Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Feeding the lie machine

It seems that wherever I turn, I’m greeted by the latest attempt at shading the truth. Whether it is Congressional hearings on a Supreme Court justice, a state senator’s insistence that he didn’t compromise his position on the environment, or the hypocrisy of officialdom, lecturing a free spirit on virtue, our culture is crawling with the art of hypocrisy and fabrication.

Granted, prevarication isn’t new. For those who use religion and its sacred texts as a measuring stick, one could say that lies are as old as Adam and Eve, the first occurrence of such in biblical literature. History is replete with stories of the art of bending the truth to fit one’s situation, or pocketbook.

While lying is an age-old device, its pervasiveness seems to have taken on new parameters. From the highest office in our land, on down through the halls of justice and our law-making bodies, falsehoods flow freely and unchecked. They’ve become our norm, rather than an exception. Rarely, if ever, do I hear political figures speak, without the appearance of words pouring from both sides of their mouths. When asked the simplest of questions, they seem genetically incapable of an honest answer.

Yesterday, I was traveling home from an appointment and I was listening to the Senate’s confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito. Numerous senators pointedly questioned him on his views on privacy, abortion, and the extent to which he would allow executive powers to reach. One of the most grating of this gaggle of crooks and thieves was Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE). I’ve listened to him numerous times, in his typical manner of grandstanding, grill a nominee (including current Justice Roberts during his confirmation), appearing tough and having issues with them, then time-after-time, vote in favor of confirming. I will allow that it is the Senator’s prerogative to vote any way that he sees fit, however, occasionally, it would be nice if his vote actually matched his tough-talk and rhetoric. Another example is bloated windbag, Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who claims to speak for the poor and working class, when he wouldn’t know the first thing about working, or class. This very same Kennedy, a man who lectures Republicans on the need to wean ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, but balks when a proposed wind farm might be built a bit too close to his beloved Hyannisport compound.

Even my own Governor, John Baldacci, seems incapable of answering simple questions pertaining to running our state. Last Friday, while listening to MPBN’s Fred Bever interview him on statewide issues, Baldacci continually hemmed and hawed and evaded answering several questions.

Over the past few days, former Olympian, Bode Miller, has found himself in a world of trouble for comments he made to a 60 Minutes reporter, about his behavior on the slopes. Miller, who last year became the first American skier in 22 years to win the World Cup, apparently has found himself at the top of the mountain, while still under the influence of the previous night’s drinking and partying. Typically, his comments about skiing drunk have elicited the latest round of hypocritical hand-wringing, common when free-spirited young men speak from their hearts. You see, Miller, a New Hampshire native, who grew up in a cabin without heat or plumbing, raised by parents who made $600 one year, probably never learned the fine art of spinning the truth. With Miller, what you see is what you get. On the other hand, Bill Marolt, president and executive of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has come out saying that Miller’s comments are “irresponsible” and send “an inappropriate message” to younger skiers and snowboarders. Officials like Marolt and much of the Olympic brass, have been exploiting the gifts and talents of young skiers for so long, they wouldn’t know appropriateness if it walked up and bit them in the ass!

Is it wise to end up on the top of a world class slalom course with beers under your belt? Certainly, not for most of us. For Bode Miller, on the other hand, I think he’s earned the right to make his own decisions. I, for one, find Miller and his open and unscripted ways much more refreshing and honest than the usual circumvention of the truth that makes up our daily parade in politics, sports and the media.


weasel said...

Outstanding stuff! Couldn't agree more. I wish the US Ski Coach would direct his ire towards whichever bonehead on his staff signed the sponsorship deal with Dunkin Donuts- nothing counteracts the "get out, get active" message of the Olympics better than a sugary, processed cream filled, caffinated quart of "dunkochino" in a non-recycleable plastic beaker. Maybe Bode was just fulfilling his team's commitment to Budweiser and Bud Light, "The official Malt Beverage of the U.S. Ski Team & U.S. Snowboarding".

BP said...

Interesting post...I found it when I did a search under Bode Miller. Don't you think his laissez-faire attitude about drunk skiing sends the wrong message to young fans??? In the interview, Miller came across as an arrogant punk who is an embarrassment to the US Ski Team.

Joe said...

I'm guessing that Miller's not the first World Cup skier (or skier in general) to ski under the influence of drink. Or smoke. Or various amphetamines. Let's not even get started on the snowboarders.

