The Financial Reprimand
Serena Williams. Can you believe it? The golden girl (or should I say bronze girl) of tennis lost her cool, in a most unattractive way. On Saturday during the U.S. Open, Serena berated and badgered a tennis official who called her on a foot violation. Williams stared the official down, spewed words that I’d dare not repeat here, just before threatening to shove the tennis ball down the official’s throat. Not cute at all… even more inappropriate and unattractive than the catsuit she flaunted a few years ago.
What happened to sportsmanship? What happened to couth? What happened to manners? I guess you can take the girl out of Compton but…
For her disturbing outburst, Williams was fined $10,500. To rate the effectiveness of her reprimand, I’d give it a Least Effective. When you are worth millions, a few thousand mean nothing. If you really wanted to punish her, tell her she can’t ever wear the catsuit again!
The Written Reprimand
Joe Wilson. Like many of you, I was flabbergasted when it became clear that the audible words in the middle of President Obama’s congressional address were ‘You lie!’ I was even more stunned and a little ashamed to find out those now famous words were yelled by a US Representative from my state. I was even more ashamed that I actually voted for him!
Here’s the thing. I was conflicted when I voted for Wilson. Everything in me told me to vote for the newcomer, Rob Miller, who struck me as a respectable non-politician with whom I could trust my vote. But Wilson had my vote with a single letter from Congress.
When I was working with the Carolina Panorama newspaper, I was the primary writer for a special newspaper tribute to America’s combat vets. To complete the publication, I interviewed about 30 combat vets and wrote almost every one of their stories; a painstaking task. But it was well worth it when I saw the gratitude on the veterans’ faces having had their stories finally told and recorded in history. And when I received a personal letter from Joe Wilson, addressed to me on bona fid congressional letterhead, my pride was incontainable. I said that I would cherish that letter forever. Funny thing though, I couldn’t find it to when I wanted to refer to it for this blog. But anyway, with that signed letter from Joe Wilson, my vote had been won.
Now, a week after Wilson’s outburst, Congress has passed a Resolution of Disapproval. The final count: 240 to 173. I applaud Congressman Jim Clyburn for heading up this action. Under no circumstances should a breach of decorum this significant be tolerated. It sets a precedent that would diminish the respect demanded of the Presidential office.
Now, for the big question. Where does this formal reprimand fall on the barometer of effectiveness? Initially, due to the financial sanctions and votes of support that Wilson is experiencing as a result of the outburst, it would appear that the reprimand would get a Least Effective. rating It seems to be nothing more than a formal slap on the wrist, a note of disobedience in his personnel file. But years from now, history is going to show Joe Wilson in a far more unfavorable light. Just like years from now, history will likely show President Obama as a hero. So, while Wilson is experiencing a brief moment of afterglow, history will not be quite as kind. When his life story is written, this reprimand will be a more than just a blemish. It will be a history-altering, irremovable stain. At that time, the reprimand will graduate to More Effective.
The Internal Reprimand
Kanye West. Picture this. You are a young sweet 19 year-old winning your first MTV Video Music Award. Even more, you just beat out one of the most well-known performers alive. Before you can even say all your ‘thank-yous’, like a flash, here is a fool snatching the mic away from you and basically saying you didn’t deserve the award. What do you do? Cry? Run off the stage? Both?
That’s what Taylor Swift tried to figure out when Kanye West bombarded her onstage at this years’ MTV VMA’s. Thanks to the gracious and classy actions of Beyonce’, Taylor Swift later received her moment in the spotlight.
The world and their mama were outraged at West’s actions. What had come over that man to make him do something so grotesquely disrespectful? One year, he threw a tantrum because he didn’t get an award. Another year, he all but gave his award to someone else that he said actually deserved it more. And this year, he gave someone else’s award to someone else. What is with this guy? Does he have an allergic reaction to award shows?
Well, as far as I know, Kanye West has not received a written reprimand. Nor has he received a financial reprimand. His reprimand came by way of a shameful, contrite moment delivered by Jay Leno. When Leno asked West what his deceased mother would have thought of his actions, I think West finally realized just how deplorable his actions truly were.
On the effectiveness barometer, the internal reprimand gets a Most Effective. When who you are and all the money you have can’t erase the memory of what you have done, you have seriously violated the established social mores. When just the thought of your mother’s disappointment in you brings you to near-tears, you have committed a major infraction against a truly undeserving soul.
The internal reprimand. When your actions against another keeps you up at night, steals your appetite, makes it difficult for you look stand the sight of yourself, makes you question your own being, you have truly committed a major offense. Man, what a price to pay.
A good man, a good person would think long an hard before ever hurting someone like that again. One who has some deep-rooted issues, delusions of grandeur and narcissistic tendencies will continue to do it after the initial discomfort has worn off. I hope Kanye West isn’t the latter of the two.