When Did Being Wrong Become The Worst Thing Ever?
I am wrong… often. This is not a hard thing for me to admit. It comes with the territory of being a guy that has to produce off the cuff remarks from anywhere between two to four hours while getting recorded. However, I am always sincere in what I say. I do not drum up excitement. What you hear and see from me (and read in these posts) is exactly what is going through my mind. I happen to be a carbon-based life form that requires food and water to live. In other words. I am human. I am wrong… often (this is where every friend, family member, and former girlfriend is vigorously nodding their head). Just because some of the things I say and do are wrong does not make me a bad person, it just makes me human. But many people today are walking around thinking they are infallible, or are petrified of being wrong. It is ok to be wrong. It is human. But do not be insincere. Insincerity is a plague.
This rant–and oh yeah, I know it is a rant–is the result of my last article. I called Samer Kalaf of Deadspin a hack for a post about the Patriots signing Rex Burkhead where he clearly implied it was due to Burkhead’s skin color and not his playing abilities. His post was racist. Clear as day. Blatantly so for all of the people that read the article and commented on it. Samer sent me an e-mail in response to my post (I will share only the smallest portions, otherwise I would have to write 3,000 words).
*video of Samer Kalaf at his keyboard*
His biggest qualm about my article was not me calling him a hack (because that was apparently irrefutable due to the bevy of evidence against him), but me saying Rex Burkhead is better than Brandon Bolden. A long and mostly pathetic e-mail conversation ensued. Me using stats and points like “Rex Burkhead is coming off of his best game in his best season and Brandon Bolden has not been a useful offensive player since 2013” versus him saying things like, “Dak Prescott’s a much better player than Tony Romo when looking at recent history, too.” Well friggin’ Duh! That is the whole point. If this was not true, the Cowboys would be trying to ship Prescott, not Romo. If you, as a supposed sports blogger, do not understand how player evaluations and prognostication works then there is no hope for you.
What prompted this most recent rant though is when he doubled down on a statement that, when I first read it, I almost chocked to death because I did a two-minute spit-take and did not have any water. He claimed I was wrong for thinking his post implied the Patriots signed Burkhead for melanin content and instead was “a joke about the Patriots signing a small running back from Nebraska who fits the Danny Woodhead mold so perfectly that his last name even rhymes with his predecessor’s.”
First off, this is lazy. His “post” was just a screenshot with literally nothing else to it. If this was a joke, his massive laziness to not even write ANYTHING doomed him. Secondly though, and most importantly, claiming this was the intent of his post is insulting to his audience and reeks of insincerity.
It is insulting to anybody that has followed Deadspin/Gawker and their treatment of the Patriots (“Take pride, Boston… You ace every category of Bad Fandom: self-pity, racism, arrogance, whininess, racism, entitlement, paranoia, racism, defensiveness,” and oh yeah, the article Samer was cribbing from from seven years ago). Journalist Note: The only reason I am pulling from private communique is because I find insincerity to be a plague and want to abolish it, and everything I am writing here I wrote to him and will say/write to anybody. I want my readers (the paltry amount that there are) to be honest people. You can be wrong. You are HUMAN. However, be sincere. Do not go around claiming moral superiority when it is not deserved.
When you do that, you believe yourself to be beyond critique because you are always morally right and you end up looking like a fool; as in when someone calls you out for writing a blatantly implicitly racist post and you battle that claim by implying that other writer is the racist, without any evidence. And then when the other writer provides actual statistics backing his claim, you triple down–Debate Point: arguing on moral grounds is always more effective than arguing on a factual, statistic based platform, but I thought Samer wanted an analytical response, not a moral one–my fault. It still does not speak to the issue at hand; either the post was so bad that nobody got the “joke” or it was exactly what everyone thought it was and he was implying the Patriots just wanted the white guy.
Insincerity Stops You From Being Better
We live in an age of trolling, click-bait, and insincerity. Trolling is a fact of life in 2017 and by definition is insincerity at its worst. Insincerity is part of today’s culture. However, it does not mean you are given a free pass when engaging in such. Because I am someone who is regularly wrong, I have grown accustomed to issuing mea culpas. Here is the dirty and beautiful secret of saying “I’m sorry;” if you mean it, there is nothing better. You can be in a shoot ’em up, slug it out type argument with somebody and if you say “I’m sorry,” and mean it, it quells the situation. Saying, “I’m wrong, I’m sorry,” is a salve to almost any situation when done sincerely.
However, somewhere along the line being wrong became the worst thing ever. Being wrong is fantastic. The glory of being human is that you are expected to be wrong. That pretty much comes with the territory. Trying and failing is awesome. You fail, you learn, you get better. The best players constantly remember the things they did wrong and have fleeting memories of their greatest successes. This is no coincidence. Being wrong enables people to fix errors and be better. “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Be divine. Forgive yourself for being wrong. And when you do it, be sincere… otherwise you are just a hack.