Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Judge a Person by their (media) coverage

At one point in life,  I was naive enough to believe that the media reported news, or, at least, facts. That is, it might not be news that Ms. Celebrity Naked did nothing but eat grapes and get plastic surgery but it was at least true. As I said, I was naive.

Take my little pumpkin, for example.

You might ask, who is that guy photo bombing between me and Ronda (and thank you to Hans Gutknecht for the photo). Actually, he is with us, his name is Jose Gonzalez and he is the teacher who for the last five years volunteered after school so Gompers could have a judo program. (You need a credentialed teacher who is an LAUSD employee to supervise.) Ronda got him a ticket to sit with us. He offered to talk to any of the media, in either Spanish or English, about how she started the program, taught for free for two years and auctioned off her TUF gear on ebay to raise money to send the kids to Kansas City this year. When they needed an extra $500 to bring another student, she handed over her credit card. No one was interested in talking to  him, so he just came to dinner with us and ate chicken wings. (Ronda Rousey, host of the world's least drunken after parties. No drugs, little drinking and usually mom and a few sisters. Lots of chicken wings, though.)

In case you are interested, here is the whole Gompers crew

There are now THREE staff members who volunteer, so we almost never have to cancel class. The lovely ladies on the left are Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Beene's wives, then there is Jose Gonzalez, Will Beane, me, and Jimmy Sanchez who doesn't have a wife because he is just a young puppy.

Then there is the charity stuff. Here are just two :

  • Ronda is auctioning off her wraps from the last fight to benefit St. John the Baptist Church. On top of that, she'll be adding thousands of her own money to see that the chapel gets finished.
  • The magazines were donated by someone to raise funds for a young man who competes in judo in the visually impaired division. He wanted to know if he could send his collection of Ronda magazines for her to autograph and auction off, with all of the money going to the paralympian. She said, "Sure". Sorry, I don't even know either of their names.

There is the free rice competition, for which she donates autographed posters, fight gear and money (matching cash donations). For the past two fights alone, her groups raised over 43,000,000 grains of rice for the UN World Food Programme.

Here is a fourth, where our good friends/ family at Armbar Nation are auctioning off posters that Ronda will autograph personally with anything you want (within reason - nothing pornographic or libelous). The funds go to provide awards for high academic achievers at John Leichty Middle School in downtown Los Angeles.

My point is that she gives A LOT of herself, her time, her money, her stuff - and yet no matter how many times I, or Jose Gonzalez or Jessica Bueler offer to talk to people about it there is seldom a wisp of interest. I didn't say never, but I will tell you this, she has helped with charity events far, far, far more times than she has flipped anyone off, but you'd never know it by what you read on the web or see on TV.

Rant off.


Unknown said...

It's amazing how much people focus on social ritual (e.g. handshakes)rather then the extent to which behavior is actually virtuous. It really makes me question our society's ability to prioritize.

Anonymous said...

If people went out of their way to dig deeper instead of assuming the surface is all their is, they'd see a lot more to a person, and that applies to everyone!

I did just that after UFC 168. My initial impression wasn't positive at all, but the more interviews I dug up, the more and more I liked her. :)

WAR ON TERRA said...

Ronda is one of the best role models for women and men too!!! You have done a fine job of helping her on this path and you must be very proud...

WAR ON TERRA said...

Ronda is an excellent role model for women and men too!!! You have done a fine job of helping her become what she is and you must be very proud of her...

Cristy said...

She is such an amazing young woman AnnMaria, you have done such a great job raising her.

Joolz said...

F the modern media. The see the world with cow eyes. The following joke was once said long ago about IIRC the New York Times but applies to any media outlet you don't like:

Q: How does the New York Times get rid of its garbage? A: They print it.

...Or stream it, film it, or publish online.
Let's be right: some media is su-freaken-perb. Such as my local Star-Ledger of New Jersey. But most news is "news" surrounded by big fat, ironic, corporate quotes.

Unknown said...

