Narrative

Posted by Mike Merritt in Politics, Rambling on | No Comments

Barack Obama Playing BasketballIt never ceases to amaze me how a single event, action, or activity can be shaped to produce a narrative intended to spread a viewpoint or bias. Then again, we are humans, who have long had the capability to tap into anything and create a story. Tonight I’ve been thinking of sports. It’s fascinating how different athletic and sporting activities have been perceived and interpreted by a group of people, depending on their bias.

Take golf: When the subject of a game of golf is Barack Obama, the narrative is often of a weak, ineffectual, and distant man, seemingly unbothered by the current events, and perhaps demonstrating a dereliction of duty to his office. On the other hand, golf has long been the game of choice of the rich and powerful. We’ve seen it in a thousand movies: the golf course is where lucrative business deals are and tycoons show their power. I don’t doubt reality is much different. When you end up on a golf course a businessman, you have “made it.” But for politicians – at least in Obama’s case – the narrative is complete opposite. It’s not one that’s entirely undeserved, but it is interesting.

Then there’s bicycling: When the subject is Barack Obama, he’s a sissy street bicycler, wearing helmets and taking it slow on the sidewalks (though in most pics he seems to be with his children). Bicycling isn’t always done by the “sissies,” of course. George W. Bush is a well known athletic bicycler, often taking to the dirt on off-road bikes. Of course, the narrative here is between the city biker, who doesn’t have a competitive, aggressive bone in his body, and the athletic competitor, who goes off road to compete.

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