Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Lake Wobegon

Hi. Miss me? I could explain my extended hiatus, talk about dark days in the jungle with nothing but hallucinogenic berries to eat and my own urine to drink in order to survive, but frankly the details are boring and involve my brain overheating and my fingers telling me to go fuck myself every time I tried to make them type something about the Lions and so I won’t gibber on about it too much other than to apologize, tell you that it was needed and that from here on out, I should be back to posting regularly again. I mean, that’s the plan anyway. That doesn’t mean every day. Not for now. But once or twice a week for the next several months you can expect something new from me, and then when the season starts, it will be back to three or four times a week. Hell, maybe every day like I did a couple of years ago if I’m feeling frisky, but let’s face it, probably not. Anyway, get used to me being around again, like your psychotic uncle who lives in the attic and gets the cops called on him every couple of weeks because the neighbors hear screaming and chainsaw noises coming from his place.

Speaking of people calling the fuzz, I wasn’t really planning on writing about anything specific for my reemergence into blogger society but then the Lions turned themselves into an old NWA video and I’m pretty sure that Gosder Cherilus is going to be spotted rolling down the street strapped with an AK sometime within the next week so I should probably write about all that, huh?

Yeah. So anyway, it all started a couple of months ago when Johnny Culbreath was arrested down in South Carolina because some nosy hotel clerk smelled something funny and called the cops. Thanks to her snitchery, they found Johnny Culbreath doing what a lot of dudes his age do and rather than just being cool about it, they wagged the finger of the law in his direction and he was forced to prostrate himself before a judge, beg for forgiveness and then pay a dumb little fine. Sheriff Goodell will probably put him over his knee and give him a spanking – or at least he would if he knew who Culbreath was, which I’m assuming he doesn’t because Johnny isn’t someone who can get the Sheriff’s name in the papers – and that’s that. Who cares? Blah blah blah, life goes on and if you give a shit about this in any way you are very likely a moron and should be castrated with a butter knife to ensure that you don’t spread your dullard genes to the next generation. Hey, don’t blame me for yelling at you. Jesus said shit like that all the time in the Bible. At least the one I read.

Anyway, life in Lionsville was sleepy and prosaic after that. Martin Mayhew laughed in the face of The Great Cap Crisis of ’12, signed everyone he wanted to sign and we all rolled over and went back to sleep and dreamed of Matthew Stafford bent over his center, grabbing for balls and barking in a frenzied cadence meant to convey both leadership and a desire for dominance. We also dreamed about him playing football. No, but seriously folks, all rimshots and rimjobs aside, as Lions fans we have entered into a weird world in which we simply don’t have that much to worry about, which is disorienting as hell when you realize that worrying was pretty much our most cherished pastime. When I first started writing about this shit, it was a natural fit. Everything and everyone was on fire and so it made sense that some weird half-man/half-dragon from hell would be the one to try to make sense of it all. But now, it sorta feels like Garrison Keillor should be writing about the Lions, doesn’t it? Everything’s all apple pie and quiet sunsets and kids playing down by the lake while the Lions calmly go about their business and we all breathe fresh air for the first time in our fan lives and reflect on what it means to be alive and free in such calm and fulfilling times.

And then Mikael LeShoure ate a bag of pot. Nothing like that shit happened on the shores of Lake Wobegon so fuck off Garrison Keillor because it’s time for me to take the wheel again.

Naturally, everyone made jokes and the hysterical wing of the fanbase flipped out and demanded that he be fed to the Sarlac for his crimes against humanity but I just can’t judge him. I mean, after all, I ate an entire vat full of acid just this morning after I spotted a cop walking my way. Sadly, it turned out to be battery acid and not the fun, hallucinogenic kind and now I have no internal organs and all I am is a brain hooked up to a computer which translates my thoughts. So, I get it, Mikael. I get it.

