Monday, January 4

Contrails In The News

I DON'T know how this blog came, undeservedly, to attract readers in the 98th percentile, but I try to communicate with y'all as best I can, including my protracted series on how some people of average intelligence or above manage to live in Indianapolis without habitually going off at every stupid thing people say in their hearing, which is a complete mystery to me.

The best I can put it is: Imagine waking up every day knowing there's a distinct possibility that your local Morning Zoo team has set the political agenda for the next six weeks.

The latest, now entering its second week, is the local outrage that the Professional Football squad we stole from Baltimore tried to minimize the possibility of season-ending injury to its starters in the final two games of the season, after having clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Which people won't shut th' fuck up about for two seconds.

The local eleven went 14-0 this season before dropping their last two (meaningless) games while resting their starters. In the process they set a new NFL standard for consecutive regular-season wins, for wins in a decade, and for consecutive 12-win seasons. They managed to do so in no small part because rookie coach Jim Caldwell, who, unlike his predecessor, is refreshingly silent about how superior his socio-sexual religious views are to his audience's, fielded a productive defense despite serious losses due to injury. To a thin defense add the fact that the team's fortunes ride on one Peyton Manning, twelfth year out of Tennessee, and a set of receivers which has been missing Anthony Gonzalez all season. So, of course, the minute Caldwell pulled his starters in week 16, and a close game with the Dog Ass Jets turned into a loss, the boos and debris started raining down and haven't stopped.

This has now prompted the NFL to announce it will "look into" "incentives" to keep starters on the field and in harm's way throughout meaningless regular-season games, unlike the meaningless five-game pre-season the NFL makes season-ticket holders pay for anyway. So, good news, Colts fans: you may have managed to wrest control of coaching decisions from your team's coaches, or cost them draft choices for insisting on keeping it. It's the same way we solved that Property Tax problem a few years back: giving people with no responsibility, and even fewer facts, a monopoly on microphone time and several shots of corn squeezin's.

The best part, though, was the sudden reanimation of Zombie Beurt SerVass, who had previously died in in the two previous decades. SerVass--among other things, the owner of the mausoleum where they buried Curtis Publishing Company, and the man who turned the Saturday Evening Post from a musty, conservative, geriatric publishing relic into a musty, crackpot, anti-fluoridationist publishing relic directed by his musty, crackpot physician wife--was the Kingpin of the Indianapolis City-County Council in its Annex-the-County-so-white-voters-still-can-control-it heyday, and he was possibly, year-in, year-out, the crankiest Right wing geezer in town. And remember, it's a town whose newspaper was published by Eugene Pulliam, and whose western suburbs were represented in Congress for much of that time by Dan Burton.

SerVass was so outraged by the Jets loss he returned from Hell and penned a resolution for the Council demanding the NFL refund ticket-holders' money. The matter hasn't found an actual sponsor who's on the actual Council yet, but, in keeping with the spirit of the thing, the sole Libertarian on the Council expressed an interest in voting for it if it came up.

Although, he added, he could "see the business side of it".


Anonymous said...

One reason people are so exercised--such a tactic apparently damages the integrity of fantasy football.

Oh, that was fun to write.


Harl Delos said...

Fun to read, too, ice9

Narya said...

Probably affects what happens in Vegas. And anywhere else people make and collect on bets.

But what I really wanted to say was: Curtis Publishing Company! The Curtis building in Philadelphia, which is just behind Independence Hall, features a wall-size mural, done in/by Tiffany glass, of a Maxfield Parrish painting; it is quite spectacular, and I highly recommend hunting it down next time you're in the City of Brotherly Love. Also, Curtis was the home of the Ladies Home Journal, which had an extremely large circulation for many years. (I read nearly every issue, for my dissertation. In case anyone cares.) LHJ was not, shall we say, a standard-bearer for feminism.

Anonymous said...

LHJ was certainly not a feminist standard-bearer -- but then neither were any of the other national-circulation women's periodicals of the time, like Woman's Day or Ladies Home Companion or Better Homes & Gardens, or... well, you get the point. I read these things as a pre- and early adolescent when my mom brought them home from shopping (I think she even had a subscription to 1 or 2 of 'em). It was the Fifties.

There are real reasons that The Feminine Mystique was sensational, that the sexual revolution was called a revolution, that feminism in its late 60s/mid 70s resurgence was greeted with profound ridicule and resistance. These were serious breaks with what most people considered to be basic normality.

OTOH, zines in those days, including the LHJ and the SEP, did sometimes publish some interesting fiction.

Reading all of LHJ must have been quite a task! If it had been me, I would have been ogling the advertising and editorial art.

Li'l Innocent

Larkspur said...

Li'l Innocent, oh how well do I know my mom's LDH and Redbook and Good Housekeeping.

Want something weirder? I have an actual copy of a 1942 issue of "Cosmopolitan". There were NO articles about 15 Ways To Tie Your Man Up With Designer Silk Scarves. It was more about footers on each page saying stuff like "$23=one parachute! Buy War Bonds!"

