Rick Wamre: Success is even tougher in an age of rampant, continuously chronicled idiocy

Group of people using mobile devices

Justin Bieber is one sad dude: rich, talented and famous but seemingly not too happy.

He had a rich, talented and famous girlfriend at one time; maybe he still does. It’s hard to follow all of the plot twists in their lives.

Sponsored Message

Neither is much more than a kid. But that hasn’t stopped us from hearing about them and reading about them and watching them and criticizing them from the get-go.

They make pretty easy targets, too, always saying and doing cringe-worthy things, despite their wealth and fame.

They’re good examples of how difficult it is to be young these days. Wealth can’t protect anyone from exposure, or overexposure, when we all carry cameras in our pockets. Thanks to new technology, any of us can shoot and broadcast video to the internet simultaneously.

Back then, we were protected from ourselves by the luck of the times — there was no easy way to forever record what was happening around us or what mistakes we made. For that, I and plenty of others are eternally grateful.

That’s right: Before we even have a chance to think about the implications of what we’re doing, we’re done.

A college buddy and I had lunch recently, and we started talking about our first years out of school and on the job. It wasn’t uncommon for us or our friends to do some pretty dumb things.

Sponsored Message

Had any of us back then had the capability to constantly video people’s every step or misstep, instantly slap it on the internet where it would still be visible today, lives would have been permanently altered and history (with a small “h”) would be different.

Back then, we were protected from ourselves by the luck of the times — there was no easy way to forever record what was happening around us or what mistakes we made. For that, I and plenty of others are eternally grateful.

Flashing forward to this month’s cover story about high school seniors who have turned tough situations to their advantage, the state of the world makes me admire them even more. They are succeeding in a time where it’s more and more difficult to avoid temptation or walk the straight and narrow. They are successful without the support and benefits so many of us have enjoyed in our lives.

Growing up has never truly been easy for a lot of folks, but I can’t imagine growing up in a more difficult time than today. Any mistake can be recorded forever, and there are more than a few people out there willing to cast stones.

Sponsored Message

And as for Justin Bieber, I felt sorry for him recently during a “roast” of his career by fellow tabloid luminaries. After sitting through a pretty brutal dissertation about everything he had done wrong in his life, he stood up to have the last word.

“There was really no preparing me for this life. I was thrown into this at 12 years old and I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into,” he said. “There’s been moments I’m really proud of and a lot of moments I look back, and I’m pretty disappointed in myself for.

“But the things I’ve done really don’t define who I am.”

Sadly, Justin, the things you’ve done really do define who you are. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Written By
More from Rick Wamre

Opening Remarks

Many years ago, I was elected president of a neighborhood church council...
Read More