I’m no sports enthusiast.
But, I do know that those who judge the plays and fouls used to be called referees. Now, they’re all called “officials”.
I’m guessing that’s because, according to the rules of the game, theirs is the official decision – on everything that happens. The official word. From God’s mouth, to our ears.
Oxford’s says that “official” is “having the approval of an authority or public body”.
I note that the keyword appears to be “authority”. Or, is it “approval”?
From my short stint in the world of graphic design I am reminded of a concept. We called it “truth in advertising”.
Except, beginning in the days of MAD MEN, the phrase actually meant something.
The product had to be everything the ad claimed. The company which made the product was believed to be everything the product represented. And, the people who ran the company were trusted, by the long line of consumers who proudly purchased their product.
The word of the producer was good. It matched that which the product had to offer.
Trouble is, now the world is so big that even corporate conglomerates need their own refs. There is so much distance, between the consumer and the place where the product they buy is made, that whole departments have to be put in place to represent their word.
To my horror, even as I type these words, I now see the perfect subject for this piece: Tennis pro, and multiple champion, Serena Williams’ contention with her grand slam referee.
(Can we say “100th Monkey Phenomenon”??) (Hold on. To those who may not know: said phenomenon speaks to a thought or behavior, showing up simultaneously in two entities, as first demonstrated between two primate tribes living an ocean apart.) ( No; this is most definitively NOT a slur.)
I was going to take this all the way to the issue of “public” authority over truth, i.e. the official position of a ruling body representing fact. And then, further, to the real, palpable danger in this allegedly official truth.
But, now, I don’t have to hypothesize; sadly, we have more than one living example.
These officials, wearing the moniker of authority, have begun to abuse their power in the world of competitive sport. (Remember LeBron James’ final game at the 2018 NBA Championships?) And, the irony is: with sophisticated playback technology, every observer can see all the evidence, from every angle.
Yet, the official word in any arena, my friends, is at the very least subjective and, at worst, may very well be a bold faced, broiled lie, grilled to perfection.
Author Don Miguel Ruiz, in his contemporary classic The Four Agreements, has the better idea.
Beginning with each of us, he challenges, let every word be impeccable.
Would that we all showed such enthusiasm for the truth.
© 9/8/18 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole or part, permitted. Please respect original material. Thank you.