Unwrapping Our Culture’s Pathological Obsession With Living Vicariously Through Others
When I read about my favorite sports teams, I never set out to obtain information about a player on that team’s personal life. When I go to Sports Illustrated or the ESPN news app I don’t expect to ever read anything that would be in People Magazine. An article in ESPN News Services shoved the following paragraph into unsuspected readers view on September 26th of this year:
Taylor Swift’s trip to watch Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce play football Sunday didn’t just have the internet talking nonstop. After the 12-time Grammy Award winner’s appearance at Arrowhead Stadium, jersey sales for the All-Pro tight end seemingly skyrocketed. According to sportswear and fan merchandise company Fanatics, Kelce’s jersey was one of the top five for the NFL on Sunday. He “saw a nearly 400% spike in sales throughout the Fanatics network of sites, including NFLShop.com,” a spokesperson told The Associated Press via email. Sales spiked on the same day that Swift was spotted watching the Chiefs play the Bears alongside Kelce’s mother, Donna, from one of Arrowhead’s glass-enclosed suites.”
In case you’ve been living under a rock, and certainly I wish I did, you’ve heard that Travis and Taylor are in a ‘relationship.’ I absolutely have no problem with males buying a Travis Kelce jersey and living vicariously through him as long as they are eight. But, then again most eight year old boys could care less about Taylor Swift. And this is not anything new under the sun. People admired Tom Brady as much for who he was married to compared to the type of accomplishments he carried. It’s nothing to learn about other athletes dating, marrying and impregnating any ‘jane’ supermodel out there. It’s banal and inescapable news some of us try hard to ignore and can’t as it’s shoved in our faces for the sake of the 24 hour news feed monster. Media outlets owe their sponsors that. It’s always at the consumer’s expense. And truth be told I’ve always been neutral on ole’ Taylor. I like a few of her songs but wouldn’t buy an album. She does a lot of good for society and women in general. Kudos to her. Travis, same thing! Never met him, will never meet him so it’s neither good or bad. I just don’t want to wear his name on my back in some sort of symbolic, Darwinian ode to him, as an admission that he is more valuable than me to society and I should just cower like a submissive puppy dog to that sentiment. Nor any other man’s name on my back for that matter.
No, my vitriole is directed toward advertisers, gossip columns and anyone out there who believes the paradigm that illegitimate social hierarchies are acceptable. They are not. They are pathetic, tired and bring out the worst in people. They make men admire other men for dating women they sense they could never obtain except in a personal time of pleasure behind closed doors. They make men sit on their thumbs with an excuse to not be their own hero…….whether that be to themselves, their spouse or children if they have any. They do things like foster the belief it’s acceptable for a grown man to wear the name of another man on some article of clothing that is not their name. HAVE WE ANY SELF RESPECT ANYMORE?!
I’m not just picking on men here either. Gossip magazines are purposefully stocked at check out aisles for a reason so mom doesn’t forget to pick one up along with that Twix bar for little Jimmy. Of course that’s where all of these nosense stories come to life. Who had plastic surgery, who is cheating on who, how much did she get from the divorce settlement? It’s all right there to distract us from being the better selves we can be. From taking time to doing something much more meaningful and lasting. To keep us from being our own hero, for the people in our lives WHO DAMN WELL NEED US TO BE AT TIMES! I’ve thought lately about exclusively watching cricket to avoid more knowledge about some athlete’s personal life. But, Taylor’s had a lot of boyfriend’s over the years………….and I can’t lose my love for that sport, which I never follow. Is there a professional badminton team to root for anyone?