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Soup of This Day #202: ‘Cause Out On The Edge Of Darkness

June 28, 2012

Amur tiger
An Amur tiger, Panthera tigris altaica, at Detroit Zoo, just over 11 miles away from where its namesake, the Detroit Tigers, play ball at Comerica Park. Amur tigers are a type of cat well known for their directed anger so its best to take photos with a very long telephoto lens – Photo: MJCdetroit, 2008. MJCdetroit is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

There’s this phenomena called re-directed anger that can affect house-bound cats.

It works like this: You have 2 cats living in a house together. They get along just fine, grooming each other and generally hanging out, maybe playing a little ‘chase-that-thing’ game as compadres. 1 day 1 of the feline duo, surveying it’s notional territory outside the window, aka the yard, spots another cat lurking.

Unable to beat 10 types of @#$% out of the intruder, the aggrieved indoor cat will then turn to the nearest available target – His indoor buddy. Who ends up taking a beating because some ignorant mog wandered into the wrong yard at the wrong time.

Anger has been re-directed.

Something like this happened to our cats this Monday past. Only they’ve gone and got it arse-backwards. The whole thing played out something like this:

Jupiter escaped outdoors. Bird saw Joop get out and watched him cavort in the freedom of the carport from a convenient windowsill. Jupiter returned to the door after 15 minutes and got let back in. At that point an enraged Bird beat 10 types of @#$% out of his brother, blood was spilled and the 2 have to be separated (carefully) into alternate rooms.

A little while later they are re-introduced. Bird seems apologetic but now Jupiter wants revenge so it’s all on again. Essentially, each cat has re-directed their anger at the cat they really should be angry with. Which in a strange, slightly @#$%ed up way, makes perfect sense.

The problem is that now it’s a fair bit later and they still haven’t got over it – Neither can get within 2 metres of the other without the Cold War getting re-enacted right here in our house, complete with yowling border skirmishes.

I’m not entirely sure who, in that metaphor, is on which side of the Iron Curtain but it’s possible that they are both on the Communist side but somehow think that the other is not. Whatever the analogy it is a problem.

My wife thinks it’s all quite simple really – ‘It’s because they’re stupid,’ she announced sweetly.

I, on the other hand, believe it’s more complicated than that and not being able to understand feline psychology I am struggling to develop a strategy that will lead to détente.

And now I think I’ve over-thought this whole kittens and caboodle thing.

But that’s ok because re-directed anger is a topical thing right now. At least on this blog anyway.

And quite possibly only on this blog.

Wherever it’s being discussed it’s a subject of note here because a divide has sprung up between the Red Sox players (and some fans) and the media. Like the battle between the cats there is a fair old bit of psychology I don’t understand that is going on but here in brief is the summary:

The media is digging up dirt on the Red Sox.

Some of the Red Sox players think this is unfair.

And that’s it – Anger has been re-directed.

Before I comment further I should reinforce the fact that I live in Perth, Western Australia. I am not therefore in the Boston media market. Close, but not quite there. Pretty much all I get is what I read on The Boston Globe’s online site. I sometimes drift into ESPN and assorted others but primarily it’s down to the Globe for me.

That doesn’t mean that I’m a full-on supporter of that publication. I often disagree with some of the things I read there, particularly when their Red Sox beat wanders into Liverpool FC territory. But that’s ok – The only publication that will agree fully on everything with me is this 1 and whilst that’s nice I will have a hard time convincing anybody of everything with a coalition of me and me no matter how united the 2 of me are.

In spite of my diversion of opinion from them I still respect The Globe – They write good and I genuinely believe that they have the best interests of baseball at heart. That last bit is the key – Because if they are sincere about that then the stuff they write becomes relevant, vital even.

To give an example: Writing about chicken and beer in the clubhouse is a puff piece in a sensationalist tabloid looking to sell copy. Writing about chicken and beer in the clubhouse when you care deeply about the game going on in the background is responsible journalism.

And this is the nub of the problem – Some players see stuff like the chicken and beer narrative as being a puff piece wherever it shows up – Leave us to just play ball, they cry. The journos see that kind of reaction as further evidence of issues in the clubhouse – Be accountable, they say.

To a point, I’m with the newsfolk.

Yes, there is some gutter journalism going on with some outlets. That is what they do – They dig and dig for scandal and drama because it sells. Forget sex, drama at Fenway seems to retail bigger. A hard-hearted bastard will tell the Sox players that the market is what it is – It is the price to pay for pulling on that jersey – As long as people buy those rags and listen to those radio stations and watch that TV channel there will be muck raked and it will be sensationalised. Deal with it, would say a pragmatist, even if you do so by burying your head in the sand.

The likes of The Globe are not writing @#$% though. They are peopled by bloodhounds who are seeking The Truth for the Public Good. They will tease out anything and everything and they will sift it for relevance. They will get it wrong occasionally but they will, more often than not, get it right. For this kind of journalism you cannot bury your head in the sand – A non-comment is a comment. And that makes a non-comment legitimate news. Unlike the gossip you see, you can’t get by this kind of press by burying your head in the sand.

Be accountable, take ownership and acknowledge that you are responsible.

I’m as angry as every other Sox fan – Angry about September last year, angry that Tito left, angry at John Lackey and yep, angry about chicken and beer in the clubhouse… And the golf thing… And the ducking of pressers… And the attitude…

I’m not re-directing that anger to the media. They didn’t make last season, didn’t take the field at any point during a game. The Red Sox did and they need to own it for a change.

Now can somebody work out how I can explain all of that to Bird and Jupiter?

‘Cause Out On The Edge Of Darkness

  1. Bird and Jupiter eventually will find peace. Certainly sooner than the good folk in Boston, who continue to live out 2011 in 2012. As far as the newsies go, if they are reporting something new so be it…even if it resides within an overall old story. Beat reporters in Philadelphia usually bend over backwards to show the team’s side of things in order to get better access…to report even “softer” stories. The columnists on the other hand blast away with both barrels, looking for even the slightest opening to trend a topic of tumult. Back to the cats…I would suggest they both be brought into the same room, individually held and petted at the same time…in clear view of each other. Perhaps in this manner they will feel balance has been restored. If nothing else, they may refocus on the petting part and then try to outdo each other by getting attention for all the right reasons…not the wrong ones.

    • As it happens détente broke out shortly after I posted – The cats got into a running brawl, but his time it was all about play and there was none of the hissing and howling. Since then they’ve been ok – Occasional flashpoints when Bird thinks Jupiter is gaining an advantage but mostly calm. We had actually tried holding both close together and giving them some attention – It’s quite possible that the move was a step towards a thaw. Ultimately I think they’ve gone back into alliance as part of a plot to take over the world – They’re like that.

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