CSotD: News, Sports and Whether


My old friend, Mrs Carter, could make a pudding, as well as translate Epictetus. — Samuel Johnson

As noted yesterday, liking sports is as optional as liking ballet, but then there are polymaths like Elizabeth Carter whose intellectual curiosity and wide span of interests was testimony to the sexism inherent in the term “Renaissance Man.”

F’rinstance, this woman in Joe Heller’s cartoon has accurately ranked last evening’s entertainment.

The game was excellent, by which I mean I predicted the winner but the Bengals shook the stardust out of their eyes in time to make it an exciting match settled in the last two minutes, a greater margin than in the playoff games but certainly above average for Super Bowls.

Super Bowl commercials, on the other hand, have faded as an art form, perhaps because they once employed expensive cutting-edge technology to dazzle and now that stuff is readily available and used routinely, while celebrity cameos are a cliché that gets more of a smile than an OMG.


Which brings the most intriguing of them down to “WTF is this an ad for?”

If you have some astonishingly hip new fabulous company, you should probably be hip and fabulous enough not to be suckered into paying Super Bowl rates to reach an audience most of whom won’t remember your name, much less use your services.

As for the half-time show, that’s filler while the teams regroup and fans grab some food and use the bathroom, and whether it’s God, Mozart and the Beatles descending from the heavens or a marching band spelling things out on the field doesn’t make a lick of difference.

I know there are people who say the half-time show is the best part, but I remember when people would go to Vegas to see topless women walk around balancing chandeliers on their heads, and my response then had nothing to do with my age or race either.


Put it another way: I saw Dr. John amid his full Day-Glo Gris-Gris extravaganza in 1969, and I saw him again in the ’80s, alone on a bare stage with a piano, and they were both great concerts but I liked the one without all the glitter more.

Maybe that’s just me, but it’s not about race or age.

On the other hand, I’ll give the half-time show extra credit for having made poor Charlie Kirk wet himself. I’m not a big fan of over-produced music and choreography, but I’m a huge fan of the comic derision his incel whining provoked.


Charlie being, of course, one of the leading hypocrites in the Anti-Cancel-Culture-Caucus mocked in this Adam Zyglis cartoon.

Several people cheerfully pointed out that Mary J Blige in cut-outs is being condemned by the people who support a pussy-grabbing President and his naked First Lady, who used to party with Jeffrey Epstein.

Which is, I suppose, only the tit of the iceberg.


By the way, the good people of Athens, Tennessee have provided some pushback against the McMinn School Board’s removal of “Maus” from the curriculum, though the AP report from which the above photo is taken is extremely unclear on the details. Or the facts.

It says a “handful of people” spoke at the meeting, but describes it as “packed,” without explaining if everyone who wanted to say something had the chance, and it repeats the error that Spiegelman’s dead, naked mother is depicted as a mouse, while claiming that the minutes show none of the school board members had read the book.

In fact, the minutes record Board Member Mike Cochran thus:

Not saying that there is not important material, I’ve read it and read through all of it and the parts it talks about his father — the father is the guy that went through the Holocaust — I really enjoyed, I liked it. There were other parts that were completely unnecessary.

I don’t like board members interfering with educators’ choices, but — given that I’ve dealt with hundreds of teachers in hundreds of schools — I’ve seen brilliant, inspired choices and some with which I also disagreed.

I’m similarly against banning books, though I’m not against assessing them for age-appropriateness, if you don’t let Charlie Kirk make the calls.

And if you let Charlie be elected to your school board, that’s on you, not him.

Howsoever and all that said, I’m also very much against sloppy reporting. The difference between bad reporting and deliberate misinformation is like the difference between accidental and intentional poisoning.

It was the saying of Bion, that though the boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest. — Plutarch


Steve Cousineau gets the award for best use of the preposterous news about Trump flushing office paper down — or partially down — White House toilets.

The story was as attractive for ridicule as MTG’s gazpacho blunder, but, unlike that 24-hour giggle, has actual implications for a just accounting of the past four years.

It’s all well-and-good to draw cartoons of Trump on the toilet, but Cousineau goes beyond mockery to show Dear Leader’s toddleresque idiosyncrasy as part of a pattern of what he has done to our nation.


God knows what he flushed and God knows what the archives would do with all those papers anyway, but I have a suspicion that, if Dear Leader had simply turned over all his documents, they’d have ended up in packing crates, sealed from the public for X-number of years and an insurmountable haystack for anyone who needed to sort through them anyway.

However, his combination of failing to conceal his penchant for destroying documents and of bragging and flapping his gums over things he ought to be hiding has, we can hope, left a trail of breadcrumbs even in this catacomb of otherwise trivial memos.

And if you need to feel a little better about the progress of the January 6 committee, I recommend you invest about 40 minutes in Adam Kinzinger’s conversation with Charlie Sykes over at the Bulwark. I’m not a huge fan of podcasts, but this one kept me riveted and left me hopeful that we may eventually sort out this whole mess.


Now, let’s get back to the game!

10 thoughts on “CSotD: News, Sports and Whether

  1. How can someone who’s 28 be so old and crotchety? Can’t The Kids These Days (TM) leave that to us old folks?

  2. Did you mean to say “Charlie Kirk” (not Charlie Sykes) in you reference to school board elections?

  3. Charlie Sykes would make sense, at least to me. Isn’t he the Milwaukee CONSERVATIVE radio broadcaster who promoted Sheriff [sic] David Clarke and other rethuglicans whilst Scott Walker was governor, and destroyed the state of Wisconsin??

  4. Yes Sykes is one in the same. He was a rabid tea party republican until they decided to back Trump for election and then he realized what all of his idiotic propaganda had wrought.

    In December 2016, Sykes wrote an op-ed for The New York Times suggesting that the conservative movement had lost its way during the 2016 campaign, saying “…as we learned this year, _we had succeeded in persuading our audiences to ignore and discount any information from the mainstream media_. Over time, we’d succeeded in delegitimizing the media altogether — all the normal guideposts were down, the referees discredited.”


  5. Of all the things you might expect me to comment on, Michael Pangrazio’s iconic matte painting for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is probably not at the top of the list, but it’s an amazing piece that took him three months to paint on glass. It’s one of the most celebrated matte paintings of all time, and other filmmakers admired Spielberg’s chutzpah at leaving it on the screen for as long as he did (most filmmakers cut away from mattes as quickly as possible, before viewers can notice the brush strokes). The fact that it’s still a visual metaphor that you can trust readers to understand 40 years later is a testament to its greatness. Yay Pangrazio!

    I liked the QR Code ad, and in the moment said “I don’t know what it’s for but I bet millions of people are scanning that right now and crashing the site.” And I was right. 20 million hits in 60 seconds.

  6. While I’ve appreciated some of Sykes’ work at /The Bulwark/ – although not perhaps as much as Mike – I would not trust him on a school board no matter how many of his previous views he might recant.

  7. Trail of bread crumbs?

    Seems more like a series of stepping stones with directional signs in neon.

    The question is whether anyone the DOJ gives a darn.

  8. Gee, the last time uptight white folks got all pissy about scandalous levels of underdress at the Super Bowl halftime show, it also happened to be a black woman. Coincidence, Janet?

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