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Monday, March 30, 2015

If Bieber Roast Offends You, You're A Fool

     Tonight America will get what it's been clamoring for ever since Justin Bieber decided his version of being a teen rebel would be egging his neighbors house. Trained assassins in the comedy world, and for some reason Shaq and Snoop Dog, will have their shot to tear Justin Bieber apart. Well, they had their shot two weeks ago and Comedy Central's just airing it tonight but you get where I'm going. Generations of people have watched roast's like this wither it be the days of Dean Martin and Don Rickles or Seth Rogen and James Franco. The idea is that you make fun of these people in a brutal way, hoping to walk the line between offensive and flattering. In recent years Comedy Central has hand picked comics like Anthony Jesselnik, Amy Schumer, Natasha Leggero, Jeff Ross, and the late, greats Patrice O'Neal and Greg Giraldo. These people were picked because they are not only hilarious but able to shock and offend while still keeping the audience on their side, for the most part. Now my description of these events is pretty accepted and acknowledged nationwide. That forces me to ask, why every year are their people who want the heads of the comedians who "offended" them?
     Now I admit this style of humor isn't for everyone. If your idea of comedy is a night of watching kitten videos on Youtube and then 9 million episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" on TBS, then it's entirely possible that tonight's Comedy Central event isn't for you. I have a solution to that...stay with me now...Don't watch! If jokes involving race, gender, sexuality, rape or disease bother you, just don't watch. But for some reason tomorrow we will inevitably see the headlines "Did Hannibal Burress Take It Too Far?" or "Did Kevin Hart Cross The Line?". No matter what is said tonight, the answer to those questions is, NO! Anything said with the intention of humor should be accepted. The only acceptable question to ask will be, was it funny? There will likely be jokes told tonight that just aren't funny, for whatever reason. That doesn't mean that they are racist, homophobic, sexist, or otherwise hateful material. In 24 hours when some special interest group wants to end the career of one of these comics, I encourage them to, instead, consider the following suggestions. 1. Realize that you are watching COMEDY No matter how you felt about it, the intent of tonight for nothing to be taken literally. 2. Change the channel. If for some reason you don't want to feel left out of the live tweeting, give it a shot. You may have a few laughs. Then, if it starts to get too edgy for your taste, turn it off. Throw on the Disney channel or something you can stomach and your emotions won't hurt anymore. 3. Watch and be offended, but shut the fuck up about it. Laugh, cry, experience whatever emotions come naturally. Even be offended. Tomorrow you can bore your friends and coworkers with how you are "all for jokes but that went over the line" or "no one likes comedy more than me but that was too much". And if they don't do their civic duty of punching you in the face, you can move on with your day. Just don't start these online campaigns to force someone to apologize or be fired from their jobs. Because no matter how hard you stomp your feet, the apology will assuredly be forced and phony.
     Sadly there will undoubtedly be some people who don't take my brilliant advice. There's a segment of the population who gets off on having their voice heard, no matter the cost. Context and reason means nothing to these people and it seems like a larger group now than it has ever been. In reality it is just a vocal minority of whiney children who didn't get enough attention from mommy and daddy so they want us to pay the price. If you follow any of my work you know this issue hits home with me. But as loud as I try to scream it seems to fall on deaf ears. No matter how much logic is used, some people just enjoy being offended. So depite the fact that Bieber and everyone else on the dais knew what they were getting into and still signed up for it, there will be people in society who are offended for them. Even though it wasn't asked for. So have fun little boys and girls. I know that there's no stopping you. I just hope it doesn't cost anyone their job this time.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Keep Greg Hardy Away From The Patriots

