How do we choose who we blame? And why?
In our own experience we know there are complicated reasons why bad things happen. It’s rarely one thing or one person. But yet when we blame others, we’re very happy to dump all the responsibility on a single person and rarely take time to investigate if they deserve it, which they almost never do. We pick an easy, defenseless target, and all the responsibility collapses on them. The rest of the story fades from memory.
I recently watched a fantastic documentary called Catching Hell: The Steve Bateman story. It’s the story of the Chicago Cubs fan who interfered with a foul ball in the the 2003 playoffs.
And it’s fantastic.
It explores the story of both Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman. In both cases there were many mistakes made by their respective teams on the infamous nights that they lost, yet only these two small events, and two individuals, have had the entire responsibility for what went wrong dumped on them.
Even if you are not a sports fan, it’s a fascinating investigation into our how our culture, history, and memory work (or don’t work).