Rage Against the Machine

“Dissent and protest are divisive, but in a good way, because they represent accurately the real divisions in society.” –Howard Zinn

When I first thought of relaunching the blog in a weekly column format, I did so because I thought the way we talk about Gonzaga basketball, the Great Zag Discussion if you will, was really one-sided, really happy-go-lucky, and really reactionary.  Largely to blame (maybe entirely to blame) is the GUBoards message board and the near complete monopoly it has over that discussion.  (To put things in perspective, at any one time, individual posts routinely get over 1,000 page views within a few hours of being posted.  The highest number of page views this column has ever had on any single day is 190.)  I’ve long been an outspoken opponent of this monopoly under the argument that discussion should never be monopolized, especially not on a Gonzaga discussion board.  After all, the university once called its students “the people the world needs most” and now urges them to “be inspired.”  It requires those students to take a core curriculum based on critical thinking and reasoning, and the least we can do as fans is have discussions about the Zags that reflect that educational goal.  Largely, though, GUBoards has failed to do that since its inception nearly a decade ago.  And this week, as news broke that Matt Bouldin tested positive for a banned substance and was released from his Greek team, the moderators again showed that they are all too willing to control the direction of a discussion they’ve already monopolized.  When someone put up a post with a link to Howie Stalwick’s story on Bouldin’s case, it was promptly moved to an out-of-the-way location where it would be nearly impossible to find.  And that’s where it is still, even now that KREM2 News in Spokane confirms that Bouldin used an over-the-counter nasal spray he bought in the US and is not even banned by the NBA.  The fear is, I guess, that people will immediately rush to judgment or start in with a slew of theories and that wouldn’t be fair to Matt Bouldin or his situation.  That’s probably true, but then again, if an environment of adult discussion was cultivated at GUBoards from the start, one that encouraged people to use their brains and pose new ideas and reconsider old ones, nobody would have to be so afraid.

GUBoards has always been a poor reflection of our human intellegence, and this is just another example of why it’s a poor reflection of Gonzaga as well.  How are we supposed to talk about the Zags like the people the world needs most if the ones in charge of the discussion won’t even let us try?  Zag fans, you’re better than this, and you’re better than GUBoards.

I’m ending this week’s column here out of protest.

Go Zags.

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3 Responses to “Rage Against the Machine”

  1. Because the above doesn’t really lend itself to much discussion beyond a depressing “yup” (not at all similar to a barbaric yawp…), I want to take the liberty of asking a few questions that I’d ask on twitter if I had an actual twitter account. (So feel free to delete this post if you feel like it’s shanghaiing a potential conversation).

    You make a number of passing/backhanded comments about GU overrecruiting, and the subtext I get is that you view it as some mix of soullessness and incompetence. But players leaving Gonzaga after a couple of years is nothing new, as I realized when I was looking at season-by-season rosters of yore (Brooks, Skinner, Villepegue [sp], Amaya… etc). And it seems like playing basketball at the level that Gonzaga does should lend itself more towards a maximum of Darwinian savagery and a minimum of hand-holding. Would you disagree, or am I putting words in your mouth?

    Then more specifically, do you think Gibbs should’ve been given a better shot? That they made a lamentable mistake in letting him go? I know he seemed to be a Bouldin-lite, but I have a hard time crying over spilled apparently mediocre combo guards.

    I tend to think (believe? hope?) that the cream rises to the top, that most players get will get a fair shot, that being usurped by other more talented players is the way of the world.

    (Again, if this comments thread isn’t the place for this, act accordingly. As to the topic of today’s column, I can only say that I get pretty depressed about the value of my degree and the mettle of a large number of my fellow alumni, when I look at GUBoards and come to terms with the fact that many of them are the people the world needs most. I can only hope the rest are from the north-side.)

  2. Haven’t been to that place all year and don’t intend to.

    I highly recommend others do the same.

  3. Hoft, coincidentally (or maybe not so), I’m planning to write next week on overrecruiting. In a nutshell, I don’t know if Grant Gibbs was any good because he rode the bench for long stretches before being put in at crunch time of one game or another. He got jerked around the same way Dower and Keita and Arop are this season.

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