Op-Ed: Ted Williams’s golden voice and the media circus

Posted Jan 14, 2011 by William Charles Baker
Ted Williams, the vagrant with the golden voice found on an Ohio road begging for change, has now hit the final miles of his media journey. But someone else in front of a microphone that has talent and needs a break will never get one.
File photo
Andy Warhol an American painter and filmmaker once said something about everybody having 15 minutes of fame somewhere in their lifetime. Well if you didn’t believe him then believe him now we have been through the minutes and hours of fame for Ted Williams. All the excitement, the job offers, the fondling sad and pathetic coverage of a very sick man that could barely cope with daily human events now forced on to a world stage for observation.
Oh lets listen to Ted read copy for the cameras and voiceovers and a few wiser guys where I live would say that what goes around comes around. You wait long enough and you can become a prophet. Now that the coverage has run the gambit from the side of the road to the center of the media circus there are a few moments that remain for the interested.
A mother that saw her son on and off throughout the years sitting calmly through an interview as his talent was extolled and she seemed unmoved. The main theme seeming to be that she tried but he didn’t listen to her. Nothing made me believe then that he would change and nothing makes me believe that now. His mother is the real story of the drama. The years of wondering where her son was and what might be happening to him. The nights waiting for a telephone call from anywhere as long as he was alive.
The sight was enough to make you cry as this little old very dignified looking lady now had to have the whole drama replayed again for her. The son and his children and his activities most of which we still don’t know about. Now the mug shots uncovered so a nice lady can fall into the spotlight with a man with a problem that apparently still has not hit the bottom yet.
How many homeless shelters and hobo jungles do you have to pass through to get the message? How many times do they have to put on the handcuffs take fingerprints until the image is emblazoned on a mind and a conscience? How many street corners are worth standing on with a sign about gifts and being a clown for a few cents to stop?
The answer is simple until some news outlet horny for a story passes by and changes the world for a little while. War and destruction, the falling dollar, homicide, suicide and upheaval are not enough to chase the story from the pages. The Cleveland Cavaliers who need some basketball players to replace Lebron James want him to announce games; some other outlet wants something else for a few dollars. He can get a house and it appears everything but the divine right of kings and we are happy and enthralled about his story. All I can see is his mother and he matters little to me because of her.
As an amateur prophet you can almost guess that his trip to rehab or whatever crap he is up to today including tussles with his daughter will end up somewhere. If not the front page then surely on the back as filler for nothing else worth gazing at. We see the pictures and almost in a narcotic state are the voice and a story of redemption and all the feel good stuff.
While somewhere a kid or older man is in front of a microphone with talent wants a break and will never get one. Somebody with skill and determination that took a drink maybe took more than they should have but turned it around with help and will power and prayer.
If the media spent less time looking for internet views and paper sales or selling tickets something really important might get through. If they were really interested in people instead of a story then Ted Williams being taken to a rehab should have been the start not the ending of his story.