We’re all suckers.
Or at least we’re pretending to be. It’s one thing to accept the fact that our own lives play out rather mundanely and the highlights include ‘Casual Fridays’ and ‘Sunday Funday’ (not complete unless you watch a show about a meth-dealing, high school teacher who kills people, ‘murica!)[i], but it’s another to now routinely be played the fool for “celebrities” sake.
What do I mean?
If you’re reading this, than you probably already know about the Kanye West and Jimmy Kimmel ‘fued’ and also probably know that Kevin (#KDisNotNice) Durant vs Dwyane Wade is now something taking place on Instagram and not on the court. Apparently celebrities and athletes are taking their competitive fire to a new level and they’re letting us all in on it.
But I don’t buy it. And neither should you.
The landscape of media and buyer consumption is now at a place where instant feedback directly shapes and impacts supply and demand via tweets, blogs and status updates #inrealtime.
This means that as soon as something is declared popular or a success, everything and everyone else can jump on board and cash in.
Conflict is the new “Sex Sells” and everyone is trying to cash in and catch up.
Football is everything. Everyone watches it. Everyone talks about it. Everyone bets, plans parties, pretends4, and participates in fantasy about it.
Because its proven to be the most destructive and barbaric game and it is the closest spectacle to the Roman Coliseum and the gladiator battles that would happen within its walls.
Oh, and you can’t fake it.
The game is so fast and so brutal that the players can’t play pretend. There’s no coasting, no mailing it in, no going half speed. You can’t take a play off in a football game. On any given snap, if you jog, instead of run, there is a chance you might not ever walk again.
No other sport offers that5
And they’ve all taken notice.
They’ve heard the rumblings about how pro athletes are too friendly now. They’ve heard the reminiscing about how back in the day, players really didn’t like each other and would do anything to win. They also know that those rumblings and reminiscent memories are true.
So Wade and KD have to pretend they are going to have a riff between them. They even managed to drag in James Harden.
Then the Dodgers are going to swim in a pool to get everyone riled up about having proper respect.
And, for the next few water cooler cycles, we have to hear about how Jimmy Kimmel and Kanye are fighting about who said what to who (shout out to Jimmy though for the “I saw the tape” line. JK +1) just so we’ll watch and they’ll make money6.
Make no mistake. That’s what all this pretending is about: making money. It’s a cash grab at the golden ring, known as football, where conflict reigns supreme.
So now we enter the Renaissance of Conflict where in order to sell there must be a beef, feud or personal challenge.
But it’s not real. It’s pretend.
I can watch “Breaking Bad” for that.
[i] Confession: I’ve never seen more than 3 episodes of “Breaking Bad” but I do have the Internet and exist in a world where even if you don’t want to know about something, you’ll find out. So this is my interpretation/lasting impression of the show based on Twitter posts I read on accident, Facebook status updates I didn’t scroll past fast enough and conversations I couldn’t politely exit quick enough at parties. Apologies to the ‘meth lovers, I mean fans of the show, if I’m factually incorrect.
2 This isn’t the correct venue for a full rundown on my feeling about Kendrick Lamar, but just know this: I’ve been a fan of hip-hop since the 3rd grade when my mom refused to let me have a Salt-N-Pepa tape (cassette) because it included the song, “Let’s Talk About Sex”. Somehow, “Shoop” didn’t raise an eyebrow, proving that titles do matter. Anyway, I’ll be happy to debate it at any time, but for my money, his verse on “Control” is a rambling of half insults and barely makes any sense. Besides, it’s never a good thing if someone without a hit since 2005 crushes you and proves my point.
3 A week 3, regular season football game between Pittsburgh and Chicago was the most watched thing on television on a night that included the Emmys, the second to last episode of “Breaking Bad” and something about the show “Dexter”.
4 I see you, girl in the Giants jersey, who has never watched football before 2008 and still has no idea what’s happening during a game but realizes if you don’t get on board it’s going to be much tougher to find a future husband…and besides, the food is good and you get to drink beer. Hooray Beer!
5 Boxing, MMA and NASCAR can’t compete on this level. Movies have made our expectations too high of what a fight or race should look like. Most real life boxing matches or MMA fights are highly technical and feature more positioning than punches. Stack that against a fight in any Rocky movie and real fighting looking boring.
6 For the record: I believe the KD/DWade situation is a marketing scheme by Nike. The Dodgers didn’t mean any harm. They wanted to celebrate and there was a pool. If you’re celebrating and there is a pool, you go swimming. And finally, I believe Kanye and Jimmy are doing this completely for the ratings and concert/album sales. Also, no matter what, I think Kanye is the music industry’s version of Dennis Rodman. More on this next week.