The story goes that Yul Brynner, career flying after the success of The King and I and The Ten Commandments, was a bit annoyed at the upstart television actor named Steve McQueen that he had brought into the production of The Magnificent Seven.  McQueen had a habit of playing with his hat, wiping his brow, basically anything to get the audience’s eyes on him while he and Brynner were in a scene.

It went both ways, though.  Brynner, several inches shorter than McQueen, arranged for small piles of dirt to be nearby for him to stand on when acting with McQueen.  McQueen took delight in kicking the dirt piles over.  Ah, the famous camaraderie of thespians!

McQueen’s antics worked, it seems.  He became one of the biggest screen stars of the 1960s.  Brynner’s career, on the other hand, trended downward more and more.  My generation knows him as much as anything for those creepy lung cancer commercials he made just before he died.

Who is “bigger”?  Men have been fighting over that vague concept for centuries.  And women have their own version of the battle; they’re just not as likely to literally kill anyone in pursuit of the blue ribbon.  “We just tease her until she develops an eating disorder,” one female TV character once observed.

But life shouldn’t be a competition for Christians. Our reward is heavenly (Hebrews 11:16).  And heaven has no limit to its capacity.  “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).  So if someone isn’t bumping us out of line for heaven, why should we worry if he insists on being “bigger” in this life?  That’s his problem.  I don’t have to make it my problem.


So Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, the famed and celebrated Bonnie and Clyde themselves, capped off the Oscars ceremony by announcing the wrong winner in the Best Picture category — surely a greater theft than any perpetrated by their real-life bank-robbing counterparts.  And yet my biggest takeaway from the biggest television fiasco since Nipplegate at Super Bowl XXVIII is … I don’t care.