Lebron, Russia, and the Blue Screen of Death: A social commentary on the Reset Button


Lebron, Russia, and the Blue Screen of Death – what do all of these have in common, you ask?  Simple – people think hitting the “Reset Button” makes everything all better.  In fact, its become something of a mindset here in the United States – if not the world: no matter the situation/problem, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed by resetting.  It makes everything allllllll better – just by the push of some imagined button.

News flash!  IT DOESN’T.

Maybe sometimes you can fix the blue screen of death on your computer by restarting or resetting, but have you really fixed the underlying issue?  The root cause?  Probably not.  To do that you’re going to have to invest some money and time in getting a good anti-virus program, and then you’ll probably have to spend some time making sure it does its job.  But rarely does the reset button magically fix your computer.

Then you get into bigger issues than your computer… like affairs of State.  Real-world life and death type stuff – look no further than our own government’s relationship with former world super-power and nemesis, the USSR… I mean the Russian Federation.  After a decade or so of pretty good relationships with the western world (Russia and NATO went so far as to enjoy a good relationship in the 90s, and then formed a joint council in 2002: The NATO-Russia Council) things began to deteriorate in the early 2000s between the US and Russia, then reached a breaking point in 2014 when NATO and Russia dissolved their cooperative agreements.  During this time it can be argued that Russia’s government took steps back towards a more authoritative style under President Putin and hostilities in different areas of the world: Chechnya and Georgia specifically, while supporting what some may call hostile regimes; while this was going on the US undertook some unilateral actions that were not viewed favorably by the Russian government, mainly beefing up our missile defense network in Eastern Europe in response to a growing global terrorist threat.  Enter a new President (and what I would argue is a pie-in-the-sky/naive/detrimental foreign policy), and in 2009 the US promised to “Reset” our relations with Russia.  It did not get off to a good start: in a meeting between our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and their counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, Clinton decided it would be a great idea to present a gift showcasing our intention –  a Red Button with “Reset” written on it in English and Russian…  But the button was apparently stolen from a hotel by our delegation… and we translated incorrectly – including the Russian word for “overcharge” or “overload” instead (great job, guys).  So… we decided – in response to a government that had invaded one country, Georgia; committed human rights violations on a grand level in another, Chechnya; and reversed democratic reforms in their own country – that we needed to reset our relationship with them.  What did that get us?  A growing gap in relations between our two countries, including Twitter wars between diplomats (because two leading world powers are that mature); the harbouring of an alleged traitor, Edward Snowden; threats of military actions against our assets by their generals; and another invasion and occupation of one of our allies, Ukraine, by Russia.  So what did the reset button do exactly?  I personally think it escalated us into another Cold War, but that wasn’t the button really.  The button. Didn’t. Do. Anything.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.  It didn’t change what happened in the past; it didn’t change the actors – their behaviours, their experiences, their reactions; and it had no effect on what was going to happen.  Tell me how that’s working out for us.

All that brings us to the ultimate exercise in narcissistic tendencies regarding the magical reset button: Lebron James (or as I like to call him since that fateful day in 2010, LeDouche).  Now, the reset button doesn’t always have to take the form of a button – and here it doesn’t: the button is letter-shaped for Lebron.  Let me set the stage: rather, let Lebron do it himself,

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball.”

Yep, his relationship with his hometown/area was bigger than basketball.  So why didn’t he know what everybody else knew?  In 2010 he made one of the stupidest, douchiest moves I have ever seen in the sports world: The Decision, in which he left his hometown team on television, without even giving the owner that drafted him (and let him have an outsized roll in basketball operations’ decisions) the courtesy of a warning phone-call.  In a town that’s as passionate about their sports as Cleveland is they have come to identify all their defining moments (and not any of them are good…) by two words: The Retirement (Jim Brown at age 29), The Collapse (Indians: in the 2007 ALCS they dropped a 3-1 series lead improbably, but game 7 was horrendously memorable for the utter collapse that team underwent), The Shot (Cavs: there isn’t just one of these – there’s The Shot and The Shot 2 – both by his airness, MJ, ending the best basketball teams Cleveland had put together), The Drive (Browns: 1987 AFC Championship game), and The Fumble (Browns: 1988 AFC Championship game).  So for someone who grew up there and knew all that, to throw a self-aggrandizing party/show (I don’t really care if it was for charity, that’s beside the point) and call it THE DECISION is beyond comprehensible.  THEN to follow it up with The Afterparty where Lebron, Wade, and Bosh all congratulated themselves on their awesome douchiness…  Lebron doesn’t have a lick of good taste IMNSHO (in my not so humble opinion).  He goes on in his letter to talk about how Miami was “college” for him – y’know what…  a lot of us go to college.  You know what we don’t do?  We don’t take the family that has built us up, made us an idol, been there for the ups and downs, forgiven our Game 5 and 6 collapses…  we don’t take that family flip them off, tell them they aren’t worth our spit, piss on their car on the way out of town, videotape it all, and then have a viewing party for everybody where we can celebrate leaving them behind like yesterday’s one night stand.  But hey, here it is four years later – and he’s coming back.  He even wrote a letter – thank God he didn’t have another show.  He wants a reset.  He wants to come back home.  And he wants everybody to be okay with it like nothing ever happened.  What’s going to happen there?  I don’t know: maybe the city of Cleveland is so desperate for a championship that they’ll let things go to the back of their mind, maybe they’ll let it fester and erupt later on in some unknown fashion, maybe unicorns and bunnies will fall from the ceiling the first time he does his signature talcum powder thing in Cleveland – I don’t know.

I also don’t care really.  My job is not to decide whether or not people will participate in the fantasy realm that is created by the reset button: we’ve all pushed the restart/reset button on our computers even if we know we’ll be doing it again in 15 minutes, the Russian ambassador pushed the red button with Secretary of State Clinton, and a lot of people seem to be fine with one letter re-writing Cleveland sports history.  My job is to point out that the reset button at its core is in Bad Taste.

It is a ridiculous concept.  From computers to diplomatic relations to douchey basketball players to relationships on the rock to whatever scenario you can come up with, it’s never so simple as the push of a button and we need to stop thinking and promoting the idea that it is.  Life is complicated and takes work – the more important something is the more work it should take, and that’s okay!  We should look forward to the challenges that are in front of us as ways to grow, and we should learn from the challenges behind us – but we should never try to forget and reset: life happens for a reason, embrace it – that’s in good taste.

~ J.T. Riles ~


Categories: Long Drive...For Three...Hail Mary...At the Buzzer, Social Choices

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