Why do we have to judge famous?

21:49, Jun 13 2013
Pat Veltkamp Smith
Columnist Pat Veltkamp Smith was Southland Times women's editor until 1997 and is a former president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association.

Have you noticed it, how scarily widespread is the feet-of-clay syndrome whereby every now middle-aged guy we have known, read about, listened to or watched is suddenly revealed as so much less than perfect, his feet of clay as often as not soaking in some commercial hot tub thingy while he confides how greatly this is improving his circulation, constipation, motivation or whatever - which we'd always thought was pretty good, writes Pat Veltkamp Smith in And Another Thing.

They can't all have gone to the pack, truly they can't.

Last year it was all about honest faced lawyers and other professional advisers stealing people's life savings.

Two years ago it was doctors, and dentists stealing fillings.

This year we are revisiting famous old All Blacks taking deer tonics and foot spas to get themselves going and urging others to follow suit.

It has been open slather on sportsmen, entertainers and politicians.


The most inspiring book I have read in a decade was the autobiography of the then less known American cyclist Lance Armstrong whose comeback from a widespread and particularly virulent cancer tested everything and he won through.

Now, years later, he's decried as the worst thing since black pudding by people who get injections to avoid the flu.

That his system became a cocktail of drugs cannot be a surprise.

He gave hope and encouragement to a generation.

I could only wish him well, continuing well.

Same with all our mates from Coro Street suddenly revealed as whitened sepulchres, Kev and Kevin and co.

And now poor MP Peter Dunne about whom we'd said nothing before except wonder where that place Ohariu or something is where they vote him in. And we have smiled about his big hair.

But hasn't he been a harmless gentlemanly sort of bloke?

Decent, not deviant and an unlikely spy catcher.

I feel for him and for all those so suddenly vilified, as though the day of judgment has come.

But if it had, there'd be a lot more of us worrying, not just these famous faces.

They don't change for me, any of them.

I will adhere to my mother's axiom of taking people as you find them.

Feet of clay don't come into it.

The Southland Times