Every now and then I watch the actual broadcast-news shows, just to see what they’re up to. Last night I caught NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. In their story on Augusta admitting women Stina Sternberg of Golf Digest said:
This is a momentous day for the game of golf and sports in general. It’s like the Berlin Wall of discrimination finally coming down in golf.
We could be here all day finding new insights into the absurdity crammed into this soundbite. I have no doubt it is a momentous day for the game of golf. And, I’ll leave it to others to argue how big a deal this is for sports. But the Berlin Wall of discrimination? What the hell?
First of all, the Berlin Wall kept people in, not out (a simple fact countless people still seem not to understand when it comes to, say, the Israeli defense barrier). It kept poor people and rich people alike in (though East Germany’s supply of rich people had a rapid half-life). Was Augusta keeping female golfers locked up in the club pantry?
The Berlin Wall was also a symbol of systematic evil and geopolitical nuclear brinkmanship. Augusta was a symbol of . . . well it was a symbol of various sorts to various people. But in no way was it a symbol of anything like the Berlin Wall save to the very dim or the very ignorant.
The fall of the Berlin Wall represented the end of state-enforced tyranny on a continental scale. The admission of women by Augusta represents a private club acquiescing to public pressure. Maybe they were right to do so in the end. But come on.
In fairness, all Sternberg probably means is that this was the end of an era. The Berlin Wall fell, ending the Cold War and Soviet eras. Augusta admitted very rich and powerful women to its rich and powerful golf club. The parallels are obvious!
I’m going to head into the kitchen now and get another cup of coffee. My cup is empty right now and it’s like the Irish potato famine of coffee drinking.