Since the Oscars on Sunday night, we’ve all been having a lot of fun with John Travolta’s blunder. Instead of saying the name, Idina Manzel he said, Adele Dazeem. What?! Where did that come from? Well, at least there was a Z in there. But other than that, the two names weren’t even remotely connected. And so, now a new word has been created. The word is “Travoltafied.” You can have your name Travoltified to become something that’s…. well, it’s not your real name.
I haven’t succumbed to the temptation to find out what my Travoltified name is. Not only because I don’t really care. But also because I care a lot. This whole thing is bothering me -- the way people are relentlessly going after a man who made a mistake. And they’re enjoying it too much. It was a mistake that didn’t really hurt anyone. Surely, he has been sufficiently embarrassed by it. He said that he has been beating himself up over it. And yet, people aren’t letting it go. Yes, I know that as a celebrity Mr. Travolta is accustomed to public scrutiny. But this belittling of another still bothers me. Because this isn’t the only time I’ve seen it.
It’s just plain mean-spirited. I don’t care that he’s a celebrity. He’s a person. He really is. And he messed up. Why are we ignoring the fact that he is a human being, with feelings just like the rest of us? I see this on a par with bullying. But it is done publicly in the name of good humor and every one of us who laughs (which is pretty much everyone) is complicit.
Why do we love to jump on people when they mess up? Do we never make mistakes ourselves? I think about the person beside me in traffic who does something stupid and my inclination is to call them names until I stop to consider all the stupid things I’ve done myself while driving a car. I suppose focusing on the mistakes of others comforts us in a way. It keeps us from taking an honest look at ourselves.
Really, this thing with John Travolta is judgmental and unkind. Can we give the guy a break?