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December 12, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Criticism of Chuck Closterman’s Tim Teabow Hit Piece on Grantland.com

This is a partial recreation of my side of an exchange over the Chuck Closterman hit piece on Tim Teabow and people of faith on Facebook. It gets in my craw a bit, because he doesn’t make a really rational argument–its more inuendo, assocation, and half argument:

Part I:
1. I’m confused why liking players in the NFL is a rational event. That seems dubious. You like them or dislike them for subjective reasons. Thats the point….I think in fan-dom.
2. And BTW his use of the word “blind faith” is straw person and/or a false dichotomy (its not as if Tim Tebow doesn’t have an experiential grounding for his faith–ie prayer and faith based experiences). That rhetorical strategy is dubious at best. Otherwise, I will salute his general ability to seem “objective-ish” for most of the article except in naming Tim a murder suspect in his example. Another attempt at guilt by rhetorical association (why not pick another name if you aren’t giving him backhanded complements–there are 1000s of other names and I’m not sure why it should be a murder).

Part II.
His ultimate objective seems less to do with the rationality of choosing Tebow than the rationality of faith itself (ie thats the conclusion after all). But he doesn’t leave himself enough room to make the distinctions or nuances he needs to actually move beyond a partial argument to something which is more than name calling (ie Christians = not “rational” according to Chucks definition). It further begs the question of if his worldview is rational (there are plenty of critical authors who would roast him).

Second, you can be objective and not play name games (leave that for the political pundits–O’Reilly et al). Third, he seems to try to be playing pycho-analyst to someone “on the other side” (not his word–mine). I realize thats a rhetorical approach, but its perhaps the most potentially abused by rhetorical scholars, writer, and commentators (see the abuses on behalf of the psychiatric state as portrayed 30 to 50 years ago).

Fourth, the article entirely begs the question of what a football fan or a football fan that follows Teabow counts as “rational.” (how do fans of Steve Jobs or anyone rationalize their behavior. Its association with what they perceive as “good” These fans think decent play, upstanding citizen, famous guy, Christian, or some other association) And I think if there is any implied analogy between faith in Teabow vs. faith in God is a bit misconceived (Teabow doesn’t offer the God benefits package of love, grace, or eternal life in heaven according to basic theological/philosophical premises. God is alpha and omega. The I am. Its an analogy that just doesn’t work–if thats what he’s attempting to do.)

Finally, In cases of courageous character versus a monday morning critic, I think the words of Roosevelt are pretty apt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Moreover, its precisely the criticism of individuality–which you would think the media would be above–in the age of tolerance and multi-culturalism. And given the lack of positive role models for 5 to 25 year olds in professional sports, we could do far, far, far, far worse than Mr. Teabow. Bottom line: I’ll take 10 Tim Teabows before I’ll take one Chuck Closterman. He’s close to my last pick in the game of life, based on his disrespectful and backhanded commentary.

Also, presumably we all have “faith” in some sense in our heros. How much faith….and to what extent we allow it to affect out lives is another question. Is that an argument to abandon faith or trust in heros? How about faith and trust in loved ones? The psychoanalysis of relationship allies across relationships and applies across people we hold up, honor, and trust from our family to the mayor to all the associations we have. Our communities in life are fundamentally based on an emotional faith. And certainly there are nuances to be hashed out in regards to matters of degree, emotional attachment, but to suggest that a small segment of society has hope, faith, trust, and relation bond (rational/irrational/or some combination) is to criticize and diminish them for being human.

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