For those of you who have followed my work for any length of time, you know I consider the HBO show "The Wire" television's bible. The crime drama depicting the relationship among Baltimore police, politicians, drug users, and drug dealers explains America.
I can pretty much analogize anything to "The Wire." Today, I'll use the show to explain Instagram fitness model Brittany Renner, NBA small forward P.J. Washington, NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson, and the dangers of social media addiction.
Renner, 29, and Washington, 22, are back in the celebrity-gossip news cycle. A few months ago, the pair had a baby. A few weeks ago, Renner and Washington split as a couple. Yesterday, internet gossip spread that Washington would be forced to pay Renner $200,000 a month in child support.
Social media memes ran wild with the news, joking that Renner had scored a supermax "Thot" contract from a naive professional athlete. An old video appeared of Renner saying the easiest way for a woman to score a huge payday was to get knocked up by a dumb jock. The Renner-Washington news and the countless memes provoked me to join the tweet onslaught. I tweeted:
"P.J. Washington caught in the real Trap House. But for the grace of God there go I. Four years ago, I used to spend 30 minutes a day looking at Brittany's IG."
The tweet and admission formed the best kind of joke — humor laced with a kernel of truth and soaked in self-deprecation.
This leads me to my "The Wire" analogy. There are two problematic users in modern society — drug users and social media users. Both users chase the same dopamine high. In "The Wire," the highest form of heroin was nicknamed "WMD," a weapon of mass destruction. The same is true on social media corners. Women Messaging Directly is the best high.
When you see those three dots bubbling, you have the same excited anticipation the fictional junkie Bubbles had when he placed a needle deep inside a vein in his arm. You lie back and wait for the high. If she never hits send or the message is negative, you complain about the quality of the product and go buy dope on a different corner.
Brittany Renner is Proposition Joe. She is a weapon of mass destruction. Her dope is straight off the boat from the Greeks. It's uncut. Brittany buys for a dollar and sells for two.
The former Jackson State University soccer MVP started posting on Instagram eight or nine years ago under the name Bundle of Brittany. I can't remember when I discovered her. It was probably around the time she was dating Colin Kaepernick, back in 2014, before Kap turned woke. Back then, Kap was my favorite player. And good Lord, I loved looking at pictures of Brittany. I exaggerated when I said I spent 30 minutes every day perusing her IG page. But once a month I did.
I had an Instagram addiction. It was my Pornhub. At one point, I followed probably 75 IG models. Bundle of Brittany was my favorite.
I bring all this up because I actually have sympathy for P.J. Washington and, to a lesser degree, Deshaun Watson. If I were in my early 20s, super wealthy, single, famous, and attractive like them, I would likely be mainlining WMD.
It took 50 years of life experience for me to wean myself off my baby-got-back IG addiction. No way would I have conquered my addiction at 25. IG is heroin. It's an incredible delusion that cheapens all forms of human interaction. The sexual component makes IG more addictive and harmful than even Twitter.
Watson ruined his reputation and perhaps his career searching for rub-and-tug massage therapists on Instagram. A young kid with monopoly money could satiate his lust simply by reaching for his cell phone and direct-messaging the fitness model/massage therapist of his choice. It's too easy. It's too tempting.
Anything worth having should require some difficulty and discipline. Technology is removing difficulty and discipline from our lives. It's not improving our lives. Humans were meant to hunt and gather. We now Uber and DoorDash. I'm a symptom of an American reality. We're the most overweight place on earth.
Relative strangers create children after swiping right on Tinder or connecting over DMs.
Renner likely fished Washington out of her Instagram river. When Washington was a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, the then-27-year-old Renner started showing up at his basketball games decked out in Kentucky gear. She'd already been in relationships with or linked to former Jackson State quarterback Casey Therriault, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, NBA players James Harden, Jamal Murray, and Ben Simmons, entertainers Lil Uzi Vert, Drake, Trey Songz, Tyga, and Chris Brown.
She was considered a "Thot," a new slang word for groupie. The letters stand for "that ho over there." She posed naked on the cover of her 2019 book, titled "Judge This Cover." She wrote explicitly about her illicit sexual lifestyle with high-profile men.
It's fair to blame Washington for allowing himself to get trapped by someone so open with her immorality.
But Washington is just a kid. How would we view this situation if a 27-year-old male porn star targeted a female sophomore in college?
I apologize for making excuses for Washington. I deeply apologize if this comes off like I'm excusing Watson. It's easy to point out Washington's and Watson's failures. I'm writing this so we can assess some of the other factors in play. The phony social media world baits all of us into phony casual relationships.But for the grace of God, there go I.