Against Pouting

The above footage from Tuesday’s Giants-Dodgers broadcast has been making its way around the internet. As you will see in the video, a young man, having missed a shot at a foul ball proceeds to pout, get noticed by the gentlemen in the broadcast booth, and have a ball hand-delivered to his seat. The video has been celebrated by some as an example of the great things humans are capable of if we are just nicer to each other.

I see something far more insidious at work.

The message here is, apparently, that pouting pays. This boy went home with far more than just a baseball on Tuesday — he went home confirmed in the belief that no pout goes unrewarded. The Giants’ broadcasters have set a very dangerous precedent not just for this boy’s parents, but for this boy himself, and the future of our society as a whole.

For the boy’s parents: Obviously he’s going to become (if he isn’t already) an insufferable, whiny, spoiled, brat who makes himself vomit if mommy and daddy don’t let him eat his dessert before dinner, who throws a tantrum in the store when he isn’t bought the toy he wants, and who complains that “his parents don’t love him” when they only give him 50 bucks a night for Hanukkah.

For the boy himself: He will now go through life with the deeply mistaken belief that any hardship in life can be overcome with a good pout. Not only does this set him up for great embarrassment when he grows up and, for instance, is told that his credit card has been denied at a fancy restaurant and goes on to pout in front of all the other diners, but it could also carry tragic consequences. Perhaps the boy grows up to be less fortunate and comes to rely on government aid for his meals. However, one month his food stamps do not arrive. Dismayed by this perceived injustice, he pouts, and pouts, and pouts, all the while neglecting to pick up the phone and make a call. Unsurprisingly, he starves.

For society as a whole: All of the children who were watching Tuesday’s broadcast have also been told, tacitly, that pouting leads to good things. Consider for a moment what this means for our prospects for political progress in the future. The pout is a fundamentally passive act. It rests on the agency of others to right wrongs for the pouter as opposed to the agency of the wronged organizing, agitating, and demanding change. Imagine for a moment if the Congress of Racial Equality had advised southern Blacks to sit at home and pout as opposed to sitting-in at lunch counters.

I think the reason we adults find this video amusing and the boy endearing is because we know deep down that it presents us with a picture of the world exactly as it does not (and should not) function. This child’s behavior is endearing in the same way that a child’s enthusiasm for Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny is endearing. It reminds us of — and fills us with nostalgia for — an innocence that has been swept away with our increasing awareness of the workings of the material world. But, of course, our society has no use for adults who continue to believe in Santa Claus.




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Eric writes about the Phillies at The Good Phight. Follow him on Twitter.


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Jack Moore
Member
Member
4 years 10 months ago

You’re mean.

adohaj
Guest
adohaj
4 years 10 months ago

But correct

AK707
Member
AK707
4 years 10 months ago

I actually disagree about pouting not working in the real world. Watch C-SPAN sometime – those guys apply tantrums, name-calling, and pouting to great effect!

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

And they succeed in getting exactly what they want?

AK707
Member
AK707
4 years 10 months ago

Based on the assumption that “what they want” is willful ineptitude combined with senseless lollygagging, then yes! But, I did error when calling their world the “real world” – they are totally different universes actually.

JR
Guest
JR
4 years 10 months ago

SKILLFULLY EMBEDDED!!

Chris
Guest
Chris
4 years 10 months ago

I was at an Indians game, got my first foul ball, and as I was pulling it out from under my seat, some kid sitting in front of me turned around and lunged at me taking the ball out from my hand. Then the ball boy gave him ANOTHER ball! He sat there the rest of the game bashing the ball he stole from me, and the one given to him up against the concrete barrier between him and the field.

People need to start smacking their kids again when they do bad things.

AK707
Member
AK707
4 years 10 months ago

I had one taken from my glove when I was twelve by a father next to me. My glove provided the safe catch, his nacho-cheese covered fingers applied enough lubricant to remove it from said mitt, to be handed as a prize to his daughter. Unfortunately, my own father was walking down to our seats with his beer at the time, and got a good view of what was taking place. A beer shower and shouting later, all four of us were escorted from the premises. Moral of the story: keep your nacho cheese to yourself unless you want beer with that. Maybe if it had been olive oil from garlic fries that liberated that ball from my glove, we would have at least had common ground to open negotiations with. Foul balls seem to be growing in value as people nowadays come to fisticuffs over such frivolity!

MikeS
Guest
MikeS
4 years 10 months ago

Wouldn’t he just have learned the same lesson about pouting getting you whatever you want when he grew up and read about infielders calling the press box to get errors changed to hits?

juan pierre's mustache
Guest
juan pierre's mustache
4 years 10 months ago

if you watch carefully, you can see a staff member of some sort at the very bottom of the screen who appears to be instructing the boy to give the ball to the whiner. if i have to watch one more espn show where they do everything short of giving the original receiver of the ball a free MLB player to keep in his room to exalt his great generosity i will have to try this “pouting” technique to see if i can make it stop.

Danaerys Dies
Guest
Danaerys Dies
4 years 10 months ago

“But, of course, our society has no use for adults who continue to believe in Santa Claus.”

Maybe not Santa, but we welcome people with equally irrational beliefs as SC.

Del B. Vista
Guest
Del B. Vista
4 years 10 months ago

That boy has earned the nickname Veruca Salt.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood
4 years 10 months ago

Well said, friend. ESPN was LAUDING the Giants organization as “classy” for giving that little shit a ball. I would have thrown it back on the field if I was his dad.

Andrew Baker
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

“Little shit” is the perfect description of this kid.

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