It’s Easy To Make Fun of Muhammed Ali, Now That He’s Left The Arena
by Jake Block
At every sporting event, concert, or meeting of people who, although not successful at the skill being presented themselves, find it their personal duty to “throw shade” on those who can. They’re sure to make their comments loud enough to be heard, hopefully to impress some in the crowd around them, for a laugh or some imagined superiority they might gain in voicing what could only be called “personal opinion.” Challenge them to prove their point, and they’ll fall back on the old “First Amendment” trope.
Why not? I mean, it’s not like those that they are are talking shit about are ever going to be standing right nearby, as they spew their self-serving shit to those around them. “Nickelback sucks… they can’t play worth a damn.” It’s not likely that Chad Kroeger is wandering around amongst the cheap seats to hear him… or is going to come down to the Church’s Chicken store where the loud-mouth worked 32 hours to afford his ticket to the show.
“Who the hell is Serena Williams?” Having seen a few raised eyebrows in the group around her, the blonde “never-was” in shorts and t shirt continues, “I could play tennis as well as her, and without all of the grunting she does to get attention. Just why in the hell is that bitch so successful?” This loudmouth might be queen of the courts in her New Jersey suburban condo clubhouse complex, and feel oh-so-superior as she throws her racquet in the back of her used Mazda Miata. She waves jauntily as she hurries back to her mortgaged to the hilt condo, 2.5 American children and thaws out a frozen steak for her husband of 20 years to enjoy when he returns home from an afternoon with his mistress across town. Meanwhile, Serena Williams relaxes in one of her homes, drinking champagne in celebration of another win at Wimbledon.
Muhammed Ali DID once walk up behind such a loudmouth in New York, as he was making his way through the crowd to Madison Square Garden, shaking hands with his fans. He stood behind his detractor quietly and gestured for those around him to stay silent with his finger to his lips. They stood there silently, smiling as the man, taking their smiles for acceptance, continued and stepped up his diatribe against Ali… “slow… doddering…. glass jaw… flash in the pan.” After a few moments, Muhammed Ali gently tapped his detractor on the shoulder and, when the man turned around to see him there, the look of fear and horror on his face was unmistakable.
Ali’s face, they say, remained serene as he threw a lightning fast punch that stopped an inch from the nose of his tormentor. He said, in that famous Muhammed Ali whisper, “Sometimes you just gotta hold back a bit, son.” Then he made his way into the Garden to do what he was there for. He was not only the Heavyweight Champion of the World, but a gentleman and consummate professional who’s memory still lives in the hearts of many, while his anonymous detractor is forever lost to history. And that, as I see it, is the way it should be.
Those who CAN, do. Those who CAN’T, but they still want fame and notoriety… to be the top dog, criticize those who CAN, so long as they don’t have to really work or suffer for it. They COULD be just as famous as Crowley, or whomever else they choose to debase, but you know, “THEY” are holding people back and the new guy just can’t get “in the game.” Professional wrestler, Ric Flair had wisdom for all of those who though his job was easy. “To be the man,” he said,”you gotta beat the man!”
The Left Hand Path is a “big tent,” and there is plenty of room for everyone who wants to try to leave their mark along the way… assuming they have a legitimate mark to make. There are indeed many who “made their bones” along the way through solid research, some insightful speculation, and being able to present their own work and theories without the need to resort to petty feuds and public displays of vulgarity. They became known around the world and “followed” by others who found their work compelling and meaningful, long before “following someone” became “collecting likes” on Facebook. In the pre-internet days, one wrote books, monthly magazines or newsletters to pass information on to others and receive feedback from those who subscribed to their service.
Having loud-mouthed detractors is nothing new, and pretty much comes with the territory in an era where very little, if anything is done in a face-to-face setting. People today are separated by thousands of miles, yet still in communication over the internet. You never know for certain if the person you are talking to (or about) while you are in Fresno, California, is in Dubrovnik, Croatia or right down the road in Visalia, California. What IS new is the eagerness of people to want to see people in the worst light, based solely on the word of someone they have never met, and whose existence can only be proven by words on a computer screen. Conspiracies abound and are applied to every aspect of life. There must be some thing to be hidden in every interaction, and damn it, we DESERVE to know everything about everybody. In fact, we DEMAND it… but in the same breath, we reserve the right to our own privacy at any cost.
In 1988, Anton LaVey, while being interviewed by Eugene Robinson for his “Birth of a Tragedy” interview, said, “I feel (people have) a need to reduce or destroy or declass a person who has at one time been great, so that then they can feel that their own inadequacies are less. And America, being a rather fickle nation…fads, trends, popular conceits…America is more fast paced and has a higher mortality rate than anywhere in the entire world. So it stands to reason, in a hermetic sense, that we would create and destroy our heroes just as fast. It would also make something like film noir a uniquely American phenomenon…just like the Western. This also means that villains, too, could wind up being heroes much easier than they can in other countries. That’s at least a saving grace.”
I’m of the belief that every man and every woman is, in the final analysis, capable of doing something that others will consider laudable. The pages of world records books are filled with everyday people who did extraordinary things. But no matter what the feat, there will be someone standing in the wings to belittle their efforts and claim that they could have done better. Well, that’s fine, but my question for the loudmouths will always be, “OK, if you could have done better, WHY HAVEN’T YOU?”
There is always going to be a place in the feeble minds of bleating sheep for those who can feign strength in the midst of incompetence, and there are always herds of wannabes that are willing to accept a poser in the absence of the real thing. Nature abhors a vacuum, and in the absence of true power, even a bombastic, blustering fool can lead. When the bar is set so appallingly low, it takes little to best it. If you are one of the sheep waiting to be led, there’s someone out there for you, but I hope that is never someone that you find within our number.
When the rest of the world is content to stand beneath the banner that reads, “Strive For Mediocrity,” take pride that you stand beside us, for here, leaders lead by example, not rhetoric. For those who CAN, come here and DO. We’re building this “city” for you.