Sunday, January 15, 2012

Let's Pretend!

First of all, let me make it clear that I don't have a television, so I don't watch the news. I don't read newspapers. I don't check the news online. My only source of information is Facebook. I try to ignore the politics and the lost children and every other sensational item, but every now and again, something sneaks in when I'm looking at elsewhere.

Therefore, I know this about Tebow: he publicly prays for victory in his sport, which I'm very certain is football. I don't know his team or position or first name or denomination. Some people on Facebook seem to revere him. Most seem to mock him. I wouldn't recognize him if he knocked on my door and offered me a free cat.

As they say in recipes, set aside.

Last night, I was with friends at Eckerd College, listening to Andre Dubus III read and speak. Among other things, he wrote House of Fog and Sand. Apparently there was a big football game going on. He and the master of ceremonies Dennis LeHane (Shutter Island) joked about rushing through the evening in order to catch the game. In fact, at one point, an audience member's electronic device made enough noise to catch the attention of the men on stage. They interrupted themselves to ask the guy what the score was.

All of it was astonishing to me – the famous writers' interest in the game, and the audience member's complete lack of respect for the famous writers, and the famous writers not even seeming to see it as disrespect. Well, maybe it wasn't. Maybe the men were just enjoying being the keynote speaker and his host. The worst that could happen was that they wouldn't be invited back next year (fat chance). And maybe they felt they had to prove they're manly men like Hemingway instead of unmanly men like Capote. They snorted and grabbed their groins (figuratively) and talked about football. Or heck. Maybe they really did care about the game.

In any case, part of the football talk involved jokes about Tebow. The first remark was okay with me, but there were too many jokes. Enough already. Talk about writing. That's what we were there for (weren't we?).

Afterwards, a woman in front of us chatted while we waited to exit the auditorium. "Didn't you think those Tebow remarks were offensive?" she asked.

"I just thought they were excessive, not offensive. I think Christians are offensive."

Well, she felt public speakers should be more "cautious." I guess she was talking about being politically correct. I'm not entirely certain what political correctness is. For instance, if it means not making racial slurs, then I'm all for it. I don't seem to mind religious slurs, though ... oh, unless they're against Jews or Muslims or Hindus. Go ahead and slur upon Christians, though.

Thank the gods for freedom of speech!

The woman also said that Dubus (rhymes with caboose) acted as if everyone thought the same way he does about Tebow. She felt that was inappropriate. I think if I'm saying it or writing it, you'd do well to assume it's my opinion – who else's would it be? – and why, really, should I change my opinion to reflect your tender sensibilities?

Don't get me wrong. If I get a chance to blast you for referring to grown human females as girls instead of women, I'll do it. But that sure doesn't mean you have to do anything about it but laugh in my face (even though I do wish you'd think about it. Please?).

And there's this: It was Dubus's show. He doesn't have to care one whit about our opinions. He's there to give us his. And we're there to hear it, by the way. Why should he tone it down in the interest of caution, of political correctness? Goodness.

But let's go back to Tebow. My understanding is that Tebow prays for victory, and ... I don't know ... I guess he's getting it?

Well, let's pretend that there even is a God. Okay. Now let's pretend God cares about American football. Well, how does He decide who wins? Is it by the number of prayers sent up to Heaven for each side? What else could it be? So let's save a boat load of money and time and anguish and life-changing injuries, and do this. Let's set up a website that's perfectly secure (God will see to that) and just have people "pray" by casting their vote for which team they want to win. God would tot up the votes and made a divine announcement.

I have a friend who belonged to a car club for Scion owners. There were prizes for the car that had the most and coolest modifications. When I asked my friend what prevented him from making a modification he so admired, he said, "Money." Again, let's simplify. Let's just display pay stubs.