Thursday, January 3, 2013

I am a wuss, and didn't even know it

I just saw this report on The Raw Story about a discussion on Thursday morning's segment of Fox & Friends about 'whether yoga was a sport and if “stupid parents” were turning their children into wusses by teaching them to be yogis.' I can't embed the video clip from the original program here, but you can view it on the report I linked to above.

The hosts of the Fox program spoke with motivational speaker Larry Winget about this alleged wussification. Winget believes that yoga is not a sport, and is convinced that yoga is part of "a trend that is the wussification of America." However, Winget also said sarcastically, "I think Yoga’s amazing, I think it’s wonderful... I’m going to say that because I don’t want all those yoga Nazis coming after me on this thing."

After I watched the clip and read the report, I really didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. I wanted to laugh, because none of the things that the people on the program said about yoga was new or even interesting. Of course yoga isn't a sport; who in their right mind would think that? Well, actually, I guess ABC News would; check this out. Well, that tells us something about the quality of journalism over at ABC, doesn't it?

I also wanted to cry, but not because I might be a wuss. I wanted to cry, because if this particular program is representative of the general quality of the news sources in this country, then the intellectual health of this country is in pretty bad shape. I mean, if you think about it, this is really what the people on the program are arguing:

1. Yoga is not a sport.
2. Yoga is "just stretching".
3. If kids do no sports, but only do yoga, then they will go grow up into wusses.
4. Being a wuss is bad.
5. Therefore, doing only yoga and not doing any sports is bad.

The hidden assumption here, of course, is that if kids do sports, they will not grow up into wusses, but will instead grow up into fine upstanding citizens. Which feeds very well into this American myth that kids who grow up playing sports tend to be socially better adjusted and are therefore, well, not wusses. But a myth is just that: A myth. I'm pretty that there are at least as many kids who did not play sports growing up, and who grew up just fine.

Anyway, I just don't have the energy here to dissect any further the problems with this argument that the Fox people are putting forth. But maybe you can see why this might be cause for crying: If so many people are getting just sound bites from news networks, and do not have the opportunity to think things through, the intellectual health of this country is in trouble. If anything, we should probably worry more about the Foxification of this country than about any alleged wussification. In any case, not being a wuss might be overrated: What's so bad about being a wuss, anyway?

See, wusses can be cool too...
[Image taken from here]

8 comments:

  1. Faux counts on the viewer's ignorance or superficial interest in the subject matter to "create" content. But so does ABC..

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    1. This is, unfortunately, true. And it is also unfortunately true that many look to Faux as their primary source of "knowledge" about the world at large.

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  2. step 1: disregard Fox News
    step 2: profit

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  3. Dan Millman—a "wussie" (according to Fox and Winget) medal-winning gymnast and Olympic contender whose left leg was shattered in 17 places in a car accident, and then went on to compete again at a high level, and coach gymnastics, after doctors told him he would never walk again—wrote several books for wussies like us. The most notable is The Peaceful Warrior. One of my favorite teachings Dan offers (and no doubt did his best to instill in the still-young-but-hardening college-age minds he coached) is that a TRUE warrior doesn't confuse strength with invulnerability. He says "a warrior's strength comes from absolute invulnerability." There is great power in the quiet meek and some of the hardest things I've ever tried came on the yoga mat—not in a tough backbend or arm balance, but when I realized I'd a mental midget in how I was treating myself or others. This country's obsession with "hardening the f*ck up" is a shame. It's small, fear-based and egomaniacal. If yoga teaches people to be "wussies" I say good. The world NEEDS more wussies. And I will happily turn any FOX News anchor into a wussie on the yoga mat any time they are ready. It's wussie, right? So what's there to be afraid of? ;-)

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    1. Thanks for sharing, velodevi. I haven't read Dan Millman, but what he says resonates strongly with what I feel about things. In any case, even with "hard" yoga postures like arm balances or backbends, the secret is that the more you try to HTFU, the less effectively you will be able to do those postures. I've always thought there is a valuable life lesson here.

      Yes, the world needs more wussies. I'll even go one step further and say, "The wuss shall inherit the earth..."

      Btw, I read your latest post on being the boss of wussies. Very nicely done. Keep up the great work you are doing on your blog :-)

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