Friday, June 19, 2015

ESPN and Capital One Are Dishonoring Real Heroes

The decision by ESPN and Capital One to allow the actor previously known as Bruce Jenner to desecrate the Arthur Ashe courage award dishonors real heroes.  Jenner has done nothing to deserve the Arthur Ashe  award.

Jenner's decision to be the character Caitlyn in an E! Network reality show is a common type of  action in the entertainment industry.  There is nothing unusual about an entertainer with a male body impersonating , or playing, a female character.  His action involves no more courage than all entertainers must have to perform before an audience.   His theft of the Arthur Ashe award to make himself look courageous is nothing more than a sick public relations stunt.  

It doesn't take courage for someone to take a high paying entertainment job that doesn't involve physical danger like the driver of a truck load of dynamite would face.   Many of us old guys would be willing to let our hair grow, or wear a wig if the hair has stopped growing, and put on a dress for the kind of money Jenner is getting from the E! Network..   Some of us might be willing to go even farther than Jenner is willing to go and let them remove what David Letterman calls our "junk".   When a man reaches 65 it sometimes isn't much more than junk anyway.

Giving a courage award to someone who has done nothing courageous dishonors those who have actually done something heroic.  Giving an award named after the black man who integrated the American Davis Cup team to a wealthy white entertainer so he can further his career is sick.    When Arthur Ashe discovered he had received an HIV infection from a blood transfusion he worked to educate people about the disease and founded Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.   Jenner's decision to do a new reality show playing a woman doesn't remotely compare to what Ashe did.

The actions of a young college woman named Lauren Hill does compare favorably with  Ashe's actions.  When she found out she was dying of an incurable cancer she dedicated the remainder of her college basketball career to trying to raise research funds so other young people would not have to share her fate.

Sgt. Noah Galloway didn't get a fatal disease in Iraq, but he did lose an arm and a leg.   If I had suffered that type of injury in Vietnam I would probably have spent the rest of my sitting in front of a tv set.   Galloway chose to fight back like Arthur Ashe and became a motivational speaker and even finished 3rd in the show "Dancing with the Stars".

Both of these individuals demonstrated far more courage than Jenner has. I recently saw a news story about a young father who demonstrated far more courage than Jenner.  When a man attempted to steal his car with his son inside, this courageous father jumped on the moving vehicle and held on as long as he could. 

The men and women who have served in the War on Terror have demonstrated far more courage than Jenner.    The same can be said of those who work as police officers or firefighters.

If Jenner accepts the award he will mark himself as a coward rather than a hero.   Jenner's attempt to steal the award reminds me of an old Warner Brothers cartoon about a phony hero dog.   At the start of the cartoon "Fresh Airedale"  the dog helps a burglar by serving as a lookout until the car chases the burglar.   When the dog hears someone coming he pretends he has chased the burglar away.  When the dog hears about another dog being called the "Number 1 Dog" he travels to the Number 1 dog's home and attempts to push him into a pond.  The phony hero misses and ends up in the water.  The Number 1 Dog rescues the phony, but is exhausted by the effort.  The phony revives first and when he hears people coming acts like he rescued the Number 1 Dog.    The dogs in the cartoon were males, but Jenner wants to be referred to as a female.   When you get older you sometimes have trouble remembering some words.  Does anyone remember the word for a female dog?

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