American Exceptionalism and a culture of flopping

The NBA finals start tonight and while I am less than enthusiastic about the matchup, so much so that Chopped reruns might capture more of my attention, I am hopeful that the series will bring a lot of flopping.  Yes, flopping is what I am rooting for.  Besides the artistry and creativity, not too mention that talent required to deceive America’s best referee crew, the prospects of flopping will invariably send the NBA press corps into a tizzy. Fantastic.

The last couple weeks (and the season as whole) has prompted a series of hyperbolic, reactionary, and otherwise ridiculous columns on flopping. According to Ken Berger, “The NBA during the postseason has been as flop-tastic as ever.”  Calling for suspensions repeating acting on the job, Berger pins the game’s success on truthfulness and honesty: “ Nominal fines are doing nothing but encouraging floppers to do a better job of it so they don’t get caught. There’s only one punishment that will have any teeth with the players, coaches and front offices: suspensions.”

Israel Gutierrez seems to agree, equating flopping to cheating.

The label should push guys to keep it real.  Having the reputation as a flopper would seem to be a very unwanted label. Again, it implies you need to ‘cheat’ to succeed. And with all the other labels that get thrown around in the NBA (‘dirty,’ ‘soft,’ ‘choker,’ etc.), you’d think you’d want to avoid this particular one.

But the leader of the pack is Marshall Zweig, whose assessment of the fluidity between Hollywood and Springfield Massachusetts is so over-the –top I found myself wondering, satire.  But I think not.

The public is watching roundball criminals get away with their crime right in front of our eyes—and no one is really doing a thing about it. . . .   Fines and embarrassment are not working well enough. The league needs to up the ante. And it won’t do it unless we all get on its case. So make your outrage count.

Given the NBA discourse, and the tendency to imagine its (black) players as criminals in the post-Palace Brawl landscape, the link between flopping and criminality is striking.  And not a in a good way.

Despite the league induced panic, flopping isn’t anything new. In “Flopping in the NBA: A History of (Non)violence,” netw3rk makes this clear, seemingly reminding those who wax nostalgic that “golden age” of the NBA was defined by rampant flopping:

Flopping is to basketball as farting is to being alive; it’s annoying, ridiculous, and sometimes embarrassing reality, but a reality nonetheless. If something has been part of the game since the dribble, it’s probably more apt to refer to it as a tradition rather than a scourge.

While I don’t find flopping to be ridiculous or annoying, maybe these critics are onto something.  Isn’t flopping just another word for deception, lying, and otherwise exaggerating or making up for the sake of a particular point?  Flopping is something America has an endless supply.  Land of the free, home of flopping.  American exceptionalism at its best.  Yet, it seems a movement has taken hold in the NBA; whose got next?

One can only hope that anti-flopping movement takes hold throughout this nation

Will politicians (yes Michelle Bachman) stop flopping on the House Floor?

Does this mean politicians will no longer lament the end of civilization because mothers are working since flopping is bad?

Will politicians who blame moms working for the nation’s education failure face a fine?  The league office would surely be busy if it had to regulate the flopping of Washington, Wall Street, or Madison Ave.

And while I am talking about education, isn’t No Child Left Behind the ultimate example of flopping since it has left most children behind?

And if flopping is so bad on the hardwood shouldn’t we push to have it removed from the news arena.  I believe the “F” in FOX stands for flopping

The movement against flopping could cause more damage to advertising than the DVR.

Because aren’t commercials just flopping; deception, exaggeration, and in some instances lies to compel action from the consumer?  If flopping is bad in the NBA, surely we should rid society of this destructive and insidious influence in our everyday lives.

The examples of flopping are endless (and yes I am rhetorically flopping here).  From “the check is in the mail” to “sorry I was late there was a lot of traffic” (and are we really sorry) flopping is part of our daily praxis.  Some examples are harmless – acting like an opponent elbowed you in the face – whereas others can lead a nation into war.

Now that is some real flopping.

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