Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fight at Bradley Tech

It was not the worst thing I have ever seen, but it was completely unacceptable. Some period of exclusion of Tech and Bay View students from attending basketball games seems like a measured response. I do not know that Mayor Barrett's call for students at these schools to be banned from games for the remainder of the season is appropriate or that there is a need to talk about cancelling the remainder of the season.

What I do wonder about is what is behind the increasing trend toward violence at City Conference games. We all know that enthusiastic post-game celebrations can cause injury. It happened in Madison following a win over Michigan in 1993. But this wasn't just an overly raucous celebration, it was a fight.

Kids lose their heads, but I just don't recall reading about things like this in years' past. I am not given over to a crotchedy "kids today" rant, because, if kids today aren't what they used to be, we need to ask ourselves how they failed to learn to behave like they should.

I think part of what is going on here is our culture's celebration of self-expression and an overweening attention to whether one is being properly respected. I am reading an interesting book by anthropologist Peter Wood called A Bee In the Mouth: Anger In America Now. Wood's thesis is that, while anger and incivility has been with us always, it was formerly seen as something that ought to restrained and its indulgence, even if understandable, was something that ought to be excused.

Today, he argues, anger is more often seen as an expression of one's authenticity, i.e., as a thing we should get in touch with and which may say something valuable about us and about whatever makes us angry. He traces this development in our politics (see, e.g, blog posts that make no little or no substantive points other than the abuse of a target), but roots it in our larger culture.

The Bay View kids (or, more accurately, enough of them to have started major trouble) saw Tech's celebration as "disrespect" and something that their own sense of self-esteem and warped version of "honor" could not let pass. These kids didn't learn that on their own.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I counted at least half a dozen examples given as evidence for Plaisted's arguments. How much is substantive enough?

Rick Esenberg said...

I don't see it that way. Most of it was given over to how she has lost her marbles, is a bad writer, raises her voice in a way that he doesn't like, is a wing-nut, etc.. There was no attempt to engage any point that she may have made. He says other people bested her on Hugo Chavez. Why? What was she even saying about Chavez? All I know from reading that post is that he doesn't like Jessica McBride and that he thinks "wing-nuts" are stupid.

Maybe it was unfair to pick on Plaisted, but his post seemed unusually personal. I don't always agree with Jessicia McBride but she is neither crazy nor stupid.

My side does it too. Hell, I'm sure if you were sentenced to having to read through the 800 posts on Shark and Shepherd, you might even find an example here.

Peter said...

I think part of what is going on here is our culture's celebration of self-expression and an overweening attention to whether one is being properly respected.

Combine the child-centered enviroment most kids exist in (as opposed to others-centered) and the hip-hop urban culture in which respect is owed, not earned ... dangerous combination.

Dad29 said...

You overanalyze.

The riot was a reaction to Simon Cowell.