The mainstream media buried the news of Iraq's heavy voting turnout and
constitutional confirmation under its own fabricated milestone of 2,000
American deaths in the war. They much prefer showing us the violence in
Baghdad to reporting on any positive political developments in Iraq.
The excuse is supposed to be the old journalistic truism "if it bleeds,
But now there is honest-to-God bleeding going on in Paris, France. So
how come the MSM is reluctant to show it to us? Hugh Hewitt asked Mark
Steyn about this on his radio
HH: Mark Steyn, how do you account for
the indifference or ignorance of the mainstream media in America?
MS: Well, I think this is now basically becoming a willful effort at
misleading. It's not just the United States. Other countries, too, are
reporting this as their youths, or their French youth. And it isn't
until you get thirteen paragraphs into the story, and they're quoting
one of these youths, and you realize he's called Mohammed, that it
occurs to you that there might be an ethno-cultural religious component
to this situation. And this is absolutely grotesque...
If there were escalating riots night after night in 20 American cities,
it would be the ONLY story in media outlets around the world. And given
France's arrogant habit of lecturing America about all sorts of
relevant issues -- mideast politics, racism, the superiority of the
European welfare states, proper conduct of the war on terror -- the
irony of a meltdown of civil order in the capital city of France would
seem to cry out for extensive reporting and analysis. But that's
precisely the problem, isn't it?
The real linchpin of American liberal opposition to the foreign policy
of the Bush administration is actually little more than an image,
scrupulously maintained, of the sleek European diplomats who gravely
prefer negotiated fig leafs to confrontations with Islamofascism. It's
fairly easy to promote their superior manner, couched carefully in the
representation of Europe as the older, wiser, more measured voice of
western civilization. I use the term "image" because that's all it is
and all it has been in living memory. The equally repressed details of
the oil-for-food scandal demonstrate beyond doubt that European
diplomats and "statesmen" would be quite at home in the Tammany Hall of
America's 19th century. The toleration, particularly in France, for
antisemitic outrages, also downplayed by the MSM, must remind us that
the character flaws which produced two world wars in 30 years haven't
been fixed. Europeans are still the pampered problem children of the
world. It is they who continue to evade adult responsibilities at
every turn, who manipulate all and sundry to their own advantage while
insisting that everything which doesn't go their way is wrong because
it's, well, not fair.
Rioting muslims in Paris is a huge problem for the American left. It
suggests that the Europacifists don't have all the answers -- about the
efficacy of socialist welfare programs, about the nature of Islamic
militants, about the very definition of the social justice they pretend
to revere above all other things. In fact, riots in your capital make
it dramatically obvious that something important is broken in your
The only picture gallery I've been able to find is this
one, posted by the Times of London. Here is the accompanying story:
The poor suburbs of Paris were set
ablaze in the worst of eight consecutive nights of rioting, with 500
cars torched and a gym and primary school razed.
Police today reported that the wave of unrest has now spread to at
least 20 provincial towns.
An army of 1,300 police reinforcements moved into the bleak estates of
the north-east of Paris last night, to enforce a belated pledge by
Dominique de Villepin, the Prime Minister, to stop the rioting that has
engulfed the largely Muslim ghettos.
Despite hopes that Eid-ul-Fitr, the festivities ending the fasting
month of Ramadan, would calm the unrest, police reports suggest an
escalation in what the police union has described as a "civil war"..
Gangs of youths armed with bricks, sticks and petrol canisters spilled
through the streets of high-rise housing estates, torching buses and
hurling rocks at trains. At least 80 arrests were made in fierce
clashes with the massed ranks of riot police.
According to one report, a disabled woman was doused in petrol and set
alight when she was unable to escape a bus under attack in the northern
suburb of Sevran. She was rescued by the driver and is being treated
for severe burns.
Disturbances also took place for the first time in other towns,
including Rouen, Marseille and Dijon..
Television networks have mostly stayed away from the scenes of the
confrontations. Camera crews have been physically attacked and reports
blamed for stoking the discontent.
"Why a school, why a car? What can you say about such blind violence,"
said Michel Beaumale, mayor of Trappes, southwest of Paris, outside the
smouldering ruins of a local primary school.
Francis Masanet, leader of the UNSA police union, said: "It is very
serious and we fear that events could get worse."
