Category Archives: This Ain’t Fair

Want a sad story?

I know, you don’t. But check it out anyway. The Heisman events of late brought to my mind a situation that makes Reggie Bush’s “loss” pretty much laughable.

If you’ve never heard of Fatty Arbuckle, you’re probably not alone. His persona has basically been lost to history for decades. But boy, was he a contenda — until the wheels fell off and he was destroyed by innuendo and sensationalism.

In 1918, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle became the first Hollywood actor to sign a contract for $1 million. His physical grace and athletic abilities despite his huge size were legendary. His contemporaries (Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and a very young Bob Hope, to name a few) admired him. The world was his oyster.

Then he went to a party in San Francisco over Labor Day in 1921. Several hours into the bash, a girl named Virginia Rappe ran screaming from a bedroom in the house. Four days later, she came down with an infection and died. Arbuckle was arrested and arraigned for rape and murder.

The rape was particularly brutal (I won’t go into the details here, but you can research it yourself to learn the nauseating facts), and many figured that the only person with the requisite size and strength to pull it off was Roscoe (his friends never called him “Fatty”). People assumed and figured, concocted and presupposed, and before long, Arbuckle was persona non grata in Hollywood. His career was over. There was just one little issue, however.

He didn’t do it.

He endured not only the scorn of his erstwhile adoring public, but the systematic deconstruction of the career he’d spent years building through touring with burlesque and vaudeville companies. Close friends refused to believe he’d done such a horrible thing, but with the combination of an overly-ambitious prosecutor looking for reelection, and a maniacal publisher (Wm. Randolph Hearst) dying to sell newspapers, Arbuckle was doomed. It was the first time that a major movie star was involved in such a spectacular scandal, and everyone wanted their piece of the action.

It was also the first time in the history of American justice that a jury later issued a formal, written apology. Even though they acquitted Arbuckle (at his THIRD trial) for the crime and set him free, they knew his life was irreparably shattered. In their letter to him and to the public, they said in a desperate plea for people to forgive and forget:

Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle. We feel that a great injustice has been done him … there was not the slightest proof adduced to connect him in any way with the commission of a crime. He was manly throughout the case and told a straightforward story which we all believe. We wish him success and hope that the American people will take the judgment of fourteen men and women that Roscoe Arbuckle is entirely innocent and free from all blame.”

Too bad it didn’t work out that way. He never recovered from the scandal. He died in 1933.

So, it’s no wonder people like Reggie Bush are counting their blessings today, Heisman or no Heisman. It could have been a lot worse.

But hey, let’s end this on a positive note: BOOMR ARRIVES TONIGHT!!!


Fair, shmair

The whole Reggie Bush/Heisman issue: let’s get it over with already. As Don Draper said a couple of weeks ago — “people do things.”

Remember when Vanessa Williams was stripped of her Miss America crown because of racy pictures? No? That’s OK. It’s ancient history, and she went on to have a great career and she’s rich as crap. Nobody talks about it anymore. And so it will go with Reggie Bush “losing” his Heisman Trophy. He’ll go on making great plays for the Saints (dangit), and probably be famous and wealthy the rest of his life. Everyone knows he was the best player out there in 2005. Doesn’t change anything, and it’s not like he was allegedly hiding a huge, terrifying secret, like, oh, murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend in 1994 (good point, Johnny), not to mention following it with a veritable laundry list of successive felonies.

I’m not justifying Bush’s being a stupid kid five years ago and taking money as a college recruit. Pete Carroll should have known better, too. You makes your choices, and you lives with the consequences. I’m saying that in the long run, it doesn’t matter. When you’re successful and the best at what you do, people tend to suffer amnesia. It’s like getting forgiveness, which isn’t altogether a bad thing. Bush and Carroll both go to the pros, and everyone’s happy. There will be other Heisman winners, and the tradition will go on. “Cementing legacies” is bull; it’s the next winner that counts.

Tomorrow, I shall attempt to impress/depress you with a tale from the other side of the table. Imagine having your career ruined by something you didn’t do.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world, I tell ya.

Happy Wingsday — we’re almost there!


What about 2008?

The Chinese women’s gymnastics team from the 2000 Olympic Games was stripped of their bronze medal yesterday, after the IOC confirmed that Dong Fangxiao, pictured here, was not the minimum age of 16 when she competed (she was only 14). The bronze instead went to the USA team.

Yabbut…what about 2008? I yammered on about this very issue, after I watched the Chinese “women” take the gold medal, with the USA coming in second. Click over to that post and look closely at the photo of the Chinese team. If all those girls are 16, I am Mary on a donkey.

