Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If Joe Mauer is gay, you care!

I've pondered a few analogies since initially daring to ask if Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is gay.

People who loved the Dixie Chicks couldn't burn their CDs fast enough after the lead singer made a disparaging comment about President George W. Bush during a concert.

Who cares? So you disagree with her personal politics, and don't like that she voiced her opinion. Suddenly you don't like the music? False!

Obviously people cared, even though one had nothing to do with the other. People still liked their music, but they chose to protest because they decided the lead singer's personal politics were more important than music they enjoyed the day before. How ridiculous.

Yet linking the two was not ridiculous to thousands of country music fans. I say who cares about the political opinions of a musical artist, particularly when the leanings appear to have little or no influence on the songs the artist is singing.

Plenty of people justify caring about the political views of an artist. Yet according to three members of my Facebook nation, it's ridiculous to care about the personal life of Mauer. The logic seems a little flawed.

You could argue that the lead singer made her political opinions known during a concert, so it's fair game. If Mauer is gay, he hasn't made that clear to anyone. It's OK to care, and react, to what an artist puts out there. If the athlete hasn't divulged his same-sex preference, we shouldn't care.

Fair argument, but it's only OK to care about something if the artist, athlete or politician divulges it first?

If a politician never talks about his past when he runs for office, a past that includes drunken driving, cheating on his wife or stealing prescription drugs while he worked in the private sector as a young, carefree adult, then you're not allowed to care about it? Sorry, not how it works.

But athletes aren't politicians, therefore the same standard shouldn't apply. If so, then of course nobody should care about whether or not Tiger Woods was faithful to his life. If he doesn't want to talk about it, then nobody should care. Yet plenty of people did, and still do.

Somehow the idea that Mauer could be gay because he leads an exemplary personal life elicited the "who cares" response from three people yesterday, all of whom I bet would want to know what an article called "The secret love of Mauer's life" said if it appeared online at startribune.com. If Mauer wanted to cut open a vein and spill the details of his love life -- straight, gay or otherwise -- tons of people would read it, because they care.

And for the record, I posted a new topic of discussion on Facebook today. " Assuming Tiger Woods gets divorced, will he ever get remarried?" Here's speculation about another athlete and his personal life, which should be of no more interest than Mauer's personal life. I posted that topic and got a handful of responses, but not one "who cares." Is it just a coincidence that I didn't get that response today, or is the "who cares" crowd being hypocritical?

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