The Safe Zone



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Perhaps nordy needs to think about the phrase: the plural of anecdote is not dataReport

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    As someone who loves stuff that reminds him of other stuff, are there any examples of democrats (and/or liberals) being mocked in recent columns anywhere?

    “The Bengals’ Defense wouldn’t be able to keep Barney Frank from a Golden Corral dessert buffet” or something equally inane would do, of course.

    Or, I suppose, praising the Republicans would suffice as well. “Trading away Mike Shanahan and getting Mark Pugh was as good a decision as trading away Jimmy Carter and getting Ronald Reagan.”Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Considering that social conservatives do business day to day by injecting Jesus into Caesar’s affairs, I find Nordlingers complaints on this front rather rich.Report

  4. Avatar Nob Akimoto says:

    If someone went back into the 90s or early 2000s, I’d imagine you’d find a whole lot more Clinton and and Gore jokes than you’d find Republican ones.Report

    • Avatar Trumwill says:

      Clinton’s personal foibles were also acknowledged across party lines. The defense of him wasn’t that he was an upstanding guy, but that he was a good president with an overactive libido. I suspect that there were as many references to Gingrich or Kenneth Starr as there were to Gore.

      Now, if you can find something that targeted Clinton for Whitewater (a “scandal” with a degree of truth and importance rejected by liberals), I may have to reconsider. There certainly haven’t been any about Obama (or Pelosi or Reed or Biden), which you would think there would be as the Democrats control both houses of congress and the presidency. Instead, they’re going out of their way to crack wise about a failed VP candidate and a VP that is out of office and never had presidential aspirations even when he was in his (relatively insignificant) office.Report

  5. Avatar Sam M says:


    I thought so too. So I went to Sports Illustrated’s website and searched the archive for “Lewinsky.”

    Not so much.

    There are a few articles detailing how Greg Norman was somehow caught up in the scandal. But I don’t see a single article that says something like “Jeter dropped it into the gap like Clinton did with Lewinsky.” In one case, from 1999, Michael Farber wrote:

    “The time was Dec. 12, 1998. Odgers… last scored so long ago that Monica Lewinsky was still doing her bit to bring down a president instead of simply doing bits on Saturday Night Live.”

    Which seems to be defending Clinton in the face of a scandal, not attacking him.

    The archive goes from 1998 until now. My cursory “research” shows not a single snarky Lewinsky reference. Perhaps the late 1990s were simply a golden age of political civility, but I don’t remember it that way. On the other hand, I was mostly drunk.

    As for the main post here… is Dick Cheney really all that unpopular? I don’t like him. But lots and lots of people do.Report

  6. Avatar Trumwill says:

    Even if true, the insertion of partisan politics or controversial perspectives (even if they shouldn’t be controversial) fiercely rejected by a sizable portion of the population are reasonably undesirable. For instance, a crack dismissing some non-credible perception in the sports media by saying “Of course, there are people who believe the earth is 6,000 years old, too” would be completely supported by the lack of evidence of a young earth but would also unnecessarily alienate those in their audience that actually do hold that belief. The key word is “unnecessarily”. Palin and Cheney may be unpopular with 2/3 of the country, but why alienate the remaining third? How necessary is that, really? It’s not some unconscionable sin, but it is something worth point out. Particularly when Nordlinger points to a lot worse examples. Most of which, of course, pointing in one direction.

    I think it ultimately comes down to the belief among some writers that only portions of the audience matters. People that get revved up at the possibility of voting for Palin don’t matter because obviously such people don’t read or are too unintelligent to follow the writer’s intelligent commentary of people throwing objects around for points. And perhaps it’s partially an extension of how TV networks have convinced themselves that the 24-36 urban (or urban-wannabe), childless demographic is all-important. They want cool readers. And cool readers hate Palin and love Obama. To say that it’s “just statin’ facts, ma’am” is a cop-out.

