I think it’s a fair statement to say that most success in life can be found in stating the obvious. That’s why the Kevin Costner character Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham taught the rookie pitcher how to spout cliches during interviews in the “bigs.”
Cliches work because they don’t ask people to think too much. Frankly, some athletes don’t have that much to say about life anyway. They’re physical superstars with immense focus on their sport, but that’s their genius. You hit the ball, you throw the ball, you catch the ball…It’s a simple game.
But not all athletes sit around and spout cliches. I had the opportunity to meet and speak at length with triathlete Sarah True while in training camp in Tucson this past February. She is an articulate advocate for her sport but also a great spokesperson for mental health and women’s equality.
Women who don’t confine their statements to cliches approved by men or who refuse to “stay in their place” are frequent subjects of aggressive misogyny by people (of all genders) threatened by their intelligence and bravery. Insecure people hate having their own stubborn ideology or ignorance challenged.
Look at the reaction toward toward AOC (Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez) a woman who’s both articulate and unafraid to speak her mind about a clearly corrupt status quo that covets power…and that includes keeping women “in line.”
Quite predictably it is the Fox News network that most maligns AOC. There’s no irony in that fact because Fox is best known for its repeated sexual harassment scandals. True to form, Fox seems convinced that all it will take to silence AOC is to browbeat her and shove her back in place like an abused wife. That strategy has failed Fox time and again, but abusers don’t easily change their ways.
The same holds true for the Fox News approach to “news,” which is much like the paint job on this car…
Red State believers love this approach to news because it “states the truth.” That’s exactly how Donald Trump came to be President as well. He says things that are “obvious” to those who badly want to believe them. This is better known as cognitive dissonance. It’s how America has fallen prey to statements such as “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” That’s the same thing as painting a car door with the word RED and expecting everyone to buy into the joke.
Except that brand of suspended disbelief is not a joke. It is clear that many people can no longer separate fact from fiction.
Black hole of reality
Which brings us to the stunning picture of a Black Hole recently produced and distributed by a team of more than 200 scientists using technical equipment around the globe. These scientists captured an image that confirms gravitational theory dating back to Albert Einstein. This is important because the ability to mathematically predict an actual occurrence is an important foundation of science. That has significance to other branches of science that engage in theoretical predictions. The actual image of a black hole says “We were right all along.”
Since they were first proposed, black holes have become the cliche for anything that disappears without a trace. Yet that usage term in some ways diminished its true significance. The actual size of the black hole and its distance from earth are together so immense in proportion that most people cannot grasp the scope or scale.
That means some will inevitably deny its reality. That is the habit of people determined to confine reality to things they choose to understand. There are people who actively deny the fact that human beings have stood on the moon. There are people who are convinced that the earth is flat, not round. Fully 30% (or more) of Americans abide by a biblically literal belief that the earth was created in six 24-hour days and that a single man and his family ushered all the kinds of animals in the world into an ark to save them from a worldwide flood deep enough to cover Mt. Everest.
The point here is that some people refuse to recognize truth in any form. They prefer instead to concoct a version of truth that makes sense to them. That’s why conspiracy theories thrive in this world. One popular claim is that the real Paul McCartney of The Beatles died in a car crash back in 1966 and that a lookalike Paul (Faul) was quickly recruited and integrated with the band so that Beatlemania could continue uninterrupted.
All this selective reasoning makes me appreciate there are people like Sarah True in this world. Her honesty about her own journey through depression during some of her peak years of athletic performing is both refreshing and challenging. And having met her in person, I can testify to the fact that she is as direct and honest in real life as the magazines and interviews tell us. As a result, I’m a True believer. I admire the woman.
Like the real Paul McCartney, she seems to grasp that her fame and accomplishments are a gift that come with a responsibility to be honest and open as possible. That’s called being a good person. There are many like her in the world. Yet they have to fight so hard to be heard at times one could swear all that goodness is being sucked into a black hole.