     I am not the first man to wave my finger and shake my head at Greg Hardy. I don't think there's anyone who has made excuses for his particular domestic abuse case. But there is a segment of the population that is willing to forget. These are not necessarily bad people. They're usually those who look at professional sports as a video game and the players in it, nothing more than characters off the field. Sadly, thugs like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy have forced us to realize these men have lives off the field. I'm not saying that no one deserves a second chance. I've defended Rice and his now wife in the past, by saying that the fact that they're still together doesn't make him a monster or her weak willed. We don't know the inner workings of their relationship. And I'm not suggesting that Greg Hardy should never be allowed to work again. I'm saying I don't want him on a team that I root for.
     Over the last few years I've been a huge defender of outspoken athletes and celebrities. Our country has entered a state of perpetual outrage that wants to defend every group. Even Charles Barkley came under fire for joking about the weight of women in San Antonio. Because, hey, we all know Texas is known for sticking to salads and P90X right? In today's society sticks and stones can break your bones but words can ruin your life. While I hear the argument that "free speech comes with consequences" on a weekly basis, the consequences of domestic violence in the public eye is brushed off unless we see the video. It's impossible not to remember the NFL choosing to suspend Ray Rice for only two games before the security footage of his savage beating leaked. During that same month, we saw people like Adam Richman and Anthony Cumia lose their jobs over things they said on Twitter and Instagram. Now I defended Cumia and Richman on social media and was called a racist or sexist for advocating for, not what they said, but their ability to say it. I was told that free speech comes with responsibility and that these men did not properly represent their companies. So did Rice and Hardy represent the NFL with great honor? Because they were allowed to keep their jobs, until the NFL felt guilty for shrugging off woman beating as "shit happens". If a Mel Gibson movie was released today, there would be protests at theaters across America from African American, Jewish, and women's groups for the things that he said. But when Ray Rice showed up to Ravens training camp last summer, he was met with applause and support. If you don't remember who John Rocker is, just think of Kenny Powers with less class and public speaking ability. He was essentially blacklisted from baseball after saying all kinds of racist and homophobic things. But Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Donte Stallworth, Leonard Little and others were allowed back into the NFL after serving brief suspensions.
     You say that, as a Patriots fan, I am a hypocrite because I loved Randy Moss. In fact, Randy Moss was one of my favorite athletes. If you have the balls to claim Randy Moss and Greg Hardy are in the same category you're an idiot. Let's go over Moss's days as a naughty boy. He smoked weed in college. That claim is about equal to saying he's guilty of breathing in college. He had that incident with the meter maid where he did what we've all wanted to do to a meter maid at some point, bump them with our car. He coined the phrase "Straight cash homey" which has done nothing but give us a great clip for sports talk radio. And, ah yes, he did the most disgusting act that Joe Buck has ever seen. He pretended to pull down his pants in front of Packers fans. Greg Hardy gave one of the more savage beatings I've ever heard described to a woman who didn't quite stack up to his professional athlete measurements. I'll let you decide which of these two men is worse.
     Maybe I'm being overly sensitive. Maybe it is important to protect peoples feeling from mean words. Maybe it's far less important to set an example and stop thugs like Greg Hardy from brutally beating women. But the NFL told me I was right. The NFL are the ones I heard the idea of No More from. You know, when they hired trained actors to cry on cue for the camera in ads telling up we need to stop domestic violence. They told us to stop making excuses for these people. They said it's up to us to take action. No more ignoring it and turning a blind eye, they told us. It would be nice if Roger Goodell and the NFL started taking their own advice. I only ask that Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots do just that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Who Is To Blame For "Cyber Bullying"?

     Curt Schilling has gotten a lot of attention this week for the way he has handled "cyber bullying". It all started when Big Schill sent a congratulations tweet to his daughter for making a college softball team. The Twitter trolls, as they often do, rushed to mock and criticize. If you don't know what a Twitter troll is, they typically fit one of these descriptions: They are middle aged, balding men who have either never moved out of their mother's basement or have recently moved back after a string of several divorces; a douchebag, college frat kid, or, someone of any age who has always wanted to be an asshole to people in person, but doesn't have the physical stature or confidence to say a cross word to anyone's face. These people have no lives outside of being acknowledged on Twitter. They are experts in assholery and I enjoyed seeing some of them getting what was coming. But is going after them the way Schilling did the right way to handle it?
     Schilling found these people and did what I imagine any father would want to do. Some of these people lost their jobs, college scholarships, and were kicked off of teams. If you are familiar with any of my work, you know that typically I defend any matter of free speech. But when you threaten to rape someone's daughter with a baseball bat, you're pretty much asking to have your teeth knocked in. But should this be considered "cyber bullying"? While Schilling simply did what I imagine most celebs have wanted to do at some point, was it the right way to handle these barbarians? Usually the type of people that do this on Twitter have so little in real life that a response from someone of Schilling's popularity gives them the same joy that having sex with a woman would for an average man. While I have no issue whit how Schilling behaved, I am surprised that he didn't expect it. Schilling is known as a guy who speaks his mind. He also started a failed video game company a few years back. Given those factors I can't imagine this was the first time he dealt with idiots on Twitter. To not expect that putting something about his college aged daughter on social media would get some, shall we say, colorful responses, is a bit na├»ve on Schill's part.
     My real issue is the idea that this is "cyber bullying". While I do believe that this is an issue for kids in high school and younger, I find it difficult for my lips to form the words to suggest that a former professional athlete is being "bullied" by nerds in a dimly lit room whose deepest grasp of humor is knowing how to spell the word "cunt". Schilling, just like the rest of us, have the ability to not go on Twitter. While this may be touch for a baseball analyst for ESPN, he should also know better than to read every response. I don't have a daughter and don't plan on having one for a long time. So I can't pretend to know what it's like to read those things about her. But my only suggestion, to any father, would be stay off Twitter. Or keep your children off of your newsfeed. I'll never bash Schilling for handling it the way he did, but he was not bullied. The man can obviously handle his own. So my message to anyone who is sensitive to criticism, or doesn't want to see what some stranger has to say about your kids, just stay off Twitter. You'll never have to see it again.