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Evan Hall Meta-Booing: Al Jefferson and the Utah Fan’s Struggle with Self-Expression Around six months ago, while perusing my Facebook timeline as I am wont to do when I feel like hating everyone I thought I liked, I discovered that I had at least one friend who I liked not in spite of but because of his fairly regular status posts. The It is so infrequentcy at whichthat I find Facebook friends whose posts I enjoy reading is so alarmingly high that my discovery actually caused me to message him and ask if he had a Twitter account that I could follow. He quickly but tersely responded that sharing anything he writes, however small, actually made him want to write less, a sentiment I was surprised to find I empathized with. There’s something about speaking out and the self-exposure it demands that makes you hate yourself. Even in writing, when you can edit, and revise, and rework until the image your writing emanates matches exactly with the your ideal self-image. you only dream about, there’s something about it all that makes you hate what you really are, underneath that. David Foster Wallace called writing a “confrontation,” and certainly it’s a confrontation with self—one most of us would rather just avoid. Booing, on the other hand, despite its ostensibly confrontational nature, doesn’t say much of anything about an individual. Maybe at your the occasional little league game do you notice booing as the act of an individual—the proverbial washed-up ballplayer living out his dreams in the batter’s box with his fifth-grade son.—bBut far more frequently, booing is a mob act, the kind of thing you describe happening on a collective level, like when the crowd booed Al Jefferson upon his entrance into the last few minutes of Monday’s blow-out win over Detroit. It wasn’t actually the entire crowd that booed Big Al—it wasn’t even a majority of the crowd. It was a few disgruntled fans scattered through Energy Solutions Arena. who were disgruntled enough to add another chapter to the still unwritten but painfully existent volumes of complaints against Utah fans that, at least according to Zach Lowe, currently circulate league conversation. So not only was it a small minority of the crowd who booed Al Jefferson, but they might not have even been booing Al Jeffersonhim. Maybe they were booing Coach Ty Corbin’s decision to bench a young, developing player like Enes Kanter late in an already-decided game. Maybe they were booing a weak-armed team dancer’s inability to launch a t-shirt into the upper deck. Or maybe, they were booing one of a million other perceived flaws they saw in the on-court product of their favorite basketball team. But that’s the thing about booing, for in all of its simplicity and its attention-demanding loudness, it fails to communicate beyond the most basic of sentiments. SOMETHING IS BAD, says the booer, SOMETHING IS BAD. There is no nuance in a boo, no explanation. It’s as inscrutable as it is facile. For every cheer that says I LIKE THIS, there’s an equal and opposite boo that says, THIS SUCKS. It’s Twitter without the last 139 characters, and it’s a blog post with nothing but a headline. Sure it’s communication, but only in the same way giving someone the bird is communication, and both the booing and the birdBooing represents the same flawed mentality that often pollutes our meme-oriented culture: good communication is hard, so let’s make it easy. My soapbox isn’t quite high enough to justify a no-holds-barred denunciation of the institution of booing—I think I’d have to be a Bobcats fan before I could start making any qualification-less judgments of the habits of other fans. But if something as thought-provoking and universal as good writing can start to sound unappealing after a quick-run through the statuses of your Facebook friends, then mMaybe Utah Jazz fandom needs an attitude correction before we start

to dread going to a game the same way we dread our high school friend’s political commentary on facebook. Perhaps we as fans could all stand to hate ourselves a little less as a collective unit that so often appears so hateful, because even if we’re not all booing, we can all agree that if someone is, SOMETHING IS BAD.

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