Sharp line divides Wie argument
WHY can't there be an intelligent and articulate give-and-take regarding Michelle Wie?
When it comes to the big-earringed golden girl why do we all think we know it all?
"We have to shout above the din of our Rice Krispies."
-- The Police
All this over a 16-year-old with a stick? How did One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish turn Red State-Blue State? Why is everyone forced to stake out a position as if this were a Michael Moore-Bill O'Reilly debate? Why is anyone who thinks differently automatically wrong?
Aren't there shades of gray?
Shouldn't we acknowledge both sides have a point?
Isn't it OK to calmly say, "Yes, but ..."?
No. Apparently it isn't. Don't be stupid.
Come on, pick a side and stick with it.
But here is the funny thing:
Let's look at the top two points expressed by those who wave pom-poms and shout "Give me an M!":
1) She keeps coming oh-so-close to greatness.
2) She's just a kid.
OK. Now let's turn to the two main arguments given by the folks who have been called "detractors," "critics," "skeptics," and (on the Internet) "haters":
1) She keeps coming up oh-so-close to greatness.
2) She's just a kid.
Now, for those of you who may have missed this, let me point out that this is the exact same argument!
This is life in 2006 -- diametrical viewpoints after looking at the same set of facts.
Some dream about all the great and wonderful things she could accomplish. Others say that she hasn't accomplished them yet, and might not, you never know.
Some marvel at the way she shoots for the moon. Others note that with all that moon-shooting she doesn't seem too concerned with actually winning golf tournaments, which they thought was the whole point to the game.
Some tell you how she's always oh-so-close to breaking through. Others say, um, that's the whole point -- that she always finishes oh-so-close ...
And Michelle Wie's story is big enough that all of these things can be true. That's the trouble with her story. It's far bigger than any of the little boxes we've been trying to stuff it into.
But she's been reduced to a Rorschach test, by now. An ink blot you look at and tell the doctor what you see.
Both sides look at the same thing and see what they want to. If we want to project precocious maturity we project precocious maturity. If we want to project freewheeling teenage fun we project freewheeling teenage fun.
(Wait a minute. Did she just say "super-[bleeped] off" on live television?)
We've already got our minds all made up. The whole picture doesn't matter.
If we want to proclaim her the conquering hero, we can. If we want to say she hasn't done anything yet, that option's open, too.
And so we do, loudly. Avoiding any middle ground. No intelligent and articulate give and take. No "Yes, but ..."
In Michelle Wie, we see what we want to see. Tiny boxes. Even if her story is big enough that everybody's at least a little bit right.
Of course, in Nike's eyes the important thing probably isn't what we see or say but that we do. She isn't a millionaire because of her ability to hit a golf shot, but because she moves the needle, she makes people care. And people do care. They not only care about her but about what other people think about her.
Some people bristle at the relentless hype (a bitter blogger calls her the "Marketing Miracle").
Their counterparts insist that anyone who dares not join the bandwagon is a hater-critic.
That's gold, Jerry. Gold. There's a reason she's wearing the swoosh.
Of course, part of the explanation the debate rages so fiercely is because we've all been seeing the same thing for so long: She comes oh-so-close to greatness; she's just a kid.
She could give us something different to talk about, at long last. She could end the argument with a win today.
Now that would be a big picture, indeed.