Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Jemele Hill, an ESPN.com Page 2 columnist, has come under heavy fire this week for an absurd comparison in one of her columns.

"Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It’s like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan.”

Here is the article. As you can tell, the inflammatory comparisons have been removed. This was after an intense backlash, mostly from Celtics fans, who didn't like being lumped in with Hitler apologists.

In every documentary I've seen on neo-Nazis, I don't think I've ever heard any radical retard claim Hitler was a victim of anything.

To me, the Gorbachev/Reagan remark is even dumber, although not as offensive. Gorbachev was the architect of glasnot and one of the biggest reasons the USSR collapsed, ending the Cold War. He was a peace maker. Furthermore, if Celtics fans were rooting for Gorbachev to push the button, does that mean Jemele's fellow Pistons fans were rooting for Reagan to push the button? I was only a child in the 1980s, but I don't think anyone was rooting for anyone to push any little red buttons.

Some people, like those at the Celtics blog RedsArmy are calling for Jemele's head. The pressure ESPN.com has been under convinced them to remove the ludicrous comparisons and issue an apology. But to demand she be fired for this is insane. She has the right to say what she wants. If you don't like it, then don't read it. Who cares if her writing is still published somewhere? Act like an adult and get on with your life.

Jemele's analogies were crude, offensive, and generally stupid. But this seems to be a trend in sports journalism these days. Her entire column was a wandering rant about how much she hated the Celtics. It was repetitive and pointless. It could have been edited down to this sentence: "I like the Pistons, therefore I still hate the Celtics."

Instead, Jemele decided to go overboard. She used something called hyperbole. Hyperbole is an exaggeration used to create emphasis. For instance, the expression "Hungry enough to eat a horse," is an hyperbole used to express extreme hunger. She was trying to show how much she hated the Celtics. But she used the wrong hyperbole.

When you compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler, or Nazis; you light a figurative fire. They're incendiary words. Sometimes things can be compared to Hitler. Benito Mussolini, for instance, can be called Hitler Jr. But one has to be careful playing with fire. Jemele Hill wasn't careful. She simply thought of the most extreme comparison she could make, and didn't look back.

But that's what these journalists get paid for: to say dumb shit. The dumber and more obscenely grotesque, the better. Because with blogs, the internet, sports radio, and newspapers; being heard is more important than being right. The louder the better.

We see guys like Shaughnessey pull this sensationalist crap. But to be fair to the Shank, not only is Dan 100 times the writer Jemele is, he's also smart enough to know where the line is, and not to cross it. Shaughnessey tip-toes the line, and maybe takes a step across when you're not looking. But he doesn't blatantly leap over it like Jemele did.

Jemele Hill should rethink her philosophies on writing columns, but she won't. If she wrote more subdued and less ridiculous pieces, ESPN.com would fire her because people would stop reading. She's not an especially good writer. But her opinions spark fires. Nobody ignores a fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment