Tuesday, June 8, 2010
On Inconsequential Things That Matter To Me
I have long dug Charlie Pierce's work, and I get where he's coming from with this Sam Gilbert-John Wooden rant: There is something to be said for avoiding the canonization of the recently deceased, especially someone as revered as Wooden. I do kind of doubt that Wooden is entirely innocent in this matter, but in a way, it's all relative: In the late 1960s, when Lew Alcindor was towering over opponents, dabbling in Islam, and trading roundhouses with Bruce Lee, defying the inequities of the NCAA must have seemed like small potatoes when compared to the more pressing issues of the day. That Gilbert was allowed to operate for years is inexcusable--if it happened at Penn State, I'm sure I'd find a way to rationalize it, though I wouldn't feel good about it--but I don't think it diminishes Wooden's legacy. It just renders him into an undeniably human figure rather than a generational signpost. In a way, that might be the best possible signature of his legacy: Even the pyramids are not infallible.
2. Righteous Indignation
I blame the Internet for this ridiculousness; I find it perhaps the phoniest "controversy" of the Obama presidency, but apparently our brains are so colored by the tenor of our everyday online interactions that we presume nothing can actually be accomplished without a public flogging. I hate to sound like--well, like John Wooden--but did anyone attempt to watch those ridiculous MTV Movie Awards the other night?* The entire 120-minute joke appeared to hinge on the use of unnecessary swear words. This is where we are. And I guess this is what people want from their leadership--more oral flame wars, less rationality, more unhinged emotion. Because that's the world we immerse ourselves in every day.
I have no idea what's going on with most of these, but they're kind of spectacular. It's like a more diversified series of MAD Magazine fold-ins.
*Apparently, the Twilight movies are surprisingly popular among American youth.