Stop your sucker bitching

This article is not going to be about football, so if you’re the type of ninny who thinks you should try to keep us in a “football only” box, you can drop off the call right now.  This is an article about IAOFM, and you, and the world we share.  Broncos fans who meet three criteria tend to read this website, over all the others that are available:

  1. They have at least half a brain, and would like to think about non-obvious football topics
  2. They have a sense of humor (mostly)
  3. They’ve heard of us

Whether you realize it or not, this website intentionally occupies the educated/intelligent fan space in Broncos Country.  That was a marketing decision made way back when, and it’s the reason you don’t see us adding writers to the staff.  The same parts that get put into a Chevy Cobalt don’t get used in a Mercedes S Class.

We don’t write for dumb people, because we figure they have plenty of other choices out there where the writing is congruous with their reading levels.  IAOFM will never dumb anything down, you can be assured of that.  I know that a lot of our long-time readers are happy about that, and don’t want that to change, and personally, those are the people I write for.

There’s been a good deal of bitching going on about this site, and I want to bring it out in the open, and deal with it from my own perspective.  Some people say we have bias here.  Of course we do.  Everybody walking the Earth has their own biases, even those who try hard to limit them.  I would say that “bias” isn’t the right word, though. 

We’re five guys (including David Singer, behind the scenes) who have five perceptions of reality in the world.  It’s our self-created job to comment on football topics through the prism of those perceptions.  We hardly ever all agree on anything, and we’re all cool with that.  There’s a different dynamic with this site than there was with MHR, where we all used to write, and I’m going to take a moment to share some insight about that with you.  MHR is John Bena’s site, and everybody who writes for him knows that there is some degree of company line/filter at the top, because ultimately, the feeling is that they’re representing him when they write.  It’s not an egalitarian situation, and I don’t say that to criticize that site, or anybody there, just to contrast it against how we’re set up.

Here, there’s no pecking order, and no hierarchy.  Doug leads the way on the content scheduling front, and in making the content flow appear to be cohesive, and most of our growth strategy has come from David, who has a lot of experience taking a site into the big-time with Hockeyfights.com, but ultimately, we are all equal, and we all get to write what we want.  To me, that makes writing more fun than it used to be, when I had to worry about whether criticizing some clown at the Denver Post would hurt John’s relationship with those guys, which was something he rightfully cared about, and that I personally didn’t care about, beyond respecting the fact that I wrote for his site, and trying not to screw things up for him.

I’m knowingly going to piss a few people off with this post, and I didn’t ask anybody’s permission to write it, you can be sure of that.  TJ’s article yesterday about Tim Tebow being a megalomaniac who thinks he’s Jesus didn’t need any clearance either.  It was a funny article, and more than a little tongue-in-cheek, (duh, this is The Dude writing), and a lot of people took it really seriously, and got bent out of shape about it.

To those people, I’d say that maybe we should think about breaking up.  It’s not us, it’s you, and all that good stuff.  At this website, we like to have some fun, and joke around about many things, in the service of creating entertaining content.  We don’t really care that much about your religion, whatever it may be, and we feel pretty free to joke equally about all religions, political orientations, and whatever else people may be oversensitive about.

Way back when, maybe 3 years ago, when Mark Sanchez was a rookie, he played in his first cold weather game, and he looked physically uncomfortable to me.  I said his face looked like that of a constipated woman.  At that point in my life, the only constipated person I’d ever knowingly seen was my ex-wife, so I didn’t know what a constipated man looked like, and in fact, I still don’t.

A female reader got offended, and accused me of being a misogynist, and on top of that, of being gay.  (I’m not, in case you’re wondering, but I wouldn’t feel bad about it if I were.)  I was just making a comment, which, to me, was funny and harmless, and it was simply meant to vividly describe how I thought this SoCal kid had reacted poorly to playing in the Northeast on a cold day.

I learned a lesson that day, and it was the wrong lesson.  I internalized that I had to be careful about offending others, because it made me feel bad when I got accused of being a bad person.  Eventually, I forgot that lesson, and I cared less about how people took me, and I got back to being the fearless writer that I need to be.  (That reader doesn’t comment here much anymore, but we seemed to make up eventually, more or less, and I have nothing against her.)

Let me put something on the table – I know my personal politics aren’t loved by everybody, and for a while now, I’ve been trying to leave them out of my writing, as much as that’s possible.  Let’s do a thought exercise for a moment, though.

  1. Are you now, or have you ever been, a Republican?
  2. Have you ever complained about people’s need to be politically correct?

Republicans are known to like to complain about political correctness, so if the answer to #1 is Yes, I’m almost certain that the answer to #2 is also Yes.  Even if #1 is No, #2 is most probably Yes.  People love to bitch about political correctness, right?  We don't know why we complain about it, but we do.  If you’re the type of person who bitches about political correctness, I don’t ever want to hear from you again about how your little feelings got hurt over something that we said here, which was probably a joke anyway.  

