What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
It is time to talk about some hard realities in America today.
Obviously, what happened yesterday in Kansas City is a tragedy by the classic definition of the word. The not-so-obvious tragedy which is going to unfold in the near future is that the deaths of the individuals involved here will not be remembered properly, nor will the lessons we need to learn as a society be learned, because this murder/suicide will be used by those with various agendas to promote whatever cause they have.
If you doubt that, watch while I do it myself. The irony in that isn’t lost on me, because for starters, it isn’t irony. Its more like “fighting fire with fire.” At least I’m willing to admit it.
Go back to the Dave Duerson situation. The story of that suicide quickly became a rallying crying for so many people. Some people used it as proof football is dangerous game with long-lasting physical effects (duh?) Even Duerson’s family tried to turn it into a payday. Twitter exploded with all sorts of stuff; there were the sick jokes, followed by the subsequent phony sympathy/moral outrage, followed by the opportunists.
As I knew it would, the path of the Jovan Belcher story is following the same trend. See, I’ve been waiting since the Duerson tragedy to run a little experiment with a similar situation. Admission number one; I’m an opportunist. That goes hand-in-hand with “blogger.”
To launch my experiment, I tossed out a “joke” that was most assuredly in poor taste. It was designed to draw responses, which it did. Admission number two; I’m an insensitive douchebag. That also goes hand-in-hand with “blogger.”
To be honest, I don’t really care about the so-called jokers and the opportunists; not because I just played that role, but because at least they are the ones who are easy to see what they are. You can’t say the same for the “phony sympathy/moral outrage” crowd. They are so full of their own self-absorbed bullshit that you need to smoke them out in order to see what hypocrites they are.
As awful as it seems, tragedies which hit emotional hot-buttons are the best place to do just that. I didn’t make that rule, but I’m going to use it. Again, that makes me an opportunist, but unlike the people I’m about to call out, at least I’m honest.
For starters, here’s the “joke” I tossed out as a pure troll-job.
“Things are so bad for the Kansas City Chiefs now the players are literally shooting themselves.”
As you would expect, in short order I was deluged in reponses from all three aforementioned classes. I got “jokes” far more offensive than anything I said. I got at least 50 exhortations for suicide prevention awareness. Most most importantly, I got a boatload of “phony sympathy/moral outrage;” so much so that I had to break it into categories, each more full of shit than the last.
1) The “phony sympathizers”
The common trait in the messages from this group was along the lines of “we need to focus on the families of these victims.” While that’s a true statement, it happens to rest on a bullshit platform. Whether you want to admit it or not, America is a celebrity-driven culture which has such a need for celebrity-based entertainment that not only has it made celebrities out even the most underachieving athlete (Mark Sanchez, anyone?), we also manufacture celebrities for literally no other reason than to sate our need for celebrities (insert Kardashian here).
Go with the Sanchez thing for a minute. Remember before the ding on him was that he sucks as a quarterback? Remember when Sanchez’ exposure was all about whom he might be huddling with (see examples here, here, and here). Face it, as a society we don’t give a shit about the humanity of celebrities; their foibles exist for our entertainment. In America today, part of the cost of fame is your humanity.
You don’t have to like that, but you need to accept it, because it is the main reason you will never get me to believe any of the people who blew me up yesterday ever gave a damn about some previously unknown player on arguably the worst team in the NFL.
Speaking of which, I’m waiting to find out what sort of warning got missed by the Chiefs on the road to this tragedy. Guys don’t just wake up one morning and decide to kill the mother of their child and themselves…there’s ALWAYS warning signs. The question will be were they simply missed, or were they ignored because the NFL treats the non-star players like disposable parts?
2) The Misspelled Re-Tweeter
If I had a dollar for every one of these I got, I’d have a hell of a lot more dollars than I had yesterday. I’m not kidding, had I printed out all the “R U Serious? RT” I got yesterday, I could wallpaper my house with them.
Now ask yourself a question. If you read something on Twitter that pisses you off, what really are your options?
If you picked the “re-tweet” option, then ask yourself this question: Why would you do that? After all, you are just spreading the same words that made you react, so in effect aren’t you simply contributing to the problem? Oh, wait, how could I forget…you get to staple your name to it. In other words, the indignant re-tweeters are more interested in using that which they consider offensive to bolster their own visibility. Don’t even try to tell me that isn’t some sort of fucked up nuclear-powered narcissism.
3) The “C’mon Man” Guy
Yeah, I know… I was as shocked as you are that there were as many of these as there were. If you thought the misspelled re-tweeters were pathetic, how messed up is it that the only way you can express your bullshit moral outrage is using a catch-phrase from the flatheads currently employed by ESPN?
Time for the aforementioned hard reality. When you are blantantly hypocritical about that which you consider to be offensive, don’t be surprised when your phony outrage rings hollow. Not only is what was likely a preventable murder/suicide a tragedy, it is also a tragedy that it takes a tragedy to point this out.
Go ahead and call me all sorts of names if you will for saying it. At least you are acknowledging it.
What struck me was, how many people need to feel morally superior, and tragedies like this bring that out in the human race. You bring up a great point about the celebrity culture that America (and Canada) are obsessed with. Well done. I couldn’t write this post.
Thanks. I know I’m going to get called a bunch of names for this, but I don’t care. It needed to be said.
Yeah, it’s messed it up don’t get me wrong. I guess I just feel like you do as far as how people who symapthize with others will go to make sure their own visibilty is higher than the individuals really affected by it.
Well put. Anybody that isn’t Ice Cube who says “That’s cold” on Twitter is weak for the catchphrase regurgitating that you speak of in this piece. Very, very well done sir.
As you can tell, this is a topic that has been pissing me off for quite some time. As much of a pompous windbag as he may be, Rush Limbaugh said on thing that is undeniably true. He said Americans believe in symbolism over substance. You can’t hit the proverbial nail more on the head than that.
Think about it.
People in this country now actually believe that you effect change by posting shit on your Facebook page or wearing one of those stupid rubber bracelets. Classic case in point – here in the town where I live, a local food bank ran a television ad campaign featuring local “celebrities” who all mentioned what they were doing to help fight hunger. Every single one of these people said something like “advocacy” or “generating awareness” or some other bullshit. Not one fucking thing any of these people said had anything to do with actually feeding any hungry people.
I love social experiments such as these.
But the worst part about it is… you’re right. We will soon forget what happened, why it happened, most likely because we never (and by we, I mean the shield) gave enough of a shit to find out.
Trust me, man. In 25 years, we’ll be watching an entirely different NFL… if we’re even watching at all.
Yeah…”The Shield.” Roger Goodell can blow me.
“…because this murder/suicide will be used by those with various agendas to promote whatever cause they have.”
Hmmm…it didn’t even take 48 hours for this thing to become all about Bob Costas and gun control. We are pathetically predictable in this country.
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