2015-06-10

Strange Psychology

I remember watching an episode of a talk show in which guests were people whose problem was being too competitive. I recall one guest recounting the story of how her family was involved in some innocuous chore or event, and the guest took it upon herself to make a game out of it. Then, she started competing rather savagely with the rest of her family, doing whatever it took to win the game. She was laughing at herself over it as she told the story, amused that she would take something so far despite the fact that "there wasn't a real game - I made the whole thing up!"

I thought about this when I read about Bob Costas' criticism of Caitlynn Jenner's having won some ESPN award for courage in sports. As Fox News reports:
"In the broad world of sports, I’m pretty sure they could’ve found someone -- and this is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner -- who was much closer actively involved in sports, who would’ve been deserving of what that award represents," Costas said on "The Dan Patrick Show."
Costas further said,
I think this is just a play to pump up the audience, the way lots of things are put on television to attract eyeballs -- not because of the validity but because of whatever the kind of gawker factor is.
I guess the irony is lost on Bob Costas. This award doesn't "represent" anything other than ESPN's attempt to "pump up the audience," and put things "on television to attract eyeballs." This award, the Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards, and so on, are nothing more than marketing campaigns used to generate a little more attention for the sake of selling a few more advertisements, or tickets, or downloads, or whatever.

Please note, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I'm just saying it seems odd to criticize a marketing campaign for successful marketing reach. If Costas thinks this "crass," then what did he think of all the previous years' awards? This is, after all, an award named after a tennis player who died of AIDS and who played no part in the creation of the award in the first place.

It's always interesting to see marketing campaigns that are so successful that even their own puppeteers start to believe in them.