And Other Mistakes, by Rich Paschall 

In decades past, my mother was a fan of what would be referred to as Supermarket Tabloids. They are usually displayed near the checkout counters of grocery stores. They were meant to catch your eye with provocative headlines and shocking pictures. My mother actually believed a lot of what she read. There was nothing more tantalizing than hot celebrity gossip.

After mom returned home from recovery from a stroke in 1993, she was unable to get out on her own. Fortunately for her, the downstairs neighbor was a big fan of the tabloids. It seemed like she bought them all. When I would go by my mother’s apartment, she frequently had a new set of papers and magazines from her neighbor. She offered that I could take home the ones she had already read. I usually declined.

Illustration: Bangor Daily Tribune

On rare occasions, the headline or picture on one of the papers would grab my attention and I would take a look. I often discovered the headline was misleading and the story really contained nothing suggested by the headline. If you just looked at the headline or pictures, you might come to the wrong conclusion about a celebrity or public figure. Sometimes the celebrity would sue the tabloid, but the damage was done, win or lose. Whatever the headline was suggesting was now what many in the general public would think. Unfair? Of course.

If you read the articles carefully you will see things like “it is alleged that,” “it has been reported that,” or “a source has revealed.” They are usually careful not to make any direct accusations. They can blame the rumor or gossip on someone else if it is not true. Maybe a retraction will be printed inside a subsequent issue.

The tabloids are still around and the gossip still sells. It even gets around faster than ever. Tabloid websites, personal and corporate YouTube channels, celebrity blog sites, and a variety of social media pages can blast out gossip faster than anyone can react.  Sensational headlines or video titles are what we now call “clickbait.” They are like the large headlines you might see at the supermarket. They want you to “buy,” that is to say they want you to click on their story. Many of us will not do it because we recognize clickbait for what it is. Others will be busy drawing a false conclusion, whether they clicked or not. With all the share buttons we now have on everything, people can send gossip everywhere in a matter of seconds.

Celebrities who have done or said something wrong in the past, no matter whether it be small or large or if they have already paid the price, may find themselves sliced and diced by internet trolls if they find something to report. If you are in the public eye and do something stupid, or anger certain people, they will be digging through your past to find something wrong.

The actor who was in the first popular Thailand BL series still feels the wrath of some fans for some dumb comments and reactions. When asked on Instagram if he was gay, he answered “No” with a lot of angry “emojis” to follow. Years later he can not apologize enough for it or put that in the past. He still works but was recently removed from an upcoming BL series when social media went after him for being cast as another gay character.

One of the main characters from the KinnPorche miniseries (not one of the two leads) found himself in hot water when a tweet from many years earlier came to light. He made some ill-advised comments on Twitter. He was removed from the cast “watch party” for the final episode, which was streamed online.

Now papers and websites are blasting out headlines suggesting that a certain actor is a bully and a bad guy. The internet trolls are having a field day as the story was picked up by newspapers and websites all over. What egregious crime did the actor commit?

It seems when he was about ten years old, (yes, I said 10) he was guilty, along with some of his friends, of picking on some other boys at school. He posted the following: “I’m sorry if what happened in the past left a mark on my friend’s heart. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.” He went on to say “I and my parents have apologized to the victim and his parents for my attitude. Because of this incident, I learned a lesson that I have to improve every day.”

He made a serious mistake as a 10-year-old and was punished by the school and by his parents. Apparently, some are not allowed to learn their lessons as a 10-year-old and grow up. The gossip mongers and internet trolls feel he should be punished some more.

A person who knows a high school friend of the actor spoke to that friend who reported that “he is not the kind to bully, he is just an overall nice and chill guy.”

For now, the story rages on. The celebrity has again apologized for bad behavior as a ten-year-old. The apology letter is pinned to the top of his Twitter page. It may not be enough for the self-proclaimed apology police. They have successfully driven the actor off social media, at least for now.

If I could only remember the stupid things I did when I was 10, I would apologize. On the other hand, we all did stupid things when were ten. We were punished and allowed to grow up. Not everyone is given that privilege.

“This incident will not be forgotten and forever I will feel guilty and I will not forgive myself for this. I apologize to everyone who felt the impact of my heinous actions,” the actor said in the letter posted to his Twitter account.

Some 10-year-olds are punished and allowed to learn their lesson. A few are not.

Postscript: While writing this I decided to leave off names. If you really want to know, send me a private message. The apology comments of the actor are a translation from a story posted online. I can share that too. The opinion of the high school friend was shared by a trusted source.

Categories: #RichPaschall, Childhood, Rich Paschall, right and wrong

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6 replies

  1. English tabloids are even worse, if you can imagine that being possible. Between the tabloids and antisocial media platforms, I’m pretty sure the best possible people who OUGHT to be running the world figure they be destroyed before they ever got a chance to run. So, they don’t run. Garry refused when offered and I couldn’t blame him. Who would want to do that to themselves?

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