The Hollow Mockery: Week 8

By Frederick Wilhelm
November 02, 2011 6:42 am
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My peaceful Monday morning bus ride was interrupted by a lot of ugly noise over questions of generational apathy. I was in no mood. Monday morning is no time for exploring existential quandaries, and generally the less said the better. It is a day for forgetting, and it requires the kind of recovery only public solitude provides. This is especially true when Monday comes on the heels of a largely depressing slate of Sunday games. But some things are more important, and even the best of us are forced into agonizing reappraisals on occasion.
 
The ride started as any other. While everyone stared moodily out the bus windows, I sat contemplating things like the game between the Panthers and the Vikings, and wondering what sort of empty chasm my life had come to. It was a gray day, filled with too many cigarettes.
 
The bus pulled over for a routine stop and for a while no one boarded. Finally a lethargic looking hipster stilted his skinny jeaned a** onto the bus. He looked like he was still asleep, but he was soon to be awoken.
 
“My man!” the bus driver yelled out. The hipster’s eyes popped open. He had no idea what was to come after that aggressive salutation. “What the f*** are you doing? Move your a**. We don’t got time to wait for you. Hurry the f*** up!”
 
It was time for self-defense. I could see in the hipster’s eyes that he wasn’t ready for this rumble. Scared suburban white boys with skinny jeans and low energy levels aren’t ideal creatures for tangling with hard-edged black bus drivers from the East Side. His defense was predictably weak.
 
“I was hurrying!” He moaned in that way that only bratty children can.
 
“Hurrying! You call that f***ing hurrying? Listen, a bus pulls up to a stop and it’s waiting on you’re a**, cause you’re a** is late, you hurry the f*** up! You don’t put your head down and f***ing mope over, dragging your damn feet like some kind of fool. You f***ing run! You get you’re a** on the bus! There’s real people waiting for you who got s*** to do.”
 
The hipster wasn’t happy. He hadn’t expected this kind of treatment the moment he dragged his sorry carcass onto the bus.
 
“I’m sorry.” He muttered, and headed to a seat as far toward the back as he could.
 
But the driver wasn’t finished with him, “Sorry!” He yelled as he pulled away from the curb. “What the f*** does sorry have to do with it? I don’t want to hear sorry. I want to see you’re a** running to get on the bus. That’s all I care about. You can be as sorry as you want, but I want to see you move! S***!”
 
I was thoroughly impressed with the display. As I walked past the driver at my stop I let him know. “Hey I’m all with you man. I can’t stand these hipster swine either. It’s the death of sincerity and the birth of bottomless apathy. They don’t even care that they’re alive. It’s destroying this country to have all of these lugubrious waterheads dragging their feet in public. It’s an embarrassing display. What do the Chinese think when they come over here and see these gimps with their stupid hats and bad taste in music? They all need to be flogged in public. You are a crusader sir. A holy combatant against the rising indifference of this age, and for this I thank you.”
 
He looked at me and said, “I don’t give a s*** about any of that philosophical f***! I just want mother f***ers to get their a** on the damn bus!”
 
Not As I Do, But As I Say
 
The new rules concerning quarterback hits have caused their fair share of fan displeasure. At any given home or stadium in America you are likely to find large troops of folks who vehemently decry the new “soft” rules. They will say whatever awful things they can think of about it. They will claim it’s destroying the game. They will claim it’s destroying the very soul of this country, and maybe they’re right, but maybe not.
 
Given this same demographic, and given a hard/questionable hit on the quarterback for their team, and you’ll see the fickle nature of human morality. No one likes the quarterback contact rules until they could give your team a free 15 yards in a pinch.
 
Even in a place like Baltimore, where mauling the quarterback like a stray dog is standard operating procedure, the feelings concerning the new penalties are ambiguous at best. They may moan and scream when Terrell Suggs gets a flimsy call for accidently touching a quarterback’s head with his hand, but the minute Flacco takes a hard shot on 3rd and 10 the place will erupt with angry indignance.
 
