You Talkin' To Me? Is Blogging Heroic or Villainous?

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IJuly 30, 2009

"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?  You talkin' to me?  Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here.  Who the f*** do you think you're talking to?"

"Roger Ebert called this quote 'the truest line in the film.'  This line was also described by Ebert as 'Travis Bickle's ... desperate need to make some kind of contact somehow—to share or mimic the effortless social interaction he sees all around him, but does not participate in.'"

I also like this Kris Kristofferson song, which was used in Taxi Driver.  It seems like a good representation of who I think I am (except the part about getting stoned).

The Pilgrim: Chapter 33

I would simply modify Roger Ebert's interpretation and say that blogging is a desperate need to ask questions to those involved in the world around me.

Before you get confused by the use of Bickle as an analogy, I was going for irony. 

I must say that unlike the character of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, I have an ease with interacting with people I do not know. I am a generally diplomatic person socially, who would rather compromise than argue.

It though has presented a contradiction when I write. 

I tend to be more caustic, acerbic, and open when I write. I suppose that it is the result of having had to repress what I think in order to get along in a retail environment, in which everything is driven by sales and, "A time to ev'ry person for love of money."

I suppose that is what drew me to blogging. I wanted to write what I saw as true, but more importantly to break-free from the quotidian of going along to get along with people that can say some of the most ridiculously offensive things I have ever heard.

I do not know what others think I am trying to accomplish, but I am not some nutty revolutionary type. I am not in the "Free Mumia" crowd. In fact, I was a member of the College Republicans in Santa Cruz, California until 2006. 

There is a long story on why I have become interested in advocating issues of social justice, but I suppose that the simple answer is that, it is always the one you least suspect. 

And I'm David X.

Keep in mind, that I live in Spokane which is along the border with Northern Idaho, aka, the land of neo-nazi's. Perhaps that has skewed my perspective of the bigger picture, or perhaps it is just a tree within a forest.

Up here, there are people that will passionately argue that, "black people don't have a soul." The same people also love shows like Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity. It was also the one place that would give Mark Fuhrman a job in radio.

That's who is amongst their audience, but also people that are targeted with radio ads for remedies for sexual impotency.  They sure know their audience. I didn't ... until recently. And to think, I was nearly hired as a producer at the radio station that Rush Limbaugh once called home, KFBK in Sacramento.

Did I forget to mention that Spokane is also home of the Spokane Arch-Diocese, which is one of the main Catholic churches that was embroiled in sex-abuse scandals in 2001? 

Spokane was also home to former Mayor James West and opponent of gay-rights bills, who was recalled in 2005 after a scandal in which West used gay-chat rooms. 

Idaho is also the home of former Senator Larry Craig, who you might remember as that guy who solicited sex in the men's room of a Minnesota airport.

Spokane is also home of the third highest number of alcohol related fatalities.

It seemed like that was the unholy trinity—perverts, booze-hounds, and racists or PBR for short.  Sorry, if I just eviscerated your love for your favorite beer.

By the way, I do not insinuate that homosexuals are the same as generic pervs.

I started to realize that I could not be a passive well-wisher who grew-up listening to folk-oriented music (Dylan, CCR, Springsteen, etc), and instead had to do something to change the situation.

Do you now understand why my perspective on social justice began to change?

On the NFL

The NFL is not an ordinary "business"—and in fact, if the NFL wants to have further antitrust exemptions like the MLB has, they would have to say that they're, "not a business" but a social institution as even Bud Selig said at the All-Star game.

As a social institution—not a business—the NFL or any professional sport should be committed to setting the right example. Not committed to just the bottom line.

This might sound convoluted but Goodell has handled the Vick situation fine. 

I think that Goodell has been excessive in the cases of Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, Odell Thurman, and Chris Henry, because Goodell set a logical precedent with the lenience for Jared Allen's triple-DUI, which is far worse than any of the "buzz sheets" for the aforementioned players.

Their behavior has clearly indicated issues of substance abuse, so when reporters ask "Why do they keep doing this" it is just irritating, because they clearly have deeply rooted addictions that have possibly resulted from traumatic pasts. 

If Goodell wanted to "help" them, then they should have been compelled into Alcoholics Anonymous or another substance abuse treatment program. 

My belief as to why Goodell would never do that, is because substance abuse and the NFL go hand-in-hand.

Moreover, you cannot talk about the issue of whether Goodell has punished excessively in the context of all suspended players. In my opinion, it is two groups: Michael Vick on one side, and rowdy substance abusers and gun-toter's on the other side

To compare interstate gambling on acts of animal cruelty that would make even a serial killer cringe, and a group of troubled players with problems of gun-possession or substance abuse—that goes way beyond comparing apples to oranges.

