Dennis Rodman: Think `Theatricality'

Article excerpt

A T THIS POINT, I thought I had heard all the theories on why Dennis Rodman has captured the imagination of Chicagoans and the media.

As a Bulls fan, I find my interest in Rodman limited to whether he can grab rebounds and avoid going berserk and kissing a referee on the lips.

I won't read his silly book because I honestly don't care what he and Madonna did or didn't do, so long as they didn't do it on my front porch.

But someone has come up with an intriguing explanation for all the interest in Rodman.

I don't know this person's name because he or she posted the thoughts on America Online under one of those anonymous handles.

The message was directed at a Tribune sports columnist who thinks that Rodman is something of a jerk.

The on-line correspondent disagreed and wrote:

"You seem to be out of touch with the phenomenon of Dennis Rodman and his appeal to the fans of Chicago.

"Dennis is like a piece of art. People want to get a closer look to see what it really is.

"It says different things to different people. No two people look at an object of art in the same way; such is true of Rodman.

"Art also holds value differently. The first guy to buy a Picasso probably didn't expect it to be worth millions. Others may question the va lue of the work of that artist to this day.

"I see parents and children clamoring for his jersey not to endorse Dennis as an example, but more as a symbol of `touching' an unusual piece of art.

" . . . Look at what the Bulls really are. In a museum there are great works of art (Michael Jordan) forming a solid foundation to your viewing pleasure. There are pieces whose attraction remain steadfast but slightly under the attraction of the great works (Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr, et al).

"The works that draw the greatest attention are those which provoke curiosity, can inflame human emotions both good and bad, be seen as sexy, sexless, anti or pro, be controversial in every respect.

"It is the intent of the artist. We have the best of the museum pieces to enjoy. These pieces are all priceless in their own right.

"Take Rodman for what he is . . . an oddity which enhances the team, regardless of how people view him."

When I read the message, I thought: "That is really goofy. A work of art is something you hang on your wall - maybe a sailing ship or a bowl of fruit. It is not some six-and-a-half-foot goofus who likes to put on women's clothing and mumble weird thoughts.

On the other hand, I am not an authority on art. I am one of those people who knows what he likes, which isn't much. …