Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Catching Up with InstaPunk

PSAYINGS.5S.9-11. Yes, we haven't been posting as much lately, but have you considered why? It's because so much of the news and newsmakers are superficial, repetitive, and late. An awful lot of screaming headlines are screaming about things InstaPunk already wrote about months or weeks ago. For example, the mass media, including blogs, have been obsessing recently about the prospects for Bush's impeachment by a hostile Democrat congress. Should we weigh in? Well, as one commenter at another blog's discussion of the topic pointed out last week, we already did. Seven months ago.

For another example, Newsweek Magazine is currently trying to wriggle out from under its own history of shilling dire (and wrong) climate change predictions. Here's a quote from the latest issue referencing their unfortunate reportage of an imminent ice age in the 1970s (No, you don't have to read it word for word; it's the usual MSM weaseling):

Even by the time it appeared, a decades-long trend toward slightly cooler temperatures in the Northern hemisphere had already begun to reverse itself—although that wouldn't be apparent in the data for a few years yet—leading to today's widespread consensus among scientists that the real threat is actually human-caused global warming. In fact, as Inhofe pointed out, for more than 100 years journalists have quoted scientists predicting the destruction of civilization by, in alternation, either runaway heat or a new Ice Age. The implication he draws is that if you're not worried about being trampled by a stampede of woolly mammoths through downtown Chicago, you don't have to believe what the media is saying about global warming, either.

But is that the right lesson to draw?  How did NEWSWEEK—or for that matter, Time magazine, which also ran a story on the subject in the mid-1970s—get things so wrong? In fact, the story wasn't "wrong" in the journalistic sense of "inaccurate." Some scientists indeed thought the Earth might be cooling in the 1970s, and some laymen—even one as sophisticated and well-educated as Isaac Asimov—saw potentially dire implications for climate and food production. After all, Ice Ages were common in Earth's history; if anything, the warm "interglacial" period in which human civilization evolved, and still exists, is the exception. The cause of these periodic climatic shifts is still being studied and debated, but many scientists believe they are influenced by small changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun (including its "eccentricity," or the extent to which it deviates from a perfect circle) and the tilt of its rotation.

Newsweek's purpose in falling on the sword in this fashion is, of course, to buttress their contention that they are right this time even if they weren't last time. Should InstaPunk join the fray to point out just how tenuous the "consensus" and all the theorizing underlying it really is? No. We already did. Back in September. And in January. And even all the way back in January 2004 ("The Drexelite Consensus"). Our position has remained consistent. Nobody really knows, and because of that undeniable fact, it's not worth wrecking the global economy with a bunch of misguided authoritarian measures by the world's worst decision makers, scientists.

We could go on. On matters great and small -- from the dangers of worldwide "moderate" Islam to New Jersey politics -- we've said our little say early on and are generally proven correct by later events. So it's our policy to wait patiently for the world to catch up with InstaPunk, which it sometimes does. The exception we make is when people catch up too vociferously with InstaPunk and somehow miss the spirit of humor that infects even our most solemn pronouncements. That's why we want to comment today on the state of the Philadelphia Eagles, which is at least as important as the nuclear firecracker North Korea is clutching to its pigeon chest. Five weeks ago (an eternity in NFL time) we had this to say about the team coached by Andy Reid:

Here's the big picture for the long-suffering, oh-so-patient and oh-so-deluded Eagles fans. The Eagles are a mediocre team, Reid is a loser of a coach, McNabb will NEVER win or even play in another Super Bowl..

We specifically called out the weaknesses that would doom the Eagles' 2006 campaign -- poor time management, lack of discipline, dumb play calling by Andy Reid, and the team's utter inability to play a full 60 minutes of football in any game. We said at the time, "The Philadelphia Eagles ended their 2006 season today in their second game of the year."

We were right about all of it. But as we check in on Sport Talk Radio in Philly, we're concerned about just how anguished the fans are becoming. They shouldn't allow themselves to suffer so. The Eagles have been mediocre for darn near half a century, since they last won an NFL title in 1960, before there was even a Super Bowl. Worse, they have through most of that time been a boring team, consigned to plod from first down to first down to punt while other teams dazzled the crowds with big plays and spectacular individual efforts.

Remember when the "Beagles" wore this helmet? [Snore]

The Eagles of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook are NOT boring. In fact, they are spectacularly exciting. They can score seemingly at will from any part of the field on a single play. No other Eagle team in memory has had this thrilling quality. No matter how maddening they are in their seeming determination to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they are nevertheless more fun to watch than any other team in the NFL today. That's well worth cheering about, and we urge Eagles fans to remember that, even if the team fetches up with a disappointing 8-8 season, because the peaks and valleys of the roller-coaster that gets them there will be higher and steeper than anyone else's.

Even the Dallas Cowboys with Terry Owens and a bona fide quarterback controversy aren't as fascinating to watch as the Eagles in one of their patented meltdowns. Last night's MNF game was a case in point. Terry did her best, making some brilliant receptions and some equally impressive theatrics on the sidelines while her team was figuring out inventive new ways to lose the game for the NFL's most over-praised coach, but compared to the Eagles' Sunday loss to Tampa Bay, it was a snooze.

(No, you can't blame it on the MNF announcing crew. No, you can't. They're a constant. Granted, the plain vanilla hum of the play-by-play guy [Zzzz], the fingernails-on-blackboard logorrhea of Joe Theisman [puke], and the Cosell-in-his-own-mind pretentiousness of the worst color announcer in history, Tony Cornheiser [double-puke], are fully capable of ruining an otherwise excellent football game, but that's not why the Cowboys aren't as riveting as the Eagles. Terry can emote all she wants, but she can't hope to compete with Donovan McNabb's Mona Lisa smile, which retains its mystery throughout all the ups and downs of play.)

So that's why we returned to a subject that was already well handled. We want everyone else in Philadelphia to celebrate along with us the most enjoyable sports entertainment the City of Brotherly Love has ever had, win or lose (barring the 1980 Phillies, of course.)

Okay? Okay.

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