What’s going on? How have we strayed so far from the path of morality, conscience and compassion?

Today, two horrendous events happened that slapped us all in the face.

First, dog torturer Michael Vick got his own reality TV show. So this vermin who tortured and murdered dogs is rewarded by getting his own TV show. And we wonder why young people engage in horrific behavior! They’ve been trained, by all of us, that immoral, unethical, criminal behavior will be greatly rewarded. Oh sure, you may do a little prison time, but it’ll be worth it. The payoff could be in the many, many millions. How many times are we going to turn the scum of the earth into “heroes”, rewarding them with huge paydays, celebrity status and a life that the vast majority of people can only dream about but never achieve?

Disgusting.

Second, Barack Obama wins the Nobel Peace prize – simply because he says we should have peace on earth (wow, what an original idea). And this decision was made in February when Obama was president for only two weeks. What an outrageous slap in the face for people who’ve spent years, have sacrificed their lives in the quest for peace. If Obama has any character, he’ll decline the prize and suggest that someone truly deserving gets the award. This comment is not directed at Obama, it’s directed at the people who made the decision to award the Nobel to him.

Equally as disgusting.

Somewhere along the line we jumped the tracks. We no longer admire and respect the people who’ve accomplished truly great things. We don’t admire people who stay on the straight and narrow, are great role models and have led lives of honor.

Instead we admire and reward the lowest of the low or the least deserving or – I’m sad to admit – the person with the best PR agent.

I so clearly remember listening to one of those radio psychologists years ago. A woman call up from Kansas or Nebraska or one of the states in the western US. You could tell from her speech that she was a very modest, kind-hearted woman.

She explained to the radio-psychologist that she and her husband were fostering eight children and on that Friday all of the children were to be returned to their parents.

The psychologist then rudely interrupted the woman and went on a rant. Paraphrasing her, she said: “Oh I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me that you don’t think the kids should be returned to their parents on Friday. You think you and your husband can do a better job than the parents. That’s what all of you foster families think. Well let me tell you…” and then she went on to ream the woman the proverbial new download chute.

After the psychologist had run out of her vile hot air, the woman, in her soft, warm voice, said: “No, ma’am. We know the children have to go back to their parents. We have seven more children coming on Monday. We just want to know if it would be OK to send these children presents on their birthdays.”

There was dead air on the radio station. When the psychologist came back 10 or 15 seconds later, you could tell that not only did she have tears in her eyes and a quiver in her voice, but also she had just experienced the most humbling moment of her life.

The psychologist told the woman it would be fine to send birthday presents to the children going back to their parents. She then asked if she could ask the woman a few questions.

“Yes ma’am” was the soft answer.

“Do you work?”

“No ma’am. We always have a lot of children here, so I have to stay home to take care of them.”

“Does your husband work?”

“Yes ma’am. He’s the janitor in the school.”

“Can I ask you how much he earns?”

“About $27,000 a year, ma’am.”

“You foster all these children on $27,000 a year plus whatever little you get from the state?”

“Yes ma’am. It’s tight, but we do fine.”

“Do you take vacations?”

“No ma’am. Being with these children is our favorite vacation”.

The psychologist then went to a very LONG commercial break – no doubt deeply shaken by what just happened.

That broadcast has had an enormous impact on me. I’ve never told that story without tears filling my eyes. Even typing this I get teary.

Where is the Nobel Prize for those people? Why aren’t we celebrating people who do things like that. Instead, we shower our adulation on entertainers who are engaged in the most aberrant behavior. We come up with reasons why Roman Polanski should be set free, even though he admitted he drugged and raped a 13 year old girl. We admire people like that and call them heroes.

Yeah, I know this is supposed to be a blog about publicity, marketing and business. But there are just times when things aren’t right and I have to speak out.

I’m disgusted. I feel like I need a shower.

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  1. Stephen Barrett Says:

    Paul

    You couldn’t have articulated my feelings any better. I love getting publicity out but in the end we have to stand for the authentic.

    There is no comparison in the character of the woman and her janitor husband raising seven to eight foster children and Obama who wins a prize for delivering good speeches.

    And don’t get me started on Vick.

    Thank you for this post today.

    Stephen

  2. Nat Couropmitree Says:

    Paul,
    I thank you for sharing the touching story about the foster family and the radio psychologist. I do wish there were more prizes or ways to acknowledge those people who are doing great things.

    I was just thinking earlier today about how our culture will often celebrate people after they die, but rarely say anything good while they are alive. Somehow we got it backwards.

    Perhaps rants like yours will help us all be more aware of acknowledging each other.