In all irony, the long-time face of the NFL was Hank Williams Jr.

That's right, the rowdy drunk who sings songs about being stoned all night long, his rowdy friends and, "Are you ready for some football?"

Have you ever seen a tailgate party?

The type of stuff that happens at tailgate parties is no worse than the behavior of
Pacman Jones, Odell Thurman, or Chris Henry. 

I know that the NFL under Roger Goodell has wanted to crack-down on tailgate parties, so it makes me wonder if suspending players that need treatment for substance abuse—was Roger Goodell's way of sending a message to the rowdy drunks in the stadium lots.

Yet, someone like Jared Allen got off with a two-game suspension in 2007, while someone like Odell Thurman has been suspended indefinitely since 2006 for one DUI, one failed substance-test administered by the NFL, and other charges that were dismissed.

How is that worse than a triple-DUI?

On Questioning Bud Selig and Roger Goodell

Frankly, when I started to write on the Bleacher Report, I thought my demographic would be limited to cranks and Internet trolls, and that I wrote merely as hobby to stay out of precarious situations, but also to channel my frustration after I lost my job in 2008. 

It was also therapeutic, while I battled various infections.

Lately, it seems that I have stepped into a flaming pile of dog crap, because I wrote for myself and then realized that important people "might" be reading, or least, people of six degrees or less that are connected to important people.

I started to realize that when I tore-into Bud Selig earlier this year on the issue of the Steroid Era, in an article that pieced together various pop-culture references through free-association. I wrote it because the story about the possible deportation of Miguel Tejada made my blood boil.

I cannot say who has or hasn't read my articles, but it became clear that the mainstream media had begun to recognize The Bleacher Report, which is when I concluded, "It's possible" that influential people were reading what I wrote.

At that point, I could not back pedal and appear to be compromising myself, but at the same time, I was drawn to saying what I see.

The way I see what I do is that I am just a verbal boxer. Sometimes you knock over, but you still get back up. As well, people in the sports media have been able to say caustic things about fans for years. 

Until now, they thought they had earned it, and that nothing a fan could say would ever have validity. To me, that is why the sports media has been reluctant to adjust to the changes towards New Media. Those changes though will inevitably take over.

Why have I bothered to question Bud Selig and Roger Goodell?  No one else does, yet when “yes men” surround leaders—that is when the integrity of that institution will start to erode.  I do not know how to succinctly phrase this, but I believe that I do respect people in positions of authority because they have important decisions to make.

I do not claim to have the same experience that they do, however, I do believe that an outside perspective can be valuable to people in positions of authority.  The fact is that, the nature of being on the inside will lead insiders to have a skewed perspective on things, and thus would benefit from listening to an outsider who knows how to ask tough questions.

At the end of the day, I respect their right to be stubborn, and I would ultimately defer the decision to them.  However, I cannot fathom the idea of not asking questions, because if their decision is the right one— then they will be able to defend it without negations, such as, "I don't care," "I don't know," etc.

That logical response should be universally understood.  The response that is personally understood though, is that I need reasons to connect the dots tangentially in order to write things that are "outside the box" for The Bleacher Report. 

If you think I am crazy, that's nuts. 

The reason why is that I merely like to ponder the idea of "indirect truth" which to me is what good literature is— it is not directly about a particular topic, but it can ring true when you are directly involved in a situation.

I never expect that someone must agree, I simply want him or her to think about it.

By the way, in case you have read my articles on why Roger Goodell destroyed the Spygate tapes and my belief that those tapes included the Tuck Rule Game—my biggest beef was simply that, no one in the sports media asked a question that to me was screaming for an answer. 

I was more than willing to be proved wrong, I just wanted someone to ask the question.

I concluded though that the sports media was in fact, afraid to ask. Maybe I am wrong, but that is what I had concluded from what I knew and know.

You should not take my incessant questions or acerbic tongue personally, though.  
I only ask questions to those that I think have the intelligence to answer them.  
I would not ask questions to someone with no formal or informal education.

I also see the "verbal trash" as bait.  Weak minds take the bait.

I realize though that I can be needlessly caustic at times, but that is mostly just peripheral—if a person would rather fixate on that rather than the substance of the article, then I don't really care what that person thinks because I then know that either a) their mind cannot dissect the logic of an article and b) they're merely interested in making the person shut-up, rather than developing their opinion.

FYI, I have never and will never write while under the influence of substances, because I do not use performance enhancing drugs (HA!).


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