I’m a hypocrite. That’s my disclaimer as I start this column. My job – how I pay my bills – is largely based around “hype”. We live in a culture now that values style over substance. We all buy in to things that we shouldn’t. The media often frames “feel good” stories designed to suck the average middle-of-the-road American into giving a shit. the problem is not that we have compelling characters to entertain us: The problem is that these character are typically mediocre, talentless, overblown, manufactured distractions who lack true “superstar” talent.
For me, this was manifested perfectly in Tim Tebow. Tebow was a solid college quarterback running a college offense. Scouts (people who make good money to be way better judges of character than you or I) found a laundry list of flaws that would expose Tebow at the NFL level. “No matter!” says his fans – the kid has heart! You know what he doesn’t have? Accuracy in throwing a fucking football. Denver’s amazing defense and shitty football schedule helped Tebow win some early games before being completely blown off the field twice by Tom Brady. You know, the best gay quarterback in the history of football.
Next, I had to deal with OMG LINSANITY!!!11!11! Jeremy Lin is a great story about how a shitty Asian basketball player came out of relative obscurity and went on a scoring tear over his first week in the league. Another “feel good” story – as Lin had been cut by several teams and wasn’t expected to ever be anything more than a journeyman NBA player. Turns out, again, that the scouts were right. Lin came up against guys like LeBron and DWade and got completely blown off the court. 8 points, 8 turnovers. Thanks for playing – see you in the D-league next year.
I’d like to point out that both the NFL and NBA athletes are predominantly black. I understand that Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin do not identify themselves as black. Do you think it’s weird that two mediocre, clean cut, “not black” athletes are getting so much run? Wait – I think they like Jesus too! Oh, well now they are GOOD GUYS! You have to root for the GOOD GUY!
This is the problem: People would rather cheer for vanilla (no pun intended) inoffensive stars than give props to the actual elite. Hey, I like an underdog just as much as the next guy – but I’d prefer it is my underdog wasn’t jammed down my throat to tell me that I’m SUPPOSED to like him. Why? First off, fuck the NBA – it’s a joke. College basketball blows it away. Second off, when ANY of these hype-boys do anything of substance over any actual amount of time, call me. I’ll tell you I’m wrong – but I’m not.
It’s this type of overblown garbage that has allowed Nickelback to be the biggest rock band in the world right now.
It’s this type of penchant for mediocre entertainment that has made completely pre-packaged nothings like Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift into big stars. Kardashian offers ZILCH and people give a shit for some reason, and Taylor Swift should be giving awkward handjobs to a club owner to get an extra 15 minutes of open mic time. “BUT SHE WRITES HER OWN SONGS!!!” No, she doesn’t. She gives her diary to producers who make millions of dollars and they turn her rambling about her latest breakup into a song. How many songs on Tay Tay’s CD is she the lone artist credited with writing?
Look, you can like who you want – just don’t be pissed off when the hype machine falls apart, and these average “stars” are exposed as exactly that. Who will your hero be then? What happens when there are no more overproduced, overhyped talents out there for you to latch on to?