Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Manufactured Outrage Industry over at ESPN

Want to hear grown men rant about an End of Civilization as we Know It incident which took place in the world of sports pretty much every other day?  Then watch or listen to ESPN, where Society is in a constant state of irreversable breakdown.

Last week, the purple faces and spittle were the result of LeBron James sitting out a Cavaliers game--on his coach's orders--and...wait for it...drinking coffee on the bench for the entire four quarters.  No kidding.  I've heard "debates" concerning this "issue" on pretty much every sportstalk radio program there is since the "incident"- and though the "story" is a week old, it's still a favorite among hosts and callers alike.  And after listening  to hour after hour of what I'm sure were very compelling arguments about why LeBron did the Worst Thing Ever, I'm still not sure why it was the Worst Thing Ever- but I'm pretty sure it wasn't because he wasn't playing.  I think it had more to do with the fact that he was drinking coffee- several yakkers really got hung up on that point.  So if he were drinking Gatorade, sitting out would have been ok.  I guess.  Not sure.  Probably not, though, because the important thing is the Outrage.

This week, attention has shifted to a player on the Phoenix Suns scoring 70 points in a losing effort the other night against Boston.  Seems that when the game was over the Suns players were celebrating the achievement of a teammate instead of doing what I guess they were supposed to do- committing  ritual suicide because they lost.  So the Entirely Sincere Outrage is now centered on the Phoenix Suns and how their insistence on being happy for a teammate clearly signals the end of civilization because Reasons.

Oh wait, not Reasons- because the Phoenix Suns Scandal opened the phone lines to the jackass old men who seem to live to call these shows and bitch about "the younger generation" and how they just "don't have the competitiveness" that they had, and this explains why America Has Lost Its Way and is going straight down the crapper or at least it was before we elected a guy who promised to make it Great Again.  The favorite bugaboo of these callers is the Participation Trophy, which they consider to be the greatest crime against Humanity since Obamacare.  For some reason, every sixty-something male caller to every sports talk show ever just loathes the Participation Trophy, to the point of referring to our "Participation Trophy Culture."  Turns out that the Participation Trophy is responsible for the death of the American manufacturing base, the destruction of the two-parent family, and almost certainly gay marriage and abortion.   When these guys were kids, teams that came in tenth place didnt get trophies and everyone was fine with that Because.  Life was so much better when awards ceremonies ended with kids in tears, g-d d--n it!

(And let's not forget the greatest triumph of the purveyors of Manufactured Outrage, which came after the 2002 MLB All-Star Game ended in a tie.  ESPN and all the other sports yakkers were in such a frothy rage after that Worse Than The Holocaust moment that they manipulated baseball into ruining the Um Wasn't This Supposed to be Just for Fun game and making it count for home field advantage in the World Series.  Thanks, sports yakkers.  You totally suck, all of you.)

*Know what all these bitter old men have in common?  None of them got trophies when they played sports in school, and they never got over it.  It's the only explanation for why they are so freaking bent out of shape whenever they see a ten year old playing Pee Wee T-ball get a little token of thanks for participating.  Get some freaking counseling, you pathetic old losers.  Or just shut the f--k up and die already.


  1. I would like to pontificate on the topic of the participation trophy for a moment.

    There may have been a time in the ever-more-distant past when kids were getting pelted with participation trophies just for breathing, but the truth is, they are not so popular anymore, and for some very good reasons:

    1. Kids aren't dumb. Even in the old days, they knew what they were getting and that it wasn't all that valuable and was meant to be just a sop to their egos.

    2. The science is there: Nothing succeeds like success. That doesn't mean every kid has to or will win everything. It just means that their self-esteem is built by their actually overcoming struggles and setbacks to accomplish something. And the people who run stuff for kids know that now. They understand that there's no real substitute for the warm feeling kids get from actual hard-won achievement.

    As a result, participation trophies are on the decline. Yet somehow, the notion that all millennials both received and felt good about receiving participation trophies--and that this is the reason they are fragile creatures who can't handle failure or being told no--is downright religious chapter and verse amongst two groups of people: 1) older people who hate younger people and 2) conservatives (many of whom are older people who hate younger people).

    Honestly. They could go on and on about it forever. About how everyone who is not their age or who does not share their political beliefs is a "special snowflake" who can't survive without their helicopter parents "coddling" them and providing them with "safe spaces."

    It's really tiresome, to be honest. And it's not really new, either. It's just the latest version of the Grumpy Old Man who, in his day, had to walk to school through raging blizzards uphill both ways every day--and, as they used to say on Saturday Night Live, "We LIKED it!"

    You'd think people would realize when they are turning into Grumpy Old Men, at least to this extent. I mean, we're all guilty of noting, as we get older, that younger people have all kinds of advantages and disadvantages that we didn't have when we were young, and being biased toward thinking the way we grew up was somehow better. But there's a difference between that and actively hating younger people because of some notion you have in your head that they were treated too gently and kindly when they were kids and, somehow, this has made them vastly inferior to you.

    Yeah, I know, old people have always thought they were tougher and hardier than young people, too. But somehow, this whole "anti-participation trophy" kick seems more bitter and mean than even that.

    Just my two cents.

    1. I agree with every word of your post. The caller who set me off actually told the host "Nowadays you see teams win trophies for coming in tenth place..." and I yelled into my radio "yeah? Give me a specific example, asshole."

      But I could not get past the notion that these elderly men are so bent out of shape because a little kid is getting a "thank you for participating and being a good sport" bit of recognition and that this is worse than the Holocaust. The idea of old men actually being jealous of children (and that's really what's going on here) is just so damn weird.

    2. The odd thing is that this sort of idiocy was eminently predictable, really. All one had to do is read For Better Or For Worse and watch John Patterson make an ass of himself envying his kids for their 'easy' lives of being lectured to by a forty year old spoiled third grader yowling because his Depression kid parents wanted him to learn the value of a dollar and you could see fragile old fossils screaming Snowflake coming a mile away.