My column on AOL Fanhouse
Oracene Price, mother of Venus and Serena Williams, has not tweeted in six days. I wanted to make sure I was the first to report that news. It is clear she’s embarrassed and angry by what she had tweeted before the women’s final of the Australian Open.
If you missed the little storm she created last week on Twitter, she said she was hoping Li Na would beat Kim Clijsters because she thought it “would be cool for a Chinese to win.” She also wrote, “Let’s say I’m not pulling for the other one. I dislike dubious people.”
It’s clear she hates Clijsters. People wrote to Price on Twitter, complaining that it was clear she’s racist against white people. Price also made some sort of comment comparing Clijsters to Medusa, clearly stating she thinks Clijsters is funny looking.
Look, the truth is that nothing is clear here at all, possibly not even to Price. This was a study in modern media and in Twitter itself. There is an entire Twitter world, and it’s unclear what it even is.
It means different things to different people. Tennis moms can use it in varying states of consciousness. Media types are using it mostly to try to stay on top of the game, and also to give instant analysis.
I use it, too, and can be found @gregcouch. To me, it is mostly for little throw-away, stream of consciousness type of thoughts, but not always. You don’t do much in-depth analysis in 140 characters, including spaces between words, to make your point. That’s all you get on Twitter. This paragraph blew past tweet length about two sentences ago.
But I think we make a mistake when we read too much into tweets, or even try to.
My friend Jason Whitlock at FoxSports.com wrote about this last week, in regard to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Other NFL players ripped into Cutler on Twitter, suggesting he should have kept playing in the NFC Championship Game after he hurt his knee, and that got things rolling, defined the moment in quips.
But those tweets are unreliable, out of context and coming from athletes who are not professionals at communication.
Also, it can take athletes months to form a thought, much less 140 characters, minus spaces.
All of this hit on a lesser level with Price. She made her little comments, about Clijsters, Li, Chinese and dubious.
“Also, I don’t want My vision blurred! That thought made me LOL!” Price tweeted.
“Did you peep that eye of hers?” Price tweeted. “It gives the Madusah scare and turns you into solid stone. Don’t look at that eye.”
Theoretically, that’s the Medusa stare, meaning Price is a student of Greek mythology or she saw the Percy Jackson movie.
In the movie, Medusa was played by Uma Thurman, and if you looked into her eyes, you turned into a statue.
But what does she mean by that? I don’t know. You don’t know.
I doubt even she knows. That’s Twitter.
No better playground than Twitter, where we pretend to take seriously something called a tweet. It empowers people, reshapes news in a way we haven’t quite pinned down yet.
“Don’t play the race care. I deal with it everyday,” she wrote to someone who had tweeted to her, calling her a racist for picking on Clijsters.
“You’re Brutal and hateful,” she responded to another tweeter, who had used those words on her. “Get of my sight.”
“I wasn’t dissing Kim,” she wrote. “She does thing on court that I been trying to get my girls to do.”
There was some speculation on Twitter that maybe Price was confusing her Belgians, and actually meant Justine Henin, not Clijsters.
So maybe Oracene was Belgian Waffling?
The point is, no one knows. And if it weren’t for Twitter, no one would even care what Price had to say anyway, unless she were speaking about her daughters, or for them.
In October, tennis was abuzz briefly when Price tweeted that she thought Fed Cup was “boring.”
First off, who cares? Secondly, are you sure she wasn’t right? That’s what was on top of her mind.
Well, six days and counting since Price has tweeted. Maybe she’s upset? Maybe she just doesn’t feel like tweeting. Or maybe. . .
She watched on TV as Clijsters won the final, gazed into the “Madusah scare” and turned to stone.