Breaking News and Swimming Upstream


Photo by ErnestDuffoo

Late last night I received a Breaking News e-mail. I had a project deadline looming, but how on earth could I avoid an e-mail alert that says Breaking News? As long as I have a pulse, “Breaking News” will always snag my attention. So off I went to check my e-mail. And the headline stopped me cold.

Adam Levine is People’s Sexiest Man Alive

Adam Le-WHO? Okay. That’s not altogether true. I know he’s a judge on one of the reality music shows and I know he is (was?) the lead singer in a rock band. So I tried to forget about it and go back to writing.

Yet two questions plagued me.

1. WHY is this breaking news? Our current events include Obamacare, NSA Spying, gun violence, and the aftereffects of a government shutdown…and yet “sexiest man of 2013” is breaking news? I live a stone’s throw from the worst devastation caused by the tornado that ripped through Illinois last weekend. I know that as I sit here, my neighbors are combing through the rubble of their lives. And yet our sexiest man of 2013 is breaking news?

Perhaps more to the point–

2. WHY is Adam Levine the sexiest man alive? 

This week, females of all ages will pour over their copies of People and see Adam Levine as a prize to be won. I have never met the man. He may be a genuinely nice person. Truly. I’ll go ahead and assume that he is for argument’s sake. But he’s a singer in a rock band. To my knowledge, he hasn’t risked his life in the war overseas or prolonged a person’s life with scalpel in hand. He hasn’t taught a classroom of underprivileged kids or welcomed foster children into his home.

What has he accomplished that makes him worthy of being a poster child for a generation that is looking for icons to emulate?

Don’t misunderstand this post to be a rant against a man I’ve never met. I am not anti-Adam-Levine-the-man. My concern is that breaking news in our country is about a man whose greatest accomplishment is singing in a rock band. If we’re forced to have one, I’d rather point to “sexiest man of 2013” and say to my boys, “THAT is someone who deserves your respect.”

Words from this year’s man of honor:

“I’ve done drugs. I smoked a lot of pot when I was younger. There is a place in this world for a little weed every once in a while. I’ve written songs after smoking a joint and it was good” ( “Adam Levine recalls wasted therapy”The Belfast Telegraph.)

It’s no wonder that teaching our daughters how to find good men or our sons how to be good men feels like we’re swimming upstream.

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