So apparently another media outlet recently decided to use the ‘BillsMafia’ as their personal punching bag again with a nine minute video highlighting fan debauchery at Bills games. I refuse to acknowledge the outlet or link the video here because it’s exactly what they aimed for by creating it… click bait. Media negativity about Buffalo and its sports team sells.
Some may remember I’ve gone off the rails about this kind of stuff in the past. This time it didn’t work. Instead of getting annoyed, I decided to do what I’ve always done with behavior I don’t want to reinforce… ignore it.
Creating outrage on Twitter is like a drug addict trying to avoid crack cocaine shoved in their face. The microblogging platform is an especially effective way to get a rise out of people because it’s 140 character limit only affords cursory responses and in this case, most likely not of the positive variety.
Why do media outlets feast on Buffalo with such ferocity?
The simple answer is because it works. Dissing all things Buffalo goes back to the 1960s-70s when the city belched out smoke from steel factories and lit up the night sky dumping sludge into Lake Erie on a regular basis.
While it’s fashionable to diss those blue collar manufacturing jobs and companies, the reality is they provided enough resources for many children of steel workers to go to college and into professional careers. The median steel worker’s salary afforded a higher standard of living than many WNYers experience today, with Buffalo and Erie County having one of the lower per capita incomes in the country these days.
Apparently it doesn’t matter a fig that Buffalo has cleaned up, spiffed up and is now attracting all sorts of positive development downtown. WNY is an easy target by those who get their jollies insulting other people because we are a sensitive bunch after being tormented for decades.
The fact that the Bills and Sabres haven’t won a championship or even made the playoffs in recent history doesn’t help. You don’t see this kind of garbage being spewed about fans in Green Bay or Chicago even though each of those cities aren’t exactly a hotbed for tourists either.
We’ve been so traumatized by having to defend our homeland and sports teams our skin has become so thin it rips open a gaping wound every time one of these hatefests appears in the media. We actually are our own worst enemy in some respects because we bite down hard when the crap starts flying.
Furthermore, we are so passionate about the city and its sports teams we do become premium click bait for those too lazy to bother digging a little deeper into the reality of what the city and its teams are doing. It doesn’t matter that both the city and its sports teams are on the rise and in the midst of big turnaround stories, because that won’t stop the harassment. It’s just too easy to bait the hook and reel us in.
Though I recognize it’s impossible to keep the masses from overreacting to the sophomoric attempts by certain members of the media, it’s helpful to remind ourselves we are just giving them what they want; attention. It’s too easy and tempting to disparage a community than recognize positive changes.
The best thing we can do is to support one another and quit allowing ourselves to be used by people too lazy or mean spirited to see the positive changes happening all around WNY. Our teams’ fortunes will change just like the city, and when it happens it will be well worth the wait.
Ignore the haters. Remember when the Bills and Sabres do pull themselves out of the abyss there will be plenty of time to ‘out’ the inevitable bandwagon fans who will no doubt appear at the first sign of success in WNY. The harpies will eventually move on to dog some other fan base instead.