Straining my ability to care even a whit, seems the current brouhaha over the did she exist scandal surrounding football player Manti Te'o illustrates for us a problem with modern "journalism," the invisible line between the old style adhering to print standards of actual journalism and new wave of teevee commentators spewing whatever comes into their heads in search of ratings, controversy, and cash.
Irony of irony, the new intertubes journalists at Deadspin have done the work of actual journalists, by you know, fact checking what someone says rather than just transcribe athlete's fantasies, making phone calls, and checking public databases.
Yet having done that, the writer seamlessly transitions to talking head teevee personality, free to give his own opinion as fact, a pasty faced white athlete wannabe jock sniffer recently released from his mama's basement now wondering if he "can ever trust Manti again."
Who cares if the kid had an imaginary girlfriend and fell victim to a hoax or if he invented a life for himself he wished he had, a heroic victim of outrageous fortune?
If the former, he shares with me my sin of trust in people; for no matter how many times others have betrayed me, am still tempted to trust.
If the latter, then also have I invented a girlfriend, or at least thought about how to make certain persons happy like Mandy the epicurean philosopher who hated her given name but had caring, ice blue eyes or a newly minted nurse with laughing eyes and aristocrat's fine fingers and manicure or Deidre my bartender withe the 3' diameter Dancing Shiva back piece tattoo, to think of being with one of them and caring about their hurt places, inmost needs, to try and synchronize breathing when falling asleep next to and holding a partner in the darkness of my night..
Society tells us we ought not suffer loneliness, with every Viagra, Cialis, and incontinence ad on teevee. We expect our teevee athlete heroes to live the lives we cannot, so much so they feel the need to conform to what they feel expected of them, perhaps by investing into someone they've never physically met the qualities they seek in a partner.
"Everybody wants to be somebody else."
All humans have an instinctual need to become more than the sum of their pasts. So we fail to see other parts of ourselves or invest into fantasy what we wish to become, or become addictive and embrace but a part of life as the whole, because as the Godz sang, we're all some kind of junkies: booze junkies, bible junkies, dope junkies, love junkies like me carrying kernels of past realtionships and hoping to fan them like embers into flames of a new love.
We used to depend on journalists to research and help us navigate the sliver or chasm between truth and mere fantasy or even lies, to discern through cross referencing and fact checking and old fashioned shoe leather to help us realize that all our heroes have feet of clay, all live as human with fears and foibles and weaknesses. In these tellings and stories as with bards of old, we learn we have good sides and bad sides and must ever use vigilance and discernmnt to perceive and then do the good, to help fellow humans rather than just ourselves.
Nevertheless, these modern day bloggers, besotted wretches, o longer have the purity of ink on their hands but live with and profit from sin of hubris of others, having found fault; they opine on it, pretending themselves above the human fray, casting judgment but accepting none, moving from the intertubes to print to teevee, from reporting to commentary to rank supposition, blithely ignoring humanity of their subjects while refusing to see their own faults, spawining a generaltion venerating the rantings of Skip Bayless and Rob Parker and Stephen A and whomever else you might name.
Where did the line between fact and fiction go?
Buried beneath the bottom line which means money rules all, so controversy gives the goods to teevee,