Friday, January 13, 2012

Bill's back

Bill Moyers is returning to teevee tonight in most markets, and I expect a lot of us in the blue spectrum are looking forward to his committed, intelligent discussion and discourse on issues vital to our society. You'll be able to view the new show, Bill Moyers & Company, online starting tonight. Bookmark

Editorial: Showboats for Jesus

Who says Jews can't play football?
Regular readers know that I don't do sports and don't give a rat's behind about them, but the editorial today is but one example of how sports stories leak out into the adult media, so I've been aware of the sports idol of the week and his onfield antics.
   The unnamed editor deserves the rolling eyes he's getting today for his feigned puzzlement with religious showboatry. You'd have to be much thicker than I know the editor to be  to not get what's going on out there.
   The editor's supposedly parallel examples prove that Tim Tebow is an exception even as he asserts that his onfield prostrations are somehow normal. Greenberg and Koufax chose not to play -- stayed off the field -- humbly following the rules of their religion. In clear contrast, Muhammad Ali boasted of his religion as an expression of pride, and that's exactly what this silly quarterback is doing. You can't stand on a field with millions watching and pretend you're not playing to the crowd.
   The silliness of casting oneself as a warrior for gad while playing a child's game of mock combat is beyond laughable, and in a sane society might be properly diagnosed as a call for psychological help.
   But beyond the obvious pridefulness that somehow the editor doesn't get, these are expressions designed to include fellow devotees and exclude infidels, to separate the believer from nonbelievers. They are clear acts of culture war that break with our common traditions of sportsmanship and public decorum, which till now always cast such things as errors of taste at best. That's why they get attention, from the rabble and from the editor. This evangelical is in effect daring anyone to call him on his self-absorption, so he can bask in the glory of imagined persecution.
   The reader would be wise to bear in mind that commercial sports competitions are no more real than any other entertainment, and the characters you see are actors on stages, whether they're walking footlights or astroturf, scripted and directed. The play is metaphorical, the messages often subtle, and if you only look at the surface, you've wasted the price of your ticket.