The Next Chattering Class

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The most depressing thing about the Red/Blue conceit is that you know it won't have any real impact on the culture. During the second Bush administration, Hollywood stars will continue to voice liberal views and will be ridiculed for doing so, The West Wing will continue to explore a parallel universe where George W. Bush never became president, a handful of celebrities will continue to whinny about how their conservative views keep them at odds with the other celebrities, the occasional Mel Gibson or Tim Lahaye will continue to break through with a hit aimed at the heartland, and Jerry Bruckheimer will continue to split the difference. Shouldn't the Bush re-election usher in a new era of political skylarking by a different set of ill-informed notables?

Country music stars would seem to be the most obvious choice, but considering the legion of pabulum-pukers who dominate contemporary country, this would be too bland even for a Crawford Monday night. Frank Pastore's emergence as a talking head offers a better way. So my modest proposal: For the next four years, let professional athletes take the lead in voicing half-baked political views.

The advantages are obvious. Who wouldn't rather hear Peyton Manning's views on Social Security reform than Barbra Streisand's? Has Alec Baldwin issued half as many nuggets of political wisdom as Charles Barkley? Hasn't Kobe got a thing or two to say about law and order and feminism? You could even have Bill Walton jump in as the Bill O'Reilly of the new era: Bitching, from a prominent, highly rated post in the national media, about how the conservative elites won't let him get his message out.

And then there's Curt Schilling. While the bleeding hero of the Sox is known as a Bush supporter these days, it is his 2001 letter to America that really stands out: measured, sincere, dignified, practical. That was no small feat in the period after 9/11, when everybody everywhere was saying off-the-charts idiotic stuff in stentorian voices. Schilling's letter looks like the Gettysburg Address compared to most of what was published at the time.

So I say let the athletes speak! Who needs Hardball anyway?

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  1. Can we exclude tennis players? I wouldn’t want to be seen as endorsing the McEnroe show.

  2. Matt Damon!

  3. Athletes, respectibly, speak very often — they run for public office. See Jack Kemp, Steve Largent, Bill Bradley, Jim Bunning, etc.

    What we need is Barkley, Magic, and when the time comes, Schilling to run for office. Until then, let them do their own thing. We should wish the same from Hollywood-types: put up (that is, put yourself up for office) or shut up.

  4. Political musings of TO, Chad “Pepto” Johnson, and Randy Moss (he’ll wax political only when he feels like it). Who couldn’t like that?

  5. As the TV networks decline in power, the chattering class will become less and less those the TV put in front of us to listen to, and more and more those who are sought out on cable news channels, weblogs, web news channels (eventually,) etc. It will become larger and broader.

    Those with fame from another source, movie stars, athletes, etc. are only going to become more and more prevalent as political commentors as the notoriety of those who do politics as a profession is watered down amid the expanding pool of talking heads.

  6. The most depressing thing about the Red/Blue conceit is that you know it won’t have any real impact on the culture.

    IMO, this has less to do with Hollywood v. Country Music, NASCAR v. Soccer, or Religion v. Science. Its more or less the result of an inept 2 party system that catagorizes one as either Brand R or Brand D. I have a lot of common with those in the red states and those in the blue states, but often I am left to choose red or blue on the ballot. If given the opportunity, I can showcase a common bond with nearly everyone in this country.

  7. The most depressing thing about the Red/Blue conceit is that you know it won’t have any real impact on the culture.

    No the most depressing thing is that it doesn’t make a knats ass difference if the Red or the Blue come out on top. Either way, peace and freedome lose.

  8. Let’s hear Jamal Lewis’ views on the drug war.

  9. On behalf of the entire Portland Trailblazers organization, we have developed the following political talking points for our players.

    “Legalize Marijuana”
    “Legalize Dog Fighting”
    “No More Airport Metal Detectors”
    “Let Me Slap My Bitch If I Want”
    “CTC”
    “Stop Exploitation of African-Americans – Increase My Paycheck From $17 million to $19 million”

  10. I still go to movies, watch TV shows ,and often enjoy them. But any interest that I ever had in what the Hollywood types think about their content or anything else was extinguished when ‘Dances with Wolves’ was awarded the Best Picture of 1990.

    I’d rather watch a marathon of rats fucking on TLC than endure another Kevin Costner flick.

  11. Most of it’s well-spoken and admirable until you get to his “the world’s greatest nation, with the world’s greatest people” arrogant bullshit.

    We’re people. Americans are no better and no worse than citizens of any other nation. Will we ever outgrow that infantile BS?

  12. Personally, I cannot wait to hear Mike Tyson expound upon the war in Iraq.

  13. oops, I forgot to specify that was Curt Schilling’s letter I was commenting on.

  14. Please no. Rock stars, actors, and athletes didn’t get to where they are today by studying hard in school. In most cases they were born with incredible talents, looks, or luck (or all three). They got rich quick. They have little understanding of how most Americans live and work. Having them as TV pundits or politicians would be the ultimate form of idol worship for many Americans. Iconic status and not intelligent viewpoints or ideas would be the harbinger of their success.

  15. You know, Peyton Manning would spend 3 years negotiating a Social Security bill, then, just as all the votes were lined up and the Speaker was about to close debate and call the roll, he’d start shouting out amendments on the floor of the House.

  16. You know, Peyton Manning would spend 3 years negotiating a Social Security bill, then, just as all the votes were lined up and the Speaker was about to close debate and call the roll, he’d start shouting out amendments on the floor of the House.

    Brilliantly insightful, Joe, but you forget the part where he’d choke on his own words when it finally came down to the vote on important issues…

  17. Yogi Berra would be wonderful as an elder statesman. Jack Nicklaus could comment on Medicare (and back pains). Ditto the Shaq. Even Europe would listen to whatever Tiger Woods has to say (provided it’s not about Ryder Cup foursomes) and Andrew Agassi might become even an anchorman like The Dan when he starts sharing his deep insights, particularly with the Middle East.

  18. JDOG,
    Preach it, brother! “Dances” has to be one of the worst movies of all time.

  19. Just ask yourself: “What would Leon do?”

  20. “Brilliantly insightful, Joe, but you forget the part where he’d choke on his own words when it finally came down to the vote on important issues…”

    It isn’t HIS fault his administration would be soft on defense.

  21. How about Latrell Sprewell as a voice for welfare reform? He’s got a family to feed.

  22. Bo Belinski, Dock Ellis, Lawrence Taylor, Muhammed Ali,
    today sports doesn’t feature near the flakiness.

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