Tuesday, July 19, 2005

MH - Don't Try This At Home

I mentioned earlier that I was trying to catch up on things that have been piling up lately. Here's a story I meant to write about earlier, but I'm just getting to it now.

Seems that last week a sports columnist at FoxSpots.com, name of Dayn Perry, concluded his comments on the stupidity of the running of the bulls (that's in Pamplona, Spain, as opposed to the running of the b.s., which can be found in Washington D.C. or any state capital) with this cheery note: ""I'm on record as saying this: If you've been injured or killed by a bull at Pamplona, then I think it's funny. Now if only Mark Steyn would go and get himself killed." By later in the day the Steyn line had been pulled, but not before people had seen it. Including Hugh Hewitt, who demolished Perry on his program the next day. Hewitt does a great job; no need for me to add anything to it. Read and enjoy.

But it does amaze me how many sportswriters enjoy lapsing into political commentary. It happens on si.com all the time, and I can't tell you how tired I am of having to read it. I don't know what it is that makes sportswriters think they're experts on politics when too many of them aren't even masters of their own specialty. Not only that, but invariably their comments tend toward the liberal, snarky side.

We've been over this ground before with the Hollywood left, and perhaps the same holds true for sportswriters. They need to find some way to justify what they do; sportswriting traditionally hasn't been taken very seriously despite the incredible skill of some of its practitioners (for example, I happen to think that Dan Jenkins is one of the most talented writers around anywhere, and Minnesota's own Joe Soucheray started out his career as a sportswriter). But for every Ring Lardner and Grantland Rice, there's a hundred Dayn Perrys, so desperate to prove their talent, so eager to break out of the ghetto they see themselves pigeonholed into.

Ah, you say, but you write about sports from time to time, along with politics and religion. That's true (thanks for noticing), but the difference, IMHO, is that i know what I'm talking about. Or at least I have a better idea than Dayn Perry - check out this illuminating exchange, if you have any doubts:

HH: Anyway, tell me why you think George Bush has contempt for gay people.

DP: Oh, I thought using the Constitution to outlaw gay marriage was just an insidious example of something the founders would never have wanted, the framers of the Constitution to use that for that sort of purpose. I thought that was ridiculous, and John McCain opposed it.

HH: Now every time that the issue of gay marriage comes before the American people for a vote, you know it passes...the objection to it passes.

DP: Yes.

HH: Overwhelmingly.

DP: Yes.

HH: So are those people bigots?

DP: Yes.

HH: So 80% of Missouri is bigoted?

DP: Yes. 80% of Missouri is bigoted, if they don't want to afford the same rights to gay people that they have, yes. It's tyranny of the majority. I think that's just a heinous viewpoint, yes.

HH: Okay. Heinous?

DP: Yup.

HH: Evil? It's evil to oppose same sex marriage?

DP: I would stop short of evil, but yet it's a fairly unlikable viewpoint, yes.

HH: So you can be for, you know, complete same sex benefits, and civil union, but just opposed to marriage. You're still acting heinously?

DP: No, that would not rise to the level of heinous. I find that opposition to gay marriage usually entails opposition to those sort of rights as well, like the bill that was in Tennessee, that was up to...not afford them anything, whatsoever. The think
in Virginia had veiled safeguards to prevent against, you know, visiting in intensive care waiting rooms, that sort of thing. Usually, it's just cover for those sort of viewpoints.

HH: So you think it's just mostly homophobia at work?

DP: Yeah, generally, yeah.

Pardon me. My brain hurts from all this intellectualism flying around.

So, should Perry be bounced from Fox Sports? Well, if he'd said the same thing about, oh, Dick Durbin, I'm sure he'd already be history. But he's entitled to his opinion, no matter how stupid he might be. The true test lies in his talent, in his knowledge of the subject area, and there I think we'll let his words speak for themselves. My bet: I know more about sports than Dayn Perry knows, or thinks he knows, about politics. If you feel the same way, let Fox Sports know about it, and tell them it's time to hire a real sportswriter, not someone who sees his column as a tryout for The Nation.

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