Thursday, February 15, 2007

Today in Stupidity

Our crass, utterly insincere Culture of Immediate Apology may have found its apotheosis. In light of retired NBA player John Amaechi's recent coming out, former NBA star Tim Hardaway was asked about the potential of having gay teammates. Here's what he said on a radio program:
You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States. First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that's right. And you know I don't think he should be in the locker room while we're in the locker room. I wouldn't even be a part of that.
If nothing else, that is straightforward. "I am homophobic." Someone might want to tell Tim that as brave declarations go, that one leaves a different impression than, say, "I am agoraphobic."

But wait! Someone evidently did tell him. Here's Hardaway just a short time later on a different show:
Yes, I regret it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I hate gay people or anything like that. That was my mistake.
Well, yes, it was your mistake, Tim, but not quite in the way that you mean. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas. You've got a dumb one. The mistake was opening your mouth.

Read about the whole ridiculous thing here.


Anonymous geezlouise said...

What mistake do you think Hardaway thinks he made? My interpretation is that he does think his mistake was opening his mouth and saying what he thinks. I think he regrets that he harmed himself, not that he disparaged homosexuals.

Despite being a big proponent of social condemnation to enlighten errant citizens on their misdeeds, this "Culture of Immediate Apology" slags the custom. The point is not to apologize; the point is to understand that your thinking is wrong and desire to change it.

But the judges, society, have become engorged on their self-righteous indignation, and social condemnation has taken an ugly, pugilistic turn (see Dixie Chicks and their many death threats). Society is bloodthirsty and the wrongdoers are quick to throw out an appeasing bone of apology.

I think social condemnation is still useful, but my allegiance to the practice is ambivalent. In fact, my allegiance is strengthened not because the wongoers apologize, but because sometimes they don't. The Dixie Chicks refused to fulfill their duty bend to the lash and reminded the judges that sometimes they're the jerks.

Hardaway's is the most pathetic I've seen in a steady stream of pathetic apologies. The PR apology has no value -- for society or the errant citizen.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, geezlouise.

However, I'm always a little surprised that other people are surprised to hear that athletes can be homophobic. For as long as I can remember, the testosterone-rich environment of a locker room has been overtly hostile to homosexuality. I'm always surprised that so few professional athletes make homophobic comments.

As an example of how homophobic the athletic community can be, Snicker's did a Super Bowl ad in which two mechanics ended up kissing. Then they showed the ad to professional football players, filmed their reactions, and posted them on their website. Naturally, they were all horrified. The only one who didn't cringe was Marvin Harrison, legendary wide receiver for the Colts.

Now check out the reaction of the blogosphere. Some left leaning blogs condemned the ads as homophobic (Americablog called for a ban on Mars products). However, a number of sports related blogs condemned Marvin Harrison as gay ... because he didn't react with sufficient horror at the sight of two men kissing.

-- Comish

3:39 PM  

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