Technically the dumbest thing I heard this week was “I think Notre Dame is going to win,” but in the interests of limiting this discussion to politics, I’ll focus on the reaction of conservatives to the most interesting thing that happened during the game — Brent Musburger’s comments during the game.
For those that missed, Musburger went off — more than once — verbally leering at Alabama QB AJ McCarron’s girlfriend:
Twitter immediately exploded with embarrassed football reporters, and ESPN apologized the next day. It’s not wrong to observe that a beauty queen (she’s Miss Alabama) is beautiful, but the prolonged ogling and objectification of a woman who did not chose to be on display Monday night, culminating in defining manhood by McCarron’s ability to snag his girlfriend like a caveman smacks a woman over the head and drags her back to the cave was inappropriate.
Would I have led an uproar over this? Of course not. Musburger falls into “old man whose indiscretions we blow off” territory. Besides this is not even close to the most offensive thing Musburger has said — that being his shameful comparison of African-American Olympians to Nazis because they took advantage of their prominent status to highlight the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
But the troglodytes in the conservative media were not willing to let this go, launching a retrograde salvo against everyone who found the display icky.
The American Spectator blew away the competition this week with its Musburger-related title, “PMS at ESPN.” Here’s the first two sentences:
As alert observers know, one of the principal differences between men and women is that women have PMS, while men have ESPN. A much better deal.
Good. I hate it when an article makes me read too far in before I start to wretch. I don’t find PMS jokes as offensive as some — I guess to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, “it doesn’t offend me as a feminist, it offends me as a comedian.” It’s just the lowest form of jape at a woman’s expense. If anything, I’m more offended at the idea that ESPN is somehow not for women. Most of the passionate sports fans I know are women and this sort of artificial gender divide to suggest that women are too stupid to understand sports has no place in the 21st Century.
Well the article goes on to explain the response most of the country had to Muburger’s commentary:
Houston Mitchell, a sportswriter for the ever with-it L.A. Times declared, “Most of America got a little grossed out.”
Well no, Houston, America was not grossed out. At least not the portion of America where good sense and traces of testosterone have yet to be stamped out.
I follow college football very closely. Obsessively may be a more fair term. It’s easily my favorite sport and if you want something from me, do not try to find me on a Fall Saturday. Hardcore reporters from deep in SEC-territory snickered over Twitter at Musburger’s lechery. And those are hardly areas of the world where testosterone has been stamped out.
This article is a psychological coping mechanism where the author seeks affirmation that someone out there still shares his own backward beliefs after watching the rest of the country choose against him. It’s the gender-relations equivalence of the 47% comments that blame Obama’s success on giving people “free stuff” rather than admit that there is no coherent conservative policy.
But, sadly, it’s not normal America ESPN caters to in its pronouncements, but to the freak-bubble of the cultural left.
Go ahead and read that again. The contention is that a sports network — the bastion of manhood that stands in opposition to PMS-monsters — is aimed toward the cultural left. The article is peppered with jabs at liberals as out of town, wussy professors. Basically the kind of people who never watch sports. If those people are really a minority and really ESPN’s target audience it wouldn’t be doing as well as it is.
“Too far” for whom is the question. Just who is ESPN trying to sooth with its uncalled for apology? Is the network trying to increase viewership among the NOW power-lifting club, the appearance of many of whose members is enough to make a freight-train back up and take a dirt road? Are they trying to entice those with black-belts in women’s studies to become Monday Night Football regulars? These are the circles of geek-branch feminism, where any male attention to female pulchritude is considered sexist, evil, and actionable.
Great. Lesbian jokes. But as previewed above, the author is really lamenting the loss of his sports-based private boys club. As much as he hates to believe it, ESPN is the “Worldwide Leader” because it understands the actual sports-watching populace better than a writer for American Spectator.
And then the article closes with the coup de dumb.
The biggest shame of the Musburger/Webb/ESPN kerfuffle is that it has taken attention away from the far larger story, which is that President Obama Wednesday, by executive order, took points way from Alabama and declared the championship game a draw. “Alabama didn’t win that game themselves, and they got more than their fair share of points,” Obama said in explaining his unprecedented action in the name of spreading the wealth around. Now THAT’s progressive.
Blerg. How about this counter-interpretation: a major, government-subsidized public institution made a significant investment in the infrastructure of success and triumphed over an elite private school. That actually is progressive.