This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations or presbytery I serve.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gabrielle Douglas.

            Frankly, I haven’t been following the Olympics much.  But some things are impossible not to know about because they break into the public consciousness so forcefully that even I hear about them.  Gabrielle Douglas is a 16-year-old American gymnast who has apparently won some significant medals.  This makes her a star of sorts and so she becomes a target of the scrutiny of the pathological American media.
            It’s not enough that she won some medals doing something that is so far from possible for the rest of us as to be practically miraculous.  Now she has to bear the freight of all our hopes, dreams, and fears, which we for some reason feel we have the right to transfer onto her.
            In her interviews with the media, Gabby has indicated that she is a Christian.  I am a Christian too.  I don’t have any problem with her saying whatever she wants (as long as it’s not hate speech.  But then there are people out there who believe that unless you are agreeing with them it is hate-speech).  She could have attributed her success to Buddha or Allah, and I would still have supported her right to say that.  (I wonder how that would have been received?  To what hysterical fulminations from the right would we have to be subject in that case?) 
            I haven’t heard anyone complain about her expressing her Christian religious commitments.  However, some in the media apparently have to invent the lie that “liberals” are offended and complaining about this.  I haven’t heard any such thing, and I am about as well-connected into progressive sources as anyone.  So it is in the interest of some conservatives to actually concoct a controversy where none exists.  They assume, based on their own ignorant prejudice, that “liberals hate Christians” (which isn’t even remotely accurate given how many liberal Christians I have known in my life).  Then they assume that the “liberal media” (another fantasy) has expressed this hatred towards Gabby’s display of faith.  And report this as fact.  The theological term for this sort of thing is “bearing false witness against your neighbor.”
            Then there is the idiotic whining about, well, her hair.  I’m serious.  Gabby is African-American.  She has very curly African hair.  And she chose to fix that hair in tight barrettes so that it was directed straight to the back of her head where it was tied.  I imagine that someone flying around parallel bars and such would want their hair out of the way.  But how she chooses to fix her hair is her own damn business.  It is not a cultural statement reflecting her perception of her own heritage or anything like that.  If how Gabby fixes her hair offends anyone then they need to turn off the TV and get a life.
            Finally, the Sadducees at FoxNews have apparently decreed that it is a scandal that she did not have an American flag on her gymnastic leotard.  Because there isn’t enough nationalism associated with the Olympics?  It’s not enough that, after winning, she paraded around the arena draped in a flag?  What’s next, a demand to see her real birth-certificate? 
            Leave the young woman alone, already!  She has a spectacular gift from God and chooses to attribute it as such.  Where’s the problem?  And she should not have to wear her hair or her leotard, or anything else, to suit anyone but herself.  And I certainly hope she’s not listening to any of this idiotic crap going on around her, but concentrates on what she is gifted to do.  This whole irrelevant kerfuffle about her is embarrassing and shameful.  It is yet another indication that our culture is sick.

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