Just another boofhead like Woods, Clinton & Tyson
Mitchell Pearce apologises for actions resulting from the volatile mix of adulation and alcohol.
I was walking along the cliffs at Bondi Beach with a male friend when he brought up the story of Mitchell Pearce.
“It’s disgusting. These young sportsmen are treated like gods and lose all perspective of reality; they are spoilt rotten, success goes to their heads. They need to set an example,” he said, huffing and puffing, “for young people.”
When I was silent, he stopped. “Well? As a woman, what do you think? Isn’t it shocking?”
I knew there was a right answer to that firecracker. But no, I was not shocked: “I don’t think it’s any better or worse than what we’d expect from alpha-male boofheads in sport, or business, or politics for that matter.”
The Pearce story aside, it’s always struck me as odd that “polite society” expects what it considers “upstanding behaviour” from its testosterone-dosed alpha males. You can’t muzzle or domesticate a silverback.
We fall about in shock when we discover Tiger Woods had a zillion women, Bill Clinton had affairs, when Mike Tyson bites an opponent’s ears or Wall Street wolves such as Bernard Madoff rip people off. We are gobsmacked by political leaders who sniff chairs, or sportsmen who grope women in pubs after sports matches, or powerful males who eat their opponents for dinner. But it goes with the terrain. To put it in terms of “right/wrong” is naive.
Even while wars rage and the leaders of multinationals roam the planet with machetes, we still get flummoxed by what Wall Street terms “big swinging dicks”.
No, I’m not male-bashing. Most men are as much victims of alpha-male dominance as women are.
But we stand too far away from the natural world and are left blinking. Alpha-male lions enter the female pride and kill off the infant progeny of the former lion king. Dolphins do the same. Animals are territorial and the leaders of the pack just want to spread their genes.
They are, of course, superior to us in that they are not sadistic like human animals and guilty of domestic violence or putting people in concentration camps, but the top males of any species who are swinging off the Darwinian ladder are nevertheless laws unto themselves.
Add into the equation the idolisation we give our sports-celeb-business heroes — in cultivating and rewarding narcissism — and a dash of alcoholism, and you have a combustible mix.
Yes, Pearce’s drunken behaviour was upsetting to watch. But in the context of alpha-male behaviour, it’s not shocking. It’s just what silverbacks do.
COMMENTS REPUBLISHED FROM READER’S RESPONSES APPEARING ON THE AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER BLOG
What really infuritates me about the Mitchell Pearce affair and others like it is when people come out and say ‘hes really a good bloke’ who just cant handle his drink. No no no no. Lots of people drink too much but this guy is clearly not a ‘good bloke’ deep down. He is a bad bloke. The only reason anyone likes him at all is because he is a good rugby player, is well known and has lots of money. Because of this he gets away with whatever he likes. But please dont tell me he is really a good bloke’. Hes not. The way he behaved and his mockery of aboriginal team-mates shows that ‘deep down’ he is a terrible bloke. I dont care how drunk he was. Hes a rubbish bloke. And can we please stop this naive make believe that it was just alcohol that was affecting him. We all know its not just alcohol.
Why should sportsmen be role models? Are they paid to push the limits of excellence in sport, or to help old ladies cross the street?
The ancient Greeks had no such illusions when they celebrated champions like Achilles, a sociopathic killing machine (or so he is portrayed in the Iliad) whom you might cheer at the Olympiad, but not necessarily want to meet in a dark alley on the night of the celebrations.
The Greeks also celebrated characters like Hector, who was both a champion and a gentleman, but that’s an unexpected bonus. If every sports champion is expected to be a perfect gentleman or “role model” (the phrase makes me wince) we should give up on fierce games like football, tennis and athletics, and spend our time watching lawn bowls or bridge.
@James I remember in the late 70’s walking into a milk bar on the weekend where a guy in a suit was trying to sell the lady an ice cream making machine (unsuccessfully). As he was leaving some kids came in and one asked, “Hey, aren’t you Steve – – – – – – – -“, to which he replied, “Yes”. It was a name that even I disinterestedly knew. It appears that back then they did weekend jobs.
