Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mmmmmm, honesty

In our PC world, it's not all that often that people in general, and especially those in the public eye, express themselves freely and honestly. And when public figures are quoted as saying something that provokes anger or outrage, they usually claim they were misquoted or that their remarks were "taken out of context." Most often, they beg forgiveness. That's why I greatly respect Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola and Tiger Woods' caddie, Steve Williams. Raiola plays for the most hapless team in the NFL and, as one might expect, fans at Lions games are growing a bit disenchanted with the squad's performance. That apparently has translated into some rather rough talk directed toward the players. On a recent Sunday, Raiola said the heckling went too far, so he treated fans to a one-finger salute. When surrounded the next day by reporters, who no doubt were expecting a contrite Raiola to apologize, Raiola had this to say: "I don't take one thing back." Good for you, Dom. Steve Williams' transgression was to speak his true feelings about his employer's chief rival, Phil Mickelson. Williams, in an interview with a New Zealand newspaper, said he wouldn't call Mickelson a great player "because I think he's a prick." After that report came out, another newspaper called Williams about the comment, and instead of claiming he was misquoted, Williams confirmed what he had said. Of course, Woods said he was "disappointed" by the "inappropriate" remarks and that "the matter has been discussed and dealt with." But as Williams noted, "I was simply honest." How refreshing.



Blogger PRIguy said...

It was nice to see that Williams didn't back down, didn't give the canned apology, and stuck to his guns regarding his comment. Like he said, he was speaking at a dinner and thought the mood was lighthearted. I guess since Tiger is so mainstream, the media thought they could blow this out of context. I'm glad Williams didn't let them.

As for Raiola, I agree with Brant and with him: F**k those booing fans. True fans stick with a team through the good and the bad. We all can recall those years after the Steel Curtain, Bradshaw, Harris, Swann, et al retired. It was a long time before we started seeing the post-season, but we didn't love the Steelers any less. A fan is a fan, win or lose.

December 16, 2008 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Hell yeah Priguy! GO PIRATES!

December 16, 2008 at 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aww, you all got taken by Steve Williams. My guess here is that Tiger Woods knew exactly what Williams was going to say and when he was going to say it.


So when Tiger and Lefty are in the same group during the Masters, the television ratings will soar. This is what's known as stoking the flames. That's all.

December 16, 2008 at 11:51 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

Hey Priguy... F*** those booing fans, eh? You mean the same fans who pay good money to watch a garbage football team destroy a once-proud franchise. Instead of getting angry, those player should be happy their fans even show up at all. Yet, Dominic Raiola thinks it's his job to scold the fans for their anger. You mean the same Dominic Raiola who, since being drafted by the Lions in 2001, has helped them to an impressive 31-95 record. That's less than four wins per season. Priguy, do you really think fans in Pittsburgh would still back the Steelers if they averaged 4-12 every year - year after year after losing year? I seriously doubt it. So shut up, Dominic Raiola. And enjoy your vacation after a successful 0-16 season. You'll be lucky if you have any fans left to boo you next year.

December 17, 2008 at 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know ... I grew up when it was classier NOT to say your true feelings. It indicated civility. 'Course that shite is all over now, ain't it? I still hold that using words like "prick" and the raft of other once-forbidden words that now appear on family TV shows indicates alack of vocabulary. And when you've used every forbidden word daily, what word do you use to REALLY register your displeasure?

December 18, 2008 at 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one expected the fans to apologize, did they? No I guess Mickelson will have to apologize that someone thinks he's a prick. Let's make it the classic non-apology we've all developed. "I'm sorry you think I'm a prick." Put the blame back on the other guy.

December 18, 2008 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

Anon at 8:22 said,

the raft of other once-forbidden words that now appear on family TV shows indicates alack of vocabulary.


We have a winner here. The use of foul and profane language continues to grow more widespread. Use of such language seems to puff up the speaker, making them unique, making them more aggressive than others, making them (.... ). The real demonstration is lack of a vocabulary and proper speaking skills. Use of foul and profane language adds NOTHING to the conversation.

Pleeeezzzze, don't tell me it adds emphasis. Simple words tell the same story. Calling others names and giving them a character of something than who they are, only reveals a shortcoming on the speakers' part.

I fail to understand why those in the entertainment industry resort to use of bad language to promote themselves. Why is there a delay on some live TV shows? Why is there a movie rating that includes language? Do those folks really think of themselves better than those who do not use their foul, profane, blasphemous, perverted sexual acts, and body-part language?

Why is it OK to use blasphemous language in any context? Taking the Lord's name in vain, or using the Lord's name wrongly is highly offensive to some people. Have we lost all regard for things that somebody else holds dearly? Yesterday, Arlan Spector was called out because of comments considered offensive to an ethnic group. Yet, every day, language associated with the Lord's name is considered commonplace, and to be overlooked. Why this dichotomy? Are we more concerned about being offensive to an ethnic group, than being offensive to the Lord? Apparently so.

