My favorite scene in the since-overrated movie Swingers comes right after the guy named Sue brandishes a fire arm at some “House of Pain” looking skateheads, and after the punks run away, is admonished by Mike:
“Haven’t you seen Boyz in the Hood? Now one of us is going to get shot!”
The same thought crossed my mind after watching Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley go out of his way during a Dyckman Park streetball game to publicly humiliate a random spectator. It appears from the video that the spectator must have said something that Beasley’s rabbit ears picked up and did not appreciate. So Beasley foolishly confronts the fan and then grabs his face and pushes it back (this is apparently known as “mushing”. BTW, look at how close the crowd is to the floor — scary).
How stupid can you be?? Unless physically provoked, which Beasley was not, why on Earth would you, as a public figure, choose to randomly go out of your way to publicly “disrespect” a person whom you do not know, and whose tendencies you cannot predict? (For more on this topic of disrespect, read Richard Nisbett’s fascinating book “Culture of Honor” which addresses how the Southern notion of respect has influenced African-American cultural beliefs about the appropriate response to public insults).
And if you think a public figure is untouchable and beyond the reach of street retaliation, remember that’s how they claim Tupac got shot in Las Vegas. (See also, Michael Corleone’s famous line). Beasley is lucky the guy he “mushed” wasn’t connected or violent, or if he was either, simply chose to let the humiliation go.
Nevertheless, you just have to be smarter than Beasley was. Or, if you are as sensitive to smack talk as he apparently is, you have to keep yourself out of such situations altogether.