Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saving Tanya Harding

Well, the flu certainly got into my system this week. It seems like every time I walk into a gym to resurrect the spirit of fitness, I pick up some bug during the kickoff process.  The bugs lie and wait at the stair stepper, btw, snot drops from previous sweat laden, pear shaped humans, and their army of virus.  The critters must have gone hand to mouth, or through the nose, as the experts say.  A lot of viruses go in through the nose.  This thing turned into that wake-up-feeling-crappy-I-can-go-to-work fail, that deteriorates the moment you step out of the shower, five days and counting.  I think I feel better this morning.  I couldn't write Thursday.

And with the flu comes the watching of a lot of television.  My drug of choice when under the weather...Tru TV, so I can get my fix of Tanya Harding on The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest!.  I tried to explain to my daughter, who Tanya Harding is and was, and why she is significant to the culture of stupid people doing stupid things. I looked at her and said:  "You really don't know who she is?"  I suppose my comment was really quite rhetorical and awful and I don't even know if she "got" the exemplary humor purveyed because she left the room.  However, Tanya is certainly the "Grand Mother Mary" of Stupid Culture and we cannot help but thank her for this.

Like most Americans immersed in popular culture who tend to unconditionally love and forgive "stupid people for doing stupid things",  I found it interesting her personal branding accomplishments littered between bouts of comebacks and what I would assume is her trying to make a living.  A little research reveals both positive and negative things about her life and her evolution as a person of significance in popular culture. 

Here are a few things that I found most interesting:
  • She was in a band called the Golden Blades and got booed off the stage in their only appearance in Portland in 1995.
  • She was the first woman to successfully execute two triple axles in a single competition.  (This is a token)
  • She has awful taste in men.  Her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, hired Shane Stant to break Nancy Kerrigan's right leg so that she would be unable to skate as a competitor.
  • The explicit "Wedding Video"...well, this must have been a low point.

  • She had a professional boxing career. Her overall record was 3–3–0
  • She had a child at 40 years old.
  • She is a motivational speaker.
So what is Tanya Harding?--what gift does she bestow upon our culture?  It's awful to think that she is merely a rough and tumble trailer chick who beat up the pretty rich chick to get her way and that set the course for her life, ultimately ending up as a fairly significant entry in Wikipedia. 

Permanently marked by the knee knocker event, a series of promotional attention getting grasping at straws must have been the only ticket to personal sustainability in the years directly following.  Why else would you put on the dog and pony road road show all the way through the 90's. There is a lot of art imitating life in regard to that sort of thing, a common theme in most cases like this.  But when does one become iconic for who they are and what they have done, good or bad, regardless of them hurting others?  At what point does forgiveness prevail and droves of popular culture disciples offer up conditional love? 

Redemption; the most common way to satisfy the village.  I think having a child will do it for her; a couple of interviews with some significant network TV folks.  A very solid effort at some strategic PR and the softening of the story telling from yesteryear.  So she ain't no Dorothy Hamill, but you have to admire the balance of culpability to ability ratio; her potential to embrace who she is and where she has the opportunity to end up is really quite interesting,  ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.

1 comment:

herekittykitty said...

Redemption is possible. I know this