But about the tackle football...I find I am enjoying my team's non-stellar course (SF 49ers). The team is not very good, but the players are mostly optimistic, and they seem to want to play, and there don't seem to be any vendettas going on. And we were so good once, and we've been bad for a long time, so there hasn't been any opportunity to turn ourselves inside out second-guessing arcane roster decisions by people entrusted with those decisions.

Crap like that is an ugly luxury for fans of teams wholly in contention to win it all. Me, I just kinda enjoy watching the games. There's a lot less tension than when we expected perfection.

Also, I'm not 98th percentile. That's why I avoid commenting here. I used to be 98th percentile, but you snooze, you lose. But you haven't blocked my comments yet, so here I am, ta da.

-dg said...

I know it is rude to threadjack, but this was too good not to share. I was looking for Spanish language manga and found this bit of fuckwittery Colorado Alliance For Immigration Reform.

I can't decide what is more awesome about it:

Is it that a bunch of Colorado anti-immigration wingnuts have organized under the name CAIR (at presumably because was taken!)?

Or is that at least one of them apparently dragged his pre-teen daughter all over Denver showing her Spanish language comic book porn to prove how much he hates of the Mezkins?

I don't know the word for this feeling that has me quaking in my chair, schadenfruede does not fully cover the situation.

Narya said...

IIRC, Cosmo was "rebranded" to become what we now know it to be; it was originally a general-market mag. (Just as Marlboros were originally "women's" cigarettes, before being rebranded w/ the Marlboro man.)

One of the fascinating bits from my research was how much "liberation" there was going around after WWI. The common "just-so" story is that women were oppressed until they worked in the factories during WW2--Rosie the Riveter, etc.--then got sent home to have babies, then Feminism Happened. There was actually a big push during WWI--and not just because of wartime mobilization of women--but also a similar backlash after the war, esp. with the Depression.

LHJ didn't really have a peer, circulation-wise, until well into the 1950s, I think. (circulation peaked in the late '70s at something like 7 million/month--which is a lot.) I also ran across evidence that, despite its name, it was more of a general-readership magazine than you'd think.

The research was fun; I ended up going through LHJ, Playboy, Esquire, and McCall's, and I tacked on Ms. at the end. Unfortunately, all of the Maxfield Parrish prints had been "removed" from the LHJ copies in my university's library.

William said...

While I agree with you (as usual) re the triviality of the complaints about pulling the starters, and about the utter reasonableness of Caldwell's decision, I am also concerned that he lost sight of the forest amongst the trees. There is something in football that demands a certain focus and even heroism beyond the cool and logical. I can't help but be concerned that the team has lost a little edge and spirit with the two "meaningless" losses. Just sayin'.. --Beel

Anonymous said...

So was Life magazine. It was once very different than the photojournalism rag it became.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if you watch enough films from the '20s and '30s, you see a lot of career women, some even eschewing the chance to marry a rich man. Not that enlightened, but still moreso than after WWII. The '50s looked considerably more sexist.

As far as the Colts, they'd better get better to win the Super Bowl or the hammer may come down on them. Fantasy footballers and Vegas won't take this shit lying down, you know.

Julia Grey said...

Ladies' Home Journal used to have a monthly feature, IIRC, called "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" Supposedly from the files of real marriage counselors, it used the husband's and the wife's voices to tell the story of dysfunction from their own points of view, and then let the marriage counselor comment/advise. As I remember, the marriage WAS always saved, although during the first telling of the story (from the wife's point of view) it always seemed like a hopeless case.

Loved that feature as a teen. About the only thing I ever read in my mother's magazines.

I wonder how those stories would sound to me today.

R. Porrofatto said...

I am overjoyed at the Colts' decision-making. Their recent losing streak may have inspired the one New York football team that hasn't behaved like the NY Jets lately to win the next six and go on to sublime victory... or not. Well, at least they have a brand new, as yet un-corporate-sponsored stadium in New Jersey. (It might have become Allianz Stadium were it not for that fact that the German company once insured Auschwitz against whatever sort of catastrophe might befall an extermination camp.) As with the rest of them, it should be dubbed Taxpayers Field, but taxpayers by law are excluded from luxury boxes, so that's out.

Harl Delos said...

Seems to me that "Can This Marriage Be Saved" always decided that it was the wife's fault, and that it was up to her to save the marriage.

I guess that makes sense. Made all the female readers feel superior and virtuous for putting up with lesser (or greater, for tha matter) problems.

Nobody's mentioned Collier's. They were journalistically superior to the others, IMHO, and yet they failed first. Every time I hear someone complain that if newspapers were any good, they wouldn't all be going down the tubes. Well, duh, if they are all going down the tubes, don't you suppose it has something to do with the fact that it's cheaper to deliver electrons to readers than paper and ink?

scott said...

I take issue with the label "Midwestern Cities Accidentally Governed By Big Dumb Guys."

It ain't no accident.

Uncle Omar said...

Dog Ass Jets...thanks for the Semi-Tough reference.

Brendan said...

I wish I'd thought to come over here for the insights back when this was a hot new Very Important issue, but in addition to being behind on my reading, I am so far behind in my NFL-awareness that when I hear "Colts," I still think "Baltimore."

Anyway, I was right that you'd get it just right. They should name something after you. A tackling dummy, maybe?