Monday, February 22, 2010

The Tao of Vince

Devoted partner claims that were I to write this post using specifics, angry people from across the interweb would somehow find my little site and make anger on me. So, in a nod to the charming paranoia of the charming devoted partner, let's generalize.

Badass. That's what Americans want to be. The cowboys, the marines, the manifest destinizers. And you know what those three groups have in common: they feel no pain. Shoot a marine in the knee and he'll limp at you with guns a blazin' to wreck your shit up. Or at least that's what popular culture has conceived. And frankly, it's an ethos I'm comfortable with. Americans will soldier on uncomplainingly. And if you ask about a hardship, Americans will sneer at you, John Wayne-style, and claim not to know what you're talking about (or, will offer to punch your lights out with their stump of an arm).

Or at least that used to be what Americans were like. In my lifetime, I definitely sense a shift from never letting 'em see you bleed, to doing a 10-talk show circuit discussing the minutiae of your bleeding. Much like explaining the punchline because you think your audience won't get it, today's competitors think that it isn't enough for the announcer to mention that the day before the event a wild moose bit off your thumb - they think the audience won't understand that it is supremely badass to compete with a rabid-moose-inflicted severed thumb, instead they must remind you, ad nauseam, how painful and difficult it was to compete with only nine digits.

Reporter: So, we hear a moose bit your thumb off, how did that affect your performance?

Old American: (ignoring blood dripping from open wound) I don't know what you're talking about. I came here to win Olympic gold and that's what I did.

New American: OMG, I know, it was, like totally, so painful and I didn't know if I was going to be able to compete, and like it just hurt so much.

New American seems emblematic of an easily conquerable people.

We already KNOW that if you're injured, it makes a winning performance that much more admirable; bitching about your injury makes you seem like a pussy. And, after the ninth time you're interviewed about your (in the grand scheme of things, minor) injury and you make a big deal out of something that equates a hangnail with Greg Louganis's losing half of his head to a diving board, my opinion towards you changes: I now want you to lose.

I want you to lose because I don't think you're doing your part for the myth of Americans, and I like the myth of Americans. I watched Ski Cross this weekend, and there was a guy who DISLOCATED HIS HIP 3 WEEKS AGO at the X-Games, and when asked about it, he locked his jaw in a smile and said, essentially, "I feel great, No problems at all. Everything is a-ok."

I hope he wins medals in sports he's not even competing in! He is holding up his end of the American Badass bargain (similarly, the kid who severed half his leg at the Olympic trials in speed skating and then won a medal took a decidedly badass stance as well). I know that when the Olympics are over, all of these winning athletes need to parlay their winning into paying jobs (thus the absolutely ridiculous habit of wearing eye makeup during competition for athletes who are not figure skaters), but I want the guy who DIDN'T complain about his injury and won medals on my Wheaties box!

With all the pat answers the athletes are told to produce when asked about their competitors, the I'm-just-happy-to-be-here-and-do-my-best crap that nobody believes, couldn't the PR firms that manhandle the athletes remind them that no one likes a crybaby? Winning with an injury you never speak about is super cool. You're the ubermensch to everyone else's mensch. You giving interviews to anything with a press credential about how much you had to overcome because you competed with split ends? Untermensch.

Personally, I recommend deportation.

1 comment:

  1. This is really funny! I'm with you on the Badass Myth. We should keep it up. Because almost everyone nowadays is a total freaking whiner. ARGH!