Alta Tensione!

by Categorized: Colin's Theories of Culture, sports Date:

altaYou know what the Courant should do to John Altavilla?  Basically nothing.*

And I don’t say this as his chum. I worked onsite at the Courant for 20 years, but that was, um, 20 years ago. I’m not in the building now. I don’t know him.

And is it great that he informed the world about the way the skimpily dressed Texas cheerleaders delighted him? No. It is not great. But neither is it dastardly. Just kind of bad judgment. The Altavilla story, which has been sitting out there as the center lead at Ct Capital Report for half a day now, is more a story about the world of online Pecksniffs who have never outgrown the habit of telling the teacher what the other boys were doing. Thus we have somebody named Andy Hutchins who, were he a different person, could easily have confronted Altavilla, at least on Twitter, and suggested he tone it down. This is what big boys do. You got a problem with somebody? Tell him. He might even thank you for the nudge. If he won’t straighten out, see the light, take the hint, maybe you go upstairs at that point. But Hutchins’ first instinct was to drag Altavilla’s employer into the fray.

As a caustic political columnist, I may have no standing to complain about this. And I get that the internet is often about counting coup and maybe even loading your belt with scalps. But what I can’t forgive is a piece written by AA Locker.  If you’re going to write a takedown on your Deadspin wannabe website, use a real name, please.

I started thinking a lot about the culture of digital ostracism last week while preparing for this show. I was struck anew by how much trouble you can get in these days, and how little it takes. This seemed especially true in the case of Andrew Pessin.  Let me preface this by saying I sit on the other side of the aisle from this guy. I’m more likely to think that the Palestinian case is under-represented in the American debate and that the actions and rhetoric of Israel are often too easily waved off. So the last thing I need is another armchair Likkudist professor, and I was prepared to be thoroughly outraged by his comments.

And then. I wasn’t.

I mean, I didn’t agree with them.  Or like them. I would have welcomed a chance to tell him he was off base. But I would not have needed to do it with my hands around his throat, nor would I have had to retreat to my fainting coach and reset my trigger warning light.

So, John. Eyes off the pom poms. Eyes on the court. I realize that part of the problem may have been how boring most UConn women’s games are. My idea of hell is to be stuck at a 105-54 blowout (and with a 1 seed playing a 5, for heaven’s sake). Attentions are bound to wander. Don’t do it again. Bygones.

* I’m reserving one escape clause. I had to think about the “urban sportswriter” tweet for a while before I realized it was a reference to the Boz Scaggs song in “Urban Cowboy.” Did I miss something else. Is there some more profoundly carnal meme in these tweets?

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