This probably would have all went away if Nick Fairley didn’t just get busted for the exact same thing down in Alabama, which now has that hysterical OH GOD THINK OF THE CHILDREN wing of the fanbase clutching their pearls, claiming an epidemic and demanding that Jim Schwartz take these ingrates behind the barn and shoot them dead as an example to the rest of the cattle milling about. This is because we are a people used to worrying and hyperventilating about every little thing. In a way it makes us feel more comfortable because it’s familiar. It’s sad and pathetic but it’s familiar.

Look, we’ve all made jokes. I said on twitter that the next Tale of the Great Willie Young (yes, I’m going to write some this year) would have to be set in an opium den. People are sniggering and joking about Titus Young getting busted for operating a meth lab. That’s fine. That’s what we do when these things happen. But there is a very real and very sizeable portion of the fanbase that views this as a legitimate, significant problem. This portion roughly correlates to the same percentage of the general population who still think of weed as the demon drug from Reefer Madness.

Wait, I should back up a little bit because honestly, that’s a whole different argument, a socio-political can of worms that would consume us all in a hurricane of dumb gibberish and worthless rhetoric. Regardless of your views on pot – and everyone has one, you can probably guess mine – the real argument seems to be one of personal responsibility. People just can’t understand why a young millionaire would risk everything just to get high. My take on it is this – who cares?

I would be creeped out if I found out that no one on the team smoked weed. That would just be unnatural and weird. This is not a case like Sam Hurd’s. Nick Fairley does not own a plantation in Colombia. Mikael LeShoure isn’t running guns and counterfeit money on cocaine boats out of Havana. Johnny Culbreath isn’t sucking dick in an alley because he’s hopelessly addicted to smack. These are just young dudes doing what young dudes do. You can’t really control it. If you went into every locker room in the NFL, you’d probably find that half the dudes in there smoked weed. To say the Lions somehow have a problem here is absurd.

The only thing that bothers me – THE ONLY THING – is that because people predictably overreact about this shit, this becomes an issue that has to be addressed, discussed, written about, etc. and all that is, is a distraction. The good news is that it’s early April and so who cares? This isn’t November and this doesn’t really mean a goddamn thing. All it is, is a tiny skirmish in the wider culture war which never seems to end in this stupid country. Two of these dudes were busted because some nosy uptight asshole smelled something suspicious and called the cops. The cops came and were all “Well, yeah, technically you’re in violation of the law, so . . .” They were essentially busted for jaywalking. Marijuana laws in this country have become so riddled with holes and shredded down to their bare essentials by shifting public sentiment that no one really cares about them anymore, not even cops, and the only way you’re going to get busted for it is if someone points it out and says “Hey, that’s illegal, you should do something about that.” Then the cops are forced to make a passionless arrest, someone pays a fine and then it’s forgotten about. I’m serious, it’s fucking jaywalking. If they see it, they’ll do something about it because, hey, that’s their job, but they’re not going to go out of their way to make more of it than what it is.

It’s hard to talk or write about this in any serious way without turning it into a cultural referendum on marijuana. That’s actually pretty telling. If these dudes were busted with bags full of coke or heroin balloons up their ass, people would be freaking out and there would be no arguing that hey, these dudes are fucked. But because it’s marijuana, the discussion immediately shifts to the culture war, to whether or not we should care because in the end, it’s just marijuana. This should tell you something – even the people who disapprove recognize on at least some level that this is not a big deal. They’re not arguing whether the act itself was intrinsically bad, but that it was bad because it exemplified poor judgment. That’s it. They don’t seem to really care that these guys were smoking weed. They care because they did something they’re technically not supposed to be doing and, in their minds, that raises questions about their overall level of maturity and decision making abilities. That alone should tell you that even the most ardent critics of these dudes understand that, in the end, none of this was a big deal. They’re pissed because these guys were arrested, not because of what they were arrested for. That distinction is important to understand.