    Nat

  3. Tim O'Brien Says:

    Thanks Paul – the story about the humble people taking care of children is powerful – thank you for sharing – I’ve benefited greatly from your work and I appreciate you. – tim

  4. Rachel Young Says:

    Honestly, Paul – I’m glad you spoke out. Sure, publicity is a great thing.

    But when such injustices take place, it’s our duty as free people to step up and call a duck a duck.

    You literally took the words out of my mouth today. Thank you for saying the things that others might have been too timid to say.

  5. David Gruttadaurio Says:

    This makes me want to use a lot of really bad words.

    These stupid events make as much sense as giving Vick the Nobel Peace Prize and Obama the reality show… in fact it actually makes more sense.

    There is absolutely no integrity to be found anywhere today in the world.

    It is so damn depressing to even think about.

  6. Peter Says:

    I’m sure you know there are probably 50% of your list who differ with passion from you on the Obama issue Paul – so you should have just stayed off it. Don’t get political with your business.

    I personally feel so bad about your comments in that regard, that I’m not willing to even expantiate. How can you throw away a full year of respect people like me have had for you as (arguably) number one in your field?

    Don’t assume you know your audience’s feelings Paul.

  7. Bob Lucas Says:

    While I agree it’s extremely distasteful, I couldn’t help but be put off by your lumping the President, (capital P) with Michael Vick. Michael “pays his debt to society” then immediately gets hooked up with a new team, now he gets a reality show to make even more money and most people look the other way.

    While I agree Mr. Obama should decline the Nobel Peace Prize, the difference is that he didn’t bring this upon himself. He was chosen, he didn’t write an essay or enter a contest to win. While we’re talking about integrity and lack of respect, perhaps we should include the way people think the President should be a target. While he is indeed good at pr, my personal opinion is that he IS a man of integrity and he should be given a chance to prove himself. Maybe declining the Nobel Peace Prize would do just that.

  8. Ken Williams Says:

    Wow Paul,

    Thanks for hitting that nail on the head. I was just discussing with a friend the other day how our society honors the backward, chaotic, even criminal over decent hard working people.

    For the record I don’t think our President fits any of the above. I’m not anti Obama, but Nobel Peace Prize? It’s too early to judge his peace “initiatives.”

    TV (which I rarely watch) is filled with reality shows of the disfunctional. I’m in my 40’s and I feel sincere concern for our country’s future. – Ken

  9. Ashley Nicole Says:

    Hopefully it’s just a coincidence that both men you mentioned are Black. Anyway, no Vick shouldn’t have his show but neither should John & Kate and that Nadina lady with the 8 kids

  10. Mel Inglima Says:

    What an abomination. But, what a great post! I am in complete agreement. Yet, somehow we must rise above the non-sense.

    In situations like these, after I cool down, I ask myself, “what is my relationship with this moment?” In other words, how do I handle this? How do I reach my goals without being pulled down by “the world,” I follow the maxim … “live and let live.” After all, material rewards are fleeting.

    If others want to bury themselves through idiocy and narcissism, let them. They won’t knock me off my path.

    Thank you Paul, insightful as always. Please give us more.

    Mel Inglima

  11. Ken Wallace Says:

    Paul:

    I’ve linked this entry to my blog at http://www.KenWallaceCompany.com/wpblog and am encouraging my readers to respond. This is an issue of paramount importance; one, unfortunately, we seem to have lost sight of in our society.

    I recall thinking my parents and grandparents were “antiquated” in their views about morality and approaches to living a productive life of peaceful wholeness. I have become them – and gladly and gratefully so.

    Perhaps the primary reason these sorts or “slaps” occur these days is that when values, morality and ethics are taught, the instruction is usually accompanied by thinly disguised embarrassment and a wink and a nod toward the prevailing “anything goes” social conscience. If you don’t really believe what you’re saying, it will show through and the attitude will be caught despite what’s being taught.

    Thanks for your comments on this matter. I join you in your disgust. My latest book, “Your Better Self: A Simple Guide to Where You Want to Be” deals with ways to be unabashedly authentic and unashamedly self-disciplined.

    Ken

  12. Maria Liberati Says:

    Unfortunately it is not who does the best deed but who has the best PR agent that seems to get rewarded. Are there no more authentic awards. However , I think in some way, even though they don’t receive a public reward people like the foster parent nobly find their reward in the children they take care of and that is a genuine reward. Others wil only receive a shallow reward without any meaning and unfortunately our most respected awards have become shallow ones.