The warfare of the streets, initially triggered by the deaths of two
African teenagers who ran into an electricity relay station fearing
they were being chased by police, has flared into broader protest
against the living conditions and prospects of African communities.
It has been played out against a backdrop of political bickering
between the Prime Minister and Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister
and his rival for presidency in 2007. M de Villepin has been accused of
leaving his rival to deal with the fallout from the unrest.
M Sarkozy's hard-line stance - he has spoken of "hosing down" the
"scum" - has fanned the flames of protest, and may have damaged his
future prospects for the presidency. It has also exposed a
philosophical split in the Cabinet and country over the place of
immigrants in French life, and caused policies of integration dating
back 30 years to be re-examined.
Evidence of the scale of law-breaking, in what are officially known as
"les quartiers difficiles", came with a police report yesterday that
28,000 vehicles had been torched in outbreaks of urban violence in
France so far this year.
Unemployment among French men aged 15 to 24 has risen from 15 per cent
four years ago to more than 22 per cent. It is thought to be as high as
30-40 per cent among young second- and third-generation immigrants in
poorer high-rise suburbs.
Hair Blog (h/t Instapundit) has been monitoring other British news
organizations, including the BBC and the Economist, and reports they
seem less interested in the story than the Times:
Last evening the BBCA news had 8
minutes of Joe Wilson commenting on Libby, and the business news,
before they mentioned the seventh day of rioting in France. This
morning they had 11 minutes of reporting on the Pakistan earthquake
before mentioning the eighth day of spreading rioting in France.
I had forgotten about the Joseph Wilson story. I'm glad to be reminded.
That's obviously the real reason the riots haven't gotten more
attention here. After all, a dirty internecine squabble between the
administration and the CIA about one still ambiguous item of Saddam's
WMD activities proves that the French and Germans were dead right to
oppose the Iraq War as reckless American adventurism; the right way to
deal with middle eastern fascists is to smother them with flattering
old world charm. That always works. Right?
Except when it doesn't. But what are a few trivial exceptions among the
liberal elites who really should be ruling the world? In this case,
it's better to wait for the French to get a handle on the situation and
congratulate them after the fact for saving the Elysee Palace from
That should be soon now. It better be soon. Are you listening, M.
Michelle Malkin has also picked up on the item referenced above about
woman who was set on fire in a bus. Her other coverage
of the Paris riots is extensive and includes a link to another photo gallery.
Just for fun, here's Google's ham-handed mechanical translation of this
page into French.
Much more civilized, no?
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Some sexes are more equal than others.
20 CARATS. Via Instapundit, we found the blog of Cathy Young, a New Jersey
woman endowed with sturdy common sense on many matters, though not all.
(She presumed to tweak InstaPunk's
nose anent the Miers nomination: something about "defending
mediocrity," wherein she omitted the definition of 'mediocrity' that
includes one of the top 50 female attorneys in the country). She's
pro-choice but not unaware of the demons unleashed by that position
and, oddly, she seems interested in the inequalities
that have been created under the law:
Did the woman ask him to impregnate her
and sign an agreement relieving
him of any financial obligations? He's still liable if she changes her
mind. Was he underage and legally a victim of statutory rape? Makes no
difference. (One such case, in Kansas in 1993, involved a 12-year-old
boy molested by a baby sitter.) Did the woman have her way with him
when he had passed out from drinking and brag to friends that she had
saved herself a trip to the sperm bank? Tough luck, said Alabama
courts. Did she retrieve his semen from the condom she had asked him to
wear during oral sex and inseminate herself with a syringe? Yes, it's a
true story, and in 1997 the Louisiana Court of Appeals told the man to
pay up, saying that a male who has any sexual contact with a woman --
even oral sex with a condom -- should assume that a pregnancy may ensue.
Her newest entry
on the abortion debate is worth reading in light of our own recent post,
including all the comments from men and miscellaneous other inferior
sexes. We do wonder, though, whether her views on female superiority
amount to a preference or just an acceptable unintended consequence.
Perhaps she'll deign to inform us directly.
