The path to authoritarian rule is depressingly familiar, and one trod by many a nation in the postcolonial Third World. Cleveland, as you prove time and again, you're still part of the Third World, and now you've rounded out the profile with some classic media repression. Let's review the cautionary tale.
The process goes like this. First arises a charismatic figure, promising to lead the masses against power-wielding elites (e.g., foreign capitalists, the World Bank, the Lakers). After a few dubious but kind of inspiring triumphs - "We've nationalized our oil industries! We got swept in reached the NBA Finals!" - the brave revolutionary is crowned president for life. Anthems to nation-state glory are composed, slogans are coined, bad portraits of the dear leader are rendered in the style of socialist realism, and a people's future seems fair and bright, even if the road to reaching that utopian end-state is suspiciously opaque....
The initial warning signs can take a few different forms. Reformist politicians are sometimes jailed for ill-substantiated "crimes." Opposition political parties are abolished. Sometimes whole organs of constitutional government are dissolved in the name of "emergency rule." And then there's the classic, and indispensable, move of suppressing any media content that might prove embarrassing to the regime.
So LeBron, anything of interest happen at your recent Skills Academy?
On Monday, Jordan Crawford, a sophomore at Xavier (by way of Indiana), reportedly dunked on LeBron during a pick-up game at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Garry Parrish of CBSSports.com wrote that one high school player said, "it was bad". (We can only assume he meant "bad" in the Michael Jackson sort of way.)
LeBron must have agreed, because he had Nike officials confiscate the two videos that were taken of the dunk. (Parrish blames Nike, but reading between the lines it seems like the censorship was orchestrated by LeBron himself.)
Nothing to see here, folks. Please move along to your designated re-education centers and Productivity Workshops. You, with the video-enabled iPhone! We have a special prize for you, just through the black door into the windowless room. No, no need to tell your loved ones where you're headed....
Clevelanders: totalitarianism is slowing descending on you. I realize your obsolete industrial infrastructure and funereal climate make you an ideal candidate for Eastern Bloc-style single-party rule, but there's still time to preserve what's left of your freedoms.
DEMAND the immediate release of all videos showing LeBron getting dunked on or otherwise worked by college kids!
INSIST ON a full accounting of any other such videos that have been suppressed by this increasingly brutal regime!
CREATE a dedicated YouTube channel for all such videos, that the world may be witness to his misdoings!
INTERSPLICE Keyboard Cat into as many such videos as possible!
RISE UP AND CALL FOR LeBron to be waived by the Cavaliers and made to answer before the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague!
You have nothing to lose but third-round playoff exits!