Tom Finneran: Insulting America’s Intelligence
Friday, September 28, 2012
Let’s start with the NFL. Our inquiry begins with the question “how could billionaires be so stupid”? They have a legal monopoly on a product that is in high demand with astronomical profit margins. And, while more than ninety percent of the players are completely interchangeable from year to year and from team to team, the barons of this racket have, in three short weeks, allowed the integrity and quality of the product to fall into very serious question. How did they do this? How did these alleged wise men squander their almighty “brand”? It’s simple really—they decided that the officials who referee football games are as interchangeable as the players themselves. Clearly that is not the case.
Controversy has dogged every game of this young season. And, if the barons really want us rubes to buy the baloney of replacement refs being adequate to the task, why don’t they just grab a couple of high school refs for this Sunday’s games? After all, those high school refs will finish their games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, thus giving themselves an open Sunday for the NFL. What the heck, they would probably work a three hour game for a couple of hundred bucks. Everyone wins, right?
The owners said that there is principle involved and I agree there is---it’s just spelled differently that’s all--it’s principal, with a vastly different meaning. Of course there are enough toadies in every town to champion the owners’ case as brilliant businessmen. Spare me the propaganda. The owners have become completely accustomed to bullying the help so they are simply doing what bullies do.
Perhaps there are lessons here for all of us, such as never confusing wealth with smarts. Or never devaluing the quality of your product in order to make a meaningless point. Take it to the bank that the “demands” of the referees are essentially a continuation of the status quo and that that status quo generates enormous wealth for the owners. To allow questions regarding the integrity of the games to fester for weeks on end was utter foolishness. One more lesson might be drawn here, and you could both provide it and enjoy it: Spend the weekend with your kids, rake the lawn, take a walk, make a meatloaf, hug your wife. You’ll find that a few weeks away from the NFL’s insult to your intelligence is great for you, great for your wallet, fun for your family, and perhaps sobering to the barons.
We move briskly to the White House……
I’m no expert on the Middle East (is there such a person?) and I am puzzled. Israel is our staunchest ally in the entire region. Why would we ever diss Israel or its Prime Minister? News reports inform us that President Obama could not/would not make time available in his schedule for a visit from Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. Huh? Libyans murder an American ambassador, Iran continues to give the finger to the U.S., Egypt demands continued billions of dollars a year from American taxpayers while lecturing us on changes we must make in our behavior. Syria descends daily to barbarity, and Russia and China stymie any meaningful sanction or initiative we propose. In the midst of these developing crises, Netanyahu seeks to meet with the President and he is turned down. As I said, HUH?????
Other news reports then tell us that the President flew out to a fundraiser in Vegas, attended another fundraiser with Jay Z and Beyonce, appeared on Letterman, and then appeared on The View. I feel like Alice in Wonderland. This is truly unbelievable. I’m open to listening and learning so feel free to comment below.
But what I see is a mocking of our ally, a timidity about our foes, and a trivialization of presidential duties. Letterman over Netanyahu? Jay Z over Israel? I must be dreaming. And while we are dreaming and punting and avoiding the very difficult real world for the world of make-believe, our allies, beyond Israel itself, are waking up to a nightmare: A confused, distracted, self-indulgent America that no longer draws distinctions between the good guys and the bad guys. What a sad spectacle and omen for the rest of the world to behold.
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