LeBron James has officially reached my Buttafuoco Point.
Allow me to explain. Back in the Eighties, there was this doughy-looking guy by the name of Joey Buttafuoco and he was all over the news for, like, ever. He was cheating on his wife with a teenage girl, and the girl showed up at his house and shot his his wife, wounding her severely.
It was a terrible story. But there came a point when I realized that I kept getting more and more information about these people and their personal lives, despite the fact that I wasn’t seeking it out and I wasn’t the least bit interested.
I wasn’t pleased by this.
I came to define this phenomenon as the “Buttafuoco Point.” Name a huge national news story of little or zero national importance that’s taken place since the mid-Eighties. Chances are that I know the broad strokes of the story (a little girl was brutally murdered in her home; apparently she used to participate in beauty pageants) but little else.
Why? Because I made it a priority, and an admittedly childish point of pride, to try very hard to know next to nothing about stories like that one. This story doesn’t affect my life in any way and that’s never, ever going to change. It involves the personal lives of complete strangers, and, as the media outlets get more desperate to keep the story in play, an ever-widening circle of peripheral individuals. The only reason why the story even endures through news cycle after news cycle is because…
Okay, I’ve no earthly idea. Whatever: I’m not going to waste my time learning anything about this. I already know way too much about the lives of a bunch of total strangers and I won’t learn more, if I have any say in the matter. I’m going to just sit tight and hope that news outlets eventually stop wasting their time trying to cover it.
So LeBron James reached the Buttafuoco Point earlier today. I was vaguely aware of the name and started seeing it everywhere. Automatic defenses kicked in and any further knowledge of who the man is and why he’s in the news has been pre-emptively obliterated from my consciousness.
Here’s everything I know about him:
1) He’s a basketball player.
2) For some reason, he’s signing with a new team.
And I honestly don’t know why he’s doing that, or why it’s big news. In the back of my mind, I’m wondering if he’s that pro athlete who went to jail for being caught with an unlicensed handgun jammed in his pants. Has he just been released or something?
That’s all I can tell you. At some point, he’ll be appointed to a Cabinet post or design a new Android phone or I’ll develop an interest in basketball and maybe then I’ll willingly read more about him.
But until any of those things happen: BUTTAFUOCO’ed!!!!
If this catches on, I’m turning the concept into a reality game show for the FX channel. We’ll have a panel of contestants and the one who answers a series of trivia questions about Buttafuoco-style news stories the least-correctly wins the jackpot.
(Currently seeking producing partners.)