Although I like to think I’m a hip, swinging liberal when it comes to politics, I’m 100% get off my lawn when it comes to sports. Hate the DH (though I’m a lifelong AL fan), inter-league play, the wild-card, all the goddmamn pitching changes and every hitter taking a billion pitches at every at bat. Same with football, we can all agree it was more fun to watch Walter Payton grind out a yard or to watch a coked-up LT wreak havoc than it is to watch Peyton Manning direct air traffic, or whatever it is that he’s doing before the snap.
What I dislike most is the rise of fantasy sports. It removes players from their context as members of a team, especially in football (in baseball I’ll admit this matters less). It leads directly into all the could Superman beat Spiderman stuff comparing Oscar Robertson to Lebron, and worse yet, to sportswriter wankerism about how some legendary coach or player would have handled some current situation (Larry Bird wouldn’t have let his team quit like that! etc.). As aimai points out, we have the same bullshit in politics:
I hate these windy abstractions like “can Obama Lead.” The guys been leading. He’s the fucking leader. He led us out of Iraq and into the ACA. If he doesn’t play his assigned role in your fantasy football rotisserie grand bargain that doesn’t mean he can’t lead.
Tip and Ronnie would have found a bargain! What would Lincoln do? Obama needs a team of rivals!
It’s all such crap, and to me, it demeans the entire human experience. Confronting complicated problems isn’t easy for anyone, no matter how much Churchillian resolve or Burkean restrain or Washingtonian patriotism or Lincolnian grit they have.
Sometimes things are just fucked up, and you could easily argue that we’re lucky to have people like Obama and, yes, even Boehner (he could be a lot worse) mostly trying to avert catastrophe. Who knows what Lincoln would do if he were in Obama’s shoes? All we know is how he handled the last southern uprising…and frankly I don’t think Bobo and Ron Fournier would find Sherman’s march to the sea so leadershipy and compromisy if it happened today.
It’s fun to imagine that the Great Americans of yore could solve all our problems if they came back from the grave. But pointless fantasizing is a retreat from reality. So is Niall Ferguson-style counterfactual historicizing.
It’s a mark of decadence and decline that so many elites waste their time wanking about things that didn’t happen and things that will never happen instead of reporting accurately on what is happening.