Get Word Gargle!


Behold, the latest Disciples of Clyde Podcast:

Further explanation here. There is military equipment involved, at least the imaginary type.

Now, allow me to briefly steal my own show. This place is my rock, my shelter, so I'll say it here: I don't care if no one else noticed about Jennings's bipolar twit, or subsequent denial. Here I am before and after. I'm not mad at Jennings, nor do I feel I'm some kind of world-class dupe. It was a reasonable statement to make and I reacted thus; it turned out to be an ill-advised, if only slightly tasteless, "joke." We move on.

But what's sickening me is the folks I'm seeing who think that this didn't even warrant consideration. Sorry, but 1) it happened and 2) it touched on something real, and real to the NBA, no less. Someone made a point that schizophrenia's become a joke of sorts, which means it's all good and I'm overreacting. That makes some sense to me, though I'd argue that schizophrenia humor is, like cancer puns, one of those things that presumes shock value or considers its object only in the abstract.

As I've said, I really don't care that much. Yes, Jennings's "joke" (not much of one when he's such a weirdo, and many found the charges plausible, leading to whispers of a cover-up by his agent) struck a nerve and made a fool of me. But it also made him look bad. I don't get why that's conveniently brushed aside. I mean, really, explain to me how there's nothing to this and I'm attacking a poor kid over nothing? There is a world outside the internet.

Let's at least have that conversation. Then we can forget all about it, like I did when I wrote that second piece. Just acknowledge that telling me to "lighten up" is bullshit. Oh, and someone please ask Delonte West how he feels about this.


Labels: , , , , , ,


At 2/17/2010 12:46 PM, Blogger b. Lee said...

I do believe that there is a real-life talking (English) troll under some Internet-active bridge somewhere that just took some very real offense to your final exclamation.

At 2/17/2010 3:08 PM, Blogger Ignacio Buendia said...

I think it's that "bipolar" has passed into that abstract, cliched territory of descriptions that cease to actually refer to the condition anymore. It's similar to your example of what someone or something being called a "cancer" actually refers, or fails to refer to.

I'm not saying that this is a good, or even a benign thing, just that it explains the reaction, or lack thereof.

To the many people who are not bipolar, and have no idea what it's like, and who maintain a partition between "bipolar" as a synonym (and one that they can think is a funny or clever synonym) for moody, and real "bipolar", this didn't make Jennings look bad. The word just doesn't strike the same chord with people who can't understand what it's like. I don't toss "bipolar" around, but when I saw what Jennings said, I immediately assumed a joke. So I'm not telling you to lighten up, and nobody has that right. I'm just saying that that's why people aren't getting you.

I disagree that this story really has anything to with sports or basketball or athletes and mental illness (though I've loved your writing on all of those topics). I guess the only sports-related story is the very boring 'athletes and social media angle.

It's just a story about how our culture deals with mood disorders, and how hard it is to actually ever get inside somebody else's head.

At 2/17/2010 4:36 PM, Blogger spanish bombs said...

Schizophrenia is a tight song though!

BTW, your second blog might have been a little passive-aggressive if you're actually not trying to be a moralizing old guy.

At 2/17/2010 4:40 PM, Blogger 7.5 PSI said...

I wrote the comment about how I don't think it's evidence of a lessening of stigma, using schizophrenia as an example. "I'm such a retard" would have been another example. Derogatory use doesn't indicate a reduction of stigma, even when self-applied. I didn't mean to imply you were overreacting: if I didn't think it was interesting, I wouldn't have said anything. I agree that it at least shows that thanks to all the abilify ads, bipolar is entering people's vocabularies. I just doubt people have any clue what it means, or that this is good news for people with the condition.

It's true I was running with the hypothesis that this was some sort of comment for his friends, and not a stifled revelation. But that's because the stigma looks to big to me for anyone to come out on twitter. But that's just a different interpretation, not a dismissal. I'm proud of you for standing up and pointing out that the word means something, and being out with your diagnosis and writing about it. As loud as you like. No one else is going to.

