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News of the Day: Your 15 Minutes Is Up, Kiddos

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I’ll never understand our attitude toward celebrity.

We are a society in search of celebrities and we latch onto them fast and hard. But why are we even more determined to bring them crashing back down to earth? Why don’t we wish them well and allow them to continue to soar?

We’ve taken such morbid pleasure in watching the disintegration of Linsay Lohan. It’s as if we anointed her simply because we recognized her fragility. And she hasn’t let us down.

OK, I admit to taking pleasure in watching her fall to pieces because she is such a spectacular mess. And it makes me feel almost glad that I’m not rich and famous and pampered.

But, I can’t find pleasure in attempts to bring down the little people who earn fame by doing extraordinary things.

Take Jacie Evancho. She wowed everyone the other night on America’s Got Talent. She’s a prodigy with a voice that’ll be filling opera houses. She had my wife in tears. Her little Puccini ditty, “O Mio Babbino Caro,” was performed at our wedding. She nailed it.

So why is she already being smeared with accusations of lip-synching? New Zealand opera conductor John Rosser has viewed and re-viewed the footage and declared that what she was doing was genuine. But, hasn’t the damage already been done? She’s now potentially a fraud in millions of web-surfing minds.

On a local level here in North Dakota, swimmer Dagny Knutson has been a sensation. She is the type of gal who doesn’t only win high school state titles; she finishes races while her competition is still barely off the blocks. She was the talk of the U.S. Olympic Trials two years ago.

She just competed at Nationals in Irvine, CA and it wasn’t one of her best meets, nowhere near what she needed to attain a spot on the World Championship team. And her final swim will sadly be her defining one for some time to come. The headlines read, without a hint of sympathy, “Dagny False Starts.” She’s gone from the “phenomenon” to the ”loser” of the swimming world in one summer.

It seems that Warhol was right about his “15 minutes” prediction. But, did he really mean it to include people who deserve to be celebrities?

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About Todd Ford

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com Nancy

    Jackie was on the AGT results show (& went on to the next round). Howie Mandel had her sing a few notes acapella to prove she didn’t lip synch. She’s the real deal.

  • Stacey Davis

    Very nice job, by the small town news media of North Dakota, of “false reporting” on Dagny Knutson’s final swim at the National Championships in Irvine. Let me be more specific. The Hy Tek timing results which many of us use to see the final results of preliminary and final swims at these meets, list a “false start” for swimmers who actually scratch out of events for one reason or another. So line up errors in the story, if you will, but the biggest error was made by the media, who took a computerized timer read out and turned it into a story. The truth is that Dagny swam in 5 events. Made 4 “A” finals and one “B” final. While she did not have any top two finishes and did not make the Pan Pacific team, she did swim a personal best time in the 400 Free. If Dagny can swim 65,000 yards a week in her peak training time is it too much to ask for a reporter to push some buttons on a phone or stroke the keyboard on a computer to get a fact or two??

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/todd-ford/ Todd Ford

    Thanks Stacey for the follow-up. I’m as much to blame as anyone for not punching a few buttons. I’ve been so wrapped up with my own daughter’s swimming at the Central Zone Championships in Nebraska that I was only casually following Dagny’s achievements. The brief writeups in the local papers up here would have you believe she was on her last leg. For her 100 free prelim, all the reporter said was “Dagny False Starts.”

    Btw, I’ve been watching Dagny since she was 11 and she’s always been something to see. And nobody is more gracious about signing autographs than she as little kid swimmers swarm all around her.

  • Stacey Davis

    Todd, I can tell you she appreciates the support and the kind words. She had two tough summers in a row, but she is still very close to where she wants to be and I believe Coach Hutchinson where take her to her ultimate goal in the summer of 2012.

    When the 100 free prelim heat took place, Dagny was with her mother Ronda (my sister) in Fullerton getting affairs in order for her move out there, which at the time was more important. The 100 free is not and has never been a strong event for her on a National level.

    So now she knows where she stands and she knows there is work to be done. That’s never been a barrier for her. Thanks, again. And best wishes to your daughter. The first time I saw Dagny swim was a Zone meet in Indy….she was 11….did not see swimming taking her where she is today.

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