Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Thoughts on Baseball, Pt. 1

I'm tired of empty gestures. I was so ready, on September 12, 2001, to jump up and do whatever was asked to make this a better world -- the people of this country were poised to build and create and reach out and change, but the only challenge we got from the country's "leaders" was go out and buy flags with "Made in China" stamped on them.

After irony was declared dead, it took a few months for it to revive itself. I think I felt that healthy cynicism creeping back the first time I saw a gas-station sign that said "GOD BLESS AMERICA SEPT. 11 MARLBOROS $21.99/CASE CHEAP SMOKES!!!!" or something along those lines. One of the biggest opportunities I've ever missed was taking edgy photos of all those signs across the country in the months after the attacks and publishing them in a large glossy coffee-table book. I like to think that would have made a lot of money.

Now, even many of the "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! CHEETOS 3/$1" are gone. But in case you've forgotten we're at war, and that we are supposed to never forget a large variety of things, we've still got the ruination of the Seventh Inning Stretch.

At the Metrodome, which the Minnesota Twins call home, they played "Proud to be an American" for a few months after the attacks, before "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The song should be outlawed for a variety of offenses -- plodding melody, vapid lyrics, craven jingoism and patriotism for all the wrong reasons. No one should have to stand up for it, let alone sing it and enjoy it.

Now they've switched to "God Bless America," a song people have a vague idea about, although "white with foam" slips most people's minds, for some reason. "God Bless America," and THEN "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

I've had it. I'm at a baseball game, spending on credit, eating disgustingly delicious foods full of nitrites, nitrates and preservatives, drinking beer, caring desperately about a game. What could be more American than that? I'd say singing "God Bless America" at the stretch gilds the baseball lily, but that would be giving the gesture too much credit.

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