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Jeremy Lin and Rick Santorum killed Whitney Houston

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My PC was on the fritz for more than a week, so it was hard for me to keep up with all the juicy February headlines. So many blog-worthy things have happened since Super Bowl Sunday: Whitney Houston died, Rick Santorum became a viable candidate for president, and America became obsessed with Jeremy Lin. I just bought a new laptop and I’m back. So what better way to tie all of these things together into one blog, than to give you an outrageous headline like the one above?

Whitney Houston
Let me start by saying that the death of Whitney Houston was indeed tragic. She was beautiful, she put out hits, and she had what I would consider one of the best voices in music. Whitney was a true American icon. However, Whitney’s likely drug induced death was treated with the same sympathy of that for a cancer or car crash victim. I’m not saying we should trounce on Whitney’s (or Amy Winehouse’s or Michael Jackson’s) grave, but my sense is that when these artistic geniuses die, the media and their spacey celebrity friends treat them like martyrs instead of less dignified perpetrators of their own demise.

One thing’s for sure – no one will ever top her performance of the Star Spangled Banner before Super Bowl XXV. Every celebrity with that awesome privilege should emulate that rendition of the national anthem. But they won’t. They will try to jazz it up, rock it out, or give it soul, and in the process, they will completely ruin it. Whitney’s version on that Super Bowl Sunday will always be the most memorable anthem at a modern day American sporting event.

Jeremy Lin
On February 4th after nine uneventful games of garbage time and riding the pine, Jeremy Lin was forced into the starting lineup for the New York Knicks because of a combination of injuries and ineffective play from guards Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas. Since that fateful day, the Knicks are 9-1, Lin is a global phenomenon, and Sports Illustrated hasn’t had a cover without him.

I would like Jeremy Lin if he was on just about any other team but the Knicks. He’s out of nowhere, pretty to watch, enthusiastic, and a Harvard graduate. But alas, I am a Celtics fan, and I see Knicks fans, players, and others related to the organization as mindless phonies.

Maybe it’s not Lin or even the Knicks that rub me the wrong way. It’s the hype. He is just an example of America’s pathetic obsession with fad and novelty. We have no patience for realistic perspective and judgment. Lin has played a whopping total of 10 games as a starter, and only 2 of those games have been against decent teams (Dallas and Los Angeles). In a month the guy could very well be back on the bench, and in 5 years be a trivia question. The Knicks beat Atlanta last night, a team which is an absolute M.A.S.H. unit right now. It will be interesting to see how they fare against Miami tonight.

Floyd Mayweather is not a bright guy, or even a somewhat respectable guy, but I don’t think he was way out of line for implying in his Tweets that some of the attention Lin gets is because he’s Asian. I don’t think Lin’s race plays a conscious role in his popularity with people, but it might play a subconscious role. People are naturally captivated by novelty. And to see races, ethnicities, and demographic groups excel in fields in which they are not traditionally represented is absolute novelty. This captivation is fairly innocent in that it actually plays off our desire to expose race as a non-factor for success. This novelty says anyone can succeed in any field. Nevertheless, it is not all together healthy either. This captivation feeds into the overall racial super-sensitivity that is absolutely distorting America’s reality and destroying our national dialogue.

An editor for ESPN was fired, and an announcer for MSG was reprimanded, for using the oh-so-colloquial and ubiquitous phrase “chink in the armor” when referring to some of Lin’s or the Knick’s weaknesses. These guys both say they have used that phrase hundreds of times to describe a team’s or player’s weakness, and didn’t mean anything by it. And I think I believe them. If race shouldn’t be an issue, then why are we looking for a racial slur in what is a pretty common expression? It reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry asks an Asian postman where there might be a Chinese restaurant in the area. The guy gets really offended even though Jerry asked only because a postman might naturally know the area well.

Rick Santorum
This fall, before the Republican primary season began, Rick Santorum was 2% in the polls. He was a second tier candidate at best. But just a couple of weeks ago, the former Senator from Pennsylvania won 3 state contests in one night to catapult himself into the national lead.

The Republican establishment and Tea Party types alike are somewhat dismissive of his success, often focusing on Romney’s campaign shortcomings instead. It seems they don’t think Santorum can beat Obama, even though he probably has the best chance to win the swing states that will decide the election. The Right also has a longstanding tradition of presidential candidate seniority, and it is almost as if they have willed Mitt Romney the throne. The Left is dismissive of his campaign because they hate him. His open moral convictions are bottles of liberal ipecac.

