(above : Broadway Joe, proving he wasn’t quite ready for U-Stream)
Props to twittering maven Bob Glauber of Newsday, who calls Fox Sports’ Mark Kriegel‘s evisceration of Bengals WR Chad Johnson “a cross-media pissing match for the ages”. Having caught Ocho Cinco’s act on U-Stream, Kriegel protests, “at this point in my career, there are some humiliations I should no longer tolerate. Listening to ‘The Ocho Cinco Show’ is among them.” How low have we sunk? Kriegel claims Johnson’s self-obsession is enough to make him “long for the good old days of Dennis Rodman.”
First of all, unlike this generation of tweeters and streamers (those for whom tweeting just isn’t enough), Rodman actually put some time and energy into his hustle. It had a specific mercantile purpose, to wit: selling his calculatedly salacious autobiography. More important, at some level, he had earned the right. He was then a month away from his fifth championship.
Ocho has, what? My point exactly. Here’s a guy already on the downside of his career, and coming off his worst season. A couple of weeks ago, he was talking about the pep talk he got from Denzel Washington, how it renewed his sense of purpose. Great. The guy needs an actor to tell him how to act? Then again, the former Chad Johnson only knows how to play one role, Ocho, a four-letter word for loser.
“I’m just trying to show these people a side of me they don’t get to see,” said Johnson, about half an hour into Saturday’s video.
It’s good to know that, even after all these years, someone still finds him endlessly fascinating. Does this speak to the perils of growing up a star athlete? Or the spiritual poverty of those logging on?
There’s all sorts of ways of measuring celebrity for the sake of itself, or for that matter, at what point a public figure becomes insufferable. If Joe Namath, a biography subject of Kriegel’s, hadn’t made good on his guarantee to defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, he’d not only be much less of a cultural icon, but his career record of 77 wins, 108 losses and 3 ties would’ve all but elminated any chance of starring in “The Waverly Wonders”. Pete Maravich, another subject of Kriegel’s, never played in an NCAA tournament game and participated in a grand total of 26 NBA playoff games, making it to the finals on zero occasions. In spite of this, Maravich is considered by some to be the finest collegiate hoops player of all time as well as making the Association’s All-Time Top 50 squad. Could someone have gotten away with declaring “Pistol” to be “a five letter word for loser” in the mid-’70′s? Possibly. Either way, some forms of showmanship/self-absorbtion are easier for Kriegel to tolerate than others.