In other words, these days everyone has the same circulation.
At least that’s the righteous, unicorns-and-rainbows view of things.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be just the written word to make things equal. Thanks to the Internets we can watch local TV commercials from Mobile, Ala. or a high school marching band in Stockton, Calif. as if they were in our hometown. However, when a web site assumes that I want to see its video and launches its player pre-emptively, I run the other way.
Be this as it might, there were three videos o the interwebs the past two weeks that were—as they say in the biz—“viral.” That is, these little snippets of video transcended their place in the media stratosphere and became part of the cultural wallpaper. Better yet, they all filled a proper spot in what drives the sports landscape. One was quite outrageous in a newsworthy way, another outrageous in a funny way, and the third one was outrageous in the “WTF?” way.
Internet, man, we do jargon.
Anyway, the first one came from a sporting event that probably would have caused a small ripple if it hadn’t been for our digital world. And because of this, national governments have become galvanized for action more so than the mere, corruptible sporting agencies.
Yes, it very well could have been the handball heard ‘round the world that enabled France to forge a tie in a World Cup qualifier match and disqualify Ireland from next summer in South Africa.
Here’s the controversial play:
Soccer, of course, is like football times a zillion in the rest of the world. In fact, they ignore our homegrown sports like baseball and football, choosing instead to mock our penchant for gun ownership and all-you-can-eat buffets. They also seem to laugh at our sports zealotry by superseding our quaint little tailgate partying with bona fide hooliganism and felonious crime.
So when a national football team is blatantly wronged in such an important match, it’s not just players, coaches and fans that lash out. Oh no, the Justice Minister of Ireland weighed in.
“If that result remains, it reinforces the view that if you cheat you will win,” Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern told The Associated Press, adding that two French players appeared offside from a free kick that preceded the goal. “Millions of people worldwide saw it was a blatant double hand ball, not to mention a double offside. We should put the powers that be in the cozy world of FIFA on the spot and demand a replay.”
It’s not just Irish football fans that are worked up, either. No, when a call so bad that even Major League umpires chuckle to themselves goes viral, the entire world demands justice. Facebook groups get formed, and international organizations draw up petitions.
Even Bono was outraged...
OK, I don’t know for a fact if Bono was outraged by the outcome of the game, but I bet he was even though a Google search turned up nothing.
Despite calls for the game to replayed, those always-looking-on-the-sunny-side-of-the-street Irish are a depressed lot. They believe it was no surprise that France, a World Cup finalist in 2006, somehow managed to thwart Ireland’s chances.
Even though the injustice has spread across the world one megabyte after the other, the Irish cannot find hope. The minister of justice said he does not believe FIFA will demand a replay.
“They probably won’t grant it as we are minnows in world football,” Ahern said. “But let’s put them on the spot anyway.”
Yes, the Irish are poetic even in defeat.
From the crazy department, a fellow by the name of James Blagden developed one of the more interesting and entertaining bits of baseball history with an animated short called, “Dock Ellis and the L.S.D. No-No.” Mixed with pop-inspired art work (Blagden’s entire body of work is tremendous), an old interview with the Pirates pitcher in which he describes his L.S.D.-fueled no-hitter for the Pirates in 1970, as well as some trippy sound effects, I’m not ashamed to put Blagden’s short right up there with Ken Burns’ nine-part documentary for PBS called, creatively, “Baseball.”
In fact, “Dock Ellis and the L.S.D. No-No,” might be more accurate.
Takes a look:
So crazy, but all true. And not too bad for the typical eight-walk, six-strikeout no-no from a guy best known for serving up Reggie Jackson’s epic home run in the 1971 All-Star Game at Tiger Stadium, over the two World Series appearances and 138 big-league wins.
Ellis died of liver disease last December at age 63, but thankfully there are plenty of interviews out there so we can get a gauge of who he was. Better yet, Ellis proves my argument that there was no better time for baseball than the 1970s when everyone seemed to be just a little crazy.
But, you know, in a good way.
Imagine if Bill Lee, Mark Fidrych or Dock Ellis came along with the conformists in the game these days. You see how everyone goes crazy of Chad Ochocinco? Hell, he would have blended in 30 years ago.
Here’s Dock shortly before he died.
And how can we count out Miss Elizabeth Lambert, the soccer player for the women’s team at the University of New Mexico, who, shall we say, got a little over-zealous in trying to win one for her school.
Just when it looked like she couldn’t top the pony-tail yank or the right-cross to the spine, she went out and topped it with a elbow-to-the-head/takedown combo.
Better yet, Miss Lambert, a soon-to-be 21-year-old junior, brought back the sexist notion that women are not allowed to play sports aggressively. This comes on the heels of Serena Williams’ web-enhanced tirade in the U.S. Open when a poor call by a line judge cost her in a crucial point of the match.
So how come it’s OK when Johnny McEnroe or any other male athlete throws tantrums on the playing field, but Serena can’t?
Lambert apologized for her behavior, but pointed out that if a man had behaved the same way, it would not have been as big of a deal. After all, guys like Charles Barkley, Rick Mahorn and others made careers on over-the-top aggressive play.
“I definitely feel because I am a female it did bring about a lot more attention than if a male were to do it,” Lambert said. “It's more expected for men to go out there and be rough. The female, we're still looked at as, Oh, we kick the ball around and score a goal. But it's not. We train very hard to reach the highest level we can get to. The physical aspect has maybe increased over the years. I'm not saying it's for the bad or it's been too overly aggressive. It's a game. Sports are physical.”