If nothing else let us be consistent. It doesn’t befit the cause to applaud the very penalties we bemoaned earlier.  Such is our fragile morale state.
 
Wait…Was That Mandy Moore?
 
You remember Mandy Moore right? She was sort of like the Zune to the Brittany Spears’ iPod in the arena of late 90’s b.s. pop music. Well she’s back, if she ever went away…I’m not sure, and I can’t find anyone who can tell me what she’s been doing since 1998.
 
Her new stint is plugging UFC fights during NFL broadcasts. She even puts on the analyst hat and breaks them down on occasion. I don’t know if this is a fall from grace for Moore, or an unusual marketing tactic by UFC. It may be their way of telling us, “Hey, even girls who make crappy pop music like the UFC, so obviously it’s pretty mainstream.”
 
I suppose in the end she has fared better than her pop rivals. She’s never shaved her head, or had any ugly public religious experiences that leave more questions than answers, and there haven’t been any stories about falling in love with talentless douchebags. The question is, if she had, would we even know?
 
Simulated Highlight Commercials
 
There is a new series of commercials out this season which spotlight players that are having a breakout year. The problem is they don’t use game footage, they use Madden footage. Have we fallen this far? Even our highlights are simulated? I don’t even know where to start with this one.
 
It doesn’t matter how much better and more realistic graphics and gameplay have gotten. No sane person watches a game of Madden. It’s not a spectator sport. Why do they bother making commercials using Madden when they could easily show actual highlights? They obviously have NFL viewing rights.
 
The answer to all of these questions, of course, is just another shameless marketing scheme. If there is one entity in the world that can combine two things I love in a way that I find utterly distasteful, it’s marketing.
 
Don’t Trust That Hayseed With the Signals!
 
During CBS’s afternoon broadcast the ever-disarming Phil Simms told us that Ben Roethlisberger ran through the team’s audibles with him the day before. Most quarterbacks won’t even discuss their cadence with local media. Roethlisberger is sharing the audible system with a national commentator with no clear allegiances before the game!
 
Perhaps you can chalk it up to the fact that Phil Simms comes across like the most laid-back simpleton you’ve ever met, but in a good way. You’d trust him because he doesn’t seem like he’d ever do anything underhanded and crooked, who cares if it’s out of stupidity or morality? There is no detectable malice in the man. Not since Bill Parcells flogged him in public for yelling “Get your fat a** off the field!” to an opposing player. No one’s perfect.
 
Don’t Trust That Hayseed with the Replay Controls!
 
Phil Simms does need some work on his replay presentation. I’m sure it’s him who controls it too, because it always rewinds when he wants it to, and no professional video guy would ever do what Simms does. On any given replay Simms will rewind at high speed maybe 50 times. You will see the play in one second increments that loop back at least 10 times before moving on to the next segment. It’s like giving the replay controls to someone with a history of abusing Danish club-drugs. It’s disorienting and ultimately impossible to follow.
 
Simms needs to steady his hand. He isn’t bad when it comes to breaking down a play for a national audience, but it’s not very appetizing to be treated like a schizophrenic. It’s worse than when, in a fit of Jameson, John Madden would scribble all over the screen in esoteric yellow circles no one could decipher.
 
Despite this recent ugliness I actually like Simms. He has a very affable way about him. He is a likeable simpleton. He is like the Karl Pilkington of NFL broadcasters.
 
A Theatrical Flair
 
We interpret a lot about a referee based on how they announce rulings to the crowd. No one has proven a more theatrical announcer than Mike Carey. He seems to delight in calling penalties. You can almost see him smile.
 
His delivery is among the best. He understands how to use the dramatic pause, “Personal Foul…(what’s it going to be)…Defense!” He really hits the unit name hard, then he soaks in the boos/cheers, and he’s not just a crowd pleaser. He’ll soak in any kind of volume you’ll give, love or hate. He even puts a little flair into the down and distance. “First…and ten.”
 
He must have attended acting classes. He understands dramatic timing and inflection better than any other official. He seems to actually enjoy flags. Referees are almost all attorneys after all.  What kind of queer sickness is this exactly?

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