Thursday, May 29, 2008

Five small comments

I've got nothing big to say, I'm feeling a little played out right now. Perhaps I'm in something of a "blogpression," but I just haven't been really into this for several days. So today I'm going to kick back, link to a couple of good posts, make some negative comments on some other things, and regroup.

1) Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast expresses my sentiments about the Scott McClellan revelations precisely in Scott McClellan's Lee Atwater Moment. I don't know that we'll ever quite understand the trance of those around 43, the man- and girl-crushes that blinded rational people to his willingness to sell out the ideals of the nation he purports to love, but Jill at least describes where we are.

2) Dunkin' Donuts has stopped running an on-line ad because of complaints that ever-perky Rachael Ray was wearing a Muslim-esque scarf. Apparently the perennially-addled Michelle Malkin led the charge, believing that Ray was wearing a kaffiyeh, and so might be confused with Yasser Arafat or other jihadists. Are people insane?

3) Northwestern University graduates, showing a keen appreciation for the realities of the world they're about to enter, are unhappy that their commencement speaker is Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago. I'm not a big fan of Daley, as I believe that his administration's corruption is not, as he chooses to present it, totally disconnected from him. Added to his imperiousness, his behavior is not all that laudable.

But that's not why students are unhappy. They want more of a "name," an Obama, a McCain, or even someone with the wit and insight of last year's speaker, one-note sitcom actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. One telling comment: "NU made a mistake and shafted the seniors on the 150th commencement," Weinberg senior Rachel Gandell said. "I expected a lot more." That's right, Rachel, you're entitled to someone way cooler, and you've been cheated.

4) Speaking of Northwestern, their women's lacrosse team won its fourth consecutive NCAA title this past weekend. It's an accomplishment, to be sure, but a fairly minor one given the fringe status of lacrosse in this country. To watch local media, though, you would have thought it a truly big story; every station and newspaper had reporters and camera crews out to welcome the team back to Evanston. And it's good they did, because, if the media hadn't been there, apparently the team would have been alone. The videotape showed almost nothing resembling a crowd other than "journalists." It didn't seem the campus was exactly galvanized with excitement. Why should we be?

5) Sports coverage hasn't exactly covered itself with glory in motor sports, either. Sports Illustrated, which has taken to running frequent book excerpts in lieu of feature stories, has decided that Danica Patrick, cover girl and swimsuit model, is the main focus in every possible open-wheel racing story. In the current issue, the winner of the Indy 500, Scott Dixon, gets a postage stamp-sized photo, barely visible under the two half-page spread of a mad little Danica preparing to confront the driver she believes knocked her out of the race (the on-line story has no photo of Dixon at all).

I understand that Patrick offers some icy glamor to a sport desperately scrabbling for attention, but she really doesn't have to be the focus of every story. If Indy car racing is in such trouble that they have only one celebrity, one with only one career victory, then it's time to pull the plug. No sport can be healthy that relies on one thread for interest, and I include horse racing there.

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