Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tell me again about Mudville

Whether Terrell Owens did or did not attempt suicide is inconsequential. This story is already 75% of the way towards useless incomprehensibility. By virtue of T.O.'s history, personality and the nature of this most recent episode, he has virtually guaranteed that any sportswriter outside of Mike Wilbon or Frank Deford will be totally unable to understand, categorize or analyze him or his actions. The vast majority of sportswriters (or dudes with the urge to call sports radio shows) are utterly incapable of coherently or responsibly addressing issues that fall outside of two discrete categories: 1) Sports issues, e.g. games, contracts, trade talk and so on 2)Sentimental issues deemed to be "more important than sports," e.g. Katrina, the death of everyone related to Brett Favre.

I think it's common knowledge that most sportswriters are basically grown men who play with baseball cards for a living and have really bad attitudes because they have chosen a profession wherein they are reminded that they never achieved their dreams. Most sportswriters wanted to be professional atheletes but couldn't hit an 11th grade curveball just like all stage crew personnel wanted to become actors but couldn't sing the lead in West Side Story. They live vicariously through the stars of the show they promote, and take any opportunity to passive aggressively lash out in retribution for their past failures. To compound the unreliability of the sports media, most outlets (read: ESPN) are intensively Disnified entertainment operations without a very loose inerpretation of the word "journalism."

I don't want to get all freedarko on y'all, but T.O. is a complicated man, much like John Shaft, only different. There's pretty much nothing about the arc of his career narrative that conforms to the stock descriptions adapted to 95% of sports stories. I know people who tried to do themselves with pills, and frankly, deadspin commenters, it's not funny. Not even remotely. It will be even less funny when 65,000 people shake Tylenol bottles at him at the Linc in a few weeks. The dude's childhood was about three blocks past Twisted As Fuck Boulevard and I can't say much of his adult life reflects any kind of normalcy. Frankly, there is almost no way to parse out the actual insanity of T.O. from the perception. Everything T.O. has become caricatured into modern folklore. This incident, no matter what actually happened, is now the providence of a bunch of boorish, uncreative, vindictive hacks who will apply the appropriate "boo-yahs" and uninsightful stock to a story about another tragic turn for the modern sporting zeitgeist.