Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

I’ve avoided posting much about Tiger Woods.  It’s just too easy.  However, today ESPN had a piece from Rick Reilly that is just too crazy to not poke at a bit.  The piece isn’t badly written or “wrong”… it’s  crazy in its assumptions and bombastic its claims and it might just be an accurate reflection of golf’s, ESPNs, sports’, and Tiger’s audience values.

Here’s the zinger of it all:

We don’t usually build statues of nice, helpful, well-balanced men.

This sentiment seems to call out a justification of Tiger Woods’ behavior – in the pursuit of greatness you should do anything… in fact, greatness is a result of Tiger Woods’ “self-obsession, a limitless appetite for domination, me-first-ism to the extreme.”

That’s the same logic used by people to suggest that great comedy comes only from troubled souls, good writing from lonely people, successful business from obsessed workaholics, etc. etc.  These are catchy statements that help people wrap up complex situations but they really aren’t justified.  For one, you can’t at all determine causation from correlation in any of these examples.   It might be that great sports stars learn those behaviors while playing their sport, or they self select into the sport, etc. etc.

He vows no more “entitlement.” But Tiger Woods always played as though the trophy had his name engraved on it when he showed up Tuesday.

He vows to “tone down my negative outbursts and … my positive outbursts.” But can he win without the fist pump? Can he win without passion?

So… if Tiger Woods doesn’t win the Masters will Reilly and the audience blame rehab? Tiger’s wife? Buddha?  The Weaker Fist Pump?   There’s a subtle suggestion in this article that suggests that Tiger sorting out his personal life might not be worth possibly losing some golfing success.

I suspect there’s a good chunk of the audience that share these value statements – winning golfing tournaments might be more important than the other stuff……….

If Tiger Woods wins his last 4 months of behavior will fade quickly from the public discussion.   (Remember what Kobe Bryant did a couple of years ago? No, not that winning MVP and championships….)

I’m not saying it’s good or bad values that we’re seeing on display or I share any of these.. just calling out that there are value systems at work here and they often aren’t very politically correct.

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The CNN article “Charting the psychology of evil, decades after ‘shock’ experiment” ought to be retitled “Charting the psychology of web reading on a Dull Friday

Stanley Milgram’s research was remarkable and valuable. It has been replicated. It has been quoted and interpreted to ad nausium. Now in an effort to sell copy during the hiatus between presidents some genius has resurrected it and given it a fancy name with “evil” in the title. Now it has a zillion hits and is replete with “coulds” shoulds” oughts, may, and other conditional phrases that allow the reader to be led down a path to a possible chance-finding of a new version of a car crash.

Words are powerful. It is a sign of Dumbness when people hoping to land on an island of absoluteness grasp on to anything that is presented as binary:

Good vs. evil

right vs. wrong

Chevy vs. Ford

normal vs. abnormal

Democrat vs. Republican

Worker vs. management

Muslim vs. Christian                                                           

etc. vs. etc

It’s here again. We use the research rather than this sadly disturbed illiterate interpretation to keep authority figures off alter boys, teachers off cheerleaders, bosses off new-hires and rent-a-dicks away from ‘civilian combatants’ in detainment.

But, because we have the 1890 concept of behavior as being based on religion, traditions, and good and evil, all these perverts continue to exist aided by the writers who need to finish off the month with a dippy article in order to look like they know how to read.

All this has to do with implied and explicit rules and a false sense of personal and divine responsibility that has been part of the teachings in schools and churches and synagogues for 400 years at least.

Pay attention to the consequences to understand behavior. Pay attention to the rules that the “other” person is working under to understand behavior. Pay attention to the knowledge that you have millions of rules you don’t know about and those rules are not likely the same as anyone else’s rules – at the moment they are your rules. Pay attention that the different rules you attend to on Monday don’t exist on Sunday.

When reading about “What the heck is going on out in the world? – consider that some grad students or volunteers got paid to be in an experiment 29 years ago. They wanted to do it right in front of all the PhDs and they wanted the money and they wanted to show they were smart and on and on.    Hundreds of rules were working including doing what you were told that our parents locked down early on.

When you define things arbitrarily – the things like evil, good, honest, hero, sinner, saint, patriot, freedom fighter, and all the other meta-terms keep their fuzziness so that you read what you bring to the article. (By the way, that is another experiment to read up on….) While having specific and empirical definitions is not going to happen, using your noggin for something more than a baseball cap rack can’t be beat.

As they say on ESPN’s NFL Countdown… “C-mon Man!

This site and this author will contribute by provided one of the many versions of “BALONEY DETECTION COLLECTION”… stay tuned…it’s coming to you and, as always, it is FREE…

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