Today these people get obscene amounts of money for doing something relatively unimportant. They are well rewarded for playing and for gratuitous prestige. So, yes, one should expect more from them than for the inhabitants of Taronga Park.
Let’s not make football players the latest in the lineup of hard-done-by minorities.
@James I dont expect them to be role models. But they put themselves out there as role models when the sponsorship $$$$ are rolling in. But can we please call a spade a spade and recognise he is a rubbish bloke. Do I think it matters that he is a rubbish bloke? Not really. He is a professional rugby player. But lets stop this nonsense that they are all ‘top blokes’. They arent. They are good rugby players and rubbish blokes. It is what it is.
For as long as people are not harmed in any way what happens behind their doors is none of my nor should be anyone else’s business. Mitchell should not have been given any more alcohol once he started misbehaving, just as he would not had been given more in any pub, bistro whatever. Where were his friends? Whatever happened to, you had enough,mate, lets go. And no, I am not shifting blame on anyone , lets just say he was in wrong place, wrong time, staged and that video should have stayed indoor. I feel sad he was, in the way, let down as well.
@Miguel “For as long as people are not harmed in any way what happens behind their doors is none of my nor should be anyone else’s business.”
This ^. The PC brigade think its unfair and unjust that gays and lesbians and transgenders are judged for their weird and strange behaviours, fettishes and displays, most of which is private…but then judge this guy for getting too drunk one night in private and acting the fool. The hypocrisy is obvious.
Tell me something, Rohan, is it unreasonable for someone to say they wouldn’t want Mitchell in their home?
@tim @Rohan B @Miguel Its a fair comment you make;I don’t know this young man but what I was trying to say where were his friends in all this? Should someone not step in earlier and give him soda water instead, get a cub, get him home before all this? And what kind of friends do this to a mate? For the world to see?And if he as my son I would move the earth to help him as well.As is now, I do feel sorry for what happened to him. He will always be known as “that man, you..”An that is not right either, at his age.
There was the one with the rats in his house clearly visible when the light was switched off (when he thought the world was not watching), and then the one who managed to film those rats and then broadcast it to the world… which itself was quite a ratty thing to do. The ratty one is as unpleasant as the rats in the man’s life he wanted to show the world. We don’t know who they are but they do. That one ratty act shows there must be more rats. One day they too may be visible for all to see. There but for the grace of God go I.
Yeah I watched that and I can see that perhaps it could be shocking to the goodie two shoes out there who think that this is abnormal and “upsetting”, but I saw this many times growing up in perth. The person who was wrong is the person that filmed it on their mobile and uploaded it…that’s where society has gone stupid these days…smartphones and youtube and facebook has just become the new 24/7 political correctness Orwellian 1984 security state.
There was no use posting it, everyone in that room was participating in a nonsense drunk home fail.
I don’t think it reflects badly on sport at all, if you think teenage jocks are going to look at that and think its cool, ive got news for you: they probably think this guy is just a daggy old geezer, they probably already do much worse, on average and tbh, when our parents weren’t looking, lets admit that most of us (who adhered to the minimum level of ‘cool’ did this or attended parties and gatherings where stuff like that was normal…at least once people had popped pills and had a skin full.
The hypocrisy pf the dogooders that are petrified of gaffes and gotchyas and being embarrassed by youtube videos and the like really are pathetic. Top sportsman had too much to drink in an intimate setting, he trusted people that betrayed him, was exposed and humiliated by the jackals and the mafia suits that control the code…and then he is compelled to say ‘I have a drinking problem’ to the world, when he clearly doesn’t. The story of this guys makes me feel like a vast proportion of the Australian population is in lah lah land.
@Rohan B “Yeah I watched that and I can see that perhaps it could be shocking to the goodie two shoes out there who think that this is abnormal and “upsetting”,
So you’d have him as a guest in your home. Right.
“Hey, where’s your loo?”
“You can just use the sofa.”
There were two dogs in this story. One was house trained, the other wasn’t.