Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hey, Sports Fans

I’m not big on sports.
Not much interested in any activity that involves a ball of any kind.

               It ain't me babe, no no, no it ain't me, babe. It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Only “sport” I ever really had much enthusiasm for was boxing.  Notice I put that word in quotation marks.
But, you know, when I was a kid,  in school, I played a little basketball. I wasn’t very good. But it was fun, and there’s no down side to a young teenage boy in having  pretty teenage girls go crazy cheering his name just for throwing a ball though a hoop. Hell, you’d think I was curing cancer out there.
                                                            Thanks, but I have to walk my dog.

 Some guys could really play well.
I remember one kid in particular, Black kid named Wells. That kid once sank a left-handed hook shot  from the free throw line with two of us all over him.  Fuck! I couldn’t believe it. You can’t argue with that kind of skill. You just have to give the devil his due.
“Hey, man,” I said when that shot swished through the bucket, “GREAT fuckin’ shot.”
Offered him my palm and he gave me some skin.
It was cool.
But it didn’t go over very well with my coach.
“He’s kicking our ass out there and you’re congratulating him?”
I didn’t see the problem.
In an earlier game, I was assigned to go man to man on a kid who’d just made an excellent jump shot from the corner. When I got out on the floor, I said to him, “I hope you enjoyed making that shot, daddy-o. It’s the last fuckin’ shot you’re gonna make tonight.”  Turned out to be a true prediction. Of course, I fouled out in the course of making it come true. See, he could shoot from the floor, but he couldn’t hit a free throw with a hammer.
Anyway, it was perfectly fine to talk shit to an opposing player, but it was utterly frowned on to salute him.
That didn’t feel right to me.
Maybe that’s when I took notice of the fans.
                                                                C'mon, guys, get a life.

Most people in the stands applauded every time something went in favor of their own team, and cat-called every time something went in favor of the other team. When a ref called, say, out of bounds against their guy, the ref was blind. Didn’t matter if that player had dribbled halfway to the locker-room, it was a “bad call” because it went against them. Whether it was true or accurate didn’t matter one little bit.
On the other hand, one of their own guys could whack an opposing shooter with a meat cleaver and they’d still claim the shooter was charging. Foul!? What? Get some glasses, Ref? How much they payin’ you, Ref? And so on.
What I figured out was this: most people in the stands weren’t there because they loved basketball.
They didn’t even like basketball.
In fact, they didn’t give a flying fuck about basketball.
They just wanted to win.
Didn’t matter how they won, or why they won. It didn’t matter how well their team played. If it was an accident, or a fluke, or if they cheated their asses off and got away with it, none of that mattered as long as they won. They were living vicariously off that victory the way a vampire lives off your blood, without ever putting out any the effort or taking any of the risk, themselves.  I quickly grew to despise the fans, and I quit playing, cheerleaders notwithstanding. The fans ruined it for me. Win or lose, I never felt clean.

I can’t help noticing that politics is that way for most people, too.   

On any issue, they pick a side and become emotionally invested in “winning.” Doesn’t matter one little bit what’s true, or right or fair.  It doesn’t matter how they win or why they win, as long as they win.

Elections are the same way. You pick the Democrat team or the Republican team, and your team is always right, the other team is always wrong. If the Devil himself ran as a Democrat against Jesus running as a Republican, then every Democrat would be in the Devil’s corner.  They’d point out that Jesus was a dirty hippy, never worked a day in his life, that there’s some real controversy about his birth, that he associated with prostitutes and other low-life’s, that he was an alcoholic who turned water into wine, and that he was a scofflaw who had defied proper authority on occasions to numerous to count.
I don’t mean to pick on the Democrats in particular, but lately, I do have a good reason to be cross with them: they’re forcing me to say something good about Republicans.

When George W. Bush was President, the Republicans praised his unconstitutional crap, and the Democrats, very rightly, condemned him for it.  I didn’t think it was possible to have a worse president than George W. Bush. But then Obama got into office. He out-Bushed Bush at every turn, taking Bush’s worst policies farther than the eye could see, and inventing a few of his own that were equally nasty or nastier.
                                                  Obama: like Bush, only darker.

The Republicans praised Obama when he did what Bush did – though they criticized Obama for not going far enough. The Democrats, on the other hand fell mute. Seems that when a Democrat does unconstitutional crap, the Democrats are fine with it. It’s only when Republicans do it that the Democrats get all offended and sanctimonious.
When I criticized George Bush for lying, for doing other unlawful things, Democrats called me a patriot. When I criticized Obama for doing the same things – or worse – Democrats called me a racist.
I have to give the Republicans this much: they're consistent in their repugnant values. And none of them ever said I hated Bush just because he was White.

They’re not out there campaigning because they love America, because they prize liberty and justice.

They don’t even like liberty and justice.
In fact, they don’t really give a flying fuck about liberty and justice.
They just want to win. 
It can be an accident, a fluke or because they cheat their asses off and don’t get caught.  As long as they win.

So I don’t play that game anymore, either.
The fans ruined it for me.
And it doesn’t feel clean.


Monday, January 4, 2016

It's THAT simple.

Nathan Burdett (John Russell):   If he says it wasn't murder, why do you say it was?

Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne): Man gets shot that's got a gun, there's room for reasonable doubt. Man gets shot that hasn't got a gun, what would you call it?

Rio Bravo.
Directed by Howard Hawks.
A John Wayne classic, and one of my all-time favorite films. First time I saw it was on a sweltering summer night at a drive-in theatre.
I was 8 years old.

I learned a few simple-but-important lessons from those old western movies.
Lessons a lot of folks seem to have forgotten.

Shoot an unarmed man, that's murder.
You hang.
Shoot a man in the back, and that's the most cowardly murder there is.
Hanging's too good for you.

When the law is corrupt, people have to take justice into their own hands.
And that will require a gun in those hands, too.
Because the corrupt law won't hesitate to shoot down an unarmed man.
Or shoot a man in the back.
Or a woman.
Or a child.

When that happens, when the "law" breaks the law, when the law murders the innocent, there's only one thing you can do about it.

Get your gun.

And bring a rope.