Sorry I wasn't clear. The desire to be concise never works, somehow. If I'd had my druthers, you would have written the flaming indignant version you gestured to in the 2nd post, but I sympathize with your exhaustion at the thought. Indignation always has an element of insincerity to it, an unseemly clambering for the moral high ground.

Anyway, one of the horrible parts of living with my wife's bipolar is that people who do manage it can pass, and very nearly anyone who can pass, does. And this creates an impression that it's even worse than it seems, because the people who can cope are sort of defined out: the inability to cope becomes part of the definition. But I don't have the strength to be part of the solution here: I've stopped going to the friends and family support group, because it's too depressing, and I feel guilty because we're so much better off than many of the people there.

Anyway, other people may have been trying to get you to go away, but I wasn't. I deeply appreciate you being out with this.

There's a whole 'nother topic in why sports coverage ignores surrounding reality as much as possible unless it falls into a well trampled category of sleaze that is deemed of interest.

At 2/18/2010 3:44 PM, Blogger tray said...

Well look, as Obama would say. How many times have you, or people you know, jokingly said of yourself/themselves that you/they are retarded? Sure, there are real, technically retarded people whom in an ideal world no one would make light of. But it's become so common that complaining about that would seem ridiculous. And like someone said above, bipolar's come to mean just plain moody or volatile. As has schizo. It's not like Alzheimer's, which still just means Alzheimer's, not kind of forgetful. Or Down's Syndrome, which still just means Down's Syndrome and not, "my face is looking kind of puffy today." To use Down's to mean that on Twitter, or to say "I forgot which basket my team was shooting at, I think I have Alzheimer's" would raise quite a kerfuffle. But bipolar, not so much. Some conditions get assimilated into this much broader, colloquial usage and there's nothing you can do about it.

At 2/18/2010 3:47 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I've said "that's retarded," but I wouldn't go on Twitter and say "guess what people, I'm retarded."

At 2/18/2010 5:03 PM, Blogger tray said...

Well perhaps you're a great guy then, but when I search twitter I find a ton of tweets in just the last few hours in which the tweeters say "I'm retarded."* And when I search "i'm bipolar" I find about half as many. "I seriously think I'm bipolar, deffo going to the doctors asap!" "I feel rowdy and angsty. Too much coffee or I'm bipolar." "I dunno, I'm bipolar. Usually days like this I'm so stressed out, but right now I'm like fine." "I swear I'm bipolar smh." "I think this ish is funny but I'm not gonna spend the day punching pillows n kickin the air. Bwahaha grrrr I'm bipolar I kno." And that's a tiny sample of the "I'm bipolar" tweets in the last 24 hours. Very few of the "I'm bipolar" tweets sound like people who actually think they're bipolar. On the other hand, "I have Alzheimer's" returns only about a single tweet per day.

*For example, "trying to figure out how to add a photo?? I'm retarded." "Idk how to direct message back. I'm retarded." "Bought an iced coffee while out. Set it on the desk and then made another hot coffee 'cause I'm retarded." "HAAAA HAAA HAAAA HAAA i'm retarded." "I'm retarded, rofl." "I know I'm smart ok.I know it.& I don't need no hillstation to validate my intellect ;). Yeah I'm retarded.Oh well." "i just realized i'm retarded! lol Why would I ask u for your facebook and I know your name? lmao"

At 2/18/2010 5:30 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Here, free shot for you: I have lots of followers on Twitter. Jennings has even more.

Or whatever, maybe you know the ruff streetz of Twitter more harder than I ever will.

At 2/18/2010 5:44 PM, Blogger j-doubleyou said...

strange that jennings thought to throw out that little disclaimer in parentheses. seemed to me at the time that it was meant to give the claim more validity somehow, but maybe that's just me being naive.

is anyone tweeting "i'm retarded (true story)"?


Post a Comment

<< Home