Our National Drug of Choice
No one is above the outrage cycle. We have now, in our culture, synthesized the two worst elements of pre-9/11 and post-9/11 media: the pre-9/11 obsession with meaningless bullshit; and the post-9/11 obsession with filling every story with apocalyptic portent and over the top, tween-girl-at-a-Jonas-brothers-concert hysteria.
We still care too much about J-Lo’s dress and the Summer of the Shark. Now, we get around the idea that we are shallow for giving a shit about such things by infusing them with pseudo-political importance and our current national drug of choice, outrage. Everything is an outrage. Everyone is outraged. Every turn of the news cycle gives us a new opportunity to pound the table. Every item that crawls across the newsfeed at the bottom of our screens is an excuse to stab one’s finger into one’s chest and declaim, solemnly and with vast consequence, “I, for one, am sickened.” This is how a shallow culture convinces itself that it is deep.
So Rush Limbaugh is not going to be able to own a piece of an NFL team. Let us all rejoice. Or whine about the outrageous politicization of the bastion of innocence that is professional sports. What is important is that we all either rage against the coming apocalypse this portends or celebrate the saving of the world at the zero hour that it means.
Sure, the idea of bringing in a man who accuses blacks of wanting to re-impose segregation to be a significant minority owner of a team in a league that is 65% African-American made about as much business sense as having Al Sharpton sponsor a PGA Tournament. It is outrageous and offensive to every racially sensitive American that such a man would even be considered for such a socially meaningful position as minority owner of an NFL franchise so sacred that Cleveland, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and St. Louis have all claimed it as their own over the last 70 years. And goddammit, the delicious irony of a man who proudly proclaims himself a stalwart of limited government owning a piece of a brazenly rent-seeking and taxpayer subsidized professional sports team simply cannot be so much as imagined in this era of humorless, self-congratulatory outrage.
Of course, the outrage of allowing such a man to be included as a minority partner in a group that may someday decide to c0nsider making an offer on a blessed professional sports franchise is exceeded only by the far greater outrage of suggesting that Limbaugh might not be someone with whom the not-at-all image-conscious NFL wants to associate. Never mind that Limbaugh is an extraordinarily polarizing figure whose views are well-known to wide swathes of the NFL’s fan base (and players), and might therefore be a bit of a drag on the league’s profits. No, instead it is truly outrageous and offensive that a profit-seeking enterprise would choose profits over granting an opportunity for a much-oppressed radio talk show host to join its Good Old Boys club. Even more outrageous is that people would object to such a kind soul being invited to maybe someday decide to consider making an offer on the Holy St. Louis Rams after one of the dozens of racially-charged statements this man has made in recent years turns out to be of dubious sourcing. After all, it was clearly that dubiously-sourced quote, and only that dubiously-sourced quote, that drove profit-seeking NFL owners to object to Limbaugh’s entry into their prestigious club after decades of discrimination against wind bags.
These outrages, however, are not enough to satisfy our craving. What is necessary is to demonstrate how they are evidence of an even bigger, undebatably apocalyptic outrage. Clearly, that outrage is our state-controlled media,* and the punishment of speech.
So sally forth and be outraged. Or not. Just so long as you were outraged yesterday or today or will find something new to be outraged about tomorrow, and understand that today the Single Most Important Thing In The World is whether Rush Limbaugh will be invited to be reinvited to maybe join in some way a group that may someday soon decide to propose to buy the St. Louis Ronald Reagan Rams of the United States of America, Puppies, Babies, and All That Is Good and Holy In This World.
*Seriously – “state-controlled media”? Rush has reached the point where he is indistinguishable from Alex Jones. How long until he starts making daily rants about the Bildebergers, fluoridated water, and Roswell?