  13. Theunis Myburg Says:

    I was born in Africa and lived there the majority of my life. I have seen what happens when people stop accepting responsibility for their actions and when they want to start living off hand-outs and even worse, start stealing and murdering to make what is your theirs. I am so concerend about my adopted country that cannot see that we are slowly sliding into the same mess as what we berate the third world for. And who do we need to thank….., our ignorant media and crooked politicians.

    Any story of hope and integrity is so welcome!!!

  14. Anna Moss Says:

    Thank you taking a stand, Paul.

    I would like to share a thought about abuse of all kinds: it’s a life sentence.

    Many perpetrators were brain damaged as babies due to early abuse or trauma. They grow up to display a marked incapacity for empathy. They live as predators and they get worse over time. No drug, surgery or therapy has been found to fix them. They are hopelessly abusive.

    If I was queen, they’d all be dropped onto an inescapable island with each other.

    In the meantime, the rest of us can sharpen our swords and our wits. Thanks again for posting this, Paul.

  15. Tony Williams Says:

    Though I agree with the point of your blog, I think your statements are misguided.
    Vicks acts are despicable in our society but perfectly acceptable in many societies around the world and in many neighborhoods in this country. But you show focus your venom at the NFL who’s rehiring him and the producers of the reality show that hired him. Vick is in need of cash following his bankruptcy to pay off creditors and the producers believe they can make a lot of money from his infamy.

    It appears that you feel the Obama’s only value is as a orator and that those who are inspired by him, including obviously leaders from around the world, aren’t as astute as you at seeing through this charlatan. Perhaps with this great gift you can inform us if the following orators where merely only great speakers or more; Billy Graham,Martin Luther King,JFK,Ronald Reagan,Churchill,Norman Vincent Peale…..
    Hope born from inspiration is the lifeblood of humanity, as any general or Sunday preacher will tell you and so has the committee deciding the Nobel Peace Prize.

  16. Mark Jala Says:

    Paul,
    Thank-you for such a terrific story. You are right on. I like it when folks go off-story sometimes to really say what is on their minds. It says a lot about you.

    For myself, I think Vick deserves another chance just like anyone, but the reality show exploits him at the same time as elevating him. Neither is good. It’s probably why I don’t even watch TV. I have my 3 at-a-time Netflix, and that’s it.

    I do not like the direction our President is taking us. This award angered me because he has not done any good yet. There are too many good people much more deserving than him to get that award.

    Oh well. Thanks.
    Mark

  17. Mike D Says:

    how right- “Obama, you didn’t get the Olympics but we have something for you, don’t worry.” Amazing- now we can just have “good intentions” and that alone will do it!

  18. RealAmerican Says:

    Ashley, your ignorance is showing. Black people can’t be criticized? By the way O. is only 1/2 black.

    And Peter, don’t assume that YOU know the attitude of Paul’s list. Last time I checked, we DO have freedom of speech in this country…oh, wait! Guess I better check again.

    And for those of you who don’t know, Ghandi was nominated six times for the Nobel Peace Prize and never received it. And you’re going to tell my O. did more for peace than Ghandi?!?

    Time to put the Kool-aid down.

  19. Carlos Samaniego Says:

    Paul, I agree with you so much on this one. Michael Vick is just downright disgusting! I leave it at that…..

    Like you said on Obama, for all you Obama haters, it’s not about that…it’s just a kick in face for people that work almost lifetime, not to be recognized!

    Carlos Samaniego

  20. Andy Iskandar Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for putting a voice to what many of us feel!

    I am totally on your side with this. Especially Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize… I can’t for the life of me reconcile with that. Yes, I admit that he has inspired many leaders all over the world but there are definitely other people who deserve it much more than he does.

    I mean forget about morality, conscience & compassion… whatever happened to pure and simple common sense!

  21. Jackie Paulson Says:

    I agree with this post.
    1. First, dog torturer Michael Vick got his own reality TV show.
    2. Second, Barack Obama wins the Nobel Peace prize – simply because he says we should have peace on earth (wow, what an original idea).
    I am feeling the same exact way as you! I want to say more but will not at this time because you and I are like minded on this! Thanks for putting it out there.

  22. Terry Rayburn Says:

    I think the Peace Prize for Obama is laughable, and I sure agree with you about the foster family.

    But re Vick, how long before he should be wished well for a TV show? 5 years? 20 years? Never?

    C’mon. That’s the beauty of Liberty. He’s free to seek a TV program, the network is free to accept or reject him, the public is free to watch or not watch him.

    Of course we are free to opine on whether he and the network should be free…I say yes.