    As a political junkie, I might actually be in favor of a more freewheeling atmosphere. But for it to work, you would need writers that are more inclined to target the other side for the other half of their audience. So then you need to seek out some conservative writers. The natural objection to that is “What should it matter what the political beliefs of a sports writer are?!” Which brings us back to the original point.Report

    • Avatar Ryan says:

      “But for it to work, you would need writers that are more inclined to target the other side for the other half of their audience.”

      If by “work”, you mean “conform to Trumwill’s pre-existing political biases, you’re probably right.Report

      • Avatar Trumwill says:

        By “work”, I mean advance more political perspectives than one. Is it just Republicans that need to be exposed to viewpoints that don’t conform to their worldview?

        If I was a rock-ribbed Republican opposed to reading things that didn’t confirm my biases, why would I be reading TLoOG?Report

        • Avatar Will says:

          “If I was a rock-ribbed Republican opposed to reading things that didn’t confirm my biases, why would I be reading TLoOG?”

          Heh. That’s a compelling point, Trumwill.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Yeah. You said this much better than I would have.

      I was kicking around some thoughts about the political make-up of certain sports (Nascar, for example, tends Republican… and I was wondering if there were other sports that were so very obviously trended in one direction. Bass fishing! Pro wrestling!).

      At the end of the day, it struck me that, no matter what you said, a joke about Republican or a joke about Democrat was going to screw with either the subscriber who was a red-blooded Republican who loved the sport of X or the red-blooded Democrat who loved the sport of X and why not instead make fun of, I don’t know… knitting?

      The theory that they’re telling their fellow journalists down the hall/across the cubicle farm “hey, I’m one of you!” makes sense because, seriously, why would you otherwise want to tell a joke that would likely tick of a serious percentage of your readers?Report

  7. Avatar Ryan says:

    “As a general rule, sports writers should avoid political commentary because they probably don’t know what they’re talking about…”

    This is a nice rule that can be applied to a large majority of political commentators too.Report

  8. Avatar Clint says:

    The “sportswriters = liberal” findings strikes me as pretty obvious. Even with the omnipresence of sportswriters on ESPN and the blogosphere, most sportswriters work for newspapers in large, multi-team media markets in which most of their readers/voters are overwhelmingly urban (and liberal). They are not writing for many of the redder rural areas, in which it is not desirable or practical to subscribe to the regional paper of note.Report

    • Avatar Trumwill says:

      Even blue cities often come in purple and red counties and the papers there have circulations that extend to even redder outlying counties. The presumption that their audience shares the liberal viewpoint is an erroneous one.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    One thing that I make a distinction between is the somewhat topical stuff (e.g., “Dick Cheney is Darth Vader”, “Sarah Palin is Dumb”) and the “You People” stuff.

    I mean, look at this line: “scary, my-daughter-married-a-Republican moment”

    What the hell?

    It’s one thing to make fun of a politician. I’m pretty much of the opinion that our politicians don’t get half the abuse they deserve… but that was a slam against, what? Depending on their mood, 48-51.5% of the country.

    And these people buy, you know, stuff that’s advertised in the magazine.

    I have no real problem with politician mockery… but why would you tell a joke that had a coinflip shot at irritating the person who is considering re-upping his subscription?Report

  10. Avatar greginak says:

    I would prefer sports people stay away from politics in general unless the pres is throwing out the first pitch or something anodyne like that.

    FYI there was a dipstick commentator a few months ago that made a comment about most people would kill Pelosi if they got on an elevator.

    There was also the hilarious April fools joke by a car mag, Road and Track I think, that Obama was going to put some sort of fuel restrictions or something on NASCAR. It was hilarious because a conservative state trooper at my work bought the April fools joke and i had considerable fun informing him it was a joke. Ahh good times.Report

  11. Avatar greginak says:

    Ummm second sentence should end “on an elevator with her”Report

  12. Avatar JosephFM says:

    Keith Olbermann started out in sports. Rather infamously, actually.Report