I almost managed to ignore football completely this season, and I’m proud of it. There were few rogue kneelers in the NFL this year, and the New England Patriots, my hometown role models for the Houston Astros, finally bit the dust. Meanwhile, there was little new on the CTE front, not any more is needed to prove that cheering young men in the process of destroying their brains for a handful of well-compensated seasons as football heroes is immoral and unethical. I did recently watch the Netflix documentary, “The Killer Inside,” about Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots star who murdered a friend and perhaps two others. I didn’t know that after his suicide in prison, it was found that Hernandez suffered from CTE, and that his brain was one of the most damaged scientists have ever seen. The documentary also says that the New England Patriots coaching staff saw signs that he was deteriorating and becoming unstable, as well as using drugs, and they made no effort to intervene. After all, he was playing well, and the team was winning.
That’s pro football. To hell with it.
1. “The Chop.” I have written about this perpetually silly issue a lot, and recently, but the New York Times, being the Official Paper of the Woke, has felt it necessary to publish three pieces this week on the the so called “Kansas City Chop,” the tomahawk motion used by Kansas City Chiefs fans (The Chiefs are in the Super Bowl, you know) when cheering on their team. The chop is most identified with the Atlanta Braves (How satisfying it was to watch Jane Fonda dutifully chopping along with then husband Ted Turner when the Braves finally made the world Series in 1991!), but Chiefs fans started copying Braves fans. It is, of course, intended to rally the team, has nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of commentary on Native Americans, those who pretend to be seriously unsettled by what fans of an NFL team do to show their affection for their team are either faking or need psychiatric care. But here’s CNN:
Yet despite the research and the dissents from many Native people, these customs — the racist names, the fan behaviors — persist. And on Sunday, when millions of people tune in to watch the Super Bowl and 65,000 people pack into Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, it will all be on display: the tomahawk chops, the regalia, the headdresses, the face paint. [Mohawk journalist] Vincent Schilling says he respects Chiefs fans and supports their right to support their team. As for the message it will send on football’s biggest stage, well, he’s not so confident. “I really, really have a big apprehension for how this is going to look,” he said.
How, exactly, is the name “Chiefs” racist? You know how it is going to look? It will look like a lot of fans support their team that is called “The Chiefs,” and maybe remind some people that we once had a vibrant Native American culture in this land that now barely survives except in references like team names and traditions.
2. And speaking of cultural appropriation: Jeanine Cummins novel “American Dirt” examines illegal immigration from the perspective of a Mexican woman fleeing cartel violence. Yet even though it has a pro-illegal immigrant message and theme, Cummins and her novel are under attack, by the Woke and the Wonderful. Guess why. Come on, guess.
She’s not Mexican, so how dare she write about a Mexican woman?
The book’s publisher has canceled Cummins’ book tour now, due to “safety concerns.”
Critic Myriam Gurba wrote in her review, “Toxic heteroromanticism gives the sludge an arc and because the white gaze taints her prose, Cummins positions the United States of America as a magnetic sanctuary, a beacon toward which the story’s chronology chugs.” Cummins’s stated intention to move beyond the portrayal of Mexican migrants as a “faceless brown mass” and instead “give these people a face.” also triggered Gurba. These people? Gotcha!
Toxic heteroromanticism. Right.
3. Now THIS is a hard-working lawyer!
Bill Lester, who worked as a court-appointed defense lawyer in Charleston, West Virginia, was indicted in 2016 on charges that he had charged the state for work he didn’t do. Authorities began to investigate Lester because the amount he was billing appeared mathematically and temporally impossible. Reports WCHSTV:
“He had billed, in a two-year period, over $600,000 to the state for indigent defense, which at $45 an hour is an awful lot of hours, and the resulting investigation found he had at least 17 days he billed an excess of 24 hours,” said Dana Eddy of Public Defender Services.
A t $45 a hour, Lester would have had to bill 13,333.3 hours to bill $600,000 in two years, an average of 6,666.6 hours per year. A 40-hour work week yields about 1800 billable hours a year and a year has only 8,760 hours total. He billed over 6,666 a year twice.
Wow! What a worker!
Mr. Lester was apprehended by U.S. Marshals in Nicaragua.