And while I’m on a roll, let me tell you something important.  If you ever tell me I have to respect somebody’s beliefs, I’m going to laugh at you.  People believe all kinds of stupid things, and I don’t have to respect any of it, just like they don’t have to respect my beliefs, if I had any.  (I have a dynamic understanding of reality, and dynamic thoughts and attitudes about many things within that reality, which change with the growth and evolution of my understanding.  I have nothing so concrete and inflexible as to constitute a “belief” in the way that most people understand the term.)  I respect that people are people, and are deserving of some dignity and respect, even if they believe stupid things.  I don’t have to respect their stupid beliefs though.

So, that was the long way around to mentioning that TJ and I got accused this morning of being bigots by a grammar-challenged reader, who I am not going to personally identify.  I’m just going to eviscerate his thinking.  First, TJ The Dude Johnson as bigot. (Riiiiiiight)

The title of TJ’s article yesterday was “Tebow confirms he’s a megalomaniac who thinks he’s Jesus Christ.”  Here’s how TJ arrived at that thought.

  1. A shirt that only mentioned noted religious philosopher Jesus H. Christ was created
  2. That shirt didn’t mention Tim Tebow
  3. Not in any way
  4. Tebow’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letter that accused Cubby Tees of profiting from Tebow’s likeness
  5. Did I mention that only Jesus was mentioned in the merchandise?
  6. And that Tebow’s name or likeness were not present on the shirt?
  7. Tebow must think that he owns the marketing rights to Jesus’s name (“megalomaniac”)
  8. If not, he must think that he is himself Jesus Christ (“who thinks he’s Jesus”)

That wasn’t so hard to follow, right?  I haven’t talked to TJ about this, but knowing him, I’m quite sure that he realizes the absurdity of his title.  It was intentionally absurd, for entertainment purposes.  If I have to tell you that, you’re probably never going to understand what we’re doing at this site.  Again, it’s not us, it’s you.

TJ’s serious point is that the cease and desist letter was clearly specious on its merits, and that Team Tebow sometimes seems to be made up of the type of Christians who are about getting that C.R.E.A.M.

If you find that article to be bigotry, I’m just so sorry.  I’m sorry that your brain doesn’t function properly.  I’m sorry that you take yourself and your religion way too seriously.  I’m sorry that you don’t have a sense of humor.  You have many regrettable traits, which you were probably born with, and if I were you, I’d ask Christian God why he gave you the short end of the stick, when His All-knowing Ass had to know upon your birth that you were one day destined to love Him so much.  If you want to be mad about something, be mad about that.

This reader also took exception with my fondness for invoking the name “the homie Jesus.”  (Maybe I should start capitalizing the H in homie?)  This is what he wrote:

And Ted your comments are extremely offensive as well. “Tebow loves the homie Jesus” people make a connection between “the homie and Tebow”.  Your calling Jesus “the homie” now, where do you get that. I’ve read you foryears and was shocked to see you use that kind of demeaning language. Would you act this way towards any other religion?

I left the grammar errors alone.  As Jules Winfield would say, allow me to retort.  I started using the term “the homie Jesus” about a year ago.  It’s kind of an inside joke on something that I said once to Doug, and I’m now going to share it.

First of all, do you remember the Buddy Christ in Dogma?  The homie Jesus is an urban slant on the same idea, because I’m from the mean streets of Norwich, CT (I’m not at all kidding, as much as that may surprise you).  The Buddy Christ winked and gave a thumbs up.  Picture the homie Jesus as wearing some leather, and gold chains, and some fresh Adidas shell-toes, and hugging himself, and basically looking a lot like Reverend Run did in about 1986.  THAT is the homie Jesus.  The kids can relate to that version of him.  Christians – You’re welcome.

Now, as for the genesis of the joke – there’s a certain writer who writes for a certain Broncos site whose work we all find to be valueless.  I’m not going to name him or his site, because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but believe me, this guy exists.  His writing is really bad, and the information is just regurgitated from other places, like re-chewed gum, and he doesn’t know anything about football that isn’t completely obvious, and he sometimes fronts about having "sources", so none of us here can understand why he writes, or why anybody would read him.

This may surprise you, but nobody here really reads the other Broncos blogs, beyond very occasionally.  We’re intentionally occupying the educated/intelligent space in the market, and we’re alone there, so we’re not that worried about what the other sites are doing to serve their customers.  Well, on one particular Loose Ends Friday last summer, I was bored at work, and I looked at the unnamed site, because, why not?  I happened to read an article by this unnamed writer, and it was extra-atrocious, and it made me feel bad about the state of writing.

I Google chatted with Doug, and told him that reading this dude’s writing was just painful, and it was confusing to me how people would choose to inflict such pain on themselves.  It was like Paul Bettany whipping himself in the Da Vinci Code.

Self-flagellation for the homie Jesus.