Skiing is all about partying. Bode Miller skis. He parties. Big freaking deal. As Jim notes, the ski team is sponsored by Budweiser. If it's "embarrassing" to mix skiing and alcohol, then I guess the Bud sponsorship has to go.

"During his twenties, he often found himself doing things while intoxicated that he shouldn't have been doing while intoxicated." Near as I can tell, Bode Miller's just building his resume for a future run for the White House.

weasel said...

Stupid, yeah. Reckless, undoubtedly. Sadly will be emulated by a few, no doubt. Worth hours of hand-wringing and cant by the powers-that-be? Nah.

Bode didn't tell others to do it, unlike other vertical and downhill athletes who pocket checks for telling people to "do the Dew". I haven't seen too many of those who guzzle that bright green sugar/caffine mix looking as trim as the folks in the ads.

I reckon Bode was a bit of a dick (whatever his humble beginings he is a pro athlete: its part of the job description) and just maybe being a little calculating in the manner of Dennis Rodman or the young Andre Aggassi (remember his cynical flouting of Wimbledon's dress code at the behest of Nike?) but there is, to the best of my knowledge, no law against that.

So, everyone is right except the hypocrites at US Skiing riding high on Annheuser Busch money.

9berg said...

Skiing/riding under the influence isn't a new thing. It's done on a daily basis at every ski resort in the country. You stop for lunch. Hit up the two for one 25oz beers and hit the slopes again. This practice is even more dangerous than what Bode did or does or will do again. Bode is on a closed course where he is the only person at risk. The average Joe gets sauced up and then not only puts himself at risk but every other person on the mountian. This is a culture that will not change. A good number of people at resorts are there on vacation. This is there time to unwind and relax. Some choose to sit in the hot tube, while others choose to get drunk as a skunk and take some turns. Either way Bode's comments in no way will get a copy cat reaction. I admire Bode Miller for speaking his mind and not spitting a bunch of B.S. for the 60 Minutes camera...

Jim said...

bp wrote, "Miller came across as an arrogant punk who is an embarrassment to the US Ski Team."

How is Miller an embarassment? Was he an embarassment when he won skiing's world cup last year, the first time in 22 years that an American has accomplished this? Not bad for a "drunk" skier.

My bigger issues, as I wrote, and Wisdom Weasel added some fuel to (Budweiser--the official Malt Beverage.....) are the way that organizations like the U.S. Ski Team and Olympic organizations exploit and extract every ounce of marketing potential from athletes and their abilities, all to fatten their own bank accounts.

Secondly, isn't it interesting that 60 Minutes, and most notably, ,CBS, chose to take these few comments from a much larger piece, and run them as their promo, knowing full well taking them out of the context would pad their audience of viewers. Once again, exploitation.

How about this question for all those out there worried about the "young fans" of the world and Miller destroying their moral virtues by saying he occasionally goes down the hill with some brews under his belt. Aren't you worried about the message that advertisers and mult-national corporations are sending to our children that no matter what the consequences are to our culture, our families, our communities, and our environment, the only thing that matters is maximizing the bottom line, i.e. making the largest profit? I think the constant bombardment of young minds by incessant marketing, using their sports heroes as nothing more than props to hang merchandise off, is far more insideous and damages them to a much greater extent, than Bode saying he knocks back a few and hops on a pair of skis.

BTW, I thought 9Berg's comments were spot on.

asfo_del said...

Jim, Thanks for writing this post. I've been thinking quite a bit about lying myself. It's come to the point where if someone in the media doesn't acknowledge obvious lies and present them as a valid point of view then s/he is accused of being one-sided or partisan!

Anonymous said...

What a total embarrassment Bode Miller turned out to be. Hung-over slim-balls we don’t need flying to Italy and staying in hotels and eating on the backs of donors and Americans. Nothing, repeat, NOTHING was more gratifying than to see this over-the-hill drunk stumble his way down the hills after all the hype, after all the immature boasting about going down the hill drunk. This is NOT an image anyone needs much less Americans. There is nothing like seeing a moron like this get his comeuppance. Just knowing that this idiot has blown $100,000,000 to $200,000,000 in endorsements makes my heart leap for joy. Good bye, Bode….. and good riddance.