The Headhouse Gang
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The First Bombshell
SET, GO. The expected series of grisly and damaging revelations
about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito began today with this headline
in the Los Angeles Times:
Phillies Fan With Blue-Chip Legal Stats
The text of the article goes on to quote Alito thus:
"My real ambition at the time was to be
the commissioner of baseball," said Alito, an ardent fan of the
Philadelphia Phillies. "I never dreamed that this day would actually
Senior Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary
Comittee were quick to respond. Senators Edward Kennedy (MA) and
Patrick Leahy (VT) held a joint press conference in which they read the
We are gravely disappointed to learn
that the Bush administration's nominee is so far out of the mainstream
of American baseball allegiances. And we are alarmed on two points.
First, the millions of fans of America's most popular team, the Boston
Red Sox, cannot help but feel marginalized by Judge Alito's eccentric
membership in what can only be described as a splinter minority of
sports affiliations. How can such a candidate possibly hope to
represent the dreams and aspirations of the majority of Americans when
he persists in allying himself with one of the oldest and least
admirable franchises in the history of America's pastime? Second, his
ambition to be commissioner of baseball suggests a sinister
intention to hijack the game from the followers of contemporary
mainstream franchises and turn the clock back to a time when there were
only a handful of major league teams, all exclusively white and mostly
redneck. We believe this represents a compelling reason to reject the
nomination of Judge Scalito, and we urge our fellow Americans to
protest the President's irresponsible selection.
Senator Charles Schumer also issued a statement from his home in New
This terrible stain on Judge Alito's
record is a dagger in the heart of the millions of Yankee fans who make
up the majority of the nation's baseball loyalists. The candidate has
been unmasked as a partisan of a radical fringe minority. It could
hardly be worse if he announced that he had season tickets to that
other contemptible red-city team, the Texas Rangers. This nomination
cannot be permitted to stand.
Senator Arlen Specter (PA) objected to the characterization of Phillies fans
as a fringe minority, citing national polls which demonstrate that 70
percent of those who follow major league baseball have heard of the
Phillies. "This is a team that in its 120 years of All-American history
has won a World Series, among other accomplishments," said Specter. "To
this day, the team has avid fans located as far east as New Jersey, as
far south as Delaware, and as far west as just east of Harrisburg. That
takes in a lot of American territory and a lot of Americans, both
Democrat and Republican."
However, Republican Senators Mike DeWine (OH), John Cornyn (TX), and
John Kyl (AZ) were more cautious in their responses to the revelation,
agreeing that Alito's affiliation with the Phillies would be a
legitimate subject for questioning by the judiciary committee. "It's
distressing but not necessarily fatal that Judge Alito appears to be
out of touch with the majority American preference for illustrious
franchises like the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians," said
deWine, "but just because the Phillies are the biggest losers in the
whole history of baseball, bar none, does not make Alito a loser. Not
necessarily. Not completely, anyway."
Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware could not be reached for comment.
Separately, Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) blasted Alito's association
with the Phillies, declaring that it "indicates a juvenile, racist, and
male chauvinist strain of character that a grown man continues to obsess
over a boy's playground game that has historically discriminated against
African-Americans and excluded women entirely. This is not only
inconsistent with the judicial temperament the American people demand of
Supreme Court nominees, but representative of the profound evil that the
the Bush administration always does. Or is. Whatever. You know what I mean."
Every so often, we feel obligated to bang on the empty drumhead
that calls itself Neal Boortz. We see by the clock that it's the first
of November, which means that magic time has come round once more.
Today, the semi-literate legal eagle from Atlanta is explaining -- yet
again -- why conservatives should forget all about where the latest
Supreme Court nominee stands on Roe v. Wade. We're already abundantly
record as saying Roe v. Wade is highly problematic as a
litmus test because it's impossible to know how any justice will vote
until he's on the court, so we're not carrying any right wing water
here. What we're compelled to do instead is challenge Boortz's airy
assertion that he knows exactly where Americans stand on the
abortion issue. Here's his flat-out declaration:
Abortion will never be made illegal
throughout the United States...ever. If Roe vs. Wade were
overturned tomorrow, all 50 states would immediately take over with
their own laws. The vast majority of the American people are
pro-choice, so that issue is really settled. Alito's nomination
has nothing to do with abortion.
