Janek Mäggi: Tänak is a loser if he doesn’t win gold!
, Eesti Päevaleht
Fame is cruel. You work all your life to become famous and then wear sunglasses because you don’t want to be recognised.
The laurels wither, the champagne goes flat, you may have to sell your medals like Matti Nykänen did, or they’re just taken away and given to those who didn’t fail their doping tests. People in Libya may be pining for the peaceful days of the dictatorship, but many of them weren’t repulsed by the smell of Muammar Gaddafi’s blood nine years ago.
The sport of life is a cruel spectacle, where the gladiator’s soul or fate don’t interest the spectators. The winner takes it all. For as long as they keep winning. And they must win again and again and again. Most of the time, the spectators are real beasts. Hungry, furious, rude – like football fans. And yet, they give their hero the illusion that he’s a star. Forever.
Today, Ott Tänak steps back into the limelight, where last year’s title doesn’t mean anything.
The majority of the spectators are actually afraid to say in public what they really think of the star. That they’re jealous, that they like to gloat. Or that they don’t care. The spectators are happy with the show only if the bull dies in the arena. The death of the bullfighter makes it even better. They’re unhappy when both of them survive. And get a medal or a mouthful of hay. That’s why film and theatre are cheap and fake arts – when compared to sports.
Becoming a star doesn’t mean you have to be passionate about becoming one. But the desire to achieve more than others, to experience mind-blowing success – that’s something that a starlet must have. Whether being a star brings the respect and admiration of the majority of the community depends on the star’s ability to walk the tightrope – without a safety net. Elizabeth II has managed to do this for 94 years, even though there have been times when staying on the tightrope has required a massive effort. For example, when Princess Diana died.
Success can never keep the applause going
There are people who have lied and conned to make their way to the spotlight, but they have made it there. There are those who despite everything have ended up face first in the mud of condemnation, and those who deserve to be applauded for their achievements, but who haven’t managed to live according to the society’ standards, such as Andrus Värnik.
If you want the audiences to like you, the next act of your show must be more exciting than the one before. If you can’t do this, the seats in the hall will soon be empty. Today, Ott Tänak steps back into the limelight, where last year’s title doesn’t mean anything. Because he’s a loser if he doesn’t achieve as much as he did last year.
Ott Tänak is Estonia’s Greta Thunberg. Many have carried him on their arms. Of course, there are people who cannot stand motor racing. People who never watch it and consider it stupid. People who don’t have cool cars, who don’t understand why this promotional event of people who pollute the environment so much brings such joy when the only normal means of transport is a bicycle.
Veerpalu and Meghan Markle didn’t understand that privileges come with obligations, which are boring, sometimes nasty (like talking to the media), and that being famous is a job in itself.
But there are also people who loved skiing because of Andrus Veerpalu. The day will probably come when we’ll find out that Ott Tänak is/was the face of environmental pollution and there are suspicious forces or money behind Greta Thunberg.
The more famous you are, the more enemies you have. And of course, the more famous your are, the more you tend to take advantage of it. Fame tends to corrupt and absolute fame corrupts absolutely, if we paraphrase Lord Acton. “Almost all great men are bad people.”
The stars who’ve got caught may not have been crooks in their hearts, but they took advantage of the opportunities they shouldn’t have taken. We gloat when someone rich and famous is crying, but feel sympathy when we see someone poor and unknown doing the same. The poor and unknown guy may actually be a bigger crook than the rich and famous one.
People give birth to you and people kill you
People need a hero to love and to hate. People love the hero, because he can be crucified. Prince Harry’s decision to change jobs ended with a surprise – he didn’t just lose his wages, but also the key to his old place of work. Even family businesses cannot hide from the clients (in this case the British subjects), even if the business is a royal court.
The media doesn’t give birth to heroes. They are born in the media. The media doesn’t kill heroes. They die in the media. Media is the hospital where the fresh star lets out his first little cry, and media is the morgue where the still breathing patient takes his last breath.
People need a hero to love and to hate. People love the hero, because he can be crucified.
If the star stops being attractive to the public and there seems to be no hope of recovery, his fate will be decided by the orderly who knows exactly what the patient deserves. Maybe they will try to treat the patient at first, but everything is clear in the end: go home, take a mud bath to get your skin used to the dirt. And the star, once so admired, wonders how the midwife turned into an executioner.
The laurels kept weighing heavy on the heads of Andrus Veerpalu and many other superstars. Veerpalu and Meghan Markle didn’t understand that privileges come with obligations, which are boring, sometimes nasty (like talking to the media), and that being famous is a job in itself. Lifestyle, training, sports. A marathon that ends in death.
That’s why it’s great if you never get any recognition – an Olympic medal, an order of merit, etc. You will be asked to give them back or pass them on when it comes out that you’ve made a mistake. But everyone makes mistakes. Or their number is non-existent.
The risk of getting caught at the very top is massive, because every villager would like your head on their stick. The villager’s head doesn’t interest anybody. No matter how big a crook they are. Becoming famous is harder than staying famous. Ott, hang on in there.