Friday, January 18, 2013
Manti And Today's Culture
I’ve been watching and reading about Manti Te’o for the last two days. It’s a real fascinating story. It has so many elements of what I feel is wrong with our current culture. There are a lot of situations with this same kind of vibe to them going on but we usually don’t get a chance to break them down the way you can with Manti’s dilemma. The best part about it is that you can talk about it and even joke about it because no one has really been hurt in this. Since the girl doesn’t exist you can’t disrespect her family. No one around Te’o set up a fundraising event for cancer so there’s been no real fraud. Unless something changes this story is entertaining and harmless but there are some things that should alarm everybody.
I’ve known people personally who have fell in love with someone online that they haven’t met in person. It’s one of the elements of our society with so much technology. I can talk to everyone in my life without ever picking up the phone or leaving my house if I chose to. It was inevitable when the Internet became accessible as it now that people would be meeting that way. Besides, there’s a dating site for just about ever demographic you can think of. I’m not questioning that part of his story. The part that I will question is how in 2012 he wouldn’t at least have a camera phone or Instagram picture of the lady. There are people who take so many pictures during the day that you wonder what kind of cell phone batteries they have. I know Manti is Mormon and is a little slow socially but that’s ridiculous.
Personally, if I was in love with someone but I never saw her and couldn’t at least describe her I probably would have kept that relationship to myself. That way I could protect myself just in case things didn’t work out. Manti chose to go on a promotional tour highlighting his strength and perseverance to play through the pain of losing her and his grandmother on the same day as if his grandmother wasn’t enough lost on her own. It doesn’t matter if he was duped or not. It’s his fault for trying to milk the story for everything he good. He took that story and embellished it in an effort to transcend football and it worked well enough to place second in the Heisman trophy balloting. It seems like we can’t have a nice story and move on. We had to take him playing through grief and turn it into him damn near walking on water. Anyone can make themselves a national figure if they go over the top with their story enough. This is how Donald Trump became a legitimate voice in the presidential election.
That brings me to the most troubling part of this entire thing. How did a football player at one of the most famous schools in the country manage to go this long with a story that got attention from national media without anyone checking the facts long before this? It’s not like an on campus blogger blew the story up and it became viral. This story was blown up by major news corporations. These are some of the same news corporations we depend on for information about the policies and issues that are shaping our world. It makes you wonder how many people are walking around misinformed but don’t think they are misinformed because they got their information from the six o clock news. Maybe Manti Te’o’s story is basically harmless but we just had an election cycle with so many lies and negativity that I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on. We are all just going on what we want to believe based on our personal beliefs. In the same way Te’o wanted that young lady to be a real person we want to believe that the things we are told by media and our leaders is honest. We may all be getting “catfished” right now.