At the dawn of mass media in the late 19th century, “yellow journalism” and “muck raking” conflagerated across the United States. Today, the new media affliction is “pop sensationalism.” Even stories of the most solemn import have a pop-cultural angle these days. You really can’t blame the media – with so many symbols and stars out there, it’s hard to resist linking them to seemingly every story.
The successful Libyan insurrection against Libya’s dictator Moammar Gaddafi had legitimate justifications. After a myriad of bloody melees over the last several weeks, Gaddafi was assisinated on October 20th, 2011. A 20-year-old Libyan freedom fighter named Mohammed al Bibi alleges that he killed Gaddafi by shooting him twice with a gold plated gun. By virtue of wearing a Yankees cap, he has been dubbed by several media sources as “the Yankee fan” who assasinated Gaddafi.
Successful insurrections come with clarion celebrations and garrish promises for new, stable regimes. To the victors of these fleeting triumphant moments, there is an adrenaline rush that fans who pay witness to the most epic sports contest can’t even imagine. Before the rush, however, thousands of deaths, injuries, and suffering occur; also unimaginable. Thus, while it may be the stuff of sexy pop patriotism to associate the Yankees dominance of Major League Baseball with a major military coup, it’s also important that we maintain an appropriate perspective of what exactly war means in relation to sports:
- The “winning” and “losing” in war is never as cleanly delineated as at the end of a sports contest. Insofar as sports can be considered a surrogate medium for war – football being the most oft cited example – it’s ultimately a poor one. Gaddafi’s assasination marked the end of a tyrannical and merciless Libyan government that for close to 40 years was reputed for murdering political dissidents and certain ethnic groups, monopolizing all areas of economic growth through nepotism, and severely restricting the free exercise of religion and speech. Although several Western countries denounced the Libyan government’s practices, they engaged in various multi-billion dollar deals based on ancillary economic and political considerations with Gaddafi during that time period.
- Sports should be considered a peaceful and spirited reprieve from war and other toils of everyday life, not symbols of them. Our entertainment mediums, including sports, too often romanticize war. At the end of the day, as much as football players have life-expectancy-threatening jobs, they aren’t “warriors” in the same vein as undernourished solidiers trapped in a blaze of cross-fire. Our entertainment mediums should promote peace, aestheticism, healthful, incendiary competition, and sublime moments that rise above the cruelities of the world. Would it be overly idealistic to assume this freedom fighter’s Yankees cap provided him some comfort away from the terrible conflict he had to endure up until Thursday?
- Although it’s a fantastic story that a 20-year-old kid wearing a Yankees cap was the assassain of one of the world’s most notorious dictators, it has not even been officially confirmed who Gaddafi’s murderer as of Friday night at 10pm (EST). Some reports are indicating that Gaddafi’s assasination was by far less storied – that he, like millions of other men in history, was killed amid cross-fire. In any event, do you really want Gaddafi’s murderer to be a 20-year-old kid wearing a Yankees baseball cap? Or do you want a kid wearing a Yankees baseball cap to be catching pop-ups instead? Should we really merge both visions?
Tags: Moammar Gaddafi, New York Yankees