>One last time for the straggler, since Chuck and I have resolved our discussion
>of this topic (I think): No one can know with complete certainty how they will
>respond to a real life situation until it happens... whether or not they admire
>the skating of Michelle Kwan... or skaters from the former Soviet Union. (And
>some of us admire both.)
into something between you and Chuck, *about* Kwan and Lipinski and
Brennan's specific attitude toward those specific skaters.
What I'm trying to say is that the way Brennan characterized the skater
that the one she's writing about lost to, WHOEVER that skater might have
been, belittles the one thing Brennan admits she does well (jumps) and
very strongly implies that she does nothing else well.
Imagine you're reading an article about Johanna Sawitz, a skater you've
heard good things about and seen skate a couple of times. You read that
she recently lost an important championship to Kiki Bengssten, "a
tough-as-nails kid who could jump like crazy; but didn't possess the depth
and versatility to perform the difficult spins, footwork and other
movements Sawitz does so well."
Might you not suspect that the writer is being a bit unfair to Kiki,
belittling her jumping accomplishments and implying that she is actually
incapable of performing difficult spins and footwork, or possibly any
spins and footwork, at all?
Or roll back to some other real-life competition where the person who was
more of a jumper and less of an artist won, and substitute their names.
(Hint: You might try Bobek vs. Kwan for second place at 1994 Nationals.
Or, if you prefer, Bonaly vs. Baiul at 1993 and '94 Europeans.)
The point is, even if you're not particularly keen on jumps and are keen
on "artistry" and well-rounded skating skills, just because one skater is
exceptionally good at one area and another is exceptionally good at
another, that doesn't mean that they are completely deficient at the
things the other one is best at. If they were, they wouldn't win
championships or even be in contention to do so. So to imply that they
are seriously deficient in the things that matter most to you and that
your favorite does particularly well, and that the things that they do
best are not really important or worthwhile, IS a "swipe."
Turn it around and it's just as bad to belittle the "artistic" skater's
artistry with the kind of language I uwsed in my parody paragraph and to
imply that they are deficient technically or athletically. It would be
true to say that, for instance, Kwan can't land the difficult jump
combinations that Lipinski can, but to say only that would imply that her
jumping ability is deficient by world-class standards, and that is simply
not true. In terms of consistency of course she is one of the very best,
and her difficulty is certainly among the best.
Lipinski can skate. She can do difficult footwork and difficult spins,
and a good variety of them. What she doesn't have, yet, is the "depth and
versatility" to make it all mean something more than an athletic
accomplishment. But skating competitions are, above all, athletic
contests before they are art contests. If the Olympics were an art
contest, the results would have been different. David Liu, for one, would
be right up there in the standings instead of always getting cut before
the long program.