Euphemistic Objectification … Keep It to Yourself

Some words should never be used “euphemistically.” Maybe you think your chosen description better than what you would really like to say. Use some sage advice, “Just don’t say it.” I know, I know, we all do it. But, that is just the argument that led to this post.

Like any large metro area we have sports talk radio. We may have two channels in the OKC metro. I do not listen often. For some odd reason the CD/Radio player in my truck resets after turning the truck off. Likely a couple of teenagers wired it up before I got it. (A fact I believe may be true. Nice teenagers, just not installers.) When I turn the radio on it turns to 98.1 – The  Sports Animal. Yesterday after lunch I headed back to the office from the house and on came The Animal. It was a late lunch and so Sam Mayes was hosting the “Middle of the Day Show.”

Sam reported on the recruitment of Jamarkus McFarland as told in a New York Times article. I saw the recruit’s reported flip in The Oklahoman a couple of weeks ago. Good for the University of Oklahoma, not so much for the University of Texas. (Nice win last night, though.) What surprised me was Mayes rhetoric regarding Jamarkus and his mother. Now I am no prude. I understand shock and provocation. After all who has not heard of Howard Stern and Don Imus. I also get that it helps ratings. But, to make brash statements about a young man you do not know and then describe his mother as a nazi is a level I did not think even an Oklahoma State Cowboy would stoop.

Quibble with the boy’s decision. Declare that you would not have “outed” Texas. State that you would have counseled your child differently. Not so much for the host. Mayes made it sound as if McFarland denied other schools offered parties. The fact is, the article states the opposite. But, for Mayes the crime was McFarland writing a paper at his school on the event of his recruitment. He should have been like Billy Badgema. One of the finest people Mayes has ever met. Stay in your hotel room. You know what is going to happen. If it bothers you stay home.

Yes, McFarland did know. He had seen it at each recruiting visit. McFarland simply had not seen the level or degree witnessed after the Oct. 11 OU-UT mash-up in the Cotton Bowl. So the idea that McFarland in the wake of some kind of teenage naivete got his Lufkin, Texas eyes popped by the incident resulted not from lack of expectation or experience but degree. Read Chap Clark’s Hurt and you may learn some sociological realities related to youth culture today. McFarland would not be a naive teenager unless he had been kept in a maternal bubble.

More than that, Mayes sugggested the son’s position must have resulted from the restrictive influence of his mother. In the final analysis for Mayes, “everyone’s doing it.” Well, there, that is it. What every person tells their child, “Son, Daugher, go do it because everyone else is.” Don’t mind that it may be illegal. Don’t concern yourself with consequences. Big Red and Rhett Bomar anyone? After all everyone is doing it. Pushing it further, Mayes suggested a D1 recruit like McFarland is taking trips because his eyes are on the NFL. And we conclude from that, everyone is doing it there. So, that is it, everyone is doing it. Nice.

The reality, not everyone is doing it. Whatever “it” may be. Many may. Most may. Not everyone is. Mayes would strike such a young man from his recruting list for such an infraction. Glad Mayes is not recruiting for anyone. Some things run deeper than “everyone one is doing it.” What would be closer to reality is that everyone who finds someone with whom they disagree they objectify, villify.

The incident points to our cultural proclivity to objectify people. That is, if we can claim a mother to be a nazi, then we can summarily dismiss her opinion and influence on her child. We do not need to get to know her or her son. People are not objects despite the objectification rampant in our culture. People are subjects. They are more than a New York Times article. They are more than a radio host’s silly musings. They are more than where they will attend school and more than what city they may eventually paly profession sports in. People are subjects to get to know not objects to demean.

Let’s do better than that. If we can’t, let’s keep it to ourselves.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

8 comments on “Euphemistic Objectification … Keep It to Yourself

  1. David Phillips says:


    Interesting, what you are describing, calling the mother a nazi, is a result of the liberal policies and multiculturalism that grew from 60’s & 70’s. Since we cannot have rational dialog, discussion and debate, we use politics (think power) to control people.

  2. Todd Littleton says:


    What’s worse is, when we denigrate another person with these horrific historical allusions in our euphemisms we do violence to another person. And, yes, it is a power issue.

  3. Casey says:

    Someday you guys will wake up and realize this whole story was a fabrication concocted by a jilted player and his equally jilted mother. When people like that run to major national newspapers and make up fairytales, they deserve to be butchered on talk radio. They deserve whatever they get. So many people have come forward to dispute pretty much everything in that article (including 3 of Jamarkus’s friends, his high school coach, and his own uncle), that it is very quickly unraveling, and once UT is allowed to officially comment on McFarland’s recruitment, there may very well be a lawsuit slapped on the McFarlands and the New York Times. This is far from over.

  4. Todd Littleton says:


    Glad you weighed in. Regardless of the veracity of the story, the cultural penchant to objectify someone with whom we disagree is a malady of huge proportions.

    For example, we do not know each other. You make some assumptions in your comment. You think I am asleep. You think it permissible and deserved to vilify a person over the air and be butchered on talk radio. You imply a radio host ought to berate and belittle as a matter of public accountability – without knowing the young man whether it be proved what he did was concocted or not.

    I could assume you either like Sam Mayes, are and OSU fan or a UT fan. In those cases, I could play by your same rules and suggest your opinion flawed by friendship, blinded by loyalty, or only have eyes for Texas. None of these are likely true. I would be wrong to then consider you anything categorically that would make you less a person.

    If you get that, then you get the point of my post. Frankly, I am an OU fan. I rarely watch the recruiting game. I am an infrequent listener to sports talk radio, any talk radio for that matter. I simply think we have a cultural habit of making wild claims about someone without knowing really anything about them , i.e. a radio host referring to a mother as a “nazi.” Doing so reduces people to objects for our praise or vilification rather than subjects to be known and honored.

    Now, I heard the alarm and think it time I wake from my sleep.

  5. Seems to me that Casey just demonstrated your point.

  6. John Stobbe says:

    I agree with your critique entirely, except….

    To what level would an Oklahoma State Cowboy stoop? (Obviously you don’t think we would call someone’s mother a “nazi”). 🙂

  7. Todd Littleton says:

    Hello John,

    I find it hard to believe it took this long for an OSU fan to pick that up. 🙂

    Well, I would assume if you did call someone’s mother a “nazi,” you would have a thorough knowledge of her inherent evil and desire to dehumanize other ethnicities for the sake of power and control. Otherwise, you would likely just call her something like … a Sooner …

  8. John Stobbe says:

    Good talking to you. Enjoy tonight.

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