Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Jim Geraghty has a nice post comtemplating the sources for the brawl at the Pacers-Pistons game. He mentions at one point that there seems to a wealthy class aspect to all this but for the most part he covers a wide range of causes. It is a good read.

I don't have a lot to add to this discussion other than that the net ought to be cast a little wider to capture the wide array of events outside of sports in which taunting has grown to be the overarching theme. Whether it is the player taunts on the field, court or arena; the laugh a second denigrating remarks on sitcoms, the chant cards raised on cue during the "He slept with his wife's stepsister's step-daughter's 12 step-cousins but never made the bed' shows; or the skit-a-minute WWF, I think the general acceptance (tolerance?) of gutter level taunting is what draws us to results like the Pacers-Pistons brawl. But it has to be seen, as Jim indicates, in connection with it being coupled with the approbation it receives. "In your face" actions and words are cheered rather than booed. Chair throwing is not just cheered at WWF events but on 'Phil' spawned shows (I had to say it that way because I have no clue what the names of any of these shows are) where the bouncers at the WWF are 98 pound weakings while, for liability purposes, those on Phil look to tip the scales at 350 pounds.

Anyway, if the 'penalty' meted at basketball games to the routine pushers and shovers were something more substantial than 'slap on the wrist' 2 point chances for the aggrieved, then maybe there wouldn't be so many sympathically aggrieved cup-holders in the stands considering vigilante justice. Had the penalty for the blatant 'in your face - you'll pay to get this basket' foul been an automatic 2 game sitdown, maybe this wouldn't have grown into an all out brawl because the fouled player would have been satisfied with the result. But that is just a suggestion from someone who doesn't watch much professional sports because it lacks so many professional sportsmen.


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