Imagine being unceremoniously sacked – a pretty awful day in anyone’s career. And then imagine that taking place on centre stage while the nation watches on, in many cases baying for your blood.
But as painful and cringeworthy as it was watching a visibly flustered Rudd stumble and fluff his lines, from a PR perspective there is definitely something to be said for allowing the world to see you at your most vulnerable. Rudd, who up until now has failed to illicit much, if any, sympathy from the average Australian, suddenly seems a lot more human. And while his credibility as a politician is still in tatters, at least as an individual he’s shown a side of himself that is actually genuine – and perhaps alleviated some of the ill will that has been directed towards him in the process. When it comes down to it, he’s just a normal bloke having a very, very bad day.
These days, the public humiliation of people in the media spotlight has become an international spectator sport. It sells magazines and newspapers the world over, and provides the gossip bloggers with endless bitching fodder. Why? Because whether they are politicians or Hollywood stars, the days when we preferred our celebrities all glossy, airbrushed and perfectly rehearsed are long gone.
Who cares about Britney’s great post-baby body when we can gawp instead at pictures of her shaving her own head? Why would we want to hear about Whitney’s new album when we can watch her rambling incoherently on Youtube? We prefer people to show their vulnerable, human side because it proves that they aren’t untouchable or unflappable – deep down, they are just people. They have their highs and their lows, their fat days and their bad hair days (especially in Britney’s case). And while we take great pleasure in exclaiming over their missteps and mistakes, we secretly love them for it too.