This is not to say that the US hasn’t had its share of cheaters in the Olympics. Rather, it is to ponder why the IOC would swiftly rule on a happenstance case (the error wasn’t realized until Fangxiao recently applied to be a team official and listed her birthdate on the paperwork, and someone put two and two together and got 14), and not the more obvious violation of just two years ago? Who knows…maybe they are, and maybe they will act — it’ll just likely take another ten years.

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Just pick one, fuh cripesake

Be passive OR aggressive. Not both. And I’m not talking about the passive-aggressive tendency to be nice to somebody’s face and nasty behind his back. Rather, I mean the kind of passive-aggressive behavior whereby the perp uses juuuust the right turn of phrase to make his point and get his desired response. Here’s a sample PA conversation, between two imaginary roommates:

Jane: Hey, what’s wrong?

Liz: Oh, nothing. We’re just out of eggs; I swear I bought some last week. I was going to make French toast after class tonight, and I went to the fridge and the eggs are all gone. It’s ok. I’ll make something else.

Jane: Oh no! I’m really sorry. I ate the last 2 yesterday and totally forgot to pick up more. I’ll go out and get another dozen right now.

Liz: No, that’s ok. I’ll just have some cereal. It doesn’t matter anyway.

Jane: No really — I feel bad because I didn’t replace the eggs. My brain is Jello. Let me run out and get them real quick. It’ll just take a minute.

Liz: Well, ok. If you want to.

Obviously, Liz’s martyrdom got her what she wanted: the eggs, and emotional control. It’s a head game that borders on abuse, and I try never to play it. But let’s face it: sometimes it gets you what you want. We’ve all likely pulled the trick from time to time. But chronic passive-aggressives are much more dangerous. I divide them into two categories:

1. The Guilter. This one hangs on the cross, but somehow still survives. Picture a mother (usually stereotyped in a certain ethnic light), telling her adult son, “No, don’t bother coming over today to mow my lawn. I will try to do it myself. I’ll just take lots of aspirin before I go outside, and hope that my legs hold up.” Of course, this achieves the desired effect. Son cancels his golf game and mows the lawn. Mom gets what she wants: the reassurance that her son will give up anything for her. It’s a total power play.

Sometimes, when my students are giving me a hard time, I’ll jokingly tell them, “Ok, if you need me, I’ll be outside, lying under my truck wheels.” We all get a laugh and it’s over. But there are those who take that shtick and play it to the nth degree. They are the Grand Manipulators, and you need to either a) confront them about it, or b) run away.

2. The Joker. And yes, I do mean the character from Batman. All laughs and funny ha-ha on the surface, but hiding a vicious secret. These people take pleasure in ambiguous humor, designed to make you doubt yourself. Have you ever endured somebody teasing you — or making general observations about something you’ve said or done — in what appears to be a playful manner, but you get a creepy feeling that the little jabs thrown out in jest are actually serious, veiled insults? If you have, you’ve been Jokered.

The Joker attempts to cover his own screaming insecurity and feelings of mediocrity by chipping away at the self-esteem of others. I urge you to call him on it.

And that’s all I have to say today. My mood matches this dreary weather. Ick.

Fink out.

See, this is what I mean.

A cop in Los Angeles was recently convicted of staging fake raids of people’s houses. He’d go in, brandish his badge and gun, and “raid” the house for contraband. What he ended up doing was basically robbing people.

What did he get for doing this 40 times?

102 years. That’s one hundred two years. In jail. They’re calling it a form of armed robbery. Ok, I get the charge. I can see spending time in jail for it, too. It was a rotten, horrible stunt to pull on innocent people, scaring them to death and all. But here’s the thing…

Nobody died. Nobody was even physically injured. That doesn’t make what he did right – I’ll give you that and a cookie. So what’s my point?

Ray Lewis is my point.

Ray, who made millions, got in trouble with the law, made a few more millions, killed somebody, and then made some more millions. Oh, did I mention he killed somebody? And did I also mention his jail term?

Oh wait…he didn’t get a jail term. Where’s the justice here? A cop gets 100 years for playing SWAT commando, and Ray gets nothing for killing a guy? (You may refer to a previous rant on this subject, if you’re so inclined.)

I know, I know. It’s all about corroborating evidence. That still doesn’t make it right. Sometimes our justice system backfires, and criminals go free. Yeah, I know all that. But it depends on your definition of “sometimes.” I think “sometimes” translates to “too friggin’ often” — especially where professional athletes are concerned.

So says I.

Fink out.

PS – Here’s the original article about the ex-cop who will never see his family again.

Have I mentioned that this country’s going straight to the devil?