The first time is surprising. The second time is a little frightening. Then it's annoying. By and by it evolves into something maddening, then by turns frustrating, concerning, silly, sad and surreal.
The final stage of public reaction to celebrity malfeasance is pure apathy. At this point, nothing that doesn't carry a life sentence can be shocking. But it takes a special dedication to reach that level. You first have to defy, or at least ignore, a lot of warnings from a lot of people.
This is because the public certainly gives you plenty of chances, especially when you have as much good will in the bank as Jason "Mayhem" Miller, former MMA fighter and reality TV star. Fans want to believe you're just colorful, the free spirit they can never fully be. They want to forgive and forget, to see the celebrity rebound and prove the haters wrong.
But even that fades away, if you don't or can't heed the warning signs. Eventually you're a curiosity in the dollar bin. And when your antics are no longer backed by the insurance of celebrity, well, you're in trouble, buddy. And it doesn't help when, thanks to age or injuries or the erosion of skills, you don't have your actual talents to fall back on anymore.
That's where Miller finds himself these days. He's a shot fighter living on a diminishing safety net of evaporating fame. Most recently, longtime MMA reporter Erik Fontanez reportedly saw Miller dropping N-bombs on UFC fighter Uriah Hall, who is black. Hall reportedly reacted by punching him. Miller reacted by repeating the slur on his Twitter, which he uses constantly for all sorts of semi-coherent rants and musings.
To all of this, the MMA world shrugged.
To understand this reaction, you have to remember all that came before it. A walk down memory lane, then, shall we?
-- Retires/cut from UFC after bad loss, apparently failing to abide by rules related to fighter walkouts.
-- Arrested after being found naked having broken into a church.
-- Storms off the set of a video interview with reporter Ariel Helwani, all while staunchly remaining in the character of a bit part he played in a movie.
-- Arrested in August on domestic violence charges.
-- Arrested two more times within a month of original charge.
Go back over the bizarre and gory details if you please, though I'm guessing most have lost interest.
The only reason the incident with Uriah Hall is worthy of any mention is for two reasons. First, because it's a perfect illustration of the heady mix of craziness, confusion, social media and whatever else is going on that characterizes Miller's behavior over the past year.
Second, because it should be the final straw. Miller's in War Machine territory now. It's clear he can't or won't be helped, and is content to live his life this way. He used to be a smart guy, a good fighter and a positive (if high-strung) ambassador for the sport. None of those guys are coming back. This is his bed; he can lie in it on his own. There's no need, anymore, for anyone to watch.