Friday, June 05, 2009
Why Obama's Muslim
Outreach Will Fail
NSFW: If you want to see the actual football, skip to 24 minutes in.
The warning is not for skin but language. By a female commentator.
PHONY. I can tell you exactly how I got myself into this, but things being what they are, you probably won't believe me. I went to Philly.com looking for the particulars on the Phillies victory over the Dodgers last night, which started at 10 pm in Los Angeles and was thus way too late to watch. In the course of reading about the complete game shutout pitched by Phils ace Cole Hamels, I saw a headline that surprised me: "Talent is a bust at tryouts for new Lingerie Football League."
It was the first I'd heard that Philadelphia was fielding a team for this, um, league, which I thought was largely a promotional fiction that would never get past the press release stage. On the other hand, Philadelphia is also the home of the notorious Wing Bowl, a T&A event that no one in the city seems particularly embarrassed about attending, sponsoring, or taking credit for. So why shouldn't there be a team of full-contact football "models" called the Philadelphia Passion? As the article's title suggests, the double-entendres practically write themselves, and I'll try to refrain from joining in, but I do need to quote from the piece I read:
MARTINA RANDALL was caught in between: Gym shorts off or gym shorts on? A 4-year starter for Cheyney University's basketball team, Randall felt out of place at yesterday's tryout for the Philadelphia entry in the newly formed Lingerie Football League.
And for good reason.
She was overdressed.
Stretch pants under the shorts and a tight T-shirt over her athletic bra might be a little risqué for a workout at Cheyney, but it was a wool coat compared with the low-cut tops, buttocks-taut bottoms and bare bellies surrounding her.
So she pushed the shorts down. Then she pulled them back up. She repeated this a few times, until finally they came off.
"I felt I had to," she said. "To fit in."
Randall was one of nearly 80 women who showed up at the Tri-State Sports Center in Aston to vie for what league founder Mitchell S. Mortaza said was 12 to 14 available slots for the local entry in the league, the Philadelphia Passion. At least two women seemed to have made the team already as a quarterback and a receiver, even though, to the naked eye, there seemed to be at least a dozen athletes there - Randall was one - capable of running, catching and throwing better than either.
Ah, but there's the rub, if you'll excuse the expression.
The lingerie league does not put a premium on those skills.
The writer, Sam Donnellon was, in a word, unimpressed. Looks are obviously more important to the scouts than premier athletic ability, and the sad note is that there were realperhaps better athletes in attendance who were summarily turned away:
[T]o the naked eye, it looked a little rigged. During a drill to evaluate pass coverage abilities, for example, passes were repeatedly thrown waywardly into the hands of the most attractive and well-asseted defenders. Amanda Walsh, a healthy-sized 26-year-old project manager from Manayunk who plays football in a recreational league, was dismissed after she wrapped her hands around the male receiver following a catch.
"If this was real football," she said, choking back tears, "I would have slammed him into the ground."
Ah, but it's not real football, despite Mortaza's occasional references to a league of "aggression" and "intensity"...
And, no, I'm not making this stuff up.
I wish I was. Wing Bowl, the popularity of women's beach volleyball, the strip-club garb of NFL and NBA cheerleaders - all this has come in the same era in which we seriously considered a woman for president, an era that has seen huge gains for women as people and athletes.
Is it just me, or is Mr. Donnellon beginning to sound like he's protesting too much? Required political correctness aside, what do women's volleyball togs and NFL cheerleader costumes have to do with Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency, except as a reminder that women have an enormous range of choices open to them in this country? They account for well over half the students enrolled in our universities, they have a continuing choice between being stay-at-home moms or career professionals in law, medicine, business, media, government, and, yes, sports, and there's never been much sign that they're shy -- collectively at least -- about taking full advantage of their looks in pursuing either ambition. Danica Patrick came in third in this year's Indy 500, but she's also apparently quite happy to pose for cheesecake photo layouts. She's free to do so.
Danica Patrick, professional race car driver.
