So, this happened at SXSW Sunday afternoon. I’m on the trade show floor next to a booth selling cases to harden your iPhone against the elements, a crowd gathers in a nanosecond, I look up and there’s NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
I’m not particularly a basketball fan, but Shaq is Shaq so I snapped a few pictures. I don’t know what he was doing there, probably just taking in the show like everyone else. He visited a few booths, was mobbed at every stop, and then found a way to disappear. Being famous does have its prices, and one of those is that you can’t just walk about and check out cool stuff without creating a stir.
I get back home and post one of the pics to Facebook. Then the pic becomes a story. A conservative Facebook friend rips into Shaq for being a “dummy.” Laying the negativity aside, Shaq is no dummy. Many pro athletes make millions of dollars during their careers, but squander it on partying or get bamboozled out of it all. Shaq hasn’t let any of that happen to him. He has parlayed his court success into business success. I point that out, the Facebook friend rips into Shaq’s politics.
Again, with the negativity. Over a trade show iPhone photo.
Frankly, the pointless negativity has me wondering if that attitude isn’t a big part of our problem on the right. There are good reasons to be down since November, I’m not saying that there aren’t. But how does getting down on every last little thing serve any useful purpose? How should we expect anyone to see our point of view past any of us acting like we just sucked a lemon?
You don’t get this negative vibe at SXSW at all. The show’s vibe is about innovation and the future (along with food and swag and more than a dose of Democrat noise). It’s positive and, though many attendees may not realize it, very liberty-friendly and not really in line with the statism that’s at the core of the Democrats’ beliefs. Democrats talk a decent game on freedom but in reality they push for centralization and government control. The SXSW crowd are naturally leave-me-alone-and-let-me-invent types, though politically most of them buy the Democrats’ branding and avoid ours. That SXSW liberty spirit has me wondering if SXSW wouldn’t be a natural place for conservatives to target with a positive, life, liberty, and happiness message. I think it could work, if done right.
If we have a presence, we can’t be all haz a sad like the guy on Facebook or come off strange like this blue guy.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Didn’t a shrewd man once say that if you can’t sell those, you suck? Well, grouches can’t sell anything.