Jan. 13, 2000

Is John Off his Rocker?

I scribbled down most of the following while on vacation; since it's still sporadically in the news, I guess I should post it before it's really old. Soon to come: Non-millenial celebrations and perhaps thoughts (depending on my mood), a bit more of Florida (not much though) the Connected Recollections Collab topic of "Old Wives Tales" (not sure where I'm gonna go with that one yet) and no doubt a whine and rant or two.

Oh and I really didn't copy this title from a headline, although I'm sure it's out there somewhere. What can I say, I'm easily amused..

First of all, the original offending article is here, if anyone needs to be caught up.

According to my favourite news source, CNN, (the website works well, everything is there, they don't delete stuff, and it's easy to spell) John says he's sorry and that he's not a racist.

Well.   Be that as it may, I think it's beside the point, as is his apology, since I'm more concerned with the general reaction to John's comments than what's really going on in his head.

I heard (in December) a TV sports commentator's opinion that John should be drummed out of baseball, and that he shouldn't be allowed to go around saying these things. My first instinct was to wholeheartedly agree -- his attitude is UNacceptable. Professional athletes, like it or not, are role models for our children. John must be exiled in disgrace, at once.

But.. do his views have anything to do with his ability to throw a baseball? Was he hired to be a spokesman for tolerance or a pitcher?

But.. he's arrogant, inflammatory and racist.

But.. don't we have free speech? The man has a right to SAY whatever he wants. He didn't DO anything harmful.

Isn't spreading hateful ideas, harmful?

Only if those ideas aren't challenged and exposed for what they are.

Who is to say my values are correct and his are wrong? If he can lose his job and career because of his ideas then so can I.

But.. to allow this kind of talk is to sanction it?

Not necessarily. To suppress it is to not prepare for it when it arises. And arise it will. Evil exists in human nature and that's not going to change any time soon. To allow it out in the open and subject it to rebuttal, logic and reason, is a better choice.

To me, hateful ideas are like a molds or infections that grow in dark, airless places. If you open them up to fresh air and sunshine, they die. And to further expand on a medical analogy, allowing free expression and open discussion of ALL ideas is akin to vaccination against dread diseases. If you try to keep your children or yourself away from germs, then you end up hiding under your bed all day, and will probably get sick anyway and be unprepared to resist. If you've been exposed to the idea/germ beforehand, your body/mind has learned how to deal with it and the consequences are infinitely milder.

So, John, don't apologize.. you've actually done the world a service, making us realize how idiotic some of our unexpressed attitudes really are, and reminding us of the wisdom of the basic premise of a free society.

Yesterday's Bowling scores: 113 130 137 Total = 380. It took me awhile to warm up, grrrrr
Last year's average: 132
This year's average: 122.
Hoping for: 130 by the end of season.

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