I should leave this one alone. I would have were it not for the morning anchors on our local CBS affiliate, News9. Reading the Wall Street Journal with the news playing in the background this morning I heard one of the anchors describe Al Musburger’s latent adolescence as cute. I became incredulous. Cute?!
My Dad and Musburger are the same age. I cannot imagine under what conditions my Dad would howl at a young woman younger than his granddaughters. That is not to say my Dad would not appreciate beauty. But, under no circumstances would he or has he ever stopped me to say, “Hey Todd, look at that young lady.” Not in my almost fifty years. Here are two samples of responses from my friends, roughly my age, on Facebook,
Marty Duren on Facebook,
Monday, January 7 at 8:06pm (11 hours ago) near Hermitage, TN
Somebody in the truck needs to get Musberger a drool cup. Good grief.
Greg Horton on Facebook,
Monday, January 7 at 8:06pm (11 hours ago) near Oklahoma City
Announcers rightly bored with game, now objectifying female spectators.
Marty and Greg offer reasons not to blame Musburger. First, let’s blame the camera men. Had they not been panning the crowd maybe Musburger would have never noticed A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend. Those in the truck could have easily offered shots of the mascots. Other games have featured commentators offering thoughts on family, even the wives of some players. None. None. Offered a suggestion to young boys as to how to capture Miss Alabama. “Get out and start throwing the football.” Second, we should blame the teams. Alabama played too well. Notre Dame, well, did not. The game was over in the first quarter. Not unlike our ability to call the OU game early in the 3rd Quarter of the Cotton Bowl. It was a yawner. My friend David Philips, an avid ‘Bama fan, updated his Facebook status keeping track of how out of balance the Tide’s scoring was. He wanted an even number of rushing touchdowns to passing touchdowns. Yes, the game got boring.
Know that Marty and Greg would never blame someone other than Musburger. But, our tendencies are to ignore responsibility. Their comments were not subversive allusions to Musburger’s innocence. Which leads me to cute.
When the morning anchor described the incident as cute, I immediately thought, “I need a new morning news show.” The sophomoric charade intended to entertain the early morning viewer reached an odd level. Musburger’s outburst may well be a Zizekian irruption of the real, it is not cute. One of those moments that pierces our otherwise managed impulses to reveal this is a man’s world and women are for our benefit. No, that is not how I think the world should be, but this may well reveal the as is structure that, in its throws of death, irrupts to remind us there is still work to do.
Many in my line of work talk much about worldview and having the correct one. But, few I have read get to this level. The arrangement described by some leaves the as is structure in tact only to dress it up and manage it so fewer irruptions betray the vocal aim. After all septuagenarians behaving adolescent is cute.
I am reminded of the sociological work, Guyland. The author argues female identity in our culture is cheapened as it flows through the male. If you have daughters, I would give it a read. I learned about the book several years go via Joe Thorn. Some will point to the Bible as source material to justify just such a move – that is, female identity formation is derivative through the male. The problem is what male, which male? The thinking surely follows that good Bible believing people cannot allow the neo-Freudian feminists any room to point out the way in which our culture, even in our churches, views childhood development has been deeply scarred by male only control groups out of which Freud drew his conclusions. If we really want to turn to the Sacred Text, we still must work through the Apostle Paul’s summary in Galatians 3 without the lens that explains away identity implications as he writes, “there is neither male nor female,” our identity is formed in our understanding of the Imago Dei. It is silly to think such work results in androgyny. That is sheer pandering.
Maybe we should not be so quick to poo poo the philosophical move intent to open up the subject rather than lock it down as an object. Of course it is easier to objectify a subject. We set the parameters for the object and then exclude all other possibilities. The young lady may possess beauty but if that is all we see the reaction is sure titillation. But, when the subject is not objectified an expanse is opened up to remind us the world is also seen through her eyes and not just our eyes only. It is not unlike Eugene Peterson’s description of his affection for the Scriptures. In his series, Eat This Book, he offers an analogy. After fifty years of marriage he knew his wife better than he ever knew his wife. And, after fifty years of marriage he did not know his wife any better. Peterson considers the Scriptures a vast subject and not an object to lock down. Surely you see some important implications.
Blaming Musburger comes with a price. We must also assume responsibility for creating the ongoing atmosphere where little boys will be told to throw footballs in the yard with their dads in hopes of landing a beauty. So, maybe we should do what is easier to do. Let’s leave the as is in tact and blame the girl. After all, were she not so beautiful, Musburger might have gone on about McCarron’s mother.