vrijdag 8 juli 2011

Manne's World: The Ambassadors

A funny thing that happens in the group dynamic in our group of friends, is that because of the strong characters, strong opinions and heated debates, it is very difficult to take a loose position on anything. Any statement you make comes with a certain burden of responsibility and an ownership of both the argument and the view you take. Maybe, it is ego among men, just another way for the alpha's in a group full of tauruses to butt heads until one falls down exhausted and the other one is the proud owner of bragging rights and a weeklong concussion.

This brings about an interesting phenomenon. The ambassadorship. When say 'yes' to something, you own it forever, or so Ayn Rand famously wrote in her masterpiece The Fountainhead. Something similar happens with the Surifatu boys. When you open your mouth to say 'yes' to something, in our world, it is not like pressing the 'like' button on Facebook. It is the equivalent of flying your flag over that confirmation or support for a person, a movie, a book (not many books, a shocking amount of my very intelligent, very academic friends have a strong aversion to or phobia of, books), but mostly a sports team, an artist, an actor or an athlete. You become the spokesperson for it, him or her. You become its ambassador. This requires an astonishing commitment on your part, because you have to be able to defend your item of choice with comparative statistics, triumphs, records of accomplishment, income statements, popularity polls, reviews, recaps, filmographies and in some instances resort to demagoguery, populism, dirty tricks. Indeed, the only thing that can arouse heavier emotions than a discussion are our epic sessions of board games. Family members and most friends already refuse to play Risk with me and my very good friend Fatukel.

The Ambassadorship, indeed, the Surifatu movement itself, is like a Parliementary Chamber where one can be challenged to a debate at any time. This is partly due to the fact that the Surifatu Men are notorious for flagrant off topic remarks and as I have described, letting someone get away with an offhand comment is an insult to your manhood, even if that someone might have a point.

For example, the discussion could be about beverages or energy drinks and Michael Jordan's endorsement of Gatorade might give cause to the infamous Kobe Bryant debate. As many battles have been wrought in this area and many original and strong arguments have been beat to death: "he scored 81 points in one game", "he is a rapist", "he has as many championships as Michael Jordan", "but nowhere near as much MVP's or scoring titles", it always surprises me that every time the subject comes up, nobody is willing to back off or walk away. The only way to end this epic battle is by comparing Kobe Bryant to Lionel Messi, which will spark the infamous Messi debate. The Messi Ambassadors will stand up and resort to comparissons with Cristiano Ronaldo and the CR Ambassadors will point to Messi's less than impressive international track record (or lack thereof). Some Ambassadors will try to take on the role of Elder Statesmen and move the discussion to the Greatest Ever debate, in which all pretense of objectivity soon fade, as they have their own candidates in that race: Zidane and the original Ronaldo.

The truth is, these debates are hardly ever about sport and most of the time the Ambassadors are not nearly as invested in or impressed by the items they sponsor. It is simply a fighting spirit that resides in all of us. The Ambassadorship is not limited to sports. The Kardashian, in which both Kim and Kourtney have their Ambassadors, as well as the Best Actor debate, which has people citing Deja VĂș as a classic on Denzel Washington's behalf, are often repeated, without any satisfactory outcome. The Best Movie Ever debate seemed to be narrowed down to a small number of candidates (Gladiator, Godfather, Shawshank Redemption), until Christopher Nolan decided to bless us with his genius these past few years. So the battles rage on.

Every now and then, an Ambassador ends up with a lost cause. A Mateja Kezman, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, Transformers, KFC Original (instead of spicy), the Dutch Antilles or Lloyd Banks. What you do in this case, after the denial phase, is smoothly try to move away and let the floor forget you ever took up its cause. But the Surifatu rules won't let you. It will hunt you forever and be a stain that can not be wiped off.

The merits of the system of the Ambassadorship are plenty. You sharpen your debating skills and level of readiness. You learn to improvise and distract your audience. But most of all, you have a lot of fun.


2 opmerkingen:

  1. Go Kings!!! Jimmer Time!!!

    Mi n'e spang, den Maloofs ow seer a man, dan mo kies wan tweede kans.

    En btw, Peja ab wan ring now. Dat is 1 meer dan Barkley, Stockton, Malone en Lebron.

    Yours truly,

    A tru anti-bandwagon Ambassador