Thursday, April 27, 2006
There's No News Like Barry News
There was quite a bit of media in front of the Federal Building today...
...but they certainly weren't there to cover the noon peace vigil that has met weekly since October 2001.
There were a few Hells Angels in front of the building, presumably for a federal trial, so we wondered if that might be the reason for all the media, or perhaps they were there for the pedophile trial of a local who had been arrested for engaging in sex tourism with little girls in Cambodia.
Foolish us. There is no other news in the Bay Area, if one is to believe the execrable "San Francisco Chronicle," but Barry Bonds news.
Did or he did he not take steroids? Did he commit perjury in federal court? Should the sanctity of baseball statistics be defended in their utter purity? Should the impossibly haughty and unfriendly negro be put in his place? (The racist underbelly of the Barry hounding can be heard in all kinds of comments from white San Francisco "fans" that sound uncomfortably like Boston or Chicago fans at their least racially enlightened.)
The powers that be in San Francisco and in the larger world are cooking the financial books in every unethical way that exists, and the United States is turning into some demented mixture of Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany and the bloated, corrupt Soviet Union, but what we are supposed to concentrate on as citizens is that dirty cheater, Barry Bonds.
The best inside professional sports book ever written is still "Ball Four" by the pitcher Jim Bouton from the 1960s, where everyone was fueling themselves on a mixture of booze and benzedrine ("greenies"). Bouton has a wonderful website (click here) where somebody asks him if there's any difference between the 1960s drug abuse and the later steroid abuse, and he does draw a distinction, saying that bennies were performance enablers ("usually taken because we were so hungover") while steroids are performance enhancers and actually un-level the playing field. Still, at a certain level of the game, for at least the last twenty-five years, most of the top performers were juiced.
So can we move on, professional journalists, to subjects just slightly more important? This overkill is only waning your already shaky credibility.