Thursday, April 26, 2012
I shared an article on Facebook today about people today caring more about inconsequential celebrities than they do about accomplished scientists, intellectuals, and artists. The author hypothesized that this was largely because we're now living in an "everyone-is-special-and-there-are-no-losers society. As a result, we are fearful of accomplished people because they can do stuff we cannot do, and giving them the spotlight would un-level the playing field."
One commenter offered another explanation. She said our hollow celebrity worship is the result of escapism motivated by our economic and social ills. But, then, it could be argued that accomplished people were held in much higher esteem than they are today even during times more troubled than ours. Another commenter suggested that it was because celebrities have more publicists working for them than do scientists, philosophers, and artists.
I think he may be on to something. And I think his idea may suggest at least a partial solution to making bowling more popular and profitable in this modern age. The bowling industry needs to pool its financial resources and hire the best public relations talent around to promote bowling to the general public in a concerted and determined rather than occasional and haphazard fashion.
One way they might do this is to begin spotlighting the most accomplished male and female bowlers on the planet. Doesn't this contradict the article's premise that we don't want to see accomplished people? Well, curiously, sports seems to be an exception to the rule. We revere the greatest athletes in sports because of their amazing, sometimes almost superhuman abilities and accomplishments. So why don't we do that with Belmo, Osku, Mike Fagan, Kelly Kulick, and so forth?
Yes, these things have been tried, but I would argue that they've been tried only to a very limited and therefore ineffectual extent. Perhaps it's time to get serious, hire the best in the publicity and advertising business to make bowling appealing to the public, and then pay to saturate the media with their creative and skillful efforts. Otherwise, bowling at all levels seems to be on a downward spiral to near-extinction in the United States, even as it appears to be gaining momentum in other parts of the world.
And, as far as elite level bowling is concerned, how long can the PBA continue to survive without a heavy infusion of fans and advertisers' dollars?