The more I write about this, the more I hate it, and I hate it because I feel like it’s a stupid thing to have to write about and I suspect that this is what the majority of Lions fans are feeling too. They hate this story not because of what actually happened but because we have to waste time dealing with this bullshit. This is stupid and I feel debased for having to even talk about it. Some dudes smoked weed, they got caught doing it, one of them did something really dumb and really funny. The end. There. That’s all I should have to say about it. But I can’t because people are incapable of putting things in perspective and so it falls to someone like me to try to do it for them. I know that sounds arrogant and dickish but I don’t care. There are “journalists” out there (I put that in sarcastic quotation marks because Drew Sharp is a credible journalist like Snooki is a credible neurosurgeon.) who are blathering on about how the Lions should cut these dudes. That’s why I have to talk about it and fuck them because of it. Fuck you, Drew Sharp. Because you are an idiot and a worthless troll and because there are people who actually agree with you and listen to you, I have to waste my time dealing with this shit, like Batman dealing with the world’s shittiest Joker. I have to exist because you exist.

This is going to become a stupid meme, because that’s just what happens these days. I’ll get in on it too and make jokes about Jeff Backus shaking and shivering like a junkie every time he gives up a sack and I’ll do this because it is easy, because it is something to riff off of, but as a serious story with serious consequences, this is a story that can fuck right on off. Great, now I’m depressed. My first Lions piece in, like, three months and I’m already annoyed and telling people to get off my lawn.

On the other hand, I guess I should look at this more optimistically. It’s actually good that people are bitching about this because it shows that we have nothing else to bitch about. Instead of worrying about the actual team, we’re worrying about trifling bullshit like this. When it comes to what happens on the field – and that’s the only thing that matters – this is all meaningless. In that context, it is a story that basically doesn’t even exist. It has no bearing on anything other than our own tendency and need to bitch. This is good. It’s also really, really annoying. But I guess that’s the price to pay for living in Lake Wobegon. You get riled up by stupid shit, like your neighbor not mowing their lawn or the LeShoure kid eating a bag of weed. No one’s getting shot. There are no mass murders. There’s nothing to worry about and so you invent things to worry about, because that’s just what people do and people are dumb.

The bright side is this – we all trust the regime of Mayhew, Lewand and Schwartz. They have earned that trust and so we can trust them to handle this rationally and with a minimum of dumb noise. Wayne Fontes would have broken down into tears, retreated into his office and drowned himself in a bowl full of spaghetti while anarchy reigned in the locker room. Rod Marinelli would have cut half the team, gibbered about personal responsibility and pad level, had Jon Kitna lead the rest of the team in a prayer meeting and then called in a bunch of faith healers to cleanse the locker room of the pernicious effects of the demon weed. He then would have had Shaun Rogers beaten with a sack filled with quarters just because. And then the team would have finished 1-15 and Marinelli would tell everyone he was proud because they did it the right way. Jim Schwartz, on the other hand, I suspect will just shake his head and tell these dudes not to be dumbasses and that will be that. And that’s the right way to go. That’s the only way to go. You know how you don’t turn this into a giant distraction? You don’t treat it like one. And I think our dudes understand that.

And really, if we’re going to focus on anything it should be that – no matter what happens, our dudes have got this. They have it covered. That’s the story, that’s the only thing that matters. Everything else is just dumb noise. The kids have acted up and the parents will deal with it. Because that’s the sort of thing that happens in Lake Wobegon, and in Lake Wobegon everyone lives happily ever after. The end.


Raven Mack said...

a friend and I are going to perhaps start doing pamphlets for the Dope & Guns Party, because 69% of us are just normal people who don't want to be fucked with, and maybe smoke or maybe wreck Chevelles or maybe do this or that, and it doesn't really hurt anybody (who doesn't deserve it) but the obvious 1% as well as like 25% who benefit from status quo and another whatever percent who are just retarded, they all keep this fucking two-party pretend-to-care pretend-to-be-shocked bullshit alive. I fully support you and the Lions and hope you win the Super Bowl every year for four years until the REdskins start winning it because Dan Snyder will have died and Lakota Shaman will have blessed RGIII's helmet with the bloody ashes of Snyder's burnt body.

Raven Mack said...

