Thought this was a p good read. Some asshole from Bloomberg read a bit too much into the Hernandez verdict (linking it to the Tsarnaev brothers and Bostonian guilt) and got shat on by Drew Magary from GQ.
Right after Aaron Hernandez was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison this morning, I knew that all I would have to do was sit back and wait. I needed only to bide my time before some enterprising writer, preferably a Boston native, decided to write the requisite HORRIBLE Aaron Hernandez take.
In truth, there is very little that is meaningful to say about the Hernandez verdict. It was a proper verdict, and now he will go away forever, and all that's left is the horrific grief that Odin Lloyd's family will suffer eternally, along with the cursory appeals and civil cases and additional murder trials in other jurisdictions. But the Internet is large and stupid place, and I knew it wouldn't take long for a member of HOT TAKE AMERICA to throw down a completely misguided thinkpiece about what the verdict MEANS. And lo and behold, Bloomberg's Noah Feldman has delivered on that take.
In fact, I'm not giving him anywhere near enough credit. He has delivered a dazzlingly inane manifesto, one that practically GLEAMS with self-aggrandizing idiocy. This is no simple hot take that impugns Aaron Hernandez or even the THUGGY THUG culture surrounding him. No no, Feldman has gone the extra mile for your hard take dollar. Witness:
Aaron Hernandez and the Dark Side of 'Boston Strong'
Today's jury decision came in the case of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star tight end… Although the motive remains shady, it seems possible that the 2013 murder was connected to the still unresolved criminal charge that Hernandez killed two other people the year before -- strangers who accidentally insulted him in a nightclub.
If that charge also turns out to be true, then Hernandez killed almost as many people as the Tsarnaev brothers who perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago today. Because the Tsarnaevs' crime was terrorism, they also permanently injured many more people, and their subsequent actions led to a multicity lockdown that involved hundreds of thousands. The crimes therefore aren't precisely analogous.
Right. Got it. Two distinctly different crimes that, apart from the region in which they were committed, should not be linked together. NOW LET'S LINK THEM TOGETHER ANYWAY!
Yet there is an uncomfortable and complicated relationship between the two cases and their chronologically twinned trials. Both in different ways forced Bostonians to think the unthinkable: that homegrown terrorists could be nurtured in our midst, and that the athletic heroes whom we worship could actually be sociopathic killers.
I think I missed the part where Dhokhar Tsarnaev played tight end for a professional football team.
Both of these unthinkable thoughts go to the core of what gives Boston its distinctive identity in the early 21st century.
Leave it to a Boston fan to take two horrific crimes and use them as a way of complimenting themselves. OW-AHHHH DOUBLE MURDAHS AHHHH NAWT LIKE YOUR-AHHH DOUBLE MURDAHS! It's the double murder that gives our chowder its distinctive coloring!
Hernandez played a season for the Patriots between the nightclub killings and the Lloyd murder. Unaware of his crimes, we, or at least I, happily cheered for him on the field.
Yes. That's fine. Because you were unaware. You reasonably assumed that another person wasn't a psychotic murderer, because most people are not psychotic murderers. You really shouldn't beat yourself up over that.
Robert Kraft, the Patriots' owner, who also testified at the trial, used to kiss Hernandez when he would run into him socially.
Again, because he did not know he was a murderer. If I kiss you and then you turn out to be a murderer, I'm gonna wipe my mouth with a napkin super vigorously and then be like EW! NO MORE KISSIES FOR YOU, MURDER GUY! I'll get those murder germs right off.
It would be easy to say that we Bostonians aren't implicated in Hernandez's crimes...
Because that is true.
Because we were ignorant of them.
No, because you did not murder anyone.
But that seems much too easy.
NO. Stop. You are, in fact, making this much too hard.
The problem lies in the depth of identification that a true Bostonian feels with his or her athletic heroes.
In Boston, perhaps more even than in other American cities…
Don't do this.
…our sports teams provide the social glue that holds a diverse city together.
OH JESUS f*ckING CHRIST. Are you REALLY from Boston? Have you met Boston fans? If anything, Boston sports teams give Tommy from Quinzee an excuse to get sh*tfaced and burn down the local Korean packie store.
Our admiration has become a crucial component of our civic identity.
BREAKING: Local town enjoys sports team.
This more-than-adulation of our athletes was on view after the marathon attacks. The "Boston Strong" motif was worn and recited by citizens proudly wearing Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots gear -- literally the uniforms of our civic belonging.
By far the most effective public spokesman for Boston in that post-marathon moment was Red Sox great David Ortiz, who memorably announced in front of a full Fenway crowd that "this is our [expletive] city."
What if it had been Aaron Hernandez who had said that?
Oh my God, what if he HAD? The whole city might have become his FOLLOWING, and staged copycat murders all across the Northeast. Think about it!
This is the point in the hot take where the rest might as well be written in Dothraki. It's all gibberish from here on out.
My point isn't to insult Ortiz, who seems to be a good guy, notwithstanding being mentioned in a New York Times article as having tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
Boy, that jab seems awfully out of place in a column about terrorists and a convicted murderer. "But enough about Aaron Hernandez. Let's talk more about Big Papi inciting him to murder with a needle sticking out of his ass."
My point, rather, is that we Bostonians confer leadership on our athletic heroes, not just admiration.
Every town does this! EVERY ONE OF THEM. You are not special. "If only we didn't love our athletes more than other cities! We could have prevented this!"
The Hernandez conviction reminds us of the uncomfortable fact that this is an arbitrary, indeed somewhat childish thing to do.
No, it reminds me of the uncomfortable fact that he gunned a friend down in cold blood. I feel like that's the crucial takeaway here. I didn't see Judge Garsh being like, "Let this be a lesson to anyone who might place an inordinate amount of faith in the Pats' H-back."
Let me be clear: I root for the home teams with the intensity of a Boston lifer.
(presents BOSTON LIFER certificate purchased for $100 at Legal Seafoods)
I love it when they win, as they now do with somewhat astonishing frequency, at least relative to my childhood.
Jesus, brag a little bit more, pal. PEOPLE ARE DEAD.
Yet the Hernandez conviction tells me that I blindly rooted for and identified with a murderer, maybe even a mass murder.
Yes, because you were not aware that he was a murderer.
And I did it as a Bostonian, in the exercise of my civic pride.
No, you did it as an asshole.
This is, or should be, deeply discomfiting.
It is not.
A bit like knowing my city can produce jihadi terrorists.
NO IT'S NOTHING LIKE THAT. "Hey, this is a tasty hamburger I'm eating. But what if this hamburger was cooked by a secret member of ISIS?!"
At some point, collective pride must generate some collective responsibility.
Indeed. If only we could have put Hernandez on some sort of "trial," in which a "jury" might hear "arguments" about his crimes and then "punish" him for those crimes in a demonstration of American self-governing. Crazy that such a system isn't in place as of yet.
To have one without the other is to be, well, a bit of a child.
And I'm done. Thank you, Noah Feldman. I could kiss you. UNLESS YOU TURNED OUT TO BE A MONSTER.