Tuesday, August 28, 2007

People love to watch you drown The symbol's what they need*

Wherein I hope this will be the last Michael Vick reference for a long while...unless I get around to typing up the bear-baiting scene with the dog being eviscerated--or was it disemboweled?--from Neal Stephenson's The System of the World (Volume III of the Baroque Cycle)


Michael Wilbon:
It was a good first step, for Michael Vick to stand there at the lectern without any notes, without a text prepared by his lawyers or handlers...

Really? Vick sequestered himself in a room with a #2 pencil and a pad of paper and worked diligently through the night to craft a statement without the help or input of anyone. Really? Does anyone really believe that's what happened? No? Perhaps he was walking by, saw a lectern and a pack of people with microphones and cameras. Completely surprising everyone, himself included, Michael Vick stepped up and without any previous thought of what to say, he certainly never thought to practice a possible statement in front of anyone, he spoke from a pure mountain stream of consciousness. Is that what you're saying happened?

It is not enough to perform a public act of contrition. No, it must be choreographed to meet the harsh judging of the audience. Emotions must be exaggerated and displayed, tears must be abundant, buzz words must be spoken. The audience will dissect and discuss and if the father of a missing child doesn't look properly saddened and upset, many will be quick to brand him a murderer. No tears on Oprah? Then the recovering alcoholic teen actress must be lying, because tears equal truth.

But in all our expectations of choreographed self-flagellation there is one public display that we will not accept. Confessions and regrets must be spoken without notes, because that is "from the heart." A major point in people accepting Vick's initial apology was his mumbling clich├ęd mea culpa. He even threw in a Jesus finding at the last moment. Turns out, reading from prepared notes means you are dishonest and just repeating what your weasel lawyers told you to say. Because no one would ever practice a lawyered statement and pretend to practice extemporaneous speaking.

I guess when you're standing before a hostile press and angry fans, fighting for a future professional life, and still awaiting sentencing, what's important is your ability to memorize words. Somehow being able to stand before the cameras and microphones and act as if this is the first time these thoughts occurred to you is more honest. What could go wrong? Miss Teen South Carolina, would you like to answer that question?

*People Love to Watch You Die, John Wesley Harding


Blogger XWL said...

Say what you will about Miss Teen South Carolina, but she will be remembered decades longer than whichever Miss Teen actually won the competition.

The 'having illegal or stupid fun --- get caught having said fun --- denying involvement in said fun --- lousy cronies decide to save their own skin and give up their meal ticket --- meal ticket finally admits that all the rumors were true --- cry on Oprah --- all is forgiven and you can now be held up as an example to the rest of society' cycle does seem to have become compressed of late.

That's why I've flipped from my earlier position that Vick would be untouchable in team sports (though I think he still might be better off as an Olympian).

Mel Gibson will direct a well received film about the Holocaust, Lindsay Lohan will start her own rehab facility, Nicole Richie will open a driving school, and Paris Hilton will be running the Hilton hotel empire by her early 40s, and Michael Vick will lead the 2012 Los Angeles Raiders (they'll be back in LA by then) to a Superbowl victory.

8/28/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Icepick said...

lousy cronies decide to save their own skin and give up their meal ticket....

Un-uh. Vick gave up his cronies when the case first broke. He said that he had nothing to do with anything and that those others guys were responsible for anything bad that had happened. He rolled on them before they rolled over for the feds.

8/28/2007 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I agree with icepick.

How about Mel Gibson directing a WWII documentary of the Andrews Sisters, starring Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, and Paris Hilton ?

8/28/2007 04:51:00 PM  

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