Thursday, November 24, 2005

Holiday Roundup: Katie Couric, Scooby-Doo, and Carlos Delgado

Thanksgiving morning . . . slicing apples for pie while Mary-Jo wrestles with the turkey and NBC's coverage of the Macy's parade plays in the background. Nothing puts you in a holiday mood like hearing Katie Couric say, "Look, Matt Lauer! Here's everybody's favorite canine sleuth, Scooby-Doo! Furnished by Warner Brothers Consumer Products!"

Karl (squeezing lemon juice over the apple slices): God, these news people must want to retch when they read that stuff.

Mary-Jo: I doubt it. When you're getting paid millions, you probably think it's brilliant.

Fed up, she switches off the TV and puts NPR on the radio. Brian Lehrer is at The New School interviewing somebody about immigration issues: "So tell me, do you encounter the same problems in your work with the Ecuadoran community?" Ahh, real journalism. Brian would probably commit hara-kiri sooner than accept Matt Lauer's salary to play the foil to perky Katie Couric every morning. (Don't count on me doing the same, however. I'd be happy to prostitute myself for a sugar daddy like The Today Show. If only I had the dimples . . .)

As a Mets fan, I have something special to be grateful for today: Carlos Delgado, who has hit thirty or more home runs nine years in a row and will be swinging for the fences in Flushing next season. The only downside will be having to listen to angry callers on WFAN complaining about the fact that Delgado refused to stand for the seventh-inning rendition of "God Bless America" in protest over the use of Vieques Island as a bombing range (he's a native of Puerto Rico). Get a life, guys. We already have to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the start of games--don't ask me to explain, I can't imagine why playing baseball should be considered a patriotic exercise. Adding another loyalty test two-thirds of the way through the game seems needless. Exactly how much is enough? Would the hyper-patriots who hate Delgado be willing to stand for a patriotic song at the beginning of every inning? What about having to kneel in prayer facing Washington, D.C., five times a day? Where exactly would they draw the line?

Here's an alternative approach: Suppose we just stipulate that everyone is a good American until they do something to prove otherwise, and drop the constant demonstrations of loyalty.

Oh, well--the guys frothing at the mouth about Delgado's "bad attitude" will probably change their tune if he helps lead the Mets to a World Championship. I'm old enough to remember when about one third of the country would have been happy to string Muhammad Ali up from the nearest tree (Draft Dodger! Black Muslim! Uppity Nigger!). Today he's universally loved, a kind of national teddy bear now commemorated in his own museum down in Louisville. One of these days he'll be a balloon in the Macy's parade: "Say, Matt! It's Muhammad Ali, America's favorite poet-pugilist, eighty-two feet of bobbing and weaving fun! A service mark of Muhammad Ali Productions, all rights reserved!"

Time to roll out the pie crust. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

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