I don’t want to say we’re in the throes of irreversible cultural decline in America, but Dennis Rodman remains our leading emissary to North Korea and Donald Trump remains a somewhat respected member of the business community.
Here are some other recent signs the 21st century is shaping up as the most uncertain, most unruly and most unsatisfying time to live on this Earth since, well, the 20th century:
ESPN has dubbed its BCS national championship coverage Jan. 6 — on six different outlets — a “BCS Megacast.” I’d like to remind readers, as I have many, many times, that the “E’”in ESPN stands for excess, and no one does excess as extravagantly, extraordinarily and excessively as my friends at ESPN.
ESPN calls its BCS Megacast “a multiplatform telecast.” Couch Slouch calls it “a multi-pixel apocalypse.”
ESPN will carry the regular game broadcast with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit; ESPN2 will show the game with “BCS Title Talk” guest analysts and celebrities; ESPNews will offer “BCS Film Room” with different camera angles; ESPN Classic will air the game broadcast minus the announcers; ESPN Goal Line will have “BCS Command Center” with split-screen views and immediate replays of every play; and ESPN3 online will provide Auburn- and Florida State-centric feeds.
I will be crouching under my ottoman, holding on to a PBR with one hand and clutching to dear life with the other.
Wars don’t kill people, guns do. Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in the June shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend; Lloyd’s family recently filed a wrongful death suit against Hernandez.
This brings to mind a staggering set of numbers that I first heard illuminated by PBS’s Mark Shields:
Nearly 1.2 million Americans have died in all the wars in U.S. history since the Revolutionary War began in 1775; by comparison, nearly 1.4 million Americans have died by firearms since Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot June 5, 1968.
In other words, more Americans have died in the past 45 years from domestic gunfire than have died in all the military conflicts since the founding of our nation.
That’s got to be the Stat of the Year, no?
Attention, Jonathan Martin: Bullying is bad; the Bolshoi is worse. Joy Womack, 19, the first American ballerina to join the famed Bolshoi Ballet, left the company after she says she refused to make a $10,000 payment to get a solo role. Womack said casting decisions were based on bribes and sexual relationships.
In the Bolshoi’s defense, much of the U.S. entertainment industry — most notably, the Kardashian family — is built on money, suspect casting decisions and sexual relationships.
Meanwhile, a former star Bolshoi dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko, was just sentenced to six years in prison for arranging an acid attack that nearly blinded artistic director Sergei Filin.
I’ve always contended that ballet is a contact sport.
Our next high-tech step might be the ability to fast-forward through commercials during live sporting events. When I was growing up, I used to see all those Budweiser spots on TV and wonder, “What does beer taste like?” Now, kids growing up see the new generation of Cialis ads and wonder, “What is erectile dysfunction?”
Or, “Daddy, what’s a rash?” “Daddy, what are hives?”
I’d like to leave everyone on a positive note, but I can’t. Here’s a passage I recently ran across from German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s 1851 book, “The Wisdom of Life”: “We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode on the blissful repose of nothingness. It may be said of it, ‘It is bad today and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens.’ ”
The worst of all hasn’t happened yet?
What, they’re going to take poker off of TV?
Q. I know we’re supposed to suspend disbelief at the movies, but 67-year-old Sylvester Stallone vs. 70-year-old Robert De Niro in a boxing ring? (Adam Kresse; Albany, N.Y.)
A. Weren’t George Foreman and Evander Holyfield both still fighting at 48? And 70 is the new 50.
Q. Our Houston Texans finished the season 2-14 for a percentage of .125 – that is the same percentage you have as a serial groom. We lost our coach; what happened to you? (Ray Bohannon; Katy, Tex.)
A. My percentage is .333, pal. And what happened to me? I lost two-thirds of my linens.
Q. Why does Sean Payton wear a sun visor at home games? (Greg Hanrahan; Alexandria)
A. Why does McDonald’s sponsor World Fitness Day?
Q. If Jerry Jones could somehow acquire the rest of the NFC East, would that bring parity to the division? (Randy Long; Liberty Lake, Wash.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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