by John Walters
I’m curious. I woke up this morning to woke calls for the removal of the Jefferson Memorial in a NYT op-ed, the reasoning being that “the man who wrote ‘All men are created equal’ certainly did not practice that ideal in regards to slavery.”
I’m a little curious here. What if some future generation hive minds it that those who killed unborn fetuses truly did no respect human life? Or that those who ate steak and pork and chicken participated in the mass slaughter and forced slavery of entire species of sentient beings? Am I EQUATING cows to black men and women? No. I’m comparing the offenses by those in power against those without.
Now, before you come at me with at “STEAK AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” campaign, I’ll say this, as a self-described (but maybe not self-aware?) moderate: I understand the desire to remove monuments or flags that literally promote slavery or the bondage of black people or the people who fought to do so or to continue that ethos through dog-whistling out loud (i.e., the Confederate flag). I stop when you condemn every person of that age whose sin was not putting a stop to slavery.
Some day they may say the same about those who did not put a stop to abortions. Or to slaughterhouses. Or to driving carbon-emissions vehicles.
If you want to erase Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, then throw out the Constitution, too. Throw out American independence. Let’s go back to being the vassals of the British empire. It’s not an a la carte menu, folks.
Up, Up And Away
Inconceivable! (You keep using that word. It does not mean what you think it means)
Alright, then, how about Incredible? Or Astonishing? The U.S. possibly set a record for most dead Americans in a three-month span April to June (I don’t know this for a fact but how could it be wrong, as the population has never been this great; maybe during the Civil War?) and yet the stock market had its best quarter in three decades… after, granted, a precipitous decline in March.
But here we are in July, with new coronavirus cases daily setting records and yet the market continues to defy gravity. In just the past month…
Tesla (TSLA): From $940 to $1,328 (up $119 this morning)
Amazon (AMZN): From $2,529 to $3,025.
Zoom (ZM): From $209 to $266
Plug Power (PLUG): From $5.10 to $10.23, more than 100%
Is crazy, no?
What goes up must come down is our first Rule of MH and also a tried rule of investing. Right now, though, the market is snorting cocaine like Johnny Depp early in the second hour of Blow. Craziness.
We finally, after years of different folks recommending it to us, got around to reading The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinnis (who passed in 2014). You should read it before we discuss but my initial thoughts, now that I’m finished, is, “The balls on that guy.” (However you say this in Italian).
And I don’t mean that as a compliment.
McGinnis, who was already a well-established (read: well-off) writer by the time he traveled to the tiny Italian mountain village in 1996 at the age of 53, comes off as the quintessential Ugly American. He’s a recently converted soccer zealot, having only discovered the game three or four years earlier, but he acts as if he knows as much as anyone in Italy about calcio (what it’s called there). McGinnis literally approaches the head coach, with whom he claims to have a good relationship, on game days making his own suggestions for who should start and what the formation should be.
I spent a year around Geno Auriemma and a Connecticut Huskies roster that would ultimately have FIVE first-team All-Americans on its roster. Five. And here’s what I knew, even 20 years younger than McGinnis: Observe and keep your trap shut. You’re a guest.
McGinniss’ audacity makes for some entertaining moments, particularly when dealing with the club’s owner, the local godfather of some notoriety. But through the course of the book he comes off as the typical Irish-Amercan Boston area know-it-all scribe, a little too loud and obnoxious (if only such a writer had emerged during the internet era in sports) for his own good.
The players, to a man, were incredibly gracious and welcoming to him. The entire town was, in fact. Then he burned every bridge he had built (you’ll have to read). As the team’s wisest player, and the one who stuck with him to the end, advised him, “There is a time for the soft voice. There is a time for no voice at all.”
Words of advice I’m sure all of us wish we had heeded in the past.
The book is considered a minor sports classic. And I can understand. But, reading between the lines throughout, I got the feeling that McGinniss attached an outsized importance to himself throughout his stay in the Abruzzo. Locals noticed. When a president not entirely unlike him was elected 20 years later, they must have nodded their heads.