Bin Laden Obit Provides Eerie Notes Worth Mentioning

Editor’s note: By no means is this a post of political nature – merely passing along some thoughts as we collectively celebrate/lament late yesterday’s news in our own respective ways.

It would only make sense that I am traveling on a day when I would much rather prefer a stationary location directly in front of a television. While the rest of the nation is decidedly on the ground, I am a few thousand feet in the air, taking in every written word I can, most of which focusing specifically on the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Earlier this morning, on a connecting flight, I spent the majority of my 45 minutes absorbing the obituary which had been penned in the New York Times. While the majority of Bin Laden’s story had been well-documented to this point, I could not help but pick out certain items that not only raised an eyebrow individually, but even more so as they began to pile up.

The following are line-items quoted directly from the Times piece:

“Osama — the name means “young lion.”

“He summoned reporters to a cave in Afghanistan when he needed to get his message out, but like the most controlling of C.E.O.’s he insisted on receiving written questions in advance.”

“The world’s most threatening terrorist, he was also known to submit to frequent dressings down by his mother.”

“He created training camps for his foot soldiers, a media office to spread his word, and even “shuras,” or councils, to approve his military plans and his fatwas. […] Bin Laden had established new training camps in Sudan, but he became a man without a country”

“Bin Laden would say in retrospect that he was always aware who his enemies were.”

“In an interview with Time magazine that December, he brushed aside President Clinton’s threats against him, and referred to himself in the third person, as if recognizing or encouraging the notion that he had become larger than life.”

After tweeting several of the passages above, I know that I’m not alone in the eerily similar references. Obviously, under no circumstances do I feel that the two men in question (the other, you can decide for yourself) are even mentionable within the same frame of mind when it comes to being a person. But as a Clevelander, as a sports fan who also happens to be a contributing editor on this very blog, I felt that I would be remiss if I did not share them with you all.

Do with it what you will.

  • Oh Really?

    to everyone arguing that since LBJ isn’t named, yet we all know its him – so it must be valid – i’d like to point out that it says Cleveland Cavaliers in the category section up top and that scott more or less admits its LBJ in comments 13 and 15.

    i’ve visited this site 3-5 times daily for at least 3 years now. i came today hoping for some more in-depth coverage on the guys the browns drafted. instead, i found this.

    so disappointed.

  • strawman

    Scott is actually making a valid point. Ya’ll are just strawmanning it. Get logical. He’s saying that Osama was a megalomaniac who used other people to advance his cause/celebrity. Not too bad of a comparison to Lebron James. He is not saying that Lebron would murder innocent people. He’s saying Lebron shows a similar disregard for others because of how self-absorbed he is–take a logic class people.

  • Luke

    This is absolutely incredible, you could seriously write a book about this post and the reaction to it.

    So the punchline is that he’s comparing LeBron to Osama, and it works because he is able to take a select few quotes out of an article and use them, obviously out of context, to draw his comparison.

    What’s great though, is in this instance, people are able to draw a line between the two subjects being compared because it is so blatantly absurd. As impossible as it is to argue against those specific pieces of the passage relating to LeBron, it is just as impossible to argue that LeBron is in any way related to bin Laden and the terrors he is known for.

    This is that this is EXACTLY how articles are written every day. Things get taken out of context, writers take sides, stories blow up, and people bicker below in the comments section. The difference is that its usually not so obviously cut and dry.

    And then as we scroll down below, immediately prevalent are two distinct reading personalities-those who read literally are offended by the comparison and those who see it more metaphorically don’t take offense. This is the major distinction within religious circles- including Islam! You could even compare it with how Al Qaeda interprets the Quaran vs the rest of Islam! In a less radical comparison it separates two main factions of US Judges-those who take the constitution literally as it is written and those who try to interpret what the Founders ‘meant’.

    Its really quite fascinating as well as eye opening.

  • The Pizza Man

    I dislike LeBron as much as anyone, but this post is just disgusting.

    I’ll need to take a break from WFNY for a while now. I’m not sure how long it will be till the disgust passes.

  • Blue

    Guys, chill. It’s funny. Maybe this wasn’t the best time to be funny since a lot of people are recalling emotions from ten years ago, but had this been posted last month when we had all long forgotten bin laden, we’d have laughed.

    Scott, don’t let them make you feel bad. It made me laugh and those of us who have a sense of humor appreciated it.

  • B-bo

    My original thoughts on this piece were stated earlier (no. 27), and were offered after reading this through a couple times. I returned later to read the growing number of comments, and this thought came to mind: this article has made for a pretty excellent Rorschach test for the commenters. Perhaps that was part of the intent behind it, perhaps not, but interesting to me nonetheless; by forcing folks to determine the purpose of the work, we find out something about them. This morning, another thought strikes me: this article as commentary on how we cover athletes, especially ones we don’t particularly care for. The ways in which we often demonize the players we dislike are not all that different from how we would describe those truly evil people out there in the world. The fact that so many were quick to make the LBJ connection might just be a call for us to realize how over the top we can get about our sports fandom. Or maybe it was just an article of questionable value/execution. But it got me thinking about a variety of things, which is more than I can say about the majority of what I read over the last 24 hours or so, and for that I believe Scott certainly deserves some credit.

  • Du

    One day later and all I know is that this story is all over google and does not shed a positive light on Cleveland or Cleveland sports writing. Normally WFNY is much much above this kind of stuff.

    I still think the article was in poor taste and believe WFNY should have known better than to post it.

    Additionally, I have seen commenters justifying the article somewhat because we all were the ones who made the correlation. This is poor logic in my opinion. It doesn’t really take much to make such a correlation. I mean, as a Cleveland blog with primarily Cleveland readers, really who else (other than maybe Art Modell which was over 10 years ago) could Scott be inferring to in this article? So to justify the article by saying that WE all were the ones who made the connection is kind of absurd.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    If your goal was to be controversial and boost “clicks”, then congrats are in order.

    Frankly, this article is embarrassing to Cleveland fans. Like it or not, WFNY represents us to the world, and you have seriously stepped in “it” with this article.

    You can’t have it both ways WFNY. I love your site, and you provide great insight, but I think an earlier commenter hit the nail on the head by saying that a post like this brings the credibility of the site into serious question.


    Most Cleveland fans do not find this comparison funny or appropriate in any way. In fact, I would guess that most of us have moved on since LeBron left. Please do not believe that this article speaks for all of us.

  • Denny

    Pretty sure Scott is the new Andy Kaufman or something.

  • Garry Owen

    Scott is now reportedly hiding out in the mountainous regions of Tora Bora. (An eerie note I thought worth mentioning.)

  • kevin

    I do not like the post because I think, that Scott didn’t realize how sensitive the subject was. It could have been a great post I believe, but Scott should have put more humor in it maybe. I don’t really know.

    All I can say is that I hated this post (my first reaction was seriously? On WFNY?) as much as I hated the people celebrating OBL death. When i learnt the news of course my reaction was “Yes! Finally”, but I think you never should celebrate a guy’s death however evil he has been.

  • Sean

    Very sad article and comparison.

  • MattyFos

    I too am disappointed at people’s reactions to death.

  • Abe

    Love to Scott. Very appropriate to point out the comparisons. Somehow we all knew instantly this wasn’t Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Tim Couch, Victor Martinez, etc.