Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Such a serious young man


Michael Leon is disappointed with the girls from Rutgers. Given their moment in the spotlight, they passed up – nay, squandered – an opportunity to say something “meaningful,” some ideological gesture to the revolution of some kind. Leon complains,

Don Imus’ imbecilic rant about the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team does not merit comment.

The spectacle of the ahistorical, depoliticized and self-absorbed reaction of the team members certainly does.

In the annals of American athletes’ contribution to social justice, Ali, Russell, Brown, B.J. King and Smith and Carlos at the ’68 Olympics are in no danger of being upstaged.

When the Rutgers team bellied up to the mic to state their hurt feelings over the rambling of a talk-show host, the corporate media went happily along for the ride—devoting hours of “breaking” news and lead stories, while other matters, just arguably, were of more moment[.][sic]

Leon suggests they should have talked about the “erosion of civil liberties,” the war in Iraq or “Institutional Racism” during the brief attention given to them by the media.

As for your team, your NCAA title hopes, and your hurt feelings…well, try this: Get politicized, study history, get organized, get militant, and get off your anti-intellectual, collective duff.

Absent matters of substance, shooting buckets and narcissistic whining (though in vogue) are inane diversions to the genuine danger and obscene horror going on in all of our names.

I suspect that Leon’s Pursuit of the More Serious may be a full-time occupation, and that he does not spare much time for frivolity.

Leon must be a blast to hang around with. “How can you even think of drinking that beer when the corn used in the production could’ve been used for ethanol, reducing our dependence on foreign oil?” He certainly would make an interesting judge on American Idol, “How can you sing a happy song while America is bombing women and children?”

I offer fair warning to the ladies of Madison that Leon might not exactly be the most compelling dinner companion, “You’re not seriously going to order the fish are you while multi-national corporations are plundering the world’s oceans destroying entire ecosystems just so you can have the flounder?”

I can’t help but pity him and think of Anthony Hecht’s response to Matthew Arnold,

Well now, I knew this girl. It’s true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
the notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As sort of a mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
and finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn’t judge her by that.

I suspect the girls of Rutgers might have one or two unprintable things to say to Leon as well.

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