Saturday, October 18, 2008

Number one in the time of the Cholera

The excitement in Austin would be palpable if that was not such a trite word and if anyone knew what it really meant. The local college football team, the unifying factor for the city, is sitting at the top of the polls, both official and unofficial (as if that made any difference)and will be defending that number one ranking tonight for the first time during the regular season since 1984. Hardly an undergraduate at the University of Texas had been born the last time the Longhorns participated in such a game. I am thrilled by the prospect of watching the team take on a strong rival tonight, the Missouri Tigers. I trust that by morning, the entire city will be suffering from one enormous hangover from all the celebrating.


In 100 years, should this blog survive, somewhere out there in the ether , someone may pause and wonder why all the fuss over an amateur athletic event at the same moment that the market broke and capitalism went down for the count in the USA. Or even why anyone bothered with a football game when the first African American was days away from being elected President of the United States. Thus it has always been. No matter what history unfolds before us, the games go on. The first time the Longhorns clinched a regular season number one ranking, the President of the United States had been shot and had been interred only one week before. The games went on. Two days after John Kennedy was shot, the NFL played a full schedule. Football games were played right after Pearl Harbor. Baseball games went on throughout the Second World War, although the fact that one armed men played the outfield did lower the quality of play a bit. An earthquake tore apart the city of San Francisco and the World Series picked right up again in that very city in a matter of days.


The fact of the matter is, as Judge Charlie Barrow used to say,  that history, real history, has more to do with how Joe Six Pack and Joe DiMaggio lived their lives than how Joe Biden does. For a couple of hundred years, history was taught using what was known as the “Great Man Theory”, a phrase which by its very definition limited the number of people who were relevant to history by 50%. Sometime ago, the “Great Man” (which was actually the Great White Man ) theory of history fell out of favor among all the women and assorted Bolsheviks who obtained PHDs in history while waiting out the Viet Nam war. These people, like our current President and Vice President had other priorities at the time, the main one being to not get shot. The newly minted Docs began teaching history as “social” rather than political and what people ate for breakfast in the olden days became every bit as important as the battle of Waterloo. So what I am saying is that the UT /Missouri game and the rest of the NCAA football season are every bit as important from the perspective of someone in the future viewing us, as is the current national election. What I am also saying, if I may expand on that, is that we need not feel ashamed that we are attending circuses as the empire is squandered. This is what we are expected to do, it is how we are expected to act. We simply have, in the words of Dick Cheney, “other priorities” and tonight’s priority is that the Longhorns of Texas kick the shit out of the Tigers of Missouri and their overrated Quarterback, Chase whatever, the lousy turncoat from Texas, may he die a thousand deaths tonight , his limp body slammed into the playing field that is dedicated to the soldiers who died in the First World War ( a great time in history where Babe Ruth starred in his last world Series for the Boston Red Sox about a month before Armistice Day).


I suppose that it is possible that the “Great Man” theory will come back again. If so, this particular edition of the blog will look pretty silly to the thin and completely bald man with the massive cranium who is viewing this work in the year 2525 (that is, if man is still alive….). But the blogger of the twenty first century cares nothing for the laughter and scorn of the years still to come.He/She is concentrating on things that really matter. Hook ‘em Horns.


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