Greeson: We are all a swapped seat away from being public figures facing public criticism

Greeson: We are all a swapped seat away from being public figures facing public criticism

July 10th, 2018 by Jay Greeson in Opinion Columns
Jay Greeson

Jay Greeson

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

We have been speeding down the social media interstate to this point for quite some time.

We have gone from everyone wanting to be famous, to all trying to be famous to, in truth, all being famous.

But that script has flipped, and not in a good way.

Look around. The best among us no longer crave a place in the public spotlight that burns white hot and is in a perpetual spin cycle of bullying people to quickly tear them down.

For the most part, the famous have always enjoyed the spoils that come with celebrity. Status. Compensation. Influence.

It was a noble pursuit to want to be president or a Major League Baseball pitcher.

Now, we're all one viral post away from being famous. Maybe infamous is a better word.

In today's smaller-than-ever, harsher-than-imaginable world of connectivity, a tsunami of sudden celebrity is always cresting.

Take the online matchmaking earlier this month by some lady named Rosey Blair, who became a social media star, a hit on Twitter that led her all the way to "The Today Show."

Blair asked another female passenger on a plane ride from New York to Dallas to swap seats so Blair could sit next to her husband. Blair then provided play-by-play of the interaction/flirtations between the woman and the guy beside her.

The guy, a personal trainer and former soccer player named Euan Holden, was happy to oblige and even tagged along with Blair to "Today" last week.

The woman, however, declined the invite, and it's easy to understand why.

She has become a target of hate on the interwebs. Accusations of intentions, words like "skank" and "floozy" were tossed at her. There are millions of folks dying to know her status and whether she and Euan will be sitting in row 33, K-I-S-S-I-N-G any time soon.

She did not ask for any of this. In fact, her act of kindness — trading seats — was the genesis of the entire affair that now has many wondering if it is actually an affair. And now she has been forced to shut down all of her social media accounts and has reportedly stayed offline because of the avalanche of attention.

She is an innocent bystander. She did not make a stupid, sexist, racist, ageist comment that typically would draw the harsh and immediate ire of the social media morality mob.

Heck, Blair even had the chance to block people who called her out for invading this woman's privacy. She had options and asked for this — even using the place of new-found fame to ask for a job at Buzz Feed.

The lesson here is that no one is a private person anymore.

Maybe it started with "America's Funniest Home Videos," and the river of whiffle ball-line drives to dad's junk, and tipsy aunts and uncles falling on the dance floor and Rickie and Rhonda's wedding.

Maybe it was reality TV, from the dating shows to the completely scripted reality shows in which the only real parts were really bad parts.

Who knows? But here's believing we're all in the middle of it now, whether we want to be or not.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6343.

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