Sunday, December 12, 2004

A Cheating Culture

A Gilas Girl pointed out this bit on This Week

In the panel on steroids in sports – the only time I can recall that I have ever seen two black men on the screen at the same time in any public affairs show not specifically programmed for African American audiences – Tavis Smiley did an excellent job of “changing the frame”. Rather than comply with the focus on cheating in sport, or falling into the trap of discussing role models and or big money sports, Smiley broadened the discussion to the issue of a “cheating culture”. He did it smoothly and effortlessly and in one breath linked together the cheating and dishonesty in corporate practices, in politics, in interpersonal relationships and in sport. When George Will tried to deflect the point by suggesting that we have higher standards today than we’ve ever had and the cheating and dishonesty simply isn’t tolerated because of the increase in scandals, Smiley looked at him and asked, “Do you really believe that George?”

Not only did he manage to connect this basically diversionary story to serious political and cultural issues, he’s one of the few people to speak the unspeakable: that not only do we tolerate a level of trickery, deceit, dishonor and even danger in many of the institutions and aspects of our daily lives, but we also celebrate them. Progressives need more of this. And Smiley provided a textbook example of how to do it. It’s worth having a look at.


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