Sometimes media should butt out

It’s not often that one gets reminded of a basic principle of quantum mechanics while watching Monday Night Football. And yet, while watching the Saints drub the Falcons, that’s exactly what happened.

The axiom to which I refer is known as the observer effect (often confused with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, but it’s not the same thing). The O.E. simply states that the act of observing a phenomenon will influence the phenomenon itself. Unless the observer is naked, in a closet, and keeps the sound of his breathing under very strict control.

It was a noteworthy MNF game because Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke a big record, that of most passing yards in a single season. It’s a record that had been in place since ’84. So after the game, the ESPN cameras were set up in the Saints locker room to broadcast Brees talking to his teammates and coaches about the record and what it means to him and the organization and the city and blah blah blah.

And as I watched Brees speak, I realized I was squirming in my seat. I wasn’t at all comfortable with this scene. I had the feeling that I really shouldn’t even “be” there. I’m basically an intruder, an uninvited intruder at that, and these moments among Brees and his colleagues aren’t meant for a national audience of strangers who haven’t shared or contributed one sweat droplet in the pursuit and attainment of this record. The Saints should have banned all media from the locker room until after Brees had the chance to address his teammates.

It was obvious that Brees was speaking to his mates in a way that would play for a national TV audience. Thus, the observed was being affected by us observers. What would Brees have said had the cameras not been present?

Typical television. In its unthinking, clod-fisted rush to glom on to something that could have been real and emotional, it took that experience and reduced it to something hollow, ersatz and disposable.


Back in the ’90s, the Reno rock scene was ruled by a screamin’ band of hellraising fuckfiends known as Gunshot Licker. Led by the laryngetically endowed Stacey Tolle and muy fabuloso guitarist Johnny Fingers, GSL roared with loud, attitudinal fury. It’ll be good, quasi-clean fun on Friday Jan. 6 when Stacey, Johnny, and band get together for a special GSL reunion benefit show to help Rev. Gary Setzer, who needs medicine that ain’t cheap. The party is at Davidson’s Distillery on 4th Street, and they want you to turn off your home theater pornfest for one dang night and show up and do it like you used to.