Bust Your Own Pockets
So I went out and bought this giant brain of a phone so I could monitor FreeDarko on the road. . . and you people go and leave so many comments that it can't find the "leave one" link. It was then and there that I decided to just do a new post. Dealing once and for all with the issue of rape in American today.
First off, Paper Tiger's concerns that telling people to shut up about Kobe's rape case is at odds with my own "is TVZ basketball?" angst. For one, that was hardly a key building block in whatever it is FD stands for; you seem to be the only person it made a strong impression on. But in defense of myself, let me say the following: that was about sensibility, not ethics. Sorry, but sports can't tell you what's right or wrong in the world, and neither can music. At least not in any direct way. I know that we've all been groomed to think that Weezy F. is some kind of refracted worldview, but at best he's the correlative to one that's always lurking beyond the frame.
Now, RAPE. Look, I went to a liberal arts school just like many of you. I also have plenty of contact with various kind of feminism. So please spare me your Oberlin-isms.
If you want to prove that you care about the issue of sexual violence, the Kobe case is an absolutely awful example to point to. As I said in the comments section, even assuming it was consensual, that fucking was mutually exploitative and completely bound up in Bryant's celebrity. To think that this was a standard "he said, she said," when both sides had any number of reasons to distort what happened, is an insult to "he said, she said." No one knows what really happened, just as none of us are actually all that familiar with the victim's mental state AND NONE OF US REALLY KNOW KOBE BRYANT AT ALL.
Am I saying this rape accusations are meaningless? That they are just an occupational hazard? No, and not. But seriously, is this Kobe thing more fucked up than the mysterious disappearing Snoop case? Is he the only professional athlete to have ended up in this situation? I'm not saying that this excuses Bryant's questionable behavior. But considering how often this type of thing goes unreported, underreported, or unrecognized by the public, I'm not sure how Kobe's being accused makes him that much different from any other athlete. This is a larger problem, which both makes it worse and makes the very notion of "Kobe's shocking rape accusations" kind of a joke.
Male athletes have an extremely problematic attitude toward women. Sadly, this is why sports today will never ever satisfy every progressive criteria. Being told, though, that I'm downplaying Colorado because all it means is that he's an athlete who got caught. . . to you, I'd say get out of sports watching while you can. Bryant was no more or less guilty than any athlete is, or than you are for avidly consuming a league with a culture of sexism. If he had been definitively convicted, I would be repulsed by him, and his character would be forever soiled. As it is, it was some harsh reality. If you want to keep following sports, this is the kind of shit you've got to get past; else, it will negate the entire personal industry.
I'm not saying that this order of things cannot and should not change. It would be preposterous of me to claim that gender was a lost cause in these parts, while race and class were still worth exploring through the lens of sports. I firmly believe, though, that grandstanding and ignoring the scope of the problem is not in any way an honest call to action. And while I'm all in favor of letting principle influence one's fandom, there needs to be some realistic entry point for this sentiment to matter. At this point, there's just not one in the NBA. Maybe I'm cynical, but I don't think we achieve one by singling out Kobe Bryant. Nor do I really feel that, other than boycotting the NBA, there's really anything we as fans can do to correct the way rich, powerful men treat women.
Meanwhile, some links:
-One of our own guests on a feminist librarian blog, thus proving I'm not an asshole
-Joey with a sky-sharpening point on the NCAA's three-point line.