Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stupid is the New Smart

Yes, you read that right. Stupid is the new smart. 

I've been convinced of this for a long time. The evidence is everywhere. We are awash in it. Despite all my efforts to block it out, I can't get away from it. I've already written about "high-pointing" footballs and other forensics from the football field. Another one from that worl was unavoidable during the buildup to and aftermath of the Super Bowl.

Let me first say that I don't have an opinion on Cam Newton. A few years back, I came to the liberating conclusion that I don't have to have a view on every topic, and I don't have to judge every public or private person. I don't have to like or dislike a person or convince myself that I know him or her because I have seen her on television. But this latest one really hit the stupid button so hard that I can't not respond (yes, I know). Here it is:

We don't like Cam Newton because he is black.


We don't like Cam Newton because he is black, but we watch the National Football League. Listen to it again. We don't like Cam Newton because he is black, but we watch the National Football League. Do you need it again? We don't like Cam Newton because he is black, but we watch the NFL.

What am I missing?

Cam Newton is not the only one saying this. Other broadcasters announce it because they are cool and want to be on the right side. Paul Finebaum is one. To be fair, he didn't say it in so many words. Well, he did. According to Finebaum, it is like one prominent person running for president who is against a lot of things. "There are a couple of reasons they don't like Cam, and we know what those reasons are." I don't have any trouble interpreting that. I'm just the guy who wanted to grow up and have his own hoop-net fishing business, but I know enough English language and American culture to read that loud and clear.

OK. Maybe I chopped the charge off. Let's state it in its more full form. We don't like Cam Newton because he is a black quarterback, but we watch the NFL. Really? Why would anyone care? Listen, I have lived with rednecks my entire life. No one cares what color Cam Newton is and no one cares what position he plays. I know this. You can talk about rednecks and think you know what they think, but I live with them.

OK. Maybe I chopped it off again. We don't like Cam Newton because he his black and we never saw anything like him, but we watch the NFL. Is that full enough? We watch sports but we are afraid of athletic greatness? Really? That is why no one watches LeBron James play basketball. That is why Micheal Jordan retired from professional basketball in obscurity. We don't like athletic greatness. It intimidates us. It frightens us. It threatens us.

The one thing in all this that baffles me most is why people do this to themselves. I saw one Facebook posting likening the Bronco's victory in the Super Bowl to the Confederates winning the Civil War. Why would a person do this to himself? Society did not force that stupidity on anyone. Rednecks did not force that stupidity on anyone. No one forced that stupidity on anyone. One can only choose to do that to himself, to be so warped to think he knows what other groups are thinking and feeling. 

I could say more. I could talk about charges of photoshoping, conspiracies, and other nonsense that I see everyday. The people who make these ridiculous claims seem to think themselves very bright, much brighter than the rest of us. 

That's because stupid is the new smart.