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To kingdom come

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  July 8, 2010 03:44 PM

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Somebody's going to have to tell me about what, precisely, I am supposed to be outraged when tonight's corporate branding extravaganza explodes across my television screen and we all learn where LeBron James will be playing his basketball next year. The past few days have been such a festival of faux-trage, it's hard to keep all the completely phony controversies straight.

 Am I supposed to be offended by the marriage between corporate America and professional sports?

The longer marriage between corporate American media and professional sports?

Or the even longer marriage between unreasoning hype and American sports?

I decline to be offended by any of this because, frankly, I know enough to come in out of the rain and do not play with my toes in the oatmeal. These are horses that have been out of the barn, over the hills, far away, and halfway to Ulaanbaatar since about 1967. Where y'all been?Really, folks, we're all just haggling about the price here.

Has it occurred to those folks who gin up the rubes on the radio that, without these three eminently successful marriages, there would be even less point to their jobs than there is already? And that we might also still have music on the AM dial, too? Getting called "self-important" by the assembled stars of talk-radio is like getting called a drunk by the entire infield at Daytona.

(And, not for nothing, but I'd like to point out to the seal act I was listening to on Wednesday that, for all the godawfully clumsy complicity of ESPN in this whole affair, a lot of the people on the WWL's news shows -- the great Wright Thompson, to name only one honorable soul -- do more journalism before breakfast than the two of you do in a year. Pass it on.)

(Also, bad for the league? In what sense is this possibly bad for the league? The biggest sports story in the middle of July involves a league that doesn't even start playing until October, and that's bad? Bad for the league's image? You can buy a new image. Believe me, if enough people really cared about the NHL, Gary Bettman would sell his children to the Somali pirates for an event like this.)

Americans, fascinated by a vulgar corporate sports spectacle? Glorioski, how will I ever watch the Super Bowl again?

Can't we all just accept this for the absurdist spectacle that it is? That business about ESPN Magazine's having learned from "independent sources" about what was going to happen on ESPN? That was tremendous. This is going to be the best comedy on television this week.

Also, I think he's going to sign with Milwaukee, but that's just me.


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