News & Analysis
The Psychopathology of 'Tim Tebow Time'
The Broncos and the Jets have completed a trade to send quarterback Tim Tebow to New York. The deal hit a snag earlier Wednesday when the Jets apparently balked at repaying Denver more than $5 million for a salary advance due Tebow. ESPN reported that the two sides had agreed to split that cost. The Broncos also will receive fourth- and sixth-round draft picks, while New York gets a seventh-rounder — all in 2012 — as agreed to in the initial deal. – AP
Dominant Social Theme: Tim Tebow ... woo boy! Let's talk Tebow. Boy, does he get me stirred up!
Free-Market Analysis: In a previous article about Tim Tebow we wrote pointed out that sportswriters are the most problematic of the mainstream breed, almost like lemmings.
But since we wrote that article in October 2011, things have gotten much, much worse, mostly because the fascination with Tim Tebow has deepened. You can see the original article here: Tim Tebow Time ... Not the 'Write' Time for Us.
At the time focused on what then seemed to be "overkill" as part of a larger journalistic dysfunction, we pointed out as we had in the past that sports-writers were perhaps the easiest of all writers to manipulate.
But what we grasp more fully now is that Tim Tebow is reflective of a larger social dysfunction in the US. What is Tebow today? We would respectfully offer the perspective that he is, metaphorically speaking, a kind of Rorschach Test for a dysfunctional nation, one that provides a glimpse into the black pit of America's collective and despairful consciousness.
Tim Tebow is nothing but an overgrown child in many ways, if you listen to him. He's very good at playing a young man's game and he is also, seemingly, a very spiritual person.
But that is not all Tim Tebow is. He has become a blank canvas for the psychopathology of a tortured country. In fact, the US is likely in death throes of a sort and Tim Tebow is one of the few subjects that it is safe to talk about, especially for men.
Tim Tebow is a mirror for the American soul at this point. He is a looking glass. People see in Tebow what they want to see. And they are not afraid of expressing their feelings.
Tim Tebow is not just a "professional athlete." He is a symbol of a nation's wounded psyche, a bandage on a bleeding psychic wound, a scab forming over a festering authoritarian injury.
We can almost predict, in the various segments of American society, what the reactions will be to Tebow and his persona.
Certainly, Tebow has not seemed to prove a favorite of the NFL's coaches, many of whom have been downright vituperative in their statements about his potential and play.
But the worst single group, of course, seems to be sportswriters. And this returns us to our original theme. Sports-writing generally – and certainly in America – is probably one of the single most lemming-like professions in which someone can participate.
Sports-writers are like children at public school who were always "going along" with the crowd. They admire athletes and yearn to be similarly important. This sort of psychological dysfunction is combustible when married to a failing nation state.
When nations fall apart, the littlest things become metaphors for much larger, evident dysfunctions. That is what is happening with Tim Tebow. He is becoming much larger than life because the society itself is so distorted.
In what ways? Well ... the US is likely ruled by a man who was handpicked by US Intel at the behest of the top elites. The US, as well, failing as a society, is becoming increasingly aggressive abroad. Its military industrial complex is out of control and it has over 1,000 military/Intel bases around the world that it cannot afford. It is fighting numerous undeclared wars, with more on the way.
The country's rapacious US banking system is in ruins; its tax system is likely illegal and equally rapacious; its prisons are full; its police are increasingly violent; its phones are tapped; its citizens are regularly searched.
The country, in fact, is verging on a full-fledged depression and its employment opportunities – the ones that remain – are all aligned with twisted power elite priorities that actually contribute to increased despair and unrest.
Tim Tebow ignites so many power elite memes. Sports-writers, many of whom have internalized those memes, are therefore implacably hostile to him. Tebow cannot, in our humble estimation, have any idea of what he has become – or is about to become.
With his trade to the world's most media intensive urban environment – New York – Tebow's significance should be further blown out of proportion. Again, this is not a good thing, in our view.
