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October 5, 2009

Politics-Free Safe Zones: Do They Exist Anymore?

National Review's Jay Nordlinger has a really nice column today about how politics seems to be seeping (seeping?  More like gushing) into the world of sportswriting, not to mention so many other areas that should ultimately be politics-free.

Last month, I complained about celebrities thinking that we want to know what their politics are.  This is kind of like that, but not really.  I don't really care what Joe Sportswriter thinks about Obama or Bush or whatever.  And if he wants to spout off with his opinion, that's fine.  But do it in a more appropriate venue!  I read the sports page to find out about the Canucks, or the Cubs or the Cardinals or whatever.  I don't appreciate little jibes or jokes or what have you sneaked in there just to prove that you're able to think about more than just sports.  They're out of place, and I would say this even if they were making an Obama joke (like this:  The Canucks, after going 0-2 in their first two games of the season, are seeming to be as effective in playing hockey as Obama is in passing health care legislation).

See?  I would start cursing if I saw that in a sports column, even though I would probably laugh at it in a more appropriate venue.

I've occasionaly noticed this sort of thing in movie reviews (another area where I think the writers, proud of their job as they probably are, sometimes seem to be going for the "See? I'm a real writer too!" vibe) but not as much in sportswriting up here in Vancouver.  I only glance through Sports Illustrated and read the articles that look interesting to me (and don't even do that anymore since I allowed the subscription to lapse), so I never really noticed the SI problems that Jay mentions.  However, I have no doubt that the problem does exist, especially given the numerous examples he provides.

These days, it's almost impossible to avoid a political jab in an area where you're not expecting it. I think it's almost impossible to go to a concert without getting something of the artist's politics (though the wife told me that Bryan Adams didn't really say much, she said there were a couple of comments).  The same can be said of movies, unfortunately (there was supposedly an out-of-the-blue Sarah Palin joke in the latest Sarah Jessica Parker bomb, and by the way, is anybody else getting tired of Sarah Palin jokes?).  If you're making a political movie, then fine.  But in a comedy that has nothing to do with politics?  Leave them out!

Jay gives some other brilliant examples that I'll just let you read and then be mystified at why these things would be said in those places.  However, in the Corner, Jay gives a couple of emailed examples, including the pilot of a tour helicopter!  Heaven knows what would have happened if the couple actually complained while they were in the air!

I also agree that funerals should be right out.  Not only is it inappropriate in and of itself, but unless the priest/reverend/whatever actually knows the person extremely well, he/she might be saying something that the deceased would be greatly offended by!

Again, I would be saying this even if most of the examples weren't left-wing examples.  Politics have their place, and they should be kept in it.  When you inject them where they don't belong, you're infringing on the rest of us trying to get a moment's peace from them.


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