Instant Stupid

The repurposing of the Internet into a medium of instant communication has replaced the built-in need to think. Everyone wants to trumpet their opinion and defend it ’til death. Perspective is lost because everyone wants to be right. The only way to fix this is to remind yourself that it’s OK to just shut-up sometimes.

Seriously, shut-up.

The Richard Sherman postgame interview is a good arena to test this theory.

Step back and consider that the way you view the world might not be the way someone else does. As a human being on this planet charged with the task of getting along with 90% of the people you meet — how can you decide you’re right without even considering another perspective? Instant is good for oatmeal, horrible for human development.

I’m not here to defend Richard Sherman because I shouldn’t have to. If you’re one of the many who jumped to conclusions and labeled him classless or a thug then my advice to you is to shut-up. Not because I think you’re wrong, but because there’s no evidence beyond a 30sec interview so support your theory. So yeah, shut-up. I’m not going to give you Richard Sherman’s history or plead for leniency based on his upbringing. Go read it for yourself. The Internet started out as an endless tool of knowledge until it was buried under a mudslide of opinions.

The information you need to form a valid, educated opinion is out there. Go search. Go read. Don’t just hit ‘send’ and project your scope of the world into a situation that literally has .0000000012% to do with you. You were a viewer, a tick on a spreadsheet to quantify viewership. You have no other relationship with the individuals involved. Are you really in position to generalize and judge?

Easy-bake categorizations rule social media life, thus, given its popularity and overuse in our culture, rules social life as well. These instant judgments divide and foment.

Large dreaded and tattooed black athlete Richard Sherman’s loud passionate rant in the face of pretty thin white sideline reporter Erin Andrews fits the narrative of thug, jerk, and/or classless fool. Thirty seconds was all some needed to link Sherman to the thug subculture, label him, and deem themselves superior. They must be a riot at office parties.

The instant nature of things should never override our desire to legitimately know, not just guess. Guessing when a multitude of knowledge is readily available is the deepest form of ignorance. The same device used to transmit your minute perspective can just as easily be utilized to broaden it.

Barely 5 minutes after the biggest play of his life and sending his team to the ultimate prize, a microphone was shoved in his face. He did not cuss. He did not disrespect anyone outside of a fellow competitor who — if you know the history — had that coming. Erin Andrews is a professional. She did an amazing job at getting rare, raw emotion at the apex of a players career. Andrews spoke about the interview on the Dan Patrick Show and claimed it was awesome and in no way was she terrified.

Richard Sherman is a lot of things — arrogant, brash, emotional, smart, focused, determined, funny and really really good at his job. You can earnestly come to any of these conclusions based on that interview. Any additional assumption intertwined with your nominal world theory and presumptions of dreaded black men is classless, foolish, jerk-like, thug thinking.

And, seriously, just shut-up.


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