And, as Obama appeared to be taking credit for in his Cairo speech yesterday, they have the choice to wear headscarves and even hijabs if that's what their religious beliefs persuade them to do. What Obama didn't mention is that our women also have the choice, as Donnellon put it, "to wear skimpy lacy underwear while they tackle other babes in skimpy lacy underwear."
I watched the YouTube video featured above. There's cringeworthy stuff in it, provided mostly by "color" announcer Jenny McCarthy, who couldn't be happier with all the permutations of female exhibitionism involved in the game. But something that shouldn't go unnoticed is that she has sisters who play in the league and she's a rabid partisan. That is, in archetypal American style, she wants her LA team to win. (I was going to say "kick butt" then thought better of it. Forgive me.) When you actually get to the football part, it is -- amazingly enough -- played hard. They do block and tackle and fight for extra yardage, and if it's all just a phony show, they're hiding it pretty damn well -- better, I'd say, than professional wrestlers do. I'm inclined to think these are football teams. (Watch the strut of the LA team's star as she gets off the bus at 2:55 min in of the video. That's a jock strut, not a siren prance.)
I don't mean to overdo it. There's no way they could compete with a team composed of the best football players of their sex . But that's true of every men's football team that doesn't play in the NFL. You couldn't even imagine what would happen to the NCAA Champion Florida Gators if they played the 0-16 Detroit Lions. It would be ugly, brutal, and final. What matters is that given the selection criteria, these women are competing to the best of their ability, and that's a bigger part of the draw for the male audience than all the easy jokes would indicate. Men like women who are fighters, determined, tough, and disciplined. It doesn't hurt that they're pleasing to look at in skimpy costumes, but the real sexiness of the event is the chance at even a brief identification across gender lines. Watching them play, and get knocked on their ass, and get up, and keep on going creates a momentary bond that crosses the man-woman divide: these babes know what it's like for us, and by golly they're giving a reasonably good account of themselves. We can respect that. She's got some stones. And, yes, it's arousing that she's doing it in a costume that shows off her femaleness. So sue everybody involved. Unless you've got the sense God gave you. Consenting adults, anyone?
There's no doubt that it's an uneasy blend of show business and sport. But what isn't in today's voracious media circus? If you want so-called pure women's sport, there's the WNBA, the LPGA, women's softball, and a ton of women's collegiate and Olympic events. But men's professional sports are far less pure, if purity is really your ideal. Show business is as much a component of American blood as sport itself. Where does show biz end and sport begin with Terrell Owens, Ocho Cinqo, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, A-Rod, Oscar de la Hoya, Shaq, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Tiger Woods? We'd all like to think the dividing line is the moment they step on the field of play. Is it? And who's to say it isn't the same for the Lingerie League?
All these are open questions. We can fret and stew and cluck and criticize and condemn, but here's the one thing I know about the Lingerie League. I'm glad it can exist, or at least try to exist. Because even as a self-developing possibility, it puts the lie to the crap Obama was spouting in Egypt yesterday. It's the proof that all his fancy words can't talk away the vast gulf that separates America from seventh century muslim barbarism. For most muslim women, wearing a headscarf or a hijab isn't a choice at all, unless you count the alternative of stoning or honor killing as an equivalent option. What it is is slavery. Obama can lie to his mideast audience by more than tripling the real number of muslims in the United States. He can pretend that there's something remotely similar about the competitive challenges women face in America to the oppressive imprisonment women are sentenced to in fundamentalist muslim nations:
I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world. [boldface mine]
But there is no phrase so expansive on his teleprompter that it can conceal the rampaging freedom of American women to express themselves as they will and pursue their dreams in whatever form they conceive them, be it president of the United States or the drop-dead gorgeous quarterback of the Los Angeles Temptations.
That's right. The muslim barbarians will never stop being our mortal enemy. At least not until the New Victorians of politically correct feminism succeed in shutting our women behind a veil of authoritarian asexuality. I don't think even Obama has that in mind. Which means every play from scrimmage that can be run by the Lingerie Football League is a few yards gained in the war against sharia and the New Middle Ages.
By golly, I talked myself into it. Go, Philadelphia Passion. Maybe we'll see you at next year's Wing Bowl.