It was just a year or two ago when some scholar , or publisher, or do-gooder, decided it would be a good idea to reprint Samuel Clemens’ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in an edited, updated version that would have every use of the word “nigger”, several hundred in total, replaced with the word “slave”. The stated intent was to sanitize the book so that it could get a replay throughout the schools and libraries of America, since it was such a valuable, artistic and genuinely American classic. For most thinking people, “genuine” rhymes with “truth”, but for now just make that a background theme for our discussion today.
I used to be something of a sports afficionado. Not a rabid , one-track-minded “fanatic.” But I enjoyed the beauty of sport, the competition. Played some of them as a youth. As a native Hoosier, basketball was always near and dear. Some of you familiar with the sport as it relates to Hoosiers might recall a couple of happenings in Indiana and might recognize why I’m not so interested in basketball, or any other sport really, as I once was. One was the introduction of “classes” of competition in high school sports, where the concept of a ‘State Champion’ was diluted from the previous ‘winner-take-all’ format to one of ‘giving everybody a trophy’.
The other occurrence was the humiliation, ostracizing and eventual ouster of one Robert Montgomery Knight, head basketball coach at Indiana University, a complementary effort by media and academia to use political correctness and New Age values to demonize the coach. ‘Nuff said on that, but put ‘media’ and ‘academia’ in the mix when we talk about ‘truth’, and consequences, today.
The second thing to catch my attention in the news this morning and cause me to shake my head in sadness (the first being the demise of the conservative bulldog and fighter for truth, Andrew Breitbart, R.I.P.) was the story about the Houston Astros baseball team acquiescing to Major League Baseball’s demand that they alter their “retro” uniforms they were going to wear for a couple of games as a salute to the original franchise namesake, the Colt .45’s. Guess what the MLB demanded the Astros omit from the retro uniform?
That’s right. The gun. “Wow, Dad! You mean the Astros mascot back in the day was a cute little baby horsey?”
Lot of sports analogies come to mind. They’re so glaring and public. Rush Limbaugh being kicked off ESPN because he dared criticize a black quarterback, and later denied the opportunity to pour tens of millions of dollars as a franchise owner into the game he loves so passionately. The Washington Bullets being forced to change their name. Have the Braves and the Indians bowed to pressure yet? See, that’s how out of touch I am with sports these days. Who can forget NASCAR’s decision to renounce Winston as the historic sponsor of it’s ‘Cup’ series and go with Nextel, or Sprint, or Google, or something. When the sports writers go into the history of the sport and the records of the drivers, they don’t even use the word ‘Winston’ anymore. It’s taboo. They just say “So-and-so won six or seven ‘Cups’. If the sponsor had just been Trojans or something similar, there would have been no problem. Not sure if a can of malt liquor would have met the PC test in place of the hated ‘gun’ on the .45’s uniform, but anyway.
From literature, to sports to, what else might we consider today? Education? Sure, we could talk about the ‘diversity’ programs and the multicultural and environmental awareness curriculums. The fact that Johnny can’t read because Johnny isn’t being taught to read but to be politically correct. We could also bring sports back into it here and remind ourselves that after Indiana University President Myles Brand, the hero of the ‘dump Bobby Knight’ movement, which resulted in the near total collapse of the IU athletic program, went on to more fame as the head of the NCAA, his stellar accomplishment there was to spearhead a campaign to get colleges and universities to renounce their mascots and teamnames if they related in anyway to Native American Indian tribes. Johnny still can’t read.
The arts? We don’t want to go too far down that road, because some of those readers who still consider themselves ‘religious’ might get their bowels in an uproar over such things as the NEA and some of the ‘national’ and ‘metropolitan’ galleries’ sponsorship of showings of the ‘feces on the Madonna’ or the ‘crucifix submerged in urine’ – efforts by the heroic artistes who have license to offend (but not by depicting guns, we presume.) And yet, and yet, o ye faithful out there who of late (the last two generations) have found it , shall we say ‘acceptable’ to ‘accept’ various and sundry perversions and anti-authoritarian behaviors so as to melt your churches into pasteurized places to discuss the weather, and to embrace ….. diverse….lifestyles, well, a question: Are you rolling in the deep tithes these days?
At the risk of appearing rambling, disjointed, etc. (see ‘About the Author’) let me return to Education for one short second. You are of course familiar with the trend over the past several decades for ‘educators’ to insinuate themselves into the decision-making process as far as child-rearing, what things kids need to hear and be shown and indoctrinated in school and after school, at earlier and earlier ages and for longer and longer school days and school years. And of course some people are finally noticing that Johnny still can’t read, and so now these educators are beginning to whine and cry that it’s not their fault, that parents haven’t been doing their jobs, haven’t been “involved” in their children’s education. Do tell.
Putting a wrap on our coverage of denial and diluting ourselves into irrelevancy, we’ll just finish by saying we’re pretty sure that baseball isn’t the national pastime anymore. No, it’s not the uniform thing. That was just a recent, useful allegory. Are the Braves still allowed to have the tomahawk on their uniforms? It’s just, what are people thinking these days? Oh, and one more thing: Rumor has it that what with all the fines, penalties, lawsuits and threats of criminal prosecution, it’s getting harder and harder to recruit the hard- hitting specialists that once were the pride and joy of many an NFL team. Let us never more let the names Dick Butkus or Jack Lambert cross our lips. They were vicious villains, like …..Injun Joe.
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