    We’re even free to opine on whether Vick is sincere in his regrets. I don’t know, but then who does?

    Just think, some people think it should be illegal for us to profit from publicity 🙂

  23. Jeff Smith Says:

    Paul, I agree with what you said. If Michael Vick was not nationally known, neither his case nor his infamy would be worth much to him or anyone else. The same goes for the President. If his espoused views that America is an imperialistic, greedy, prejudiced, wasteful, uncaring member of the world community had not been touted during his “European Campaign” for the presidency, he probably wouldn’t have even been nominated a mere two weeks after taking office. Also, since his award was such a shock to those interested in such awards may be an indication that the award was an attempt to influence his decision on troop increases in Afghanistan.

    Maybe the real lesson here is that . . . PUBLICITY WORKS !

  24. Jeff Says:

    This is the sort of cranky guy rant that people have been making for as long as I can remember.

    Looking at history through rose-colored glasses, we might imagine some time when people were of a better moral quality, but such a time did not exist. In fact, the behavior of the human race is, on the whole, more hospitable to life than it has ever been in history. We’re long past our earliest history when pure savagery ruled the entire human race; there are more democracies than at any time in human history; more people than at any time in history have the right to redress of grievances and peaceful judicial resolution of disputes; personal accomplishment and achievement is more likely to be rewarded in this world than at any time in human history. In the United States alone, the enslavement of 1/6th of the human race was considered normal and morally acceptable by a substantial portion of the population until 150 years ago. Today we are morally horrified even by the mistreatment of dogs. The fact that some human beings stray very badly from the straight and narrow, doesn’t mean that something new is happening. As for public glorification of scoundrels, one doesn’t have to look that hard at history to find examples from Dillinger, to Jesse James and a host of hoods, thieves and evildoers who captured the public imagination.

  25. Leslie Says:

    Paul,

    It’s about time!

    I am glad to see people starting to realize just how far down the backside the people of this nation have gone.

    I commend you for your post, its all true and should hit the heartstrings of all good and honorable people.

    I takes a lot of guts to stand up for what is right especially when so much bad is hailed as good and doing so can really hamper your “Good Name” so to speak.

    Thank you for taking a stand and choosing to voice your opinion on what is wrong with these things.

    The real publicity should be directed towards people like you who stand up for what is right…

    Kudos Man,

    Leslie

  26. Roger Reid Says:

    Really, really well said. Thankyou.

  27. Jenevieve Fisher Says:

    You are one of a few truly admirable men, Paul. Thank you for your voice to many. You are a man of great character, and integrity.

  28. Nita Robinson-Ammon Says:

    Thank you Paul, for these extremely important and touching words. I believe this world is in the shape it’s in because others idolize people like this. They are making these people role models for our young — and that’s what many of them grow up thinking is right.

    Very well spoken and I certainly wish more people felt the way you do.

  29. Public Speaking Expert David Portney Says:

    Paul,

    You’re right about Vick.

    You’re wrong about Obama.

    Dead wrong.

    Your general rant is on target, but what you’re missing is the fact that even though Obama doesn’t deserve a NPP, and he said so himself, he’s serving as inspiration to many and that’s the point.

    Yes, many, many others are doing very good deeds, which any Eagle Scout including you would find admirable and yes, they do deserve recognition.

    What you’re missing is the fact that Obama will influence many more people than all those do-gooders will help, put together.

    I’m surprised you are missing this very obvious – and important – fact.

    To put Vick and Obama in the same category of “disgusting” is just plain wrong.

    You’re welcome for being set straight on this.

    Yes, things have gone way off the rails, but only your Vick example exemplifies this fact.

  30. Jan Holloway Says:

    Authenticity is refreshing because it is so rare.

    Thanks for sharing great private integrity of the foster family in the midwest. Thanks also for calling out the grotesque lack of integrity in Vick, Obama and the mainstream media.

    As long as we can call out the presence and absence of integrity, we can think for and safeguard ourselves.

    With media programming drumming ‘tolerance’ into our heads for 50 years now, many people simply do not possess much discernment anymore. They think and do as they are told and don’t want to be confused with the facts.

    The reality show and the pees prize are just the latest programming in that regard. Those of you who have not drunk the Kool-Aid know what I’m talking about.

    Cherish and protect your kids, your dogs and your rights.

  31. Henry Says:

    you could take the decency argument much deeper and wider.

    America loves its football; professional, college, highschool, etc. Its a game where a man like me would get chewed up and spit out,,, if I were on the field then I would probably be taken off on a stretcher, maybe dead. And Im a fairly fit man,,,, just in no way competitive to a college or pro team.

    and just for the record, Im not a football fan – so this point goes out to people that are F-ball fans.

