So Rush is gone. No football fan that I know will miss him. None tuned in to learn what he had to say about the “issues,” in pro-football. It was just a television deal meant to hype ratings or get some buzz or one of those things. They wanted controversy and they got it–phony as it was. If they had wanted less-incendiary commentary, they could have hired David Gergen to preach pabulum on the question of instant replay. I’m sure he was available and on some producer’s speed dial. Or call the Kennedy School; they’ll page him.
If the television guys are still married to the idea of bringing in some civilian to say things to get people all lathered up and self-righteously angry, then maybe they should make it a rotating job. This week, they could bring on Paul Begala to say some ugly things about the owners and how George Bush gave them a tax break but not the guys who pay for the cheap seats. Then, they could get Paul Krugman to shriek about stadium deals. There has got to be a feminist on standby somewhere who could give good indignation about the way the babes on the sidelines are underdressed and underpaid (some of them, I believe, are not paid at all) and treated–all together, now–as sex objects. The duty scold from the ACLU would certainly be willing to say a few thousand words about these unconstitutional prayer meetings after the game. Undoubtedly some professional Native American would take a little time off from counting the till down at the casino to come on and lament the degrading name of the Washington team. (I, for one, always thought they should be called the “Senior Officials” or “Unnamed Sources.”) We don’t see any players out there in wheelchairs so how about a mouthpiece for the disabled? And so on and so forth.
Sunday, according the old and long-discredited rules known as the Ten Commandments, is supposed to be a day of rest. Fat chance that we will ever again spend it going to church, praying with our families, and pondering the awesome glory of God. Still, is it too much to ask that we turn off the empty, nonstop, manufacturing of grievance and outrage just long enough to enjoy a little football before we pick up our burdens again on Monday morning, turn on the television, and find ourselves listening to Katie Couric talking to Tom (“it’s just unfortunate”) Daschle about how sad he finds it all. I mean, just give it a rest.
And if you have not had your fill of humorless preening from the outrage corps when you wake up Sunday morning and decide, again, to skip church, then you are free to choose from among Tim, George, Tony, Wolf, and a bunch of others (to include The McLaughlin Group, where they specialize in shrieking at each other like a bunch of old-women at a tent sale). During the commercials, you could read Dowd in the Times. Sunday afternoon should be sacred. This is where we get to see men settle their differences straight up and wish that we, too, could do it that way. With a forearm shiver to the side of our enemy’s head. There is a purity in that. Or there used to be, anyway.
Rush should have stuck to radio.
–Geoffrey Norman writes on sports for NRO and other publications.