There’s an expert for everything these days, it seems.
The History Channel loves to roll out various oddball experts for its show Ancient Aliens, most notably the wild-haired Giorgio Tsoukalos. Beyond Tsoukalos’ willingness to embrace any far-fetched notion that aliens are behind humanity’s technological evolution — or invent those theories himself — he also sports a weird, quasi-pompadour/afro hairstyle that would make Donald Trump green with envy.
I’ll give Tsoukalos one thing: Alien expert wouldn’t be a bad job, really. Oh, so I’m wrong am I? Then prove it! Ha! You CAN’T! I must be correct!
Being an expert on theoretical topics is like being an over-the-phone car mechanic. Oh, that didn’t fix the problem the way I said it would? Oh, you must have done it wrong. Click.
At this point, anybody can be an expert on anything. Open your web browser and type in google.com and you’ve got access to all the information in the world about any topic you can imagine. Of course, a portion of that information will be brazenly false and wildly, dangerously misleading, but discerning readers can compare sources to find the truth.
There are two steps to being an expert. Step 1: Decide to be an expert. Step 2: Start telling people you’re an expert. Now, if you want to make the big time you’re going to need a thimbleful of knowledge to pad those interviews to sell your books. That’s why you become a conspiracy theory expert because really, who can prove you’re wrong?
Today on my way to work I was listening to sports expert Mike Greenberg talking (and talking and talking) about how, amazingly, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow would be out of the NFL by next season.
Tebow is a prime example, I believe, of a subject where all the experts are wrong. If you don’t know who Tim Tebow is, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past decade. The media has hounded Tebow since his college days, either trying to discredit his reputation or to cash in on his popularity.
Tebow is probably the most celebrated college football player in history. He can boast a Heisman Trophy and two national championships as quarterback at the University of Florida. He just finished his first season with the Jets, who used him basically to make sure the wind wouldn’t flip their bench over.
Tebow has been a polarizing figure, I guess you could say, mainly because he’s a Christian and what isn’t polarizing about Christianity these days? In a time when it’s not “cool” to be religious, Tebow gained notoriety and scorn for displaying Bible verses on his eye black, going on mission trips and (allegedly) leading a clean and God-fearing life despite the temptations that come along with being a professional athlete.
Tebow has been more of a cultural hero than a football player to this point, thanks in large part to the experts. Christians find Tebow’s willingness to speak about and live his faith inspiring, while some enjoy mocking him for the same reason.
The “Tebowing” fad I think was more of the latter — people emulating Tebow’s post-game prayer pose and having their friends snap photos.
Tebow made a case for his ability to win football games in 2011 for the Denver Broncos when he took over a 1-4 team, won his first start and subsequently led Denver to an 8-8 season record and a wildcard playoff victory. Tebow ended the season 8-5 as a starter.
Now, after a year of disuse and misuse by the Jets, a broken rib and Jets coach Rex Ryan forgoing Tebow for his third or fourth-string QB (or maybe giving the waterboy a chance to play before Tebow) Tebow, the most popular athlete in America is headed for the scrap heap, the experts say.
The NFL’s system of recycling mediocre coaches many times over always gets a pass from the “experts,” but the same “experts” can’t wait for Tebow to fail. Maybe he will, so all these experts can say “Well, it’s just like I said …” It’s going to take someone to give Tebow a chance to be a starting QB, and those people consider themselves experts too.
Tebow’s proven he can win football games. Too bad the “experts” are less interested in stats than their own opinions.
Bill Petzold is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.