Gulliver Travels the Internet

January17/ 2000

 Jonathan Swift was a master of literary satire.  His hero Lemuel Gulliver encountered every manner of 18th century social silliness in his “travels”.  One can imagine how Gulliver would have dealt with our little friends in the Internet chat rooms. Enthusiastic loonies with too much time on their hands and increasingly little knowledge of an ever-increasing range of subjects.  Ignorance directly proportional to Enthusiasm. The less one knows the louder one proclaims it.

   We regularly warn normal folks about entering these “fan forums” once described as “Charles Darwin’s Waiting Rooms”.  Declaring oneself as a “fan” of a particular team is simpler than registering to vote in San Francisco, Chicago, and Harlem … alls you have to do is recognize a (D) after a candidate’s name …  in the former, you buy a team cap at Wal-Mart and immediately know more than any coach or administrator.

   As I say in our ALIVE shows … spend 10 minutes on any fan chat board and you verify a precept you have long considered … you actually ARE smarter than a significant # of people.  However, if you stay longer than 10 minutes, you risk morphing into one of those people that 11 minutes earlier, you were smarter than…  One post to try and “straighten out those knuckleheads” can be addictive.  

   The reality is that a high % of participants in these forums are well under The Age of Reason.  “The Age of Reason” varies.  Former Duke QB, Leo Hart, and I were into this subject recently.  The closest thing to God-like omnipotence that either Leo or I could recall was “Coach Jones” when we were in High School.  “Coach Jones”, at that time was 31.  Leo and I are both well beyond 31 now and marvel daily at our combined ignorance.  That we have fooled enough folks along life’s way to attain “success” is a tribute to smoke and mirrors .  How much “Coach Jones” must not have known back then is frightening to ponder.

   At 31, “Coach Jones” would be a very elder statesman among the abundant “fuzzy cheeks” in these chat rooms.  Even if you measured everyone in “dog years” the average age is around 20 in most cases.  Leo’s and my good buddy, Duke Buck, claims he was at his intellectual zenith at around 5 and it’s been downhill ever since.  The Statler Brothers crooned “life gets complicated when you get past 18 …”.  

   One can extend one’s freedom from accountability for one’s ignorance by “going to college” .  The era of personal “know-it-all-ness” can carry into ones mid-20s. Ignorance is blissful … it begins to get expensive, painful, and downright embarrassing from then on.

   From one’s mid 20s up to late 40s is the “Bluff’em and BS’em” period.  Around 50-ish a sense of self-deprecating humor sets in if there’s any chance of ever developing such.  Ignorance is a vampire. Humility and Humor are the only stakes that can pierce its black heart. 

   So … these fan forums churn and burn with “obvious solutions” to any circumstance one can imagine.  Want to change UNC’s Football Culture? … Want to turn NCSU into America’s #1 Football Dynasty? … Want to shoot a certain jackass sportswriter? … Want to program a sports talk radio station? … just about any sports related issue has “obvious solutions” aplenty on these sites.  The discussions of the financial aspects of College Sports are a favorite of mine.

   UNC’s athletic budget is in excess of $30,000,000.  That’s a lot of money unless you are Philip Rivers’ agent or P Diddy’s jeweler. Apparently UNC’s Athletic Administrators (and NCSU’s too for that matter) are clueless how to manage such a hydra-headed beast.  But God in His infinite wisdom instilled the answers in a 17 y/o named “FanFullOfHooey”” in a modular housing park outside of LaGrange.  What little he doesn’t know … a 20 y/o named “CarolinaStud” on the 5th floor of Craige Dorm can handle.  “CarolinaStud’s” credentials include once seeing someone who looked like Scott May buy a Baby Ruth at the Eckerd’s at University Mall.  “FanFull..” is intimidated by that but tries not to show it. He resorts to ALL CAPS and those cussing symbols.

   “PackAPunch” on the 3rd floor of Bragaw Dorm is the red-bloodied equivalent of “C-Stud”.

   Alan Greenspan yields to such financial omniscience.  These “experts” critique and criticize EVERY move that their school’s athletic officials make regardless of the school or the nature of the decision … ticket design … marketing campaign … uniform design … kick-off times … dates of Fan Day … concession prices … concrete/asphalt paving … font size in media guides … verb tenses in press releases … et al.  Imagine an IBM stockholders meeting and everyone with at least one share gets a megaphone and 30 seconds to straighten out those idiots ruining the company.      

   The most mundane of issues can be catapulted into the most complex conspiracy within 3 posts.  A recent discussion of “scheduling Meet The Heels day” spent one post on the launch pad before it completely left Earth’s atmosphere for a distant cosmos.  As each game’s kick-off time is announced these knuckleheaded know-it-alls race each other like goggle-eyed rats through a conspiratorial labyrinth.  The first loonie to link the Louisville game time decision to one of Nostradamus’ quatrains wins a mousepad from

   As these dyslexic chimps scurry about to and fro … notice that their obvious solutions for any financial shortfall issues are ALWAYS the same regardless of school of choice … “Those damn Fat Cats just have to ante up more … but they better not expect their $$$ to translate into “influence” since … of course … Fat Cats “don’t care about winning” as much, nor see the world as clearly, as a 17 y/o boy in a modular housing park in LaGrange. 

Oh to be 17 again … and living in LaGrange.


Swagger’s Stumper

Who was the first mate on The Pequod?


   Veronica Hamel took her bubble baths in the final scenes of Hill Street Blues.  A choice of Veronica Hamel and Suzanne Somers versus Britany Spears and Paris Hilton.  I don’t think BobLee’s readers even need to vote on this one … it better be unanimous or you are banned from this site forever!

   Remember The Mendoza Line … I did speak to George Brett.  He did NOT claim authorship; but was emphatic that “that tub of lard Chris Berman did NOT come up with it”. 

   Our “Derrick Johnson’s tackle” column landed on an ECU Pirate fan board.  300+ views and no death threats yet so it must have passed muster.

   Ol’ Roy has just signed his Nick Collison to go with his earlier Kurt Heinrich.  Ol’ Roy has Carolina Basketball under control.  Rest easy.  Apparently and had a major trainwreck over this one.  When Ol Roy gets back from Greece he’s gonna be kickin’ some website butts Big Time.

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