Home > Sports > The King Is Dead, Or At The Very Least Clowned

The King Is Dead, Or At The Very Least Clowned

Watch how Taibbi eviscerates LeBron James’ “Decision” infomercial. It hurts so, so good, unless you’re from Cleveland.

The piece wisely focuses mostly on ESPN’s pathetic toadyism and the excruciating lengths the Worldwide Leader went to in enabling the ugliest aspects of the Global Icon’s massive ego rupture on live television last week, a spill that rivals Deepwater Horizon for intensity of initial burst (there was a sense that LeBron’s superstructure was also burning out of control and collapsing into the sea in slow motion while rescue ships clustered helplessly just outside range of the intense flames) if not lasting damage (the American public’s memory is short and based on results; if LeBron wins a championship in the next five years, his arc will turn to redemption, albeit a decidedly douchebaggy one.)

Again, spending too much time dissecting LeBron himself — who is almost undoubtedly a simpleton, despite being incredibly rich and gifted with nearly superhuman physical abilities — does a disservice to the real culprits, the vast and clanking media machine that uses flesh like James for hamburger, churning out heros so it can search for new meat. Role models. The machine uses people like Stuart Scott to make this happen, because of his special ability to “talk to the yoots.”  Scott is basically a shell of a cliche at this point, an empty form lacking narrative, or as Taibbi says:

Poor Stuart Scott, he’s been podded completely, if you chopped that dude’s head off, nothing but little plastic balls containing digitized “Boo-yah” chips would fall out of his skull.

In the future, adds Taibbi, you’ll see TV networks “starting to mistake fake drama for real drama from time to time — they’re beginning to drown in their own bullshit.” I would go a bit further. I think we reached that point after 9/11 — but not long after — when we went a little nuts and forgot how to live without scary scrolling news tickers running across the bottom of our brainfeeds 24/7. There always needs to be drama now, and confrontation, and decisions and spectacle. We’ve officially reached the Bread and Circuses portion of our Republic, and ESPN is there.

LeBron James never had a chance.

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