I can only imagine what it's like to be in the spotlight like Ronda. Furthermore, I can only imagine how I might act if someone put me on camera with my adversary like what happened in TUF. People throw the finger in traffic, while walking in a cross walk..etc. I have done it and it DOESN'T make me, her or anyone else a "bad" person. I have no idea who Ronda is in "real life". I don't really know who Dr. De Mars is except for what is on the internet for that matter! I can only go with my gut instincts. I first saw and heard of Ronda in the documentary short that aired before TUF. I instantly liked her. My gut told me she was being as authentic as one can be on camera while divulging very PERSONABLE AND VULNERABLE information about herself. I particularly loved that she was following her mothers' footsteps especially living in our patriarchal society. Stories like this are far too few. I don't know what others' saw on TUF but what I witnessed (my own perception) was a group of people who were genuine, hard working and respectful all working towards a goal. I also saw plenty of manipulation, punk pranksters and disingenuous behavior and people. Ronda was NOT one of them. But that's just my opinion (& judgement)after seeing a few television shows. I think that at times, someone could've said the same about me. Ow, that stings. Congrats to Ronda for all the good she is contributing to this world. It's sad and all to common reality that the humanistic side of her is rarely shown. As I believe Dr. De Mars' said from the documentary short of Ronda, "Your only job in this world is to leave it better than you found it"
I think she has and is continuing to fulfill that.

Maritza said...

I look up to Ronda for achieving and being a role model for women. I wish the media would focus more on this type of woman that actually is positive role model than waste time with the likes of Miley Cyrus and such.

dsimon3387 said...

I don't think it was smart for Ronda to not shake Miesha's hand but for godsakes...She is obviously a special individual. The media is horrendous and given the lack of intelligence these days, people seldom have the ability to reason through the brainwashing.

This blog, the values,conduct and projects to help others displayed by your family is very special and refreshing.

I have mentioned it before....I also teach for a public after school program with little fanfare and it is very important (even though people don't seem to care). So is exerscizing power by putting money in the right places...Some of us who notice really see the value and importance of this and in my case you have my empathy. And that and subway fare will get you to the A train! haha But seriously if Ronda keeps plugging along in the public eye some will see the value.

Kerry said...

The media will only give the complete truth, when it is convenient and advantageous to their agenda.

The haters will continue to hate, regardless as to the truth.

I've been amazed at the number of haters that Ronda has garnered in her short career, but I attribute most of that to jealousy of her success and the rest to the insecure men that can't handle having a strong woman around.

Ronda had such a positive public image before she coached, which I assume is the reason that the producers of that show deliberately showed her in the worst of light, whenever possible. Probably more than a little petty jealousy and insecurity involved there......

I also assume that the UFC likes the controversy and the haters, as well as the positive, so they aren't likely to do anything to diminish the negativity in the press.

Not to worry, Dr AnnMaria, the intelligent folks can see the truth, because they will seek it out. The stupid ones and the haters don't matter.

Congrats to Ronda for her TKO. You and she will continue to celebrate your successes, because you will earn them as you always have, in spite of the idiots and haters and lack of appropriate media coverage.

All the best to the both of you.

Enosis said...

The media will paint you in any type of picture they wish...both better and doesn't go one way. This is also the case with the news media...

Sylver said...

Sadly, good people doing good things is of no interest to the news media. They'd rather publish about the latest scandal.

It's great to see Ronda moving ahead and achieving so much so fast.

Kerry said...

I don't wish to blow my own horn, but I have a suggestion that concerns the charity auctions, that I only know about from recent participation.

I'm currently bidding on an item where the funds are supposed to go to the blind Judo player, Mike Larsen, to try to send him to the para-olympics in 2016.

First of all, I don't want the item that I'm bidding on and if I win it, I'd like to give it back to you so it can be auctioned again.

Second, unfortunately, I don't have unlimited funds, so I may not win the item. But, I'd still like to donate to a fund to send Mike to the para-olympics. If there is another mechanism for doing so, I'd appreciate knowing it.

If there isn't another mechanism, then my suggestion would be to put Mike into the mix at I have no idea how good this organization may be, but I've donated to a page for a current speed skating Olympian, Emily Scott and also to a page for helping out Cat Zingano.

It appears that this thing actually gets money to the folks that need it, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

If Mike had a page there, it might generate enough extra donations to send him to the para-olympics. So, that's my suggestion. Someone close to him could set that thing up for him, apparently fairly easily.

