Don’t blame Vick, blame his birthday

August 28, 2007, 8:39 PM UTC

Newsflash, guys: Apparently, Michael Vick’s in trouble because he’s…

A Gen Yer!

Or to quote former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro defensive end Chuck Smith properly, a member of the “‘why’ generation.” As Smith told CNN Anchor T.J. Holmes yesterday morning, in the run-up to Vick’s appearance following his guilty plea in the dog-fighting debacle:

“Michael Vick is the first generation of superstar — I call it the ‘why’ generation — ‘why’ do they do what they do? They’re influenced by the blogs, YouTube, MySpace. Twenty years ago there was no YouTube, there was no MySpace, there wasn’t a FaceTube. So [for] Michael Vick it’s a gift and a curse — the gift of being the most publicized athlete in the world, but also it’s the curse when you get in trouble these are the things that happen.”

Leaving aside for the moment the question of what, exactly, FaceTube might be (love ya, Chuck!), I’m not entirely sure if Smith’s making the argument that Vick did whatever he did because he was influenced by the Interbot, or that he’s going to suffer more for what he did because he’s living in the age of the Interbot.

But either way, whatever!

Vick isn’t a victim of generational angst. He’s a victim of regular old dumb-27-year-old-guy angst — an affliction that’s plagued every era. Vick just also happens to be exceptionally talented. And those are the things that influenced him, not FaceTube. (And before you start sending “We <3 Mike” mail, let me just say that I once <3’d him, too, and I happen to think both his actions and the way he’s been vilified are pretty heinous, to say nothing of the broader cultural issues. But that’s not nearly as hilarious as Chuck Smith.)

If the Web did have any role, it was probably, as Smith said later, “open[ing] up Pandora’s box for everybody to see everything good and bad.” And ultimately, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, because it’s important for us to be reminded every once in a while that — fair or not — some actions still have major consequences. It’s a lesson taught today not just by Vick, but by the other casualty of the morning, poor now-former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Now I’m just waiting for someone to attribute his fall from — um — “grace” to Boomer disaffection. Wouldn’t that just make my sociology-obsessed day…

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