There was an intriguing segment on Matt Jones' radio show today when he tussled with Lexington Herald Leader cartoonist Joel Pett who created an uproar after the publication of this image that may or may not have ushered in "The End of Days".
Before you ask, "Well, why you so obsessed blah blah blah", let's clarify a few things. One, I wish both fan bases, UofL and UK, could just go ahead and admit a certain amount of interest or "obsession", if you will, with the other. We're all up-in each other's business, period.
Whether motivated by hatred or boredom or whatever, I implore all parties to acknowledge that simple fact without having to go through the same old song and dance every time a fan comments on the other during the offseason.
Two, hate him all you want, I do often (fan hate, not hate-hate), but Matt Jones & Co. are here to stay and it's a reality Cards fans should be comfortable with, even when irked by, without feeling threatened.
It's an extra level of discourse, think of it that way. And I've come full-circle on Matt Jones and the lightning he's managed to bottle; hatred at first, hatred at second, then an appreciation for his talent third, hatred again fourth, and now as a somewhat harmless gadfly, a damn good radio host, a thin-skinned egotist, but one that helps create the 365-day drama that both UK and UofL fans relish in.
And that's what brings me to my last point, and my problem with the interview he did with Pett today. Jones' dagger, in his mind I think, was questioning Pett on whether he would feel guilty when/if Herald subscribers cancel because of his cartoon and one of his colleagues had to be fired as a result once all the numbers get crunched.
Pett, who in my opinion, defended himself well in a churlish way, said of course as a human he would perhaps feel bad in such a hypothetical scenario, but as a editorialist/satirist/cartoonist, he cannot allow such things to influence his daily (Pulitzer Prize awarded) work.
And Jones treated this as a huge gaffe. Which astounds me in its dishonesty, akin to Reverend Lovejoy's wife from "The Simpsons" pleading, "Won't someone please think of the children!".
Because Jones relies and depends and thrives on these kind of controversies; blowing oxygen onto otherwise small, normal fires, riling up the masses (the special kind that exist within all fan bases but UK seems to find itself defending more than most). To his great popularity and profit, he advances them.
So this particular attack seemed grossly unfair. Jones was suggesting that Pett should sleep uneasily at night for expressing this particular opinion in a cartoon. I don't agree with that at all. Especially in an editorial section, once opinions begin to be tailored to what or what may not be popular to readers, it ceases to be an editorial section. At least, if it's intellectually honest.
But intellectual honesty doesn't have a place in this particular discussion, according to Jones. If the Herald publishes a cartoon that is not received well (at his extra urging) then people may lose jobs. And the author of that should feel ashamed. Ipso facto, simple as that.
But if Pett should be wracked with anxiety over the hypothetical future unemployment of a colleague and the effect on his or her children, well, shouldn't Jones as well? He's the one using his pulpit (and increasing his own popularity/profit) by pointing his finger at this cartoon and subtly, often not sublty, puffing his chest as a better alternative, despite the fact the objectives of a newspaper and a fansite are miles apart.
Does he feel guilt about deliberately confusing the issue? By encouraging his followers to not distinguish between a newspaper and a fanzine?
And if he's not willing or courageous enough to use his influence to (stand up to/) help his followers understand that distinction, if Matt Jones can't remind human adults to grow up a little, that one can read and digest something without having a nervous breakdown if it doesn't jive with a worldview, and that newspapers may have a role and worth beyond solely how they "treat" UK sports, then I don't think Joel Pett should lose any more sleep tonight that Jones himself.
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About the Bloggers
Mr. Red is also known as Timothy Johnstone. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Black is also known as Christopher Cunningham. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
CliffySmalls is also known as Cliff Elliott. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.