Has the New York Times come out against rap videos? The lede paragraphs to a long front page story last Saturday suggested it had: “… players simulated sexual acts as they taunted a teammate about his sister…racist epithets and homophobic language flowed… including improper touching and sexual taunting… the verbal and physical abuse was widespread and even celebrated.” Or maybe the story was condemning revered boot camp traditions? Or drunken boys-will-be-boys fraternity rites? Or Republican presidential hopefuls warming up for 2016?
No such luck. Upon closer investigative inspection, we’ve determined that the lowlifes in question all used to toil for the aptly named offensive line of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, in a work regimen that saw three of its members triple-teaming a fourth. In its acute attention to detail, the Times discovered that the victim in question, “who is black,” was bullied by the instigator, “who is white,” who was joined by two sidekicks, the first “who is black,” and the second, “who is biracial.”
Whoa, Nelly. Does the Times really want to go there?
Didn’t think so. So let’s go to the videotape instead. It’s NBA All-Star weekend, and the big game itself, resembling nothing so much as a revolving door in which scorers are going one way and defenders another as never the twain shall meet. In this pinball atrocity the final score ends up something like 163,000 to 155,000, give or take as many zeroes as you wish, depending on whether you’re using dynamic scoring as opposed to more traditional static scoring.
The upshot is that we prefer to watch the NBA’s equivalent of a Super Bowl halftime, which in this case amounted to a kinder and gentler version of Bill O’Reilly’s interview at the White House with the nation’s leading authority on televised sports, Mr. B.H. Obama. It didn’t disappoint. The interviewer in question was once known as the Round Mound of Rebound, but only because Mrs. B.H. Obama hadn’t yet emerged as the nation’s leading nutritionist. During his playing days he was also quite the elitist, addressed widely as “Sir Charles.” By rights he was a bona fide member of the One Percent Club, except it later emerged that he had rung up some $10 million in gambling debts. Which may or may not have had something to do with his DUI conviction in 2008, back when he was openly flirting with a run for governor in his native Alabama, though no longer as a Republican he was once thought to be. “I was a Republican until they lost their minds,” he said, which was music to the bipartisan ear of the aforementioned Mr. B.H. Obama, though what really clinched the interview gig was a later comment from our interviewer, “Everytime I hear the word ‘conservative,’ it makes me sick to my stomach.” Charles Barkley, political bulimic?
The interview was a lovely affair. Mr. B.H. observed, in another rush of bipartisanship, that if not for Jackie Robinson, “I wouldn’t be sitting here.” Mr. Robinson, of course, was a Republican. Mr. B.H. joked that Obamacare will someday be so popular and successful his opponents will stop calling it that to keep him from receiving credit. He also let on he doesn’t play basketball much anymore. “You got to start thinking about elbows,” and that “you [might] break your nose right before a State of the Union address.” We can’t have that. People would mistake him for Joe Biden.
Some partnership those two enjoy. Nothing like the close bonds we saw on display in Sochi, where President Putin and Premier Medvedev, his enserfed toady, suffered miserably as the Russian hockey ensemble went down to humiliating defeat to mighty and defiant Finland. To anyone who remembers 1940, it was not the sort of reminder the Olympic host needed to confront just as he set out to interfere in the internal affairs of his Ukrainian neighbor. There is justice in sports, if not in geopolitics and the life of nations. Still, there’ll be no medal for Putin’s hockey pucks this time, just this EOW prize, Molotov cocktail edition, for Vlad himself. We recommend he down its contents before it does damage to his pretty nose.