Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Serena and Kanye

What a weekend for civility!

At first blush, the actions of Kanye West and Serena Williams appear to be pretty similar: two immature performers acting horribly on an international stage.

But if you drill down a bit, look at the context of what each of them did and consider how they handled the public scorn that resulted from their actions, and there starts to be a glaring difference.

Kanye West swerved completely off the pavement to insert himself into perhaps the biggest moment of Taylor Swift's singing career. It was the kind of thing that is so completely off base that almost no one could muster any sympathy at all for what he could have been thinking and what motivated him to do what he did.

Contrast that to Serena Williams. A very tight match, in the semi-finals of a major tournament. She is serving to tie the critical second set. The line judge calls a foot fault!

Now, I am not a tennis expert. Looking at the replay, it wasn't a foot fault. Her foot was very close to the line, just as it always is. It is hard to imagine what the judge was thinking.

The analogy would be: seventh game of the World Series, Red Sox ahead by a run, and Dodgers have two out and a man on third. Umpire calls a highly technical balk, sending the run home.

Or last few seconds of the seventh game of the NBA finals, Bulls down by 2, Michael Jordan drives the key for a shot - Whistle! Palming the ball! Game over!

It is just a call you don't make. Unless it is egregious. Whether you think Serena's toe touched the line or not, it wasn't a flagrant foot foul. The stupid line judge should have swallowed the whistle, and not inserted herself in the moment when it was completely unnecessary.

So I can absolutely sympathize with Serena's anger. Was her language and reaction wrong? Sure. But TOTALLY understandable.

Now, consider the aftermath. Serena Williams, after the officials basically made her forfeit the match, went to her opponent and shook her hand and congratulated her. Then in the press conference afterward, she repeatedly apologized, congratulated her opponent for a great match, and apologized again. She was dignified and forthright. She made no excuses, and didn't even discuss the stupid call (at least in the part I saw.) She didn't whine about it.

Contrast that to Kanye West. He was on the very first Jay Leno NBC broadcast last night. He sat down all contrite, said he was dealing with lots of hurt in his life and now he would have to deal with the fact he hurt another artist in her big moment. Leno asked him what his Mom would say to him (I guess she is dead) and he tried to choke himself up, but it looked phony. He said something incomprehensible about how he would have to improve as a person.

Everythiing he said was 100% focused on Kanye West. How what he did affected HIM. How HE would have to deal with the fallout. He never so much as apologized to Taylor Swift. Not once.

What a complete jerk. As if we needed any more confirmation.

So, my take is:

- Kanye is a self-obsessed idiot jerk.
- Serena is a classy lady who reacted badly in the heat of a very unfair moment.
- That stupid little bureaucrat line judge should never see another tennis match.


MAX Redline said...

You agree with BO's assessment: West is a jackass.

Oddly, so do I.


rural resident said...

While we're talking about recent incivilities, let's not overlook good ol' Joe Wilson. Yelling out at a Presidential speech before a joint session of Congress is more than a slight breach of decorum.

This is just part of a larger problem. People seem to be so wrapped up in themselves that they feel entitled to say whatever they want, whenever they want, regardless of the circumstances. Politicians, athletes, entertainers, young people, old people. Everybody's doing it.

Kids learn early that nothing is more important than whatever they happen to be thinking at the moment--and technology allows them to share it all instantly. When people believe that the world awaits their every thought, what else can we expect? I'm not holding my breath awaiting the return of restraint and self-discipline.

Anonymous said...

Very well stated, RR. The self-indulgence you describe is encouraged by the school system when it focuses endlessly on self-esteem and multicultural psychobabble.

MAX Redline said...

RR, let me see if I have this right: it's okay to interrupt a Presidential speech for several minutes with booing and catcalls, as long as Democratics do it.

It's not okay to interrupt with two words, if a Republican does it.

Although the Democratics tactics illustrated no point other than their hatred, the Republican's two words illustrated an obvious point: BO was lying again.

It was brief, it was to the point, and it was accurate.

Small wonder that contributions poured into the Wilson organization in unbelievable amounts during the three days following his comment. When you speak the truth, people notice.

And many of us are tired of hearing lies.

Charley B said...


I am a republican, although maybe not as conservative in my views as some others. I can tell you this. Wilson is an idiot, and he embarrassed the party. Those from the conservative party who were not embarrassed by Wilson are part of our bigger problem.

Joe Wilson, Kanye West, and that jerk Oregon football player from the Boise game all need to go to grow up, and learn some manners. They are all from the same mold.

When you play their game (badly in this case) there is no possibility for positive outcome.

Those who claim Joe Wilson some how highlighted what others were thinking are full of shit. Some may have been thinking that, but we did not need this numbskull to open his big mouth in that venue.

He didn't highlight anything but his lack up upbringing. He did not advance the ideals or help the conservative party in any positive way. He made a fool of himself.