Crosby, Bing: A twentieth-century American singer and actor.
For about a decade, the United States was enamored with three male singers. (Of course, you could argue this point, and your three would probably be as good as the three I’m going to present.)
But for the sake of discussion, let me say that this trio of crooners was:
Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Bing Crosby
They were very different men, and not just by having individual names, but by lifestyle. It was intriguing that for the first time in our history, Mr. Cole, a black man was included in the upper echelon of the singing triumvirate.
Bing Crosby was fascinating because he was known for comedies and light, romantic romps—and his famous baritone voice was relished by young and old alike. Matter of fact, to this day it is nearly impossible to envision a cozy seat by the fireplace at Christmas without hearing old Bing intone, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”
Then out come the books:
- Accusations that he was cruel, vindictive and even abusive to his children.
- A womanizer.
- And assertions that he may have had more in mind than snow when he sought a “White Christmas.”
You see, this syndrome was not invented by our 24-hour news cycle.
Throughout our history, we have loved to create heroes and extol the talent in a person so that we could turn around and expose dirty details to bring the elevated champion down a notch or two.
For instance, people insist that George Washington, the father of our country—the man who suffered at Valley Forge—who persevered to win us our freedom?
Tee-hee-hee: he had wooden teeth.
Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, who held our nation together through the Civil War?
Tee-tee-hee: he might just have slept in a bed with another man.
We are incorrigible children in search of information to feed our gossip frenzy.
It’s fine if it is truthful.
But if it is not, we are still willing to consider it, to tickle our fancy.
I don’t know whether there is a celebrity or a notable who has not suffered under this microscope of mangling.
But for me, I still hear a gentle man, smoking a pipe, singing “White Christmas,” cutting up with awfully silly jokes, with Bob Hope, while they’re On the Road to somewhere or another.