The Economy. Afghanistan. Men hugging. These are some of the problems facing our country today.
Wait… guys hugging?
Oh yes. Just ask The Buffalo News opinion columnist Doug Routt. His most recent “article,” “Guys should stick to shaking hands,” must be read to be believed.
I donâ€™t want to seem like too old-fashioned a guy, but Iâ€™ve noticed a lot more hugging between men that was not prevalent just a few years ago. I was reared that guys shake hands.
That’s right! Routt’s continuing the great journalism tradition that’s made Andy Rooney the man he is today: that being, the “ole’ codger who doesn’t get society today” piece. No “trying to understand or explain” here folks. Just straight up regressive thinking for this lovely medium.
Routt continues with:
I know Richard Simmons does a lot of hugging, but Iâ€™m seeing all sorts of athletes embracing one another. I think itâ€™s all right for football players because they have pads and cups and all sorts of other protective stuff on their bodies, so itâ€™s just kind of pad to pad. But when these scantily clad soccer players jump on one another, itâ€™s a little embarrassing.
Oooh. Really? Why in this day and age would anyone make a veiled homophobic remark using Richard Simmons as the prototypical example of gay culture and do so in a newspaper? What is this, the 1950s? And since when did The Buffalo News publish opinion pieces that wouldn’t be fit for a high school paper?
OK. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh on Routt. One of the article’s commenters mentioned that the article was written tongue-in-check. Perhaps. One might be able to extract a little humor from the article. Such as, “ooh, look, he juxtaposed the image of females in scantily clad lingerie with male soccer players! Isn’t that funny?”
Be that as it may, there’s something insidious about the article even if one takes the potential tongue-in-check aspects into affect. Routt isn’t a strong enough writer to pull off the potential asinine nature and content of the article – better yet, no one is. When people talk about the decline of print journalism, perhaps Routt’s article can be seen as a reason why. It’s simply befuddling that a newspaper would print something so horribly out of touch, relatively homophobic and simply not newsworthy when papers across the country have to cut out pages, employees and real news. When a newspaper decides to publish work that piles on the pointless, unimportant fluff rather than engage its audience with opinions on the most newsworthy events, that’s when there’s a problem.
If “scantily clad soccer players…” are a problem for Routt, I wonder how he feels about extreme UFC-style cage fighting? The fighters (all men) wear little more than speedos, spend several minutes in sweat-drenched embraces AND spend a great deal of time rolling on the floor in what Routt (or any other bigot du jour) should see as obviously homo-erotic foreplay. If all that wasn’t bad enough, many of the top fighters are South American AND (gasp) European!! Quelle horror!!