Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sociologist Major

A Fox World Series commentator reported that a player was enrolled at some university: as "a sociologist ... major." He studies sociologists? Bravo. How come I haven’t heard more about this needed discipline? And where are the doctor majors, the lawyer majors, the anthropologist majors?

As I hope my ellipsis suggests, the jock pro paused between "sociologist" and "major." Clearly he had confused himself between saying "sociology major" and "sociologist," finally making an awkward linguistic half breed (Hanna Storm, Bob Costas, the guy was not): and pk likes to pretend to misunderstand everyone by taking them literally. There’s humor there: a little.

Actually I blog the guy’s gaff for serious reasons: 1) to mourn Fox’s relatively inept entry into big time sports-casting; and 2) to inform the young that sports-casting today is far less intellectually embarrassing than formerly: and I think it’s TV that’s made the difference. Since radio, there have always been announcers for sporting events whose mouth could keep pace with Seabiscuit. But they were a minority. Interviews with sports heroes were mercifully brief: "How’s it feel to be champ?" "Uh, duh, great." His fists are fast, his arm, his back ... are strong: what? we want him to be able to talk too? Well, today they can. Not just the quarterback, but the tail back ... and the point guard ... all sound like they’ve been coached for careers that will straddle Hollywood and Madison Avenue as well as put their ring or gridiron in a less benighted light.
I remember Jim Courier attempting a few words in French after winning at Roland Garros in Paris: an American assaying a second language? We expect English from Russians, the French, Ethiopians; we do not expect a two-way street.

While here I’ll say that while I favor participation in physical activity over getting fat on hotdogs in the bleachers, I do enjoy much off the standard fare of spectator sports. Nowhere else does the desperation show so clearly as we costume ourselves in a level playing field. Once we marvelled that there was a place where Pollacks and Hunkies could distinguish themselves. Good God! then there’s niggers? Then Central Americans like baby alligators: up to your ass. Then Japs!?!? Chinks!?!?
Equal opportunity is even funnier on the playing field than it is in the work place.
Today I’ll supply only one example: from my beloved golf. (If Tiger won EVERY tournament, it would be fine with me.) (For a while.) Once upon a time Babe Didrikson played in a men’s event. Last year the phenomenal Annika Sorenstam teed off the first couple of days with the boys, then a spatter of others. This year that long tall drink of beauty, Michelle Wie, has declared her ambition to be the first woman to play in the Masters. ...
Alright, alright. NOW: [Reuters]Jean Van de Velde, famous for losing a British Open, says he wants to play in the women’s equivalent at Royal Birkdale next year.
The Frenchman, who let slip the 1999 championship at Carnoustie by running up a triple-bogey seven at the 72nd hole, is unhappy at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s (R & A) recent decision to allow women to qualify for the British Open.
"It’s crazy that women should be allowed to try to qualify for our Open when men cannot do it for their Open," Van de Velde told reporters after struggling to a seven-over-par 78 in the first round of the Volvo Masters on Thursday.
"I intend to make a stance. What kind of discrimination is this?"
Solution: Have a men’s open: open to men; and a women’s open: open to women: and an Open Open: open to any golfer who qualifies: even if it’s an orangutan.

Minorities can (justly) pooh-pooh the Baseball Hall of Fame: Sure some of them were good; but it was only open to white guys.
An Open Open might encourage women to dismiss the Masters: Sure Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples, Tiger Woods ... but they were afraid to let the girls compete: put them in worse than swaddling cloths from the cradle.

PS Speaking of public illiteracies, hebetudes, I’ll mention another that’s been annoying me for some time, iterating today: at "Born Today" [a regular feature]: "Friday, 28 October 2005: Julia Roberts (38)"
I believe that she’s thirty-eight; but then how can she have been "born today"? If she was only born today, how come we’ve heard of her? How come her performance list is so long? How can she be so mature, so beautiful. Infants may move us, but their beauty is of an entirely different sort.
Of course they mean that today is her birthday: she was born "today: 38 years ago." Why can’t they say what they mean?

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