    America pays very good money to watch football players beat the life out of each other each week. Football is a microcosm of war,,,,, Americans love their innocent war between our cities. And it just cost us some money, whether it be stadium seats or paid TV,,, or the very many endorsements that the Athlete gets paid by.

    admit it America,,, we pay our athletes to train and to play until it hurts,,,, costing them injuries and years off of their lives.

    yet when an ignorant star Athlete does relatively the same thing to a bunch of dogs – then he is the villian.
    * fyi,,,, Im a dog owner,,,, got just 1 GermanShepherd now (he’s 12, a healthy 12),,,, used to have 2,,, I’d like to have a whole bunch of them – so Im no dog hater.

    Im just making the point that the society which Judges Michael Vick is the society that asks Michael Vick to inflict pain on other people. Maybe the athlete doesnt die right away,,, maybe they just live with horrible arthritis for years, then die.

    I’ll also add that we ask our government to shoot wolves from the helicopters. Maybe the bullet kills the wolf, maybe it just limps off with a bullet in its body & dies later.

    as far as the Vick reality show is concerned, Reality TV is a waste of Oxygen. Its symptomatic of a country that needs something important to concentrate on. Its symptomatic of a country that wants somebody else to be exciting because we, as individuals nolonger have the guts to be creative and functional on our own,,,,, “Please let their be something on TV that will make my life better!!!!”

    the Peace Prize has a long history of politics where its inferred no politics are involved. Obama can now say he’s as good as a lot of unmentionable people.

  32. Madeline Frank Says:

    Paul your title said it all! “Two painful slaps ..” I am so proud to have been born and raised in America.President Harry Truman said “Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his … ” Can you imagine what President Truman would have said about “O” and all of this.

    If only O and his henchman would move to Cuba , Russia or Mexico. The movie the “39 Steps” comes to mind!

  33. eddie Says:

    great post paul.
    personally vick made his mistake honed up to it and served his time. i can respect that. NOT what he did that is disgusting( personally i am cat owner). However i agree that obama does not deserve the noble peace prize. I would also wager that he DID have something to do with himself getting it. Thanks for not drinking the cool aid like the rest of the media on the poser in chief

  34. Pamela Grow Says:

    While I certainly agree with you about Michael Vick, I think that you are way off base about Obama.

    What we have to realize about this Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded for President Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” – is that this is an international panel. Sure, they may have been voting mostly with a sense of utter relief that the United States had seen the end of the Bush era. If you watched the joyous celebrations throughout the entire world after Obama’s election it may have occurred to you that the rest of the world actually WANTS to like us – and that anti-Americanism has been rampant for the past 8 years.

    Obama has inherited one hell of a mess. The previous administration sold the US down the river and, while I am not in approval of everything Obama has done, I’m certainly willing to buck up and give him a chance.

    Well said Tony Williams. I’ve often wondered where we might be as a nation if some of our most remarkable “orators” – John F. Kennedy & Robert F. Kennedy – hadn’t been assassinated.

  35. Pete Moring Says:

    Hi Paul, like most people, I entirely agree with this post.
    In the UK we ‘glorify’ criminals no end. The justice system slaps them on the wrist for committing crimes that the moral majority would be demonised for.
    The Kray’s are a cult hero entity – how’s that then??

    Every nobel Peace prize winner must feel like throwing their award in the bin now as it means absolutely NOTHING anymore. I hope whoever is offered one in the future has the moral background to DENY it in a blink of an eye.

    As for the reporter and the foster-parent? What a great story? It just goes to show how ‘low’ society is sinking that someone automatically assumes the ‘worst’ of someone else. But it’s happening all the time and in ‘my opinion’ it’s contrived by the media itself to feed the insatiable greed of the morally inept who are the easiest to convince about anything (Advertisers dream maybe??)

    Thanks for sharing this post Paul, it’s a wake-up-call we all need.

    Pete.

  36. maggy Says:

    I’m new to this so please excuse. But it seems to me that people are sort of missing the point. This is a Publicity Blog & by linking up a world famous name with a nationally known name, both in themselves controversial & in a highly controversial way, Paul is showing us a good publicity method. Just look at the number of responses this post rec’d.
    The ‘correctness’ of the content doesn’t really matter, what does matter is that it garnishes a lot of attention. Being controversial = publicity & I think this is what this post is meant to demonstrate; the ‘rights & wrongs’ of the content don’t really count.

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