We in the blogging world – especially those of us who read and critique writers on a regular basis – have a horrible habit of blindly assuming that those we read have actual information or insight to provide. We tend to assume that they are not only reflective and intelligent, but that they have the ability to narrate our culture in a way free from cultural bias and random douchebaggery.
Among many others, we did it with Don Imus and Anne Coulter. And recently, we’ve done it with Phil Mushnick, the sports writer for The New York Post who indisputably has a position which causes him to have published works. With every published article – sometimes over 500 words worth – the media has bloated his credibility: There writes Mushnick, a credible person too. Now, it's come back to bite us once again, with this poor excuse for an article.
“We read this column and that column, and let me tell you about his views on so-and-so” said a fictional source regarding Mushnick’s writings without actually validating the quote, but rather wrapping words that help the case presented in this article with out-of-place quotation marks. Blah, blah, blah. Published means credible is the assumption we tend to make.
Thus, it is unsurprising that Mushnick’s downside has been ignored. To describe a completely unrelated incident, the other day, Mushnick ate a ham sandwich that fell on the floor. “10 second rule, he thought to himself” and dismissed it as no big deal, which was doubly disturbing. This, despite the fact that someone close to him once had food poisoning.
To digress even further into non-sensical judgment calls, Mushnick has horrible facial hair. Apparently, he’s been fully aware of the existence of razors for quite some time, but he feels that he decides when it’s time to shave. Despite aggressive criticism from people who reportedly have the ability to see the monstrosity that is Mushnick’s face, his horrific appearance has gone dismissed by the general public.
Of course, we all have to operate from our own sense of values, our personal sense of right from wrong. Perhaps, given current standards of media integrity – mostly college educated, no less – Mushnick qualifies as a credible journalist, or as an intelligent pundit.
Still, we’re stuck with what we’ve got. And it’s sickening that a professional sportswriter, just days after an NFL player’s son was murdered, decided that he knew best how another person should grieve.
Me? I’d be fighting for the right words to say to a person going through the most horrible of horrors. My knees would be weak with a lack of understanding, pleading to know a way that I could make every horrible news story cease to exist, and know just how I could help my fellow man. I’d seethe with rage at the notion that I might have some insight into how another person might grieve at the loss of a child. I even think I would understand how someone might throw themselves into work, particularly a profession which involved running angrily to the point of physical exhaustion.
The suspected implication in the reading of Mushnick’s ranting manifesto of condescending bile, is that perhaps some notion of that football player’s character, combined with a racist indictment of single parents, leads to an inevitable conclusion: he should’ve known better. He could’ve prevented it. Look at him… playing football. He doesn’t even care. He should be ashamed of himself. This indictment of a human being in the worst of situations (losing a child) is apparently an acceptable form of “punditry” – now the casual, flippant, detestable and common buzz-phrase for atrocious, lazy, and douchebag editorialism.
The accused offender of common decency and morality, Mushnick, has previously been hit with accusations of spewing nonsense before. Recent examples include criticizing Jon Gruden, seemingly for being in a good mood, and applauding Matt Kemp’s injury as “karma” for being involved in the MLB steroid cases.
It’s shocking that Mushnick has such little regard for ethics, humanity, and journalistic integrity. With his resources and platform, how could Mushnick, a professional writer, have allowed his writing to devolve into such drivel? Did he not know, or not care? Or not care to know? Or not make any kind of effort to know enough to write something intelligently?
Mushnick couldn’t have done a little research to provide a better, more informative article?
Money can’t buy love, but apparently it can buy uninformative articles meant purely to stir the proverbial pot. Still, I find it hard to believe that with so many words, he could not have provided any actual information in this article – apparently one of many articles masked in a cloak of “punditry” – that could be considered a contribution.
But given Mushnick’s family history (insert unrelated, cheap shot at a personal struggle somewhere in Mushick’s family history), maybe we’re all stuck with the lack of human decency with which Mushnick has been raised.
On Sunday, October 13th, Mushnick said a lot of hateful things, including passing judgment on a man who just lost his child. He attempted to tell the person how to grieve, brought up every negative thing about the person he could, called him a bad father, and used the term “baby mama” in a condescending, hateful way. But it’s not as if douchebaggery doesn’t now regularly afflict the media world.
Maybe Mushnick is just one more stands-to-reason asshole in the media, just another racist prick, created from a culture of “punditry,” just one more ignorant, myopic voice with a pedestal. Maybe by now, in this age where ignorance is celebrated, if we can’t accept it, we can expect it.