mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

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greed & arrogance index


5.23.04 Blame It on Sports

I wonder what ever happened to truth seekers and persons of integrity.

It was supposed to be the great enlightenment of, what, the sixties that no one was truly objective, including journalists. Even scientists were forced to admit some bias in how they reported the results of their work.

But now people wear their biases like badges. "You're either with us or against us." In other words, no dialogue, please.

The news channels are getting so tiresome. Every once in a while I'd like to see some analysis, the effort of a bravehearted individual to apply a thoughtful method, to grapple with the details, and come up with some conclusion that is more than an opinion based on ideology.

Here's what I mean. There is a development in the Middle East or a politico makes a move. The pundits are called in. One is conservative; one is liberal (oops, I guess we're called progressives these days). You know what they are going to say before they open their mouths. Why even bother listening? With rare and pleasant exceptions, the conservatives always back the Bush administration policy and the progressives don't.

I blame the pervasiveness of specatator sports. If there were 24-hour drama stations on AM radio or endless TV blab-a-thons about the techniques of the truly great violinists, I think the national discourse would be totally different.

But instead of arguing over the nuanced interpretation of art, we see only black and white, with us or against us. Rooting for our team is all that counts. Sure, there might be some knuckleheads on our team, but it isn't really even the individuals on the team who count. It's the logo. The brand. The institution.

I'm being unfair. Those blabbing sports analysts are often applying more objective methods than political pundits. If Mighty Casey strikes out, he's a bum -- they don't care what his reputation is and how kind he is to orphans.

Why am I ranting about this? What's wrong with treating Geopolitics like the World Cup? Look around. Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld pursued Iraq by the neo-con playbook, without strategic analysis of any integrity whatsoever. And all the Republicans, half the TV pundits, all the AM talkshow hosts, and the Fox News Network wore the team logo on their caps. And look at the half-assed mess we're in. Stay the course, buckos -- there's always the hail-mary pass and the bases-loaded homer in the bottom of the ninth you can count on.

(Ok, I'm being unfair about playbooks too. Coaches who write playbooks are undeniably better strategists than Donald Rumsfeld.)






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