That's harsh, but attention was recently called to this interview with one of the most wonderful teams in skating, the Shibutanis:
ShibSibs: The Social Athlete
This Q&A focuses on the Shibutanis' profilic, cross-platform presence on social media, which includes ShibSib Production videos featuring other high profile figure skaters in entertaining, light-hearted video shorts.
The quote that stands out is this:
On a very fundamental level, our involvement with social media today probably has its roots in the fact that a very important part of what we enjoy as athletes – particularly in a performance sport such as figure skating – is the opportunity to share experiences.
I emphasize, because the blog, and anyone else with two brain cells to rub together, has said this for years. This is how sane athletes on social media market themselves.
Share experiences. Not share your personal life. Share experiences.
Not share your fake sex life. Not share your fake sex life some more. Not recast the part and then drag that faked sex life through the streets (literally). Not share your cooked up meltdowns. Not share your fake platonic passion some more. Not make an exhibitionistic jerk-off spectacle of yourself on social media while pretending that squeezing some other girl's ass on facebook helps protect your little girl.
Not share your family restaurant - but be sour about it because you and your family are too good to try.
Not share your faked sex life again. Not share your faked will they or won't they dynamic for the umpteenth time. And most of all, not talking about yourselves.
It's not TALKING ABOUT YOURSELVES.
It's sharing experiences. You don't even have to share actual experiences. You can openly create experiences specifically to share. No need to open a window on your private life or even key parts of your sports life.
But who is Alex dating?
Who is Maia dating?
What about the desperate times?
Does either ever wish they had a non-sibling partner?
Where are their parents?
We're not missing out on Alex and Maia's personalities, we're not missing out on any relationship dynamic that's appropriate to share with fans, and we're not missing out on their chemistry as siblings. It's all there when they share experiences. These experiences are small slices of skating life taking place in hotel corridors, an airport, or bus. It's not some tell-all, up-close-and-personal forensic examination.
What a wonderful option, as opposed to, you know, creating a fake LIFE while insisting in mainstream media that it's your real life. What a great alternative to a marketing scheme based on mocking, scapegoating, and scamming the public that supports your sport, thus revealing your actual attitude towards that public, which is superiority. What a clear rebuttal to the patronizing message implied in every profile, every public breath you take, which is that your deviant marketing practices are the only way.
That's just insulting. Don't blame us for your crazy.
And, what a splendid alternative to recruiting star struck, erstwhile journalists into serving as your personal gatekeepers and fellow scammers.
As the Shibs do things (and as Moore-Towers Moscovitch do it in more random fashion) we get to enjoy their "personas" while also enjoying the "personas" of other high profile skaters such as Jeff Buttle, Mao Asada, Ashley Wagner - hell, even Brian Boitano was featured. Xavier Fernandez, let's not forget him. And, recently, Moore-Towers Moscovitch have been included. If Tessa and Scott "marketed themselves" the same way, we'd enjoy the chemistry, enjoy the dynamic, and the rest would be belong to them. They'd still be able to push Lindt chocolate, Body Butter, Toyota, Audi, etc.
Seeing as they ARE interested in marketing themselves, to say the least. We're not ambushing them at home or stalking them. This is an alternative that doesn't involve fucking people over.
Why do Scott and Tessa do it the other way?
I figure it has to be because everyone around them in their communities is so obsessed with their relationship, a more logical path never occurred to any of them. They're self-obsessed, and the people around Virtue and Moir view Tessa and Scott as their own real life Bella-and-Edward. And Virtue and Moir are too fascinated by themselves to expend any energy understanding anyone or anything outside themselves.
Chemistry isn't the only reason fans - more in the past than now - speculated about their relationship and fan fictioned it. They were cuing off Moirville's own unhealthy and kind of overwhelming obsession with Tessa and Scott's relationship.
Moirville has no capacity, nor apparent interest, in understanding anybody that isn't them, so of course since they're obsessed with Scott and Tessa to a degree that rises to real life fan fiction, obviously they're going to scapegoat fans as obsessed. And by marketing Scott and Tessa around sexual titillation, they have an excuse to wallow in their own long-running obsession with it.
Would fans really have speculated as much as they did if we weren't constantly being fed stuff on both sides of the platter - the overt, intimate attachment, "platonic" passion and emotional fervor Virtue and Moir both display and cause to be written about, and Scott's fake sex life with fake girlfriends? Those two ingredients in combination get fans speculating, because Scott and Tessa go out of their way to show the chemistry, TALK ABOUT the chemistry, and behave as who they are, and then on social media it's look at Scott's sex life with this other chick.
The Shibutanis' approach is what actual business savvy and professionalism looks like. It's not whatever Tessa Virtue thinks she's talking about.
The pollution from Virtue and Moir is pro-active, not defensive. They've primed the pump from day one. It's not our obsession with their relationship, it's their own community's obsession with their relationship and celebrity that has driven this debacle.