This is a prime example of Boortz's usual sloppy and (deliberately?)
misleading thinking, which we have documented before, here
He makes an illogical argument that depends upon a
mischaracterization of fact. We'll deal with the putative fact first --
that the vast majority of Americans are pro-choice. The evidence he'd
cite comes from a survey like the one published by SurveyAmerica,
which presents a state by state percentage breakdown and a U.S.
breakdown weighted by population to arrive at the following totals: 38
percent pro-life and 56 percent pro-choice.
Convincing? Only if you ignore the self-evident fact that this is an
enormously complicated and emotionally charged issue in which the easy
labels are certain to create distortions by being mentioned at all. The
actual question asked of the respondents to this survey was, "On
abortion, are you pro-life? Or pro-choice?" Either-or. Black or white.
Nothing in between. (No wonder this would sound like music to the space
between Neal's ears.)
Anyone who looks, though, will find evidence that Boortz's "vast
majority" is in question. According to an article in the Washington
Times earlier this year:
The balance between pro-choice women
and women who say abortion should be outlawed or severely restricted is
shifting toward the pro-life side, bumping that group into the majority
in the debate over reproductive rights, according to a new national
Fifty-one percent of women surveyed by the Center for the Advancement
of Women said the government should prohibit abortion or limit it to
extreme cases, such as rape, incest, or life-threatening complications.
The findings, with a 3 percent margin of error for the 1,000 women
surveyed, tips the scale from the last sampling in 2001, when 45
percent of women sided against making abortion readily available or
imposing only mild restrictions. Only 30 percent support making it
generally available, down from 34 percent in 2001, the survey found.
Even some pro-abortion groups have gotten poll results they didn't
In June, the Center for the Advancement
of Women released the results of a poll showing that 51 percent of
women took a pro-life position. Their poll also found that keeping
abortion legal was the next to last most important priority for women
as compared with other public policy issues.
Jennifer Bingham of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group that
works to elect pro-life women to public office, tells LifeNews.com the
media has painted a false impression that a majority of women support
"Poll after poll is showing that more and more American women are
classifying themselves as pro-life," Bingham said. "After 30 years of
the message that 'choice' means a women's right to choose an abortion
-- women are finally expressing choice as the right to have a child."
What's going on here? Are the liberal pollsters skewing their
questions? Are the right-to-lifers making statistics up? No. The fact
is that the results vary significantly from 1) poll to poll, based upon
what specific questions are asked about abortion, and 2) from time
period to time period even on identical questions about abortion.
Here is an excellent site containing the results of numerous
polls taken by news and political organizations representing left,
right, and center political views. It's well worth the time it takes to
read all the way through it. We don't pretend to have the statistical
expertise to unravel all the mysteries of the frequently contradictory
responses, but we will make a few observations that are pertinent to
Roe v. Wade and the customary view of the topic as a war between
pro-lifers and pro-choicers.
Perhaps the clearest trend in the results is that a majority of
Americans believe abortion should be legal under some circumstances,
especially in cases of rape and incest. A substantial minority believe
abortion should always be legal. But the corollary of both these
results is that a wavering majority of Americans also believe that
abortion should be illegal in certain circumstances. It seems a fair inference,
for example, that Americans lose tolerance for abortion the longer a
pregnancy lasts and the more it is employed as a convenience by those
who are too lazy to use contraceptives. A huge majority wishes to see
fewer abortions and more parental involvement in decision making. The
exact percentage breakdowns on all these positions move significantly
up and down through time.
Interestingly, the difference between the sexes on most questions seems
slight or nonexistent. Apparently, the abortion issue is not about a
male conspiracy to control women.
[Note that we invite -- even insist that -- you (to) examine the
various studies for yourselves. We are not trying to put words in the
mouths of the American people.]
One obvious bottom-line is that however the media and politicians speak
about abortion, the terms pro-life and pro-choice do not apply to the
fat part of the Bell Curve. An enormous number of Americans are
somewhere in between, confused, struggling to navigate a sensible
course through the hyperbolic rhetoric that prevents calm discussion of
the complexities in public. There are those who believe it's a moral
issue but should not be controlled by government or law. There are
those who believe the government and the law must play a role because
moral issues are involved. And there are those who believe the
government and law must be involved because there are no moral issues involved. Almost no
one is happy with the current state of affairs, but a majority do not
believe that the issue is so critical it must be considered more
important than all other issues before the country and its political
parties. In other words, they can walk and chew gum at the same time;
they are able to evaluate a public figure's position on abortion issues in
the context of his position on other important matters. Presumably, they
could also tolerate a period of legal confusion without losing their
minds if Roe should one day be struck down.
