I'd Like a Double Helping of Hypocrisy, Please
I was going to write a long post about the hackjob
the New York Times Magazine did about online poker. It's your typical cautionary tale, about how one college kid lost his mind playing poker and therefore we degenerate-wannabees need to be protected for our own good. This kind of crap really gets me steamed because if I have any political philosophy at all anymore, it boils down to this--Leave Me The Hell Alone
. Along with it's corollary, Don't Tell Me What To Do
. Spare me the whole "It's For Your Own Good" bullshit. If you want to convince me that your point of view is valid, you'd better bring your rhetorical A-game. Telling me that something is wrong because it's "wrong", or that Jesus wouldn't like it, or can't I see that I'm hurting
myself...you gotta do A LOT better than that. Get out my face. I'm a reasonable human being willing to listen to reason. And I'm not an insane contrarian willing to argue that, say, puppycrushing is an acceptable way to spend a summer afternoon. But so long is you aren't hurting anyone but yourself, I err on the side of letting the individual decide what's best for him and/or her.
However, my first reaction when seeing the BREAKING NEWS headline about Ben Roethlisberger's accident
was to say, "Why the hell didn't the Steelers make him wear a helmet?" You see the hypocrisy, yes? The word "make" is one that I reflexively dislike. It's also not the exact word I was looking for. A better choice would be "Order". "Command". "Force
". None of which mesh neatly with the fiercely independent credo I discussed above. The difference between me and, say, everyone in the House of Representatives is that I immediately felt embarassed at what I said. I didn't think about amending the Constitution so I wouldn't have to feel uncomfortable about that which irritates me.
If Roethlisberger doesn't want to wear a helmet, he shouldn't have to. And while I'm sure most of the people who said that he SHOULD wear one did so with the best of intentions...he shouldn't have to if he doesn't want to. He's a big boy. His decision to go without a helmet may seem stupid to most people (it certainly does to me) but he's the one riding the bike. He nearly paid for his decision with his life today, and hopefully he'll come through this without any long-term repercussions other than the memories. I hope he gets that lucky. I hope we all have the wisdom to carefully consider our choices before making them. And hopefully I'll realize that sometimes I'm not quite as smart as I think I am.UPDATE:
Not that I don't enjoy a little irony in life, as I walked back to my lot tonight you could hear tires squeal across the river on the 10th Street Bypass and SMASH! Everyone turned and it looked like a van rear-ended a car. And then, as I drove home, I nearly rear-ended a guy when an 18-wheeler got stuck trying to turn onto the 31st-Street Bridge. Nearly got rear-ended myself, as the whole line of cars drew together like an accordian.
According to the Post-Gazette Roethlisberger got freakin' lucky. Broken jaw, broken nose, a nasty cut, but nothing life- or career-threatening. A few points I wanted to clear up. From what I've read there was nothing in Roethlisberger's contract about riding without a helmet. There's a "dangerous activities" clause, but it's hard to argue that riding without a helmet would be considered "dangerous" because it's been legal in Pennsylvania since 2003. Now, obviously, riding without a helmet is dangerous, but it'd hard to make the case that he was being reckless if he was in fact within the law.
And now I'm gonna go engage in some reckless activity of my own, namely play volleyball and drink beer. Risks like that are more my speed.