A number of Australian papers have carried my remarks about the drug carrier and underwear model, Michelle Leslie, and the very lucrative offers for her to tell her story to the media. One main theme arises from this story.
The media and modern culture are helping to create the anti-hero. We are celebrating and turning into celebrities those who have been involved in immoral and/or illegal behaviours.
A parallel story has been that of Karen Ellis, convicted paedophile, who appeared on 60 Minutes recently. This woman had a sexual relationship with a Year Ten student, 20 years her junior. Ms Ellis claimed she is no paedophile, and seemed to be surprised over the uproar.
Of course giving attention to moral and social deviants is not new. Career criminal Mark “Chopper” Read had books, movies and other media runs about his life story. Instead of celebrating real heroes, we are showcasing anti-heroes, often with large financial payouts.
Hopefully this will change somewhat with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which would prevent someone like Ellis from cashing in on the reported $40,000 the Nine Network paid for her story.
But money or no money, why are we celebrating, promoting and glamorising paedophiles, drug users and other criminals? Why are we giving them their 15 minutes of fame and fortune on prime time TV and in the gossip magazines?
This is surely a sign of a culture that is losing its way. A few decades ago if someone were found guilty of such crimes and moral misdemeanours they would shrink away into the cracks of society, shunning any publicity. Today such people are paraded on talk shows and make a mint as celebrities.
Shame and guilt worked well back then. But today we have abandoned guilt and shame and have embraced perversion and deviancy. But we do not need to promote underwear models convicted of drug use, or teachers who sleep with their students. Yet as our society continues to lose our moral compass, and as greedy media outlets feed on such stories, things will undoubtedly only get worse. Unless of course good people stand up and be counted.
Since all of the media is abuzz with these two stories, can I encourage you to speak out, whether in talkback radio, or letters to editors.
It is time to stop the cult of the anti-hero, and start promoting real heroes.