In this context, Boortz's simplistic statement that a vast majority are
pro-choice is disingenuous at best. Saying it enables him to make his
specious case that Roe v. Wade is irrelevant. When he says, "If Roe vs.
Wade were overturned tomorrow, all 50 states would immediately take
over with their own laws," he thinks he is concluding the discussion.
In fact, he is papering over the very serious relevance of Roe v. Wade,
which is the federal law that thus far has been interpreted to mean
that all abortions, in all circumstances, are beyond the reach of law.
This is not what a vast
majority of Americans want. For example, approximately 80 percent of
Americans believe that the parents of minors seeking abortions should
be notified. Unfortunately, the bizarre concept of privacy written into
the constitution to justify Roe v. Wade also eliminates any possibility
to do the will of the American people on this point.
It is the existence of an over-arching blanket license like Roe v. Wade
which prevents people on all sides from coming to grips with the
specifics of their own convictions. Boortz is correct in saying that
overturning Roe would throw the question back to the states. That, by
the way, is a step closer to where it can be dealt with meaningfully.
There is a very clear difference in poll results from state to state.
If Roe were overturned, Massachusetts might pass a state law identical
to Roe, while Utah might pass a law banning abortion altogether. Other
states might legalize abortion but require notification and/or consent
by parents and spouses. Under our federal system, people unhappy with
the laws in their own states would still have access, though the
threshhold would be higher. In every state, however, the door would
finally be open for individual communities, political districts and
states to make the difficult distinctions, exceptions, and regulations
preferred by the local majority, which no one is permitted to do today.
At a simple-minded level, Boortz is right to predict that abortion will
never be entirely illegal. Yet it's equally true to say that if Roe
were struck down, abortion will never again be universally legal and
wholly unrestricted. Further, it's true to say that the various state
laws governing abortion will come much closer to reflecting the
complexities of the moral and ethical principles involved. Bad laws can
be corrected. Unless the one unbreakable commandment is that there be
no law. Note, too, that it is the existence of this one unbreakable
commandment which holds this important issue hostage to our fading
ability to determine how one nominee (at a time) feels about one
supreme court case. To what definition of democratic rule does this
state of affairs conform? Is it really superior to the messy
give-and-take of people interacting with legislatures in individual
states to pass, enforce, and refine laws that directly affect their
Roe v. Wade is relevant. How
Supreme Court nominees stand on Roe is relevant. Overturning this
decision is in the interest of the vast majority of the American
people, whether they know it or not. But sadly, another consistent
by-product of the many polls is that they mimic the dunce logic of
idiots like Boortz, reflecting an incorrect assumption that the
abortion issue begins and ends with this one nightmarishly flawed
supreme court opinion.
The clock ticks on. How many monolithic pro-choicers will there be when
every woman can observe 4D ultrasound movies of her brand new fetus?
Not a rhetorical question. See for yourself what's coming.
His father turned, and he followed
the stiff black coat, the wiry figure walking a little stiffly from
where a Confederate provost's man's musket ball had taken him in the
heel on a stolen horse thirty years ago, followed the two backs now,
since his older brother had appeared from somewhere in the crowd, no
taller than the father but thicker, chewing tobacco steadily, between
the two lines of grim-faced men and out of the store and across the
worn gallery and down the sagging steps and among the dogs and
half-grown boys in the mild May dust, where as he passed a voice hissed:
Maureen Dowd is still baffled by the fact that life involves tradeoffs,
from which she, apparently, should be an exception:
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and
the author of "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for
Children," a book published in 2002, conducted a survey and found that
55 percent of 35-year-old career women were childless. And among
corporate executives who earn $100,000 or more, she said, 49 percent of
the women did not have children, compared with only 19 percent of the
Hewlett quantified, yet again, that men have an unfair advantage.
"Nowadays," she said, "the rule of thumb seems to be that the more
successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or
bear a child. For men, the reverse is true."
A 2005 report by researchers at four British universities indicated
that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to marry, while it is a plus
for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for
each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop
for each 16-point rise.
