I've never watched the VMA and probably never will, but the "singer" Kanye West got so much publicity for "dissing" the sweet Taylor Swift that I had to check out the YouTube video. And then K-West did himself one better with his mealy-mouth, head-hanging, poor-little-me shtick with Jay Leno the next day. Notice how he doesn't hardly look Leno in the eye and he doesn't explain explicitly and extensively how he outright shit on Swift and her achievement. Luckily, the classy Beyonce gave Taylor a second chance to talk DURING Beyonce's own award presentation. Luv ya, Beyonce.
K-West's jungle antics came just a few days after this preciously threatening tirade by Serena Williams at the U.S. Open tennis tournament HERE and HERE. The line judge said that Williams threatened to kill her. So far, confirmation on what Williams said is this: "I swear to god I'm fucking going to take this fucking ball and shove it down your fucking throat! You hear that? I swear to god!"
When you consider rap music and the in-your-face antics of modern sports, there's undoubtedly a decline in sportsmanship and a lack of gentlemanly behavior that characterized previous eras. Even my cherished bastion of relief from modern culture (Sunday golf on TV) has descended into occasional catcalls and "You-da-man!" Eloquence and high-mindedness have been supplanted by stuttering, butchered grammar and low-brow threats.
My hero Jack Nicklaus of the 1960s and 1970s never threw a golf club, never cussed, never blamed anyone but himself. Tiger Woods (who is perhaps even better than Nicklaus in his prime and a wonder to watch) does all of the above -- and he's often a smoldering brat. The heroes of yesteryear could be boring, but they were never brutish. They could be too even-keeled, but they were never stage hogs. Their stoicism often punctuated for us viewers some mysterious inner struggle to maintain concentration and perfection on the grand stage of sports.
They were men and women of dignity. They were dignified. They were classics.