Also all NFL player smoke weed, and when they get busted it's more a sign the NFL is against them (or their team) than it is they've done anything abnormal or illegal. That being said, this does seem to indicate the Lions are still in the NFL corporate doghouse.

Neil said...

Yeah, there seems to be some bizarre idea that elite athletes are all bastions of clean living which makes no fucking sense at all when you think back to all the athletes you've ever spent time with and remember that they are pretty much the biggest group of fuck-ups and degenerates there are. Plus, these dudes are all young millionaires who spend half the year just fucking around. Yeah, they still have shit to do but they also find themselves at home on a Tuesday at 11AM and that hookup is only a phone call away, you know?

In any event, this is 2012 and you have some sheltered people acting like its 1936 and Mikael LeShoure is going to go a-rapin' and then jump off the roof after an incurable case of the mad giggles. Fuck it, you know what? I hope the NFL's response is to make the Lions do a new version of Reefer Madness because that's something I would like to see.

HillHeeb said...

Too many old white people IMO

Ryden said...

I'm glad you mentioned Drew Sharp, that guy is an idiot (which we already know). I can't believe someone that gets paid to be a sports writer for a major newspaper actually thinkgs cutting your 1st and 2nd round picks from the previous year is the right thing to do becuase of some pretty insignifcant criminal infractions.

Bubbalouuey said...

Drew Sharp is a flaming a hole but are you sure Snooki is not licenced ? This is basically much ado about nothing, shit these are normal human beings here I really think Titus is more of a disco biscit kind of guy

Neil said...

"Too many old white people IMO"

Exactly, old friend. Exactly.

Neil said...

"I'm glad you mentioned Drew Sharp, that guy is an idiot (which we already know). I can't believe someone that gets paid to be a sports writer for a major newspaper actually thinkgs cutting your 1st and 2nd round picks from the previous year is the right thing to do becuase of some pretty insignifcant criminal infractions."

Yeah, that's exactly the sort of hyperreactive idiocracy that helped Marinelli ball fart its way to 0-16.

Neil said...


She failed her final exam after she spilled her drink into an open cadaver and then pissed all over the floor. Even then, she still might have passed had she not tried to fuck the poor dead body. She had to be restrained by 8 of her fellow students. It was a sad day at Harvard.

Marc said...

When I 1st heard about what happened with LeShoure, I shrugged it off and said oh well. As more details came out, pretty much the same reaction out of me....and then Fairley....same thing.

Fact is, I had no idea about CulBreth's run in with the law over some smoke. I mean the grand scheme of things, does this really matter....? Dudes got busted....and young or old....stupid or just dumbass....they did it, and showed that they are human beings after dare they. *sarcasm of course*

They showed lack of good decision making and got caught....lesson learned. And don't get me started on that asinine Drew Sharp. Dude is a fuckin' clown. People need to get a life and learn to relax. Maybe the other "oh my God no they didn't" do this or that idiots should partake of some herb and chill the fuck out. Really.

The Lions are good. The coachin' staff is good. The Team is good. In the end....thats all that matters.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back... You hit it right on the head. What does it say about the drug war when we care only about them getting caught, not what they were actually doing. Once again, you have figured out how to put my thoughts into words.

SandyC said...

Good to have you back, Neil. The offseason was getting so very boring. There's only so many big boards and mock drafts a man can stomach!

I have seen some ridiculous commentary on the arrests from Lions fans, especially since Fairley was busted. One poster suggested that Mayhew's entire draft strategy should be called into question based on taking uncalled for risks. (This after two of the main characters in this farcical play have scarcely seen the field due to injuries).

I think people feel the need to be all morally indignant because there is virtually no risk. If the players affected turn out to play like bums, they can say that they saw it coming, and if they play lights out, they can say that the players got a real wake-up call from their indiscretions.

America loves a good sin-and-redemption tale. I doubt Sheriff Goodell will suspend any of these players because it's not apt to win him any more brownie points among owners. He's been trying to accumulate those by bounty-hunting and cap-penalizing lately, so he has his hands full.