by John Walters
Disperse Thy Neighbor*
*The judges will also accept “Bible Beltway”
Via my friend Andre (with a few editorial touches):
“Many people are saying this is a good book. I call it a great book, they call it a good book. But I call it great, maybe the greatest book ever. It’s the story of Jesus, but he wasn’t Mexican. He did a lot of great things for our country. A real patriot. I’ve read the book. Maybe not all of it, but probably more than anyone else has ever read.”
How many times during this presidency have you thought to yourself, I can’t even? And then it happens again. On the first day of June the president has his peeps tear gas and rubber-bullet a crowd peacefully assembling across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park so that he can stroll through the park and take this photo-op.
This right after he told America’s governors that they need to dominate protesters and threatened to turn the U.S. military on them (but who will be left to guard THE WALL???).
What a putz. Of course it’s all a part of the President’s and Jared’s and Stephen’s new program, or is that pogrom (in their case, what’s the difference), which we shall lovingly refer to as…
White, Hate American Summer!
Ah, yes. The temperatures are rising, the tempers are rising, millions more out of work than usual (why don’t they just watch CNBC and pivot to stay-at-home stocks?) and, oh yeah, the NBA Finals should be commencing right about now.
Can’t start a fire/Can’t start a fire without a spark/This gun’s for hire/Even if we’re just gassin’ em in the park…
It’s going to get uglier. We all know this, right? Even Richard Nixon felt bad about Kent State.
Writing in Sports Illustrated in 1962, the brilliant Robert H. Boyle cited another brilliant (albeit cynical, but we like it) mind in that of Albert Parry. Seems that Parry, writing in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, thought that sport might have a more sinister purpose than simply entertaining us.
“The wide interest of Anglo-Saxon masses in horse racing, football, baseball and similar sports tends to allay social unrest and lessens the possibility of political uprisings” Parry wrote, likely long before African-Americans were thought to matter in American life. He added that sports are a tool with which “the masses are to be kept in check, awed or distracted.”
Damn straight, A.P.
While we completely endorse what protesters, non-looting protesters, are doing nationwide, and while it is axiomatic that you need not be black to stand with the protesters, we do wonder if these demonstrations would be as widespread if baseball season were in full swing. And if LeBron and the Lakers were squaring off versus Giannis and the Bucks in the NBA Finals this week. Because that’s what shoulda been happening.
You wanna see large masses of humans gathering at night in early June of 2019? Go visit the outside of the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Just wondering what role the sports vacuum is playing in what’s happening right now.
By the way, today is the 31st anniversary of the Tianenmen Square uprising in Beijing. I wonder how that turned out.
Rock ‘n Roll Circus
You know how you know you’re a good band in 1969? John Lennon is in the crowd cheering. Here are the Rolling Stones in their lip-swagger Mick Jagger prime performing “Sympathy For The Devil.” Today is Charlie Watts’ 79th birthday, by the way.
The story behind this gig, which was filmed on December 11, 1968 but not released until 1996, is pretty fab. Mick and Pete Townshend envisioned an intimate festival of supergroups that would include the Stones, The Who, Jethro Tull and John Lennon. Led Zeppelin was considered, but were dropped (they weren’t yet Led Zep in ’68).
Anyway, the film was never released (at least not for 18 years). Some say the Stones were not thrilled with their performance, as they were exhausted (and high as kites). Others say The Who completely upstaged them, which got Mick to thinking the film shouldn’t be released. Maybe both.
Brian Jones would drown 7 months later.
Sports Year 1902
For the first time in recorded history, the year starts off right: with the Rose Bowl, making its debut on January 1. The otherwise sublime event was ruined by the Michigan Skunkbears trouncing the Stanford Indians 49-0.
Michigan finished 11-0 and won the national championship. Stanford literally quit after the third quarter (not surprised). So awful was the taste in everyone’s mouths that it would be another 13 years before the game was staged again.
On April 5, in a soccer match between England and Scotland in Glasgow’s Ibrox Park, an upper scaffold holding fans collapses. Dozens of people fall dozens of feet onto the cement ground beneath.
Two people die at the scene and 23 more will die from injuries sustained. After a brief respite, officials decide to continue the match in front of the 68,000 fans, fearing a cancellation will lead to more hysteria and death. Sadly, they were probably correct.
Twenty-five people die. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Sixty-nine years later, in 1971, this same park (now Stadium) will be the site of a crowd crush that kills 66, the worst soccer death toll until Hillsborough in 1989.