And there you had it.  I don’t think Doug even thought it was necessarily that funny, in the moment, but I sure as hell did.  When you can make yourself laugh, you’re on to something.  All of my best writing over the years has always cracked me up first.  As you probably know, I think fantasy football sucks, and is basically a game for dorks who can’t get laid.  When I was 16, I was very much like that, and I started a fantasy football league for me and all my buddies at Norwich Free Academy, so take it from me, I know. 

Last year, our friends at MHR, led by Mr. Tim “the Juggernot” Lynch (who’s now at BroncoTalk) challenged us to be in a fantasy league against them.  I had to be cajoled into it, since I’m so busy getting laid and everything these days, but I finally agreed to do it.  I named my team Self-flagellation For The Homie Jesus.  I didn’t really do very well, and after having a mediocre regular season, the Juggernot’s team caught fire in the playoffs and won the league, while talking mad trash to TJ and the rest of us.  (Congrats, Tim.)

So, I call the dude the homie Jesus.  That doesn’t make me any different than a lot of other blasphemers.  There’s me, Cardinal Glick, Ricky Bobby, Cal Naughton, Jr.  I’m in good company, and we all like to see OUR Jesus in a special, personal way.  My Jesus is a black guy with a boom box and a high-top fade, and he’s steady rocking the bells.  If you can’t deal with that, you need some diversity training, or something.

Back to the reader’s accusatory email, I wanted to finish by pointing out the most troubling line of it:

I’ve read you for years and was shocked to see you use that kind of demeaning language. Would you act this way towards any other religion?

Why is “homie” demeaning language?  Where I’m from, it means friend.  When I consult the Urban Dictionary, to make sure I didn’t miss a memo, this is what I get:

Someone you grew up with, friend or not, and someone with whom you have shared any number of bonding experiences at home, in school, at work, or in any close-knit atmosphere.  Homie means you have lived in the same area as this person for a significant amount of time in your life, but the term is appropriately used by those friends who truly feel comfortable referring to each other with such respect.  It isn't a word that should be taken advantage of, because a person recognizes who is a friend and who isn't. Therefore, a true homie is always down, while lesser friends will just be out to use you, borrow money from you, bum a ride in your car, etc.

Yo, homie, I'll be at my house in case you want to come kick it later.

So I guess what I wonder is if the emailer thinks “homie” is a demeaning term because it’s a word that black people often call each other.  It’s a positive word, something you call your friends, and those with whom you have a deep emotional connection.  There’s nothing demeaning about it at all.  I further wonder if he takes me to mean “homie” in the way that racists use it as a substitute for whatever derogatory word for black person they use at home.  I don’t like to go to Beachwood Mall anymore, because too many homies hang out there.  That’s the only demeaning usage I can think of for the word homie, and that’s not the way I’m using, or would ever use the word.

Mr. Emailer, I don’t think the word “homie” means what you think it does.  Honestly, being called a bigot here kind of strikes me as analogous to how the most gay-hating people among us always seem to secretly want to get it on with men themselves. 

Secretly Gay Homophobe :  You faggots are abominations to the lord, and you’re just gay faggotty faggots!  (Please don’t figure out that I am too.)

Secretly Racist Grammar-challenged Emailer: You called Jesus a name that I use to complain about terrible, awful negros* so you’re a bigot! 

Thou doth protest too much, homie.  Thanks for reading.  It’s not us, it’s you.  And yes, I do make fun of all religions equally.  Watch for the next time that I say somebody needs to pray to Muslim God about something.

So, who is looking up plane tickets on Kayak to come to Westlake, Ohio and bomb my house?  I want to thank all you complainers, because I’ve been having the damnedest time coming up with stuff to write about, and I know before anybody sees this, it’s hot fire.  It might challenge TJ’s piece from yesterday for most-viewed article of the week.

I’d like to take a moment to shout-out the ninnies, who knew from the jump-off that this wasn’t about football, and still read the 3,000 words anyway.  You don’t get to tell us how to run our site, and you can choose not to read us if you want.  I know I’ll be seeing you tomorrow though.  That’s where I sit, and that’s where you sit, and it's going to be how it's going to be.

To the cool people, the ones we’ve known for years, thanks for your continued readership.  To the thousands who faithfully read us without comment, I see you, and we thank you too.  To the rest of y’all, you have three choices:

  1. Lighten up
  2. Take your business elsewhere, knowing it’s you, and not us
  3. Stick around, keep reading and bitching, and realize we care less and less about your complaints every day.

 

*  I watched Trading Places last night on Cinemax, and it's one of my favorite all-time movies.  The part where Louis Winthorpe wakes up, and calls Billy Ray Valentine a terrible, awful negro, and then tries to strangle him when he sees him always cracks me up, and has for 25 years.

1.  I’m not in the arguing business, I’m in the saying what I think business.
2.  I get my information from my eyes.

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