I hope that this is helpful.

All the best to you and you and yours.


traderez said...

YOU. 8^)

Dr. AnnMaria said...

That is a really good idea about the gofundme. Jose Gonzalez also suggested donors choose for school donations. We are going to set these up. As you don't have unlimited funds, we don't have unlimited time - my day job is running a group of technology companies, The Julia Group - but we promise to get to setting some of these up as soon as we can.

Unknown said...

I just want to say that your daughter changed my opinion on women fighting completely. I was much like the feelings of GSP before I started to learn and get to know about your daughter Ronda.

I think she is an excellent role model for women in general and specifically women's sport. I cover basketball for a living and no athlete in the WNBA has had the impact your daughter has had on Women's sports.

I love how you defend her publicly in blogs such as this. You make valid points and I had read in the past your blog on the whole handshake thing with Tate.

Ronda is great and the best thing about her is the fact she is genuine and real. Something people in the media (Which I am a part of) crave that they want. They take that and some twist it into a narrative that fits the general opinion of a person. If Ronda had nothing to say and was not the person she is the reality is Women are not in UFC and Women's MMA is getting little to know coverage. She did that and she did it by just simply being who she is.

You have every right to be very proud of the young lady you have raised.

Anonymous said...

I definately agree with your post regarding the media. That is why the Youtube, blogging and social media is so important. It offers a great way for those who are famous to get their point of view out there in an unfiltered manner without media agenda.
Regarding the handshake. I probably would have done the handshake but Im in my 40's and I ahve been beaten down by years of compromise and having to pick my battles. At age of 26 I definately wouldnt have shaken hands I was a diffrent person then. People change and grow, the air gets cleared and points of view understood. One day Meisha and Ronda will may come to an understanding and shake hands but to paraphrase an old saying "the handshake will not be televised". Especially if it doesnt fit the narrative that the media is tryign to sell. It's obvious that ronda got the heel edit.
Ronda may have "haters" and she has plenty of fans. The important thing is she matters to people. She makes enough of an impresison for people to actually take the time to form an opinion of her. People can hate you and love you, maybe even switch back and forth but you have to be able to make enough of an impression to make them even care enough to have an opinion. Ronda gets that. Some of the other MMA fighters dont seem to get that.

Kerry said...

My apologies, Dr AnnMaria. I didn't intend or mean to imply that "you" should set up the fund for Mike. I had assumed that he, or someone in his family, was sufficiently computer savvy to fill in the information required by gofundme. It's a fairly simple process.

You and Ronda already do so much for others, that it seems reasonable, at least to me, that others do what they can to lend a hand, at least in helping themselves.

Speaking of Ronda. I finally got to see UFC 170, after fighting all week with Comcast, trying to get the PPV. Hard to believe that I had to work so hard to get someone to take my money....

Regardless, I thought Ronda's fight was incredible. I have watched it several times now and it seems to me that the difference seems to lie in which fighter wanted the win the most. Ronda's relentless attack seemed to be a little overwhelming to Sara. Great fight!

It was also really enjoyable to watch Ronda, you and the gang celebrate in the ring and then walking out to the dressing room. Your joy and celebration were well deserved and I was happy to see it.

Best wishes to both of you.

Unknown said...

It was the elbow to the face before the knee to the liver that sealed the deal, kerry. I don't believe mcmann was overwhelmed until that point.
Mrs. DeMars, i have been following your daughter, her friends, you, and anything remotely related to WMMA to the point of obsession for the past 2 years. Prior to that time i had nothing but a vague idea of what MMA was.
YOU are the reason Ronda Rousey has made history and will continue to make sports history. I am 60 years old and if my years on this planet have taught me anything, it is that the world is filled with more stupid people than most will ever realize. All one has to do is sit for 10 minutes and read the blogs on any sports internet site to reinforce my postulate. Ronda's detractors make up a small percentage of the truly stupid.
Ronda is a manifestation of you, Mrs. DeMars, and that is the way it should be.
I wish you, Ronda, and the rest of the clan all the best in the future. You are all significantly changing the world.
Mike R

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Thank you, Mike. What a nice thing to say.

Kerry, no apologies are necessary. It's a good idea.