September 06, 2003


The Washington Post’s Tom Shales is upset about an NFL-promoting concert:

The event was deemed so auspicious that George W. Bush took yet more time off from fighting the war on terrorism to appear, via videotape, at the end of the concert and just before the game, in the manner of a TV huckster. He tried to make some connection between football and "the spirit that guides the brave men and women" of the military, much as the concert had done.

He also said pro football "celebrates the values that make our country so strong." Like what, violence and greed?

Ban football! That this event occured at the Washington Mall also causes Shales terrible grief:

Perhaps the Mall will be available now to every American for weddings, birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. No, probably not. You'll have to be a giant corporation to take over this precious public space and, in effect, spill a ton of garbage all over it.

Shales didn’t complain back in January, the last time a ton of garbage was spilled over “this precious public space”.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 6, 2003 05:49 PM

Considering Spears' recent (albeit slightly ditzy) comments about U.S. geopolitics have already irritated certain segments of the left, I'm sure someone will find a connection between Bