Friday, January 29, 2010

When Smart People Write Stupidly

Paul Shirley, alleged ex-NBAer, has been asked to sever his ties with ESPN due to his less than empathetic remarks regarding the tragedy in Haiti.  He argues, afterward, that his comments were taken out of context. A sad followup.

When he was still warming a bench in the NBA, his blogging was highly entertianing because he was following the main rule of writing, Write what you know about.

His Haitian screed was a self-immolating act of the highest order and an unfortunate end to his ties with ESPN and ready access to his take on the sporting life.  Was/Is Haiti a truly horribly mis-governed mis-managed country?  No question about that.  Are its citizens to blame for the state of affairs BEFORE the earthquake?  That's a thorny question addressed by many more qualified people than Mr. Shirley or myself.   Shirley's untimely and poorly thought out article will forever tie him with Pat Robertson, not the brightest bulb in God's Kingdom.

What surprised me the most about Shirley's comments was the lack of empathy he had for people who were/are so recently victims of things beyond their control. As a perennial bench-warmer, I would have thought he'd know when is the time to commisserate and assist and when is the time to criticize and pontificate.

The most worrisome part of this entire episode is reading the comments (1,637 and counting) to his intial and his followup postings.  While a lot of acts gave him a hard time, a disturbing number of folks showered praise. I can't even begin to write about that without bile and vitriol spewing out.

In reaction to Paul Shirley here's some folks doing the necessary deeds. Provide them the opportunity to help the victims in Haiti. Lecturing can start in a few months; let the healing continue for now.

Here.
Here.
or Here.

Wondering as to the most effective choices to be made? Here's a place to start.

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Comments:
What is it about disasters like Haiti that gives people the idea it's time to demonstrate, and elicit, such staggering moral and emotional retardation? Did this guy sound off as brilliantly on the topic of New Orleans, as well? Ugh. Words fail me.
 
More: The Haiti Haters
 
WP, Thanks for the great link. I'd label all this negativism as "Dumb and Dumber", but that expression connotes some lack of mental ability. Brooks (GEEZZ!??!?) and Shirley are not in the "Lacking" column. Who says empathy and intelligence go hand in hand....
 
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