Since Maureen is always writing about Maureen,
it's clear that she's hankering for a husband and a child. Instead,
what does she get? Matt Drudge running a caption contest making fun
It's all so unfair. That's why her new book is called "Are Men
Necessary: When Sexes Collide." I suppose her preferred line of attack
is that men aren't necessary,
that the world would be better off if women -- especially smart women
-- were artificially inseminated like dairy cows and free to bring up
their smart female-only progeny in a one-sex society. That way, female
IQs could keep going up while the male population dwindled away to
nothing. But what does this mean in terms of one of Dowd's favorite
Women moving up still strive to marry
up. Men moving up still tend to marry down. The two sexes' going in
opposite directions has led to an epidemic of professional women
missing out on husbands and kids.
In the dairy cow model, women will still be disappointed. There won't
be any smart, powerful men to pursue. There will be millions of female
geniuses, all desperately seeking some nonexistent male to show off to.
The frustration will be immense. And what happens when powerful, brainy
women get frustrated? You work out the answer for yourselves, but it's
a good bet the answer rhymes with schmarmageddon.
Rather than a total reengineering of society, the right way out of this
crisis might be for the smart, powerful men in Washington, DC, to get
together and draw straws. The one who draws the short straw will
arrange to be caught by Maureen Dowd, marry her, and spend the rest of
his life making her feel beautiful, sexy, wanted, and indispensably
brilliant. A tough assignment for somebody, to be sure, but it could
save civilization as we know it. Isn't that worth the sacrifice of
one heroic man? You decide.
A Battle over Principle
Miers stands aside in favor of Alito.
PRECEDENTS. At last
the conservatives can
begin preparing for the fight they've hungered for so desperately. The
Senate Judiciary Committee will be the setting for a titanic
confrontation between the conservative vision of the constitution as
immutable bedrock of America and the liberal vision of the constitution
as a paper towel used to wipe up every mess the little people make on
the floor. It should be memorable. Intellectuals on the right have been
girding for battle since Bork got bonked, and liberals have been
amassing a war chest of personal smears even longer than that. We asked
the God of the Right Wing, George Will, what it's going to take for his
fellow Princeton alum Samuel Alito to prevail against Democrats Leahy,
Kennedy, Schumer, and Biden on the left and Arlen "Bore them to Death"
Specter in the slimy middle. Will was uncharacteristically direct:
Training is going to be the key. This
contest will be more about endurance over multiple rounds than specific
ring tactics. Kennedy in particular can hang in there as long as his
corner maintains a ready supply of scotch, and Specter can keep going
on the constant buzz he gets from the sound of his own voice. So Sam
"The Jersey Giant" Alito is going to have to avoid the temptation to
punch himself out in futile knockout attempts when he scores, as he
will, with devastating clarity and logic. He should take his shots,
sure, but when you're fighting opponents who just don't know when
they've been staggered, you can get into a lot of trouble with
over-pursuit. The bout will probably go the distance, and it may be
decided in the end by a split decision.
Over at the Weekly Standard,
the God of the Neocons, Bill Kristol, showed us the impressive
conservative arsenal that Alito will have at his disposal:
We have to admit that it inspires
confidence... at least until you get a load of the liberal arsenal
they're displaying over at the Democratic caucus:
Principle is a wonderful thing, and
we're sure it's going to be a great moment for American democracy when
the idealists square off in the hearings. Are you looking forward to it
as much as we are?
The Chicago White Sox's first world championship in 88 years was also the lowest-rated World Series ever.
Chicago's four-game sweep of the
Houston Astros averaged an 11.1 national rating with a 19 share on Fox.
That's down about 7 percent from the previous low, an 11.9 with a 20
share for the 2002 World Series between the Anaheim Angels and the San
This year was a drop of almost 30 percent from last year's series, in
which the Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals for their first
title in 86 years. That had a 15.8 rating with a 25 share.
The team's world championship drought was longer than that of the Red
Sox, who rode a public relations tidal wave last year celebrating the
end of the fabled "Curse of the Bambino." That was a good show, and the
Red Sox did perform valiantly in battling back from a 3-0 deficit
against the New York Yankees in the League Championship Series. But why
would the ratings meter plummet to zero for Sox of another color?