I have worked with many people over several decades. Nobody who resorted to colorful language, at any level, were any better at their job than those who refused to use that language. I always thought lower of them because they didn't choose a vocabulary that could convey a thought, an idea, or a principle just as well without bad language.

And, pleeeeezzze don't tell me, "it is just a habit." Hogwash! Each person is responsible for their words. Nobody an unring a bell.

And, pleeeeezzze, don't tell me it is OK to substitute some words that really mean something else that isn't quite as acceptable. Everybody knows what is being said, and nobody needs a cheater list to make the connection.

And, pleeeeeezzze, don't tell me it is OK when spoken in certain settings, but not others. The true character of a person is what happens when nobody is looking, nobody to hold one accountable. What is the difference between a group of guys, a mixed gender group, at the ball game, at a wedding, at a funeral, at a ( .... )? We are who we are, and our words betray us, regardless of the company, or setting.

December 18, 2008 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

As for the bad language, I'm the wrong guy to chastise anyone for that. I think I have a pretty broad vocabulary, but it's frequently sprinkled with naughty words. There may not be two worse groups for unbridled speech than the Army and newspaper people, and I've been a member of both. I suppose it's a failing on my part, but I've always felt that no word is better or worse than another. It is we who decided that such-and-such a word is acceptable while such-and-such a word is not. I make no distinctions. The reason I have no trouble with what Raiola did is that I have seen, firsthand, the deterioration of behavior among people in general, but specifically sports "fans." People now believe that paying the price of a ticket allows them to loudly rip players on everything from family heritage to sexual preference. I'm pretty sure that the comments that send Raiola over the edge had nothing to do with missing a block on a third-and-short play. It's gotten to the point that I go to a ballgame feeling pretty sure that some leather-lunged idiot is going to be seated very close to me. They're everywhere.

December 18, 2008 at 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a good example of the failure of epithets and obscenities to add emophasis to a speech, I always suggest that people place swearing into the Sermon on the Mount, or JFK's first inaugural address:

"Blessed are the %^$#@#I peacemakers, for these $%&^%$ will be called sons of God!"

"Ask not what the &^^&^% your country can do for you, *&^%%$!$%^!, ask what the ^%$#$ you can do for your ^&%$#$# country!"

See? Much more effective with the swearing.

December 18, 2008 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Here's a different take... if you NORMALLY conduct yourself with dignity and avoid using profanity... it DOES make much more of an impact when you DO use it... Imagine Kennedy coming out and saying "We will bury those mother f#%&ers!"

For someone you were not used to hearing profanity from, that statement would strike me as "Wow! He is really angry"

I remember the first (and only) time I heard my grandfather drop the f bomb...

I agree with brant that words are inherently equal... but as someone with a background in etymology and linguistics, I have an appreciation for words (yes, even naughty ones) that is above and beyond most people's. In fact, the history of some words is such that you may be surprised that they are even considered "bad words" today...

December 18, 2008 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

Two things, Brant. Wasn't Michael Vick crucified by the media in 2006 when he wagged the bird at some Atlanta fans who were hounding him (no pun intended) after a game? And that was before any of the dogfighting stuff came out. I don't see the same treatment in the media for ole Dominic.

The other issue I have is why the media/newspapers censored the "prick" comment by Woods' caddie. When I first read that, I figured Williams said something much, much worse. It seems to me that the media is doing the public a disservice by not printing the full comment. Same thing goes for Steve Avery's "sloppy seconds" comment a few weeks back. Still a classless quote, but I assumed Avery used a more disgusting term against women.

As night editor, what say you, Brant?

December 18, 2008 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Split decision. I would use the word "prick" because I think it's just become a generic term for a person who's a horse's ass. The Avery thing, I would not have used, just because of the image it conjures up. Family newspaper, and all that. As for Vick, I wasn't all that appalled when he flipped off the fans. I thought he should've gotten the electric chair for what he did to the dogs.

December 18, 2008 at 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Joe Tuscano said...

The other point to this is that the Vick situation happened to a handful of people, mostly adults, in the crowd. Then the incident is gone. When it is reprinted in a newspaper, you can read and re-read it as many times as you want for as many days as you want.

That's also why keeping the word "prick" in the newspaper article would be a mistake. In that one moment of conversation, bang, it's out and gone. Using it in the newspaper story sustains it. Plus, you don't know the age range of people who are reading that particular story. I doubt mom would want little Timmy adding it to his vocabulary.

Joe Tuscano

December 20, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that Little Timmy will pick up bad vocabulary from reading a newspaper. He'd probably have heard it long before he learned to read.

December 20, 2008 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little Timmy probably heard all those words at a sporting event.

December 21, 2008 at 2:38 AM  

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