Most in the media attribute his success to a surge in voters’ dissatisfaction with Romney or Gingrich. But I am not that cynical. Santorum has a realness and substance that few other politicians have. He knows the issues, is even tempered, and unapologetic about his beliefs. This is in stark contrast to Obama and Romney, who will say anything for approval with little detail about the issue, or Newt, who at times seems impractical and erratic. Santorum has some sand too. He was part of the Gang of Seven, which exposed corruption in the House during the 90’s, and he was a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is great experience for a Commander In Chief.

The question now is can Santorum take the heat of being the front runner? Judging by the last couple of weeks I would say maybe not. He did not handle himself well in the news, nor in the most recent debate.

In the media, Santorum is too forthright in defending his personal beliefs, which are regularly taken out of context, and are often independent of his belief in policy. They are not necessarily uncommon beliefs either: no different than those of his Republican rivals, no different than those of most practicing Catholics and evangelicals. But in ultra-secular Christian-phobic America, they are the stuff of heresy. And because he is open about it, the media eats it up.

During the debate last night Santorum was horrible. Instead of defending himself unapologetically and rationally, he got flustered and lost in rhetoric. It will be interesting to see after the poor debate performance whether or not he will remain a serious contender. My bet is that he will be. I think Lin will stick around too. He’s good, there’s no doubt about it. Yet he just hasn’t proven to be THIS good. Rarely anyone does.

 

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3 Responses to “Jeremy Lin and Rick Santorum killed Whitney Houston”

  1. You forgot to mention that Santorum is the butt of one of the best internet gags of all times. Just google his name.

  2. Yes I know. Mr. Raymond Maddow reminds me of this sophisticated pertanent fact 3 to 4 times per week. Oh wait, it’s Rachael. Sorry.

  3. I thought people came to this site to be treated to humor in one of its many forms. Well, it’s too bad your PC issues didn’t last a bit longer than a week. The world doesn’t need more intolerance, hate or judgmentalness. Figures you’re a Santorum flunkie…those three words are exactly what he’s about, and he fools some by masking them under the guise of so-called “Christian” values. I’d respect people more if they “owned” those qualities, but I’d guess cognisant dissonance would only allow a few to do so…

    1. “However, Whitney’s likely drug induced death was treated with the same sympathy of that for a cancer or car crash victim….”

    Firstly, we don’t know yet what caused her death. At this point, it looks highly likely that it was the combo of a legal prescription drug for anxiety and alcohol. This could happen to almost anyone (and no, btw, I don’t use drugs–never have even tried, and drink quite lightly). It also hardly means she was back on illegal drugs OR even abusing prescription drugs.

    And, let’s say for argument’s sake that she was abusing drugs and that was, indeed, what killed her. Well, that does not mean to some of us (you know, those who are capable of compassion) that she should be any less mourned than others. By all account, the woman was not an unkind person, nor was she a murderer, etc. (Compassion, btw, is a “christian” trait in the true sense of the word. I don’t capitalize because one can be Jewish or of other faiths and possess what true Christians consider “christian” values.)

    Additionally, your arguments has holes because of your mention of cancer. The majority of cancers are caused by “lifestyle choices” (choices being key word) — such as smoking, over-eating (obesity), overeating sweets (linked to some cancers, as well as diabetes), lack of adequate exercise, and the list goes on.

    So, what are we supposed to do, mr. compassion? Save our deepest condolences for the “deserving” “true victims” of cancer — you know, those who did nothing to contribute to their demise and group the rest of them with Whitney?? Ah, but we’ll need a judge and jury to separate them into categories, a truly impossible task. But I’m certain you, Santorum, and your ilk would be up for the job!! In fact, perhaps even revel in it. You know, you’d get to throw stones from your collective-glass house.

    2. “Mr. Raymond Maddow reminds me of this sophisticated pertanent fact 3 to 4 times per week. Oh wait, it’s Rachael. Sorry.”

    All I can say to this is GROW UP. Over-used and wayyyy under-funny! This just perfectly proves my original point about intolerance and judgmentalness.

    Btw, a tip for you, buddy: If you are going to take a stance on something: 1.make sure your logic is not illogical (the cancer thing); 2. best to do without hate, as that’s a reflection on you, and will take away from your point; 3. at the very least, use humor/satire to take the edge off — especially critical when you’re spewing the crap you’re spewing…

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