If you want to talk curses, Boston's fancied sin of trading away Babe
Ruth is a molehill in comparison to the tragic mountain of atonement
the White Sox have had to survive and surmount. Their curse is no
whimsical trick of hindsight, but a dark reality: their name carries
the blackest stain on the history of baseball, throwing a World Series
for money. After the disgrace of 1919, it took them 40 years to return
to the World Series and another 46 after that to return for a second
time. That's a bleak record indeed. Shouldn't this near century in the
valley of the shadow have mustered some traction in the national
It's possible to find excuses for the lack of interest. Most obviously
the Red Sox legend isn't wholly a creation of imaginative Boston
sportswriters. The Bambino aside, the team's record of 4-3 losses in
the World Series has no rival in baseball. The team has blown up in
clutch situations with a regularity that even a Phillies fan like
myself can only regard with awe. But why this should have somehow
transformed the Red Sox into beloved martyrs rather than dismissible
goats on the national stage is hard to fathom. Couldn't the Irish
sportswriters of Chicago mount even a one-year challenge to the Irish
sportswriters of Boston and charm us into believing that 'Sox' equals
'charisma,' regardless of geography?
Another factor: In contrast to the glamor of the long Red Sox-Yankees
rivalry, Major League Baseball is understandably less interested in
reminding fans of the game's most terrible moment. They'd like to
forget it altogether, so hyping it is unthinkable. But shouldn't the
fans repond to the subversive thrill of digging the unacceptable
plotline out of the dustbin and making it their own?
Finally, the White Sox bear the additional burden of being second in
the hearts of Chicagoans to the even more infamously incompetent Cubs.
Much has been written about why this is, and oddly the Black Sox
scandal doesn't seem to be as overtly important as one might think, but why
it's so isn't as important as the fact that it's so. Here, for example,
is an excerpt from Chicagoan Andrew
Greeley's column on the White Sox victory:
Why the difference between Cubs fans
and Sox fans? As a working hypothesis I attribute the difference to the
fact that the South Side Irish feel culturally inferior, perhaps
because of the endless ridicule they must endure from the patently
cultural superior West Side Irish and the North Side Irish (such as
these latter might be). Or perhaps it is fading memory of the smell
from the Stock Yards.
In fact, the sense of inferiority among the South Side Irish is
understandable because they have much to feel inferior about (Sorry,
Of course, Father Greeley affects a tongue-in-cheek style here,
though he harps on and repeats his main points a few too many times; in
truth, he means what he says. (It's not the first time this
over-praised cleric has shown his mean
streak.) If Chicagoans can't
embrace the White Sox without wrinkling their noses in distaste, how
could the wider baseball audience?
And maybe that's emblematic of the difference between a fairy-tale
curse and a real curse. Perhaps the 1919 Black Sox are a sin that can't
be expiated by a World Series victory, or two, or ten. Maybe they're
destined to roam the stage of major league baseball as a perpetual
phantom, the invisible team that can never incarnate vividly enough to
displace the eight dead men who nearly killed the game for everyone.
2005 WhiteBlack Sox
Well, I know everyone has more important things to think about today.
So go on about your business. Forget the White Sox. That seems to be
the lesson here.
A man with gray hair should never be called Scooter. You're supposed to
leave that crap behind on the playing fields of Groton or Choate or
wherever. That was his first mistake. The second was cooperating with
the investigation of a special prosecutor. As the Martha Stewart case
demonstrated, there is no longer any fifth amendment protection against
self incrimination when the feds are involved. If you refuse to
incriminate yourself, you are indicted for perjury. Never mind that the
crime for which you failed to incriminate yourself was not a crime at
all, which is why, of course, a nonpartisan special prosecutor who has
wasted two years chasing a wisp of political gossip is absolutely
compelled to indict somebody for lying about whatever he said or did
after not committing a crime.
This would all be mildly amusing if it weren't so laughably ludicrous.
Now the libs have what they want (or part of it), and just watch them
salivate and slobber and stammer with indignation about the
vileness of a crime that used to be committed on a daily basis by the
President they revere so much they're determined to put his perjurer
wife in the Oval Office.
We'll stand by what we've already said
about this fictitious outrage: it's not even plausible enough to make a bad TV series
Fitzgerald is nonpartisan. In a pig's eye.
Then again, the defendant's name is Scooter.
Sounds like an impasse to us.