Russell Wilson and Fifty Shades and Why Do I Bother

I don’t follow social media kerfuffles. For the most part, I don’t follow social media period. Mostly this is because I can’t stand people, and I doubly can’t stand the egocentric narcissism that too often goes hand in hand with extensive social media use (and yeah, I grok the irony of expressing such a sentiment on a blog — is there a more narcissistic endeavor? — but what can I say, this is my platform, big or small as it may be. In other words, I avoid social media as a rule. I check facebook once every couple of weeks; usually because my wife tells me to. I have a twitter that I’ve used only once; that, for a writing exercise (the result of which, if you care, is here).

But still, social media chases me down, even when I don’t want to use it. Theoretically, technology evolves to make our lives easier, but in a lot of ways, technology is evolving to take over our lives. That’s a post for another day. One sort-of social media thing I do use is Google+, not for networking and posting status updates, but for following certain topics, writing blogs, and other what-have-yous. Now, I’m a football fan (now that I coach soccer, I feel compelled to say “American football” fan despite it being a mouthful), and as such, in the past month, I’ve googled some American football topics. Super Bowl. Playoffs. You know. Well, Google is posed to become the real-world evil stepbrother of SkyNet, so it has started making assumptions about things I’m interested in, and as a result, this little gem appeared in my Google+ window today. In short, Russell Wilson (the quarterback of the not-back-to-back-Super-Bowl-Champion-Seattle-Seahawks) went to see the new film

Sorry. the cognitive disconnect knocked me out of my seat when I almost called Fifty Shades of Greyfilm. Anyway, Russell Wilson went to see this new skin flick for soccer moms and apparently people are pretty mad about it. Not because he wasted his time seeing a movie that was better left in the imaginations of its undeserved audience, but because Russell is a Christian.

There are two issues here, and they have alternately turned my blood to ichor and scorching mercury over the state of our country.

Thing Number the First: a grown man went to see a movie. This grown man happens to be the very well-paid face of a very successful football team. He also happens to have outwardly represented himself as a practitioner of a particular religious faith. Apparently, I missed a step in the middle there that enables perfect strangers to pass moral judgment on him and to condemn him as a hypocrite, but that’s not even what I’m upset about. Religious nutjobs are going to religiously nutjob all over any and everything; it’s their hobby, whereas normal people, you know, knit sweaters or keep bees or write blog posts about trivial sharknado that irritates them vaguely. No, the problem here came well before any religious element got involved in RW’s choice in Saturday night entertainment, and that problem is people who have no business sticking their noses into other people’s business sticking their noses into other people’s business. (The previous sentence is grammatically correct.) For the record, “people who have no business sticking their noses into other people’s business” is just a fancy way of saying “people”, because once you’re an adult and living on your own, the only people whose business your nose belongs in are the people living under your roof, and even then, there are limits. These idiots have decided that somehow the things a well-paid quarterback (whom they have never met in real life) does affects them in some abstract way — be it moral corruption, distaste, disappointment, whatever — and are now harassing him in a real way about it. I’ll grant that sending messages on Twitter might not count as actual real harassment, but I’ll also bet dollars to donuts that he’s received some similar messages in real life, whether via post or shouted on the street or scrawled on a brick on its way through his window.

What really happened? He went to see a movie. Somebody didn’t like it. Rather than eating their feelings or spouting philosophically high-and-mighty biblical aphorisms over a tense family dinner, these somebodies got all in his face about it. This is stupid. Russell Wilson’s business is Russell Wilson’s business. Taylor Swift’s business is Taylor Swift’s business. Even Lady Gaga (who I can’t stand) has business that is entirely her own and does not deserve idiots getting all up in it. The thought that I might have a moral imperative to call somebody on their bad behavior — or their behavior in general — is a concept that our society would do well to get shut of, sooner rather than later, if possible.

Thing Number the Second: Why is this a news story on any outlet, even one as lowest-common-denominator as Bleacher Report? It’d be one thing if it were an isolated incident, but it’s not at all uncommon to see “news stories” about this or that celebrity arguing with another on twitter, or this trashy thing that this politician said. What that means is that you have this one pocket of individuals who are involved in this little online “incident”. Other people “witness” this “incident” and tell other people about it, and like a fight in the schoolyard, suddenly every mouthbreather in shouting distance has gravitated to see one snot-nosed fool land a couple of punches on the next. And then what? It gets broken up, or the parties get bored and go home, and everybody at school blathers about it for a couple of days until the next set of chumps with nothing better to do dust off their dukes for their turn to go a few rounds.

Pardon me for pointing out the obvious, but there is actual news going on. There are atrocities in the world. People are murdering each other. Rights are being violated. Children are starving. Governments are rising and falling like the tides. But also, Russell Wilson went and saw a terrible movie that apparently, maybe, compromises his integrity as a Christian, and that’s apparently, maybe, worth more than a few idiots in their basements flipping their collective sharknado over.

And here’s Thing Number the Third, which occurred to me in the writing of this awful rant. I — me, personally — was dumb enough to click on the thing, stupid enough to read the thing, imbecilic enough to put myself into the dog-poo-encrusted shoes of the people involved to try to understand their thinking, and finally moronic enough to put this much effort into writing about how wasteful the whole thing was.

I think this is the part where I stop writing, and this entire post vanishes in a puff of self-aware irony.