Rodman is a lightning rod, now that he's gone to North Korea and declared he's BFF's with the North Korean tyrant. As a target, he is too easy, and for a while I declined to blog about the issue, but it bothers me. I used to watch Braves baseball and used to root for Dennis Rodman when he was part of their team.
That the tyrant uses Rodman at certain moments as a distraction is clear. Recently, the tyrant murdered his ex-girlfriend and her friends, out of mere pique, and sent their families to prison camps. Just a few days after that story broke in the media, Rodman was invited to North Korea, and of course he accepted.
Rodman, for his part, seeks to use the tyrant to promote various business deals. Looking at his picture in the media, wearing a silver hat and sunglasses and sucking on a cigar, I am reminded of the "thug lifestyle" espoused by so many rappers, an ideology devoid of ethics or loyalty that justifies the pursuit of money and power at any price. What a boring and pointless existence to lead. I think that if I had been a fan of Rodman, I would no longer be one after he cozied up to the dictator. Such sycophancy is evil and casts a long, dark shadow over everything Rodman has ever done or ever will do. A thousand years from now, any chapter on the life of Rodman must include a section on his dealings with the bloody tyrant, the callousness shown to the tyrant's innocent victims, and the praise that Rodman lavished upon the violent dictatorship, all of which Rodman did of his own free will, even while being a millionaire and living in a free country. Rodman has marred his legacy forever.
There is a comparison to be made between Eric Snowden and Dennis Rodman, their contrasting motivations and possible outcomes, the benefits and drawbacks of wickedness versus acts of conscience. Some men do a selfless act for what they deem to be the greater good, even at considerable risk to themselves. Other men do a wicked deed for selfish gain at little or no risk to themselves. Is there an unseen advantage to selfless acts of good? Is there a God watching in the sky with a ledger, taking account of all the good deeds and evil ones and weighing them for later judgment of the soul? Perhaps that extravagant fantasy cannot hold water in the popular consciousness, but still there may be subtle and difficult to understand advantages of good. What is the purpose of life? What is the value of existence? Maybe being a catalyst for positive change is its own reward. Maybe the advantage accrues not to the individual, but to current and later generations. Good people may view themselves as expendable, and take comfort in the good works that they do and the good effects that are achieved by their sacrifices.