Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

You Say Te’o, I Say D’oh!

January 21st, 2013 by S.P. Bailey

A college football player—cameras rolling, microphones thrust in his face—held forth about his girlfriend. He claimed they met in person in California and in his home state of Hawaii. She was supposedly the love of his life. She was in a car accident. Then she tragically passed away. Not from the accident. From a terrible disease. Now it turns out that she never existed. A strange story indeed. The early take on this: it was all a hoax perpetrated by the player and his family to burnish his image and stoke media interest. After all, cui bono? The once Heisman Trophy candidate, that’s who!

Days have passed, additional details have come out, and it looks like he was the victim of a hoax. But what about the in-person meetings? And the pictures? Some other girl. Decidedly not the dead girlfriend. Maybe he: (1) thoroughly believed she was real based on remote interactions; (2) tried to burnish his image and stoke media interest by speaking of their relationship in exaggerated terms; (3) learned she wasn’t real (which meant he was caught in a very awkward situation); and (4) decided not to come clean publicly until others broke the story. If true, well, there are the makings of a good blackmail scheme in there. Relatively naive jocks soon to have millions of dollars probably make good blackmail targets. If there’s anything to that, the story coming out was the only way to eliminate the blackmailer’s leverage. Or maybe the people behind the hoax wanted something other than money: to get close, intimately close, to a sports celebrity.

The whole sordid affair makes me lament the cult of celebrity in general and the Olympics-on-TV-ification of big-time sports in particular. I love sports. I love the sports part of the Olympics. However, I find the endless parade of “human interest” stories thrust upon us during Olympics coverage on American TV almost unbearable. For me, excellence in sports is more than enough. I don’t go in for weepy, maudlin, and strangely repetitive stories about each athlete’s uncool hometown, adolescent struggles with halitosis, or whatever. Most jocks just aren’t that interesting when they are not doing the one thing that they are freakishly good at!

It should be more than enough that Manti Te’o was an excellent college linebacker. I don’t really care to know all that much about his girlfriends, real or otherwise. The media came to Te’o looking for a compelling “human interest” story. Te’o gave them everything they wanted. It looks like, at best, he embellished some details. Exaggerated. Told some foolish lies. That’s a shame, and Te’o has been ridiculed accordingly. Take note! Honesty is the best policy! Unfortunately, however, I doubt the Te’o affair will make media types stop asking me to care so much about what athletes do off the field. And the people behind the hoax, apparently worshiping at the altar of celebrity, are just a nauseatingly creepy symptom of a much larger disease.

Comments (7)
Filed under: There are monkey-boys in the facility | No Tag
No Tag
January 21st, 2013 16:38:41

The Junior Ganymede
January 21, 2013

We don’t know how to say this, but living the lie is just becoming too painful.

Some of the posters on the JG are fictional.

January 21, 2013

My take is pretty much the same as yours: He thought she was real at first, but when the red flags started going up, he feared the loss of face and allowed the hoax to go on past its expiration date.

Incidentally, I prefer “pseudonymous” to “fictional.”

January 21, 2013

“Imaginary Lover”.

Imaginary lovers
Never turn you down
When all the others turn you away
They’re around.

It’s my private pleasure
Midnight fantasy
Someone to share my
Wildest dreams with me.

Imaginary lover
You’re mine anytime
Imaginary lover, oh yeah
When ordinary lovers
Don’t feel what you feel
And real-life situations lose their thrill
Imagination’s unreal

Imaginary lover, imaginary lover
You’re mine anytime

[Instrumental Interlude]

Imaginary lovers never disagree
They always care
They’re always there when you need
Satisfaction guaranteed

Imaginary lover, imaginary lover
You’re mine all the time
My imaginary lover
You’re mine anytime.

January 22, 2013

It doesn’t seem God is too impressed either, even when your favorite celebs are prophets, or even Christ.

And the glory of the telestial is one, ….
For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.
These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;
But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant. D&C 76:98-101

January 22, 2013

“However, I find the endless parade of “human interest” stories thrust upon us during Olympics coverage on American TV almost unbearable.”

Amen!! I remember once when I was a kid, the tennis player Chris Everett was on Letterman, and was promoting a new calendar she had come up with, showing tennis players in street clothes doing ordinary things. She thought people would be interested in tennis players as “real people” rather than just as tennis players. Letterman was politely skeptical of the idea. I thought it was ludicrous.

You make a good point, that if the media weren’t so obsessed with “human interest” stories, this never would have had to become a big deal.

Personally I had only a vague idea about his girlfriend allegedly dying. I had overheard it someplace, but it went in one ear and out the other. My wife on the other hand, though not nearly the football fan that I am, knew EXACTLY what all the fuss was about.

Adam G.
January 22, 2013

Human interest stories! That’s the X ingredient we’ve been lacking around here.

I’ll recount cute little stories of my little kids telling me they’ve decided to sell their stuffed animals into slavery, and Vader can talk about coping with Sudden Onset Lava Disorder.

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