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.