Everyday Semiotics

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A sports fan I am not, but I do love it when athletes ramble, rant and fly off the handle. So I was delighted the other day to learn of this painful 2006 Allen Iverson press conference:

Here's a classic "Methinks the lady doth protest too much" situation. The question clearly touches a nerve, but Iverson spends the next three minutes trying to deadpan it, becoming less and less graceful as he goes. Why? Because he's stuck. The cameras are rolling and he knows he must and thinks he can save face.

If this were an off-camera locker room conversation, no doubt Iverson would be a bit more vehement and probably start repeating another word than "practice." That is, his response would be more akin to the the classic tirades of Goose Gossage and Lee Elia.

Different forums naturally give way to different types of discourse. The press conference, whether in a sports stadium or at the White House, produces one type. The locker room, whether or not there's a gaggle of reporters present, produces another.

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