Suzy Favor’s Private Life Details Poison for the Mind, Society
Left, Suzy Favor-Hamilton may have finally encountered a problem she can’t outrun, but that doesn’t make it news. (fanbase.com)
Thanks to the gossip/conspiracy theory website The Smoking Gun, last week details emerged about the so- called “secret double life” of Suzy Favor- Hamilton, the 44 year- old SPASH graduate and 3- time Olympic athlete embroiled in a prostitution scandal.
I’ve yet to decide which is worse: that serious news organizations from around the country used this website as a source for breaking this story, or that anyone’s private life is of consequence to the rest of us.
I cannot condone her actions or decisions because it’s not my place. I will, however condemn the news organizations which published the story on Mrs. Favor-Hamilton, who is neither a contestant on reality TV nor an elected official. Her private life is nobody’s business.
But it brings to light many questions about what is considered newsworthy in our society. We seem to have forgotten there is a difference between the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and C-SPAN. Blurring the line between the two turns us into horrible, nosy people who believe we have the right to know the most intimate details of the lives of anyone we choose, and have no obligation to keep our own personal life private.
I would argue Favor-Hamilton’s indiscretions are the business of only her husband and children, and matter between her family and those organizations which used her as a spokesperson.
But since the details have already been made public, and have since been confirmed by Favor- Hamilton herself, consider the lives of the countless other sports figures, movie stars and politicians whose private lives have become public fodder- even though these details have nothing to do with their public performances.
Consider this: Babe Ruth is still considered one of the best players to ever grace a baseball diamond. Yet, he cheated on his first wife several times, had a violent temper and consumed astonishing amounts of alcohol.
Regardless, his performance on the field brought this editorial eulogy in a New York Times article some days after his death in 1948: “…a figure unprecedented in American life. A born showman off the field and a marvelous performer on it, he had an amazing flair for doing the spectacular at the most dramatic moment.”
Despite his private troubles, he was- and still is- lauded in society as an American hero.
But for better or worse, his private life was largely private until- under the guise of free speech- details of his personal life rose to the surface in tell-all books and films.
Remember when the media championed privacy? When we held decency with some regard? How long has it been- and at what point did it change- that we thought to ourselves, “just because we can, does that mean we should?”
There’s no doubt every person on this planet has something in their life they wish to keep private. Something that is simply no one else’s business, some slice of something in their closet they might barter to keep private.
Ms. Favor-Hamilton may have created problems in her marriage, problems for her children, and problems in her life as a public spokesperson and role model. But that’s just what they are- her problems.
That doesn’t mean it’s our business. And it’s not news.