Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Being Fake is So Important and Valued

Four posts in, I am temporarily breaking my no sports references rule, though this will be more of a human reaction based on a sports event and not some complicated event breakdown.  Though I weighed on the Jay Cutler situation briefly on Twitter and in other places, I will delve into it further here, tying in my take from the situation into a broader view on American society in general.

Most of the venom from the Cutler situation came from his appearance, from his outward disappointment on the sidelines, to not acting in the career altering pain some of his lesser intelligent colleagues and media members expected him to be in to not be in the game.  From the due reading about second degree MCL sprains (and sprain equals tear in medical terms), it is simply the type of injury that makes playing on it highly questionable and unwise.  Medical professionals and objective advisers universally agree that Cutler should have not continued playing, and that by continuing to play he was at great risk to suffer a career altering injury.

The real sorry aspect of all of this is that if Jay Cutler had just been on crutches, or for the real conspiracy theorists, stayed in instead of spending time with his significant other in public places, this whole situation would have been an afterthought and footnote in history.  Just because Cutler can walk around in a normal fashion does not change the fact that he could not move laterally or had no stability in his knee.  But hey, if he had some unnecessary walking aids, Cutler would really look injured.  Basically, the smart PR move would have been to put on a ruse just to fool the simple minded and milk the seriousness of a moderate injury that luckily avoided being much worse (most MCL injuries come with accompanying ACL ones).

Even better are the complaints about Cutler's poor demeanor and body language on the sidelines.  Forget the natural feelings of disappointment of being unable to continue playing in the biggest game of his career, everything would be great if he just put a smile on his face and immediately transitioned into cheerleader mode.  After all, that is what a true leader is supposed to do (never mind the fact that Cutler indeed was enthusiastic and helped his backup later in the game).

Universally hailed as having a poor attitude and lacking leadership qualities, I find Cutler's lack of false pretenses refreshing in a sports world that still views the intangible as far more important than the tangible.  Disregarding that he consistently got up after being sacked and hit at least five times a game, and rarely misses practice despite a body that has to be ravaged based off of the punishment he takes on a weekly basis, Cutler's body language and demeanor must disqualify him as a leader or even representative teammate.

Listening to a Rich Eisen (Voice of NFL Network) interview today, he emphasized that Cutler has a perception problem.  Yes, the "problem" is that unlike most athletes and people in general, Cutler does not care about his perception.   At least not enough to issue some PR spun statement that says nothing and defends something that has no business being responded to.

Going beyond Cutler, body language is my favorite ballyhooed trait that is exponentially overvalued in just about every circle of life.  To use a personal example, I looked outwardly disappointed during a job interview this fall after an unexpected turn of events.  My body language negatively reacted when the job description for the position I was interviewing turned out to be noticeably different then expected.  I made a three hour trek to Naperville for the position (I do not drive), and while I established a good rapport with interviewer and still maintain contact with the agency, I should not have to pretend to feel different about this miscommunication.

Yes, I unfortunately realize that body language is strenuously evaluated and that I will need to improve on that during interviews.  No, that does not make it any less superfluous or lazy manner of evaluation.  If people were not so fake in their verbal communication, nonverbal communication would not be so critical.  Instead, this cycle of superficial behavior continues and people continue to make evaluations based off outward mannerisms.  Apparently, we still judge a book by its cover despite that saying being taught to people from their first moments of lucidity.

1 comment:

  1. Actually "and sprain equals tear in medical terms" is not quite accurate. When placing valgus stress on the knee, a sprain hurts horribly, and the degree of valgus instability is quite moderate. With a tear, there is no tension on the ligament when applying valgus stress, and therefore little or no pain. However, the degree of instability in quite remarkable. The same is true of all ligaments.