Saturday, August 22, 2015

Beyond disgust

I felt the need to take a shower after reading about two different sleazy encounters involving high profile individuals.

First off, a "Reality TV" star.

Josh Duggar has released a statement calling himself “the biggest hypocrite ever” following media reports that he was a paid user of, a dating website for cheating spouses.

The 27-year-old "19 Kids and Counting" star admitted that he has been viewing porn online and was unfaithful to his wife, writing that he’s ashamed of his “double life.”

Hackers said this week that they had released the personal data of users. About 32 million accounts were reportedly affected.

This is not the first scandal for Duggar. Back in May, reports surfaced that he had molested five girls in 2002 and 2003 — including four of his sisters.

Then we learned about the disgusting exploits of a celebrity pitchman.

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle faces a possible five to 12 years in federal prison after agreeing to plead guilty to Justice Department charges that he paid for sex with minors and received child pornography.

Fogle, 37, is prepared to serve the time, his attorney Jeremy Margolis told reporters outside the Indianapolis courthouse where Fogle made his first court appearance today.

He "understands that he requires significant psychiatric medical treatment and counseling," Margolis said, adding he is prepared to pay the victims restitution and do what it takes to once again become a "productive member of society."

With the plea agreement, which a judge has to approve, Fogle must spend at least five years in prison and five years of supervisory release, but the final sentence will be up to the judge, federal authorities said today.

Before I say anything else, I will definitively state that I believe that anyone who exploits children in such a disgusting manner deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. While Fogle was in his 30s, Duggar was a teenager when committing his abhorrent acts with kids. Nevertheless, he likely could have been charged as an adult had authorities been contacted.

With that said, there seemed to be an attitude which went beyond disgust for the behaviors of these two men. Via social media, I witnessed several instances of schadenfreude. To a certain extent it makes sense given that the young victims in these two cases may be adversely impacted for the rest of their lives. As such, Duggar and Fogle enduring their own sense of shame and embarrassment would seem to be a small price to pay in comparison. But it seemed to go beyond that, especially among those who insinuated that Christianity is a fraudulent religion because a self-professed Christian (Duggar) had moral failings. And there also seemed to be a group who resented Fogle's wealth, reinforcing the "evil rich guy" stereotype.

Someone taking great pleasure in the pain of others is nothing new. It can be a typical human instinct to enjoy seeing someone who seems so high up on a proverbial pedestal knocked down several notches. It also opens a door to myriad justifications. "What's the use of living a Godly life if I have to associate with a bunch of hypocrites. I'm better off than them anyways." or "What's the point of attaining financial success since money corrupts so many people anyhow." 

Truth be told, I'm saddened by these types of failures in general. If only Duggar and Fogle could have stopped short of acting on their perverse compulsions and sought help at the outset. It would have spared several lives (including their own) of having to endure serious emotional trauma.


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