In a normal and healthy culture, Tebow would be but a tiny blip, a sports story worthy of occasional comment. But the US is such a sick society at this point, and there is so little that people can comment on – or even focus on – without extreme psychic discomfort that most of this displaced energy will flow toward Tebow. It already does. Now it will get worse.
We are not exactly predicting Tebow is going to fail in New York. That's not the point. The reason Tebow mania is interesting is because it has little to do with sports and everything to do with the country's larger cultural and spiritual decay.
Conclusion: It is representative of a much greater wound.
Posted by Chemist on 03/23/12 10:05 PM
I hope you realize how powerful the picture you chose is! Powerfully funny! Powerfully ridiculous!
To a life long sports sceptic (me), it fit the story perfectly - because that's how distorted the entire Industry is, as you point out.
But how does that image strike a person who is partial to sports as a past time? A little bit caustic perhaps. Just sayin'.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Agreed. But we continue ...
Posted by Hoss on 03/23/12 02:40 PM
When I read this ...
"We would respectfully offer the perspective that he is, metaphorically speaking, a kind of Rorschach Test for a dysfunctional nation, one that provides a glimpse into the black pit of America's collective and despairful consciousness."
I was going to respond that the phenomenon of the morbid obsession over sports personalities is more akin to a malignant cancerous oozing boil than a Rorschach Test. Then I saw that you pretty well described it thus a few paragraphs down. Perhaps we saw the same thing in the inkblot.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Ha ... we were searching for the right metaphor and perhaps we made several attempts...
Posted by vivek on 03/23/12 02:55 AM
At least Tebow is recent.
In India, cricketers are raised to demi-god status and we've been having to listen to the main-stream press harp and harp and harp onnnnnnn about one demi-god, name of Sachin Tendulkar.
Makes you gag, scream... . people have built temples to him for heaven's sake.
Posted by Don from the Republic of Lakotah on 03/22/12 01:28 PM
Divide et impera (divide and conquer) personified by a walking talking Hegelian Dialectic for people to either love or hate? A sacrificial ersatz Yankee offered up to release pent-up mass anger towards a perceived Fundamentalist PE?
Too much psycho-babble not enough tribal?
We're Number 1 hey hey (1 clap)
under the sun hey hey (1 clap)
as for you (2 claps)
you're number 2 (2 claps)
Posted by cubby on 03/22/12 12:13 PM
It is refreshing that you have written about the Tebow phenomenon. It is another example of idol worship which is reflective of a society lacking direction and self esteem. Someone choosing to pray should not be elevated to God like status. It is simply his choice and should be respected as such. Perhaps he would have done himself a favor by honoring his values and refusing the glorification. The intoxication of money and fame has proven formidable on many occasions.This may be just one more. I enjoy your articles..you are a daily read. God Bless!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by jkluttz on 03/22/12 11:15 AM
"The reason Tebow mania is interesting is because it has little to do with sports and everything to do with the country's larger cultural and spiritual decay."
Yeah, I don't know what the media here in Colorado is going to do now that Tim is gone. It was like a hero had appeared to give us all some meaning.
At the same time the media here carries little discussion about the bankrupt US government, the failed US culture or anything else discussed here on DB. It's like Colorado is in a time warp and without Tim, I don't know what the media or the people will do.
Posted by seer on 03/22/12 11:05 AM
I cannot believe the DB is discussing Tim Tebow. Only time can tell whether or not Tebow is successful. The DB is not unlike those sportswriters whose job it is to keep interest up by stirring up controversy.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Wow, Seer, way to read an article.
Posted by dimitri on 03/22/12 10:26 AM
Part of the meme is that not everyone survives, as so vividly presented in "Hunger Games." If there is going to be population culling, let's not isolate it to the lower social rungs. Let's demonstrate that natural selection "works" at all levels. Therefore, by design, Tebow should become a full out flop in NYC. Such a cathartic example!