By Guest Blogger Beth Pepoy
When I think back to early TV commercials I often remember a certain advertisement that was both annoying and much to my surprise would supply me with a philosophy that I have been applying to look at situations many times in my life.
CC Image courtesy of KDSanders at en.wikipedia
All-Tempa- Cheer, a detergent from the 70’s, aired a commercial with a mother visiting her son at his first apartment. By the end of grainy 30 second spot I would hear this: “Three temperatures, one detergent, its All-Tempa- Cheer Harold!” I can still hear the shrilling sound of Harold’s mother’s voice running through my head as I stroke each key for this article while suppressing a sudden urge to do laundry.
What I came to discover that if I applied this concept to situations that have (and will) come up from time to time it would equate to something more like this: One situation, three different reactions, that’s life. Not every event demands this type of pondering, but when applied properly it can and will help to determine where I am and how I feel about a situation. Example: If I fall flat on my face; my mother might panic, I will feel like an idiot and my best friend will be laughing her butt off. Get the picture? Since I use this regularly, being a mother, and managing people, it has helped me to put many situations into perspective. I refer to this as The Detergent Theory.
According to Chris Chase at Yahoo Sports; Lolo Jones is another athlete who shouldn’t use Twitter. Reading many of the comments on this article it would appear that most who did comment are on Lolo’s side. While Chris Chase is a strong and entertaining blogger his position was far off the mark. In his version of the Lolo Jones’ tweet he successfully hurdled pass the true intentions of what Miss Jones was trying to convey. He did however, collect over 10,000 comments. In his achievement of garnering vast amounts of attention to his post. In which he drastically includes his own unsuppressed spin that leans more towards the politicization of recent tragic events in America than the actual tweet. He then awarded his readers the conclusion that Miss Jones was indeed the insensitive one. That said let’s look at the replay…..
Here’s the tweet:
When's da Gun shooting competition?
Now read the article: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/olympics-fourth-place-medal/lolo-jones-thinks-americans-well-da-gun-shooting-181436042–oly.html
After reading the article and seeing the tweet, it simply appeared a Team USA member was cheering on her fellow countrymen. There is only so much that can be said in 140 characters as Twitter allows, yet it merely sounded as if she was saying ‘Guys we may not have been Gold Medalist today, It’s okay—we’re Americans known to be cowboys, so hey when’s the shooting competition?’ Common knowledge is that Miss Jones is a staunch competitor. She tweeted in a voice that demonstrates her usual bring it on attitude and excitement for competition.
Did she really deserve to be told she is insensitive and to keep her enthusiasm to herself? Or was she just being a sports minded fan that really enjoys these precision types of competitions? In truth Miss Jones an Alumni of LSU here in Baton Rouge, has spent time going on hunting expeditions that would amplify her interest in the these events.
And what about the next day when American Kimberly Rhode won the Skeet Shooting competition not by just the slightest of margins but by hitting 99 out 100 clay pigeons, setting an Olympic record?
A day before Ms. Rhode’s competition, a quote found in a prediction article called Tenth of All Medals Will Be Gone by Monday– written for the Wall Street Journal by Matthew Futterman (for the full article click here) allows us to briefly see why there was more than average interest in shooting events:
“And Kimberly Rhode just might win the women’s skeet shooting event.
As Rhode’s shooting teammate Corey Cogdell has pointed out, ‘Americans live in one of the few industrialized countries where guns are legal. They should medal in shooting, where the recipe for success also includes intense discipline and practice’.”
Then there are the two (Greek Triple Jumper Paraskevi Papachristou, and Swiss Soccer Player Michel Morganella) Olympians, who were removed from competition play for having used Twitter for making egregiously racist comments. Miss Jones’ tweet was not racist nor aimed at another country’s team. She simply asked a question with hopes of gold medals being awarded to her Team USA members (at the time of this writing Chris Chase had yet blogged on these events).
Americans have had a cowboy persona for years. We revel in it and never more so than around Olympic time. It can be said it is partially due to the fact that in 1932 the Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles, only a stone’s throw away from Hollywood the home of the Westerns. Furthermore, with limited resources to protect the first ever Olympic Village comprised of 550 portable cottages. A large fence was constructed to keep on-lookers out and for little pay those patrolling the perimeter were Cowboys with full attire of lassos, chaps, ten gallon hats, revolvers and rifles, hence ever cementing the image of Americans to the rest of the world.
Mr. Chase’s conclusion was that Miss Jones should have never made a comment at all and implying that she was less intelligent in her vigor for a sport that American should be strong at; in other words athletes should be seen and not heard. The absurd part is that it’s okay for Mr. Chase to opine on her tweet in a similar public forum, but can deny Miss Jones, her right to tweet and apologize as she sees fit. Maybe Mr. Chase should brush up on his 1st & 2nd Amendments.
However, this can also be chalked up to the Detergent Theory; One situation; a simple tweet. Three reactions; 1) Mr. Chase’s blog calling on her to not use Twitter and that she is insensitive. 2) Her response defining what she meant. 3) The opinion, (myself included) as to how it was seen by others.
However, the court of public opinion has define it, the tweet has been deleted and I am stuck with Harold’s mother’s nasally voice rattling around in my head, squawking like a lost bird “Three reactions, one situation, that’s life Harold!” Yet, one question remains– how many times does one of those three reactions have to be about suppressing the right to speak freely because of a media spin? It has gone beyond tiresome and contrite, hasn’t it?
My advice to Lolo; Be the Olympic Motto: Swifter, Higher, Stronger, and Tweet on! If you need me, I’ll be in the laundry room with Harold’s Mom, I suddenly feel inspired.
Update: Kim Rhode is the first 5-time Gold Medalist in this event. Vincent Hancock, also of Team USA, received his second Gold Medal hitting 148 out 150 also an Olympic record, thus becoming the first man to win back to back Gold Medals in this event.
About the author: Beth Pepoy has written several published articles for Yahoo Voices and for Yahoo News. She has been featured on the website PolitiJim’s Rants for Reasonable People, and has been published on several on line newspapers including Redeye Daily. This is Beth’s second guest blog on Media Absurdity.
She currently blogs on her own site: http://runinmystocking.wordpress.com
Beth resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Follow Beth on twitter: http://twitter.com/bpepoy or @bpepoy