May 11, 2010

Celebrity bankruptcy, Oil catastrophe: It's not our fault

Poor Kate Jackson, in financial ruin, so I read this morning on TMZ. She's only about the 'illionth celebrity to have gone bust. Once a Charlie's Angels television actress, today she sounds like an executive from BP, Halliburton or Transocean.

It's not our fault. The oil spill is horrific. I've no idea what went wrong, or who is at fault. But I do know a thing or two about money, blame and responsibility.

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D), New Mexico, Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said something this morning to the executives that was apropos to actress Jackson as well as celebs before and after her who lose their financial footing. And the rest of us who point fingers elsewhere when our fortunes go south.

The HuffPo reported that Bingaman said, "I don't believe it is enough to label this catastrophic failure an unpredictable and unforeseeable occurrence."

Kate Jackson's bucks stop with her. She may have signed control to a manager or trusted someone else. But she is responsible for buying a $2MM property with $3MM in total assets and not enough to live on for the rest of her life. The finger-pointing begins:

Kate Jackson: A business manager took advantage of my friendship with Farrah, which caused me to trust him. [Is she blaming the late Farrah?]

Business manager: Whatever.

Kate: Jackson: I was misinformed by him; and he screwed me out of $3MM I thought I had. [But didn't.]

Business manager: Did not.

Kate Jackson: He pressured me into buying a home I could not afford. He said it would never lose value.
Business Manager: But you gave me the go-ahead.

Lessons: Said President Reagan, "Trust, but verify." You have to do some of your own homework. Ask other sources. It is usually greed that compels us to trust someone who peppers their statements with "never" and "always" in regard to finances, markets and business cycles.

So go the executives:

BP: It was the device made by Transocean.

Transocean: But BP gave us the go-ahead.

BP: But the federal Minerals Management Service gave us approval.

Transocean and Halliburton: Whatever. We were just following you.

Transocean: The explosion was after we were done; it's Halliburton's fault.

Halliburton:  Nuh uh; BP was in charge.

The late, best-selling author and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck believed keys to mental, emotional and spiritual health (and thus, IMO, societal health as well), are the ability to accept responsibility for one's actions and a dedication to truth.

Until we accept and admit responsibility, and demand same truth from ourselves, politicians and public entities (corporations), we will continue to suffer the pain of societal ills.

The buck starts with you. Accept responsibility and commit to truth. Do this with the wad in your wallet and your retirement investments. Do it such that your disciplines can seep into the public corporations and municipalities of which you are a stakeholders. Don't think it does not matter--even if you're not a rich shareholder, you are still a stakeholder in the consequences of the actions of public and private entities.

[Quoting Mahatma Ghandi] All together now, everyone? Out loud: "Be the change ___ ____ __ ___."

Meanwhile, Kate suffers, unable to afford another face tuck. Oil washes ashore bringing its own detritus in its wake.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I would also add to Peck's "...mental, emotional and spiritual health..."-- physical health too. Since I'm on that particular journey, I resonate immediately with the key being, "..the ability to accept responsibility for one's actions and a dedication to truth." I've been learning this in regard to living a healthy lifestyle. Denial, avoidance, and lazy choices reflect a refusal to take responsibility for one's health and a contentment with deception. Thanks for helping to sum up a lot of thoughts I've been having lately!