I’m a big fan of humor and laughter and poking fun at pretentiousness. I suppose everyone is a fan of laughter. Only a weirdo or a serial killer would say he isn’t a fan of laughter and humor. But I really, really like to laugh. I’m a jokester. Life is too short and too sad to be continually serious. I should probably put that phrase on a t-shirt or inspirational poster or something.
I’m also a big sports fan, which, when combined with my love of humor, means I have a moral obligation to make jokes about:
- Every New York sports team.
- The basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace. If you know anything about Metta’s history of throwing punches, you understand why his name change is utterly ridiculous.
- Shaquille O’Neal’s role in the movie Kazaam and Michael Jordan’s role in Space Jam (what nut job convinced those guys to take on those roles?)
- The Duke Blue Devils.
- The Dallas Cowboys.
Recently, pastor Tullian Tchividjian posted on Twitter that he was going to dinner with legendary Cowboy’s quarterback Roger Staubach and current Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo. I instinctively replied, “Make sure Romo doesn’t choke at dinner.” It was a dig at Romo for his propensity to choke in clutch situations (see interceptions, botched snaps, Jessica Simpson, etc.).
I got a lot of virtual high-fives and huzzahs for my quick wit. Even my Dallas-loving friends were giving my shout-outs. I was riding pretty high. I was Mr. Funnyman, Mr. Comedian, Mr. Quickwit.
But then the Holy Spirit had to get involved and do that whole conviction thing He does.
The Holy Spirit reminded me that even though Tony Romo is a celebrity, he is also a person, which in turn means that I must treat him as I would want to be treated. For some reason, I tend to think of celebrities apart from their personhood, as if they are some form of disembodied person. I make fun of Romo and Bieber and Kanye and lots of other celebrities without giving it a second thought. I suspect you might do the same. In our social media world, it’s so easy to do.
But the command to love others as we love ourselves applies just as much to celebrities as it does to “normal” people. I imagine that Romo’s colossal melt-downs are a consistent source of grief for him. Botching a game-winning field goal snap in a playoff game is no small thing. His career and reputation have been somewhat defined by his perpetual failures. He has been ripped to shreds by the media and by comedians and by late-night talk show hosts.
Would I appreciate someone making fun of me for my failures? Nope. Would he appreciate me making fun of his choking habits? Probably not.
Will I make fun of celebrities in the future? Probably. But before I do, I want to pause and consider how my words would be received if I said them directly to the person. Famous people aren’t exempt from the golden rule. As a follower of Christ, I am called to treat everyone, including celebrities, in the same way I would want to be treated.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch Space Jam.