Luis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.
The Age of Shamelessness By Luis M. Luque
The world has come out of the closet. I don’t mean that literally, of course, or even sexually. I mean it as a comment not only on the end of privacy, but also on the epidemic of immodesty and outright shamelessness that continues to spread faster than Ebola through a crowded hut. Once upon a time, when an athlete made a game-winning play, he smiled, ran the bases, politely tipped his hat to the fans, maybe jumped into another player’s waiting arms.
Afterward, he thoughtfully congratulated his teammates for their fine play and the opponents for their competitive spirit. Today, players thump their chests, dance, blow kisses at the fans, point to their numerous tattoos, make obscene gestures, or cross themselves and point at the sky as if God were on their side. Then, for the cameras they piously talk about “heart” and “courage,” rarely acknowledging luck or the tens of millions spent to acquire more and younger talent than the opponent’s owner chose to pay. Naturally, they’d never dream of discussing the possibility that they are on a better doping schedule than their opponents!
Still, if shamelessness were confined to the sports world, it would be a forgivable occupational hazard. There must be a bit of Hector “Macho” Camacho, Muhammad Ali, and John McEnroe in all athletes. Modesty, after all, never made a game-winning shot, buckled a championship belt, or signed a contract worth more than the budget of a small nation. Modesty never lied about taking performance-enhancing drugs despite hitting 73 home runs in your late-thirties, winning seven Cy Young Awards, or seven consecutive Tours de France.
Hollywood, too, is one of the usual suspects. It’s easy to find fault with the brazenness of the Housewives of Anywhere, the wacky costume-wearing “singers” who audition for American Idol, or the Honey Boo Boos, the bearded Duck Dynasty stars, and Hillbilly Handfishers of the world, none of whom I suspect betray even a twinge of embarrassment when drawing on their salaries from an ATM.
Once upon a time, Elizabeth Taylor was widely reviled for her extramarital affairs, and Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn actually faced criminal charges for such carrying on. By contrast, Kim Kardashian settled for $5 million with Vivid Entertainment over the release of her sex tape, making more than a few cynics wonder if the “leak” of all the moaning and backdoor escapades was planned from the beginning.