled. The most ‘humbling’ of all times, he confessed tearfully, was the withdrawal from the Livestrong cancer foundation. Oh, seventy five million dollar a day I am now ever so humbly losing.
The foundation and original seeds of corny confessions might well have been sown some years back by Pastor Bakker and Tammy. Remember the disgraced televangelists, Jimmy and Tammy Bakker and the prostitute giving Pastor Jimmy a bit of light hand relief? The whole world was glued to their TV sets for weeks. For many years, the Bakers indulged themselves in conspicuous consumption funded by their televangelism on both land and satellite TV. No one at the time thought the glitz and glamour the Bakkers surrounding themselves with to be a bit unusual for a nonprofit organization…Jimmy was quoted as saying,” I believe if Jesus was alive today he would be on TV”. After it all came out, the tearstained confession of Jimmy Bakker on TV, would have to be one of the most bizarre events ever to have come out from the schmaltz world of American TV shows. Previous to that his “Praise the Lord” TV and Theme park in South Carolina made millions weekly. Some cynics afterwards thought that PTL always stood for “pass the Loot.”
Well, Mr Armstrong is well on the way of a comeback. The sponsors might sue him but were less shy when he was in the lime-light. Are they also giving back money made while the sponsored products were selling thanks to the fame of Lance at the time? For many years suspicion was rife but money as always speaks loudest. Who would be so silly as to upset the cart that was bringing in the loot?
I will never be able to ride on the back of ‘a humbling experience.’ It seems even more remote I will ever get an invitation to Oprah. Will you?