Friday, December 28, 2007


Forgive the expression, but the Internet can be a public exercise in brain-farting. To elaborate with some elegance after that visual; when we make comments to some web article, blog or other comments, most of those who participate tend to say the first thing on their mind. While there are a good lot of us that can make those keystrokes into something worth discussion, the majority of words on the web are straight garbage. Unfortunately, as the adage goes in the creative industries, negativity sells. Sports columnists would say “at least they’re talking about me!”

The problem is nothing new. Though we constantly tout current technology as the reason for the explosion in communication between consumer (fan) and business (media, players), there has always been some major advance that has tried to close the gap between the groups and create more awareness. Yet, the instantaneous feedback that exists now has little governance behind it. Without a doubt, what’s great about blogging or perusing the web for news stories and humorous twists or broadcasting online is that the walls are coming down. However, just as sports radio’s emergence in the nineties, the growing outlet attracts losers, yahoos and jerks that spend all of their time stirring up trouble. They are the one that bring up unsavory and inappropriate subjects to make a joke. They complain about race every five seconds or complain about race being brought up every five seconds though it has nothing to do with the subject at hand. They are obnoxious with their ‘FIRST!’ posts and need to capitalize their points.

This exists in any subject people are passionate about, of course. Personally because of the craft, it’s easier to notice how it affects sports discussions more. Whereas other forms of entertainment such as movies and music (ideally) reflect the human condition – emotions, thoughts, wants and desires, struggles, etc. – without tests of the physique, sports reflect the human body in spontaneous motion without digging for the person inside. Fair or not, it’s easier to make personal statements and attack someone’s taste in other forms of entertainment because most people latch onto a story that has similarities or dreams in their own lives. In general, we make equally damning statements about sports when the games themselves lend little to nothing regarding who the athletes are. Even worse, their off-field lives seem to be fair game if a player has a bad stretch (Alex Rodriguez) or if a player heaps credit and adoration without truly deserving it (Brett Favre).

A case in point of the unnecessary: Jim Leyritz, the former major league catcher for several teams, is likely to face charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage in the death of a 30-year-old woman. The conversation lends itself to a logical parallel as St. Louis Rams’ defensive end Leonard Little walked down the same path several years ago. You can also read about how some fans fashion themselves as ‘legal experts’ based not only on personal experience with being reckless behind the wheel, but on all of their observations of other athletes who have been in trouble with the law. Yet, you’ll find people trying to make some connection to his playing career, his specific stints with the New York Yankees (because the war against the Red Sox just doesn’t fade) and the recently convicted Michael Vick.

In reading the comments, how many times did the acronym ‘WTF?!?!’ cross your mind?

Is this fair?

Is this right?

Is it the nature of the beast?

Most importantly, as you are all readers of Scribe amongst other blogs and websites, is there a need for policing beyond the authors and administrators?

Say What?!?!: Speaking of policing and blogging...

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