The new year is still in diapers, and I’m mad already. Why do I allow this to happen? Why?
Because I care. Or because I can. One of the two.
Behold, my list of…
Seriously. Just stop it.
- The ridiculous forwarding of hoaxes on social media (Facebook, especially). There are a lot of cool people on my friend list, and I’m not patronizing them, believe me; they’re fun and smart folks. But the height of the ridiculous was reached several weeks ago when otherwise intelligent people began to copy and paste to their profiles the utterly, preposterously vapid notion that Mark Zuckerberg was giving away a huge chunk of his fortune to Facebook users, if they’d only forward the post saying he would do so. Again — people who otherwise are bright and savvy were cheerfully passing this on, many with the obligatory infuriating disclaimer, I figured ‘why not?’ Couldn’t hurt! Oh, but dear heart, it does hurt. It hurts the appearance that you might have a marginal lick of horse sense. This also applies to the forwarding of pictures with cockamamie stories, like the one that pictured ISIS flags in a demonstration in Dearborn Michigan, with the text going something like, “Think we don’t have a Muslim problem in the US? Pay attention!” Under a minute of cursory research reveals that the ISIS flags were actually part of an anti-ISIS rally by American Muslims living in Dearborn. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way. Rule of thumb: Always, always check. Use sites like snopes.com, politifact.com, hoaxbusters.org, truthorfiction.com.
- The inane assumption that professional athletes cannot party. Yes, Johnny Manziel was spotted in a Vegas casino after being declared PUP by the Browns because of a concussion. And worse — he was laughing after a loss. Honestly. So what? As Charles Barkley famously proclaimed back in ’93: they aren’t paid to be role models, even though many think they should be (and admittedly, some have a morals clause in their contract). But look: What’s different about Manziel’s bad-boy off-the-field behavior compared to that of Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, Babe Ruth, Brett Favre, Dwight Gooden, Mickey Mantle, Lawrence Taylor, and countless other relentless party boy pro athletes who came before him? Social media, that’s what. Instant coverage; getting caught in the act, on video. The older guys never had to deal with that, and I submit it was easier to be naughty because of it. Moreoever, I’m not so sure Johnny ever had a bona fide drinking problem; rather, his handlers suggested rehab as a way to mitigate the feelings of anger the fan base experienced after the first video came out. I can’t prove it, but I still believe it in my gut of guts. Bottom line: If a player shows up and does the work, it doesn’t matter what he does afterwards any more than what you do after you go home from work, providing he isn’t breaking the law or a contract stipulation. If Manziel is “immature” on the playing field, then deal with it in a football manner. If he’s immature off the field, so what? It is (unfortunately) not a crime to be a jerk. It may all be moot soon anyway, as the customary and predictable biennial shakedown in the Browns front office took place last night, and Johnny may very well be hitting the road. But let’s take the sainthood aspect out of sports, because they ain’t saints. Hey, here’s a wacky idea: Parents, what if you took up the sword of teaching your kids to not be idiots about worshiping these people? Naaah.
- The sickening hate speech operating under the shield of anonymity. Scratch that. Shorten it to just “The sickening hate speech.” Many online news sites have gone to the Facebook plugin exclusively for comments, but it has done little to stop some from being openly, shamelessly awful via their responses. (In regards to the the ISIS issue in #1, read some of the comments on the original Facebook post. They’re disgusting, but not nearly as terrible as some of the less transparent Disqus comments I’ve read. Also, as a veteran of Usenet and DejaNews back in the 90s, I have seen some pretty nasty stuff, but it was rarely ever posted by someone using his/her real name.) People who would likely never be as “brave” in person let loose bigtime on the internet, spewing hatred so vile it makes me wonder how they sleep at night.
The ridiculous, the inane, and the sickening. Wasn’t this just fussy of me today? Who knows; maybe it’s due to my having to reactivate my 4:45 a.m. daily alarm. I have it so tough, you know.
It’s been a fantastic winter break. Now it’s back to the insanity: the nonstop race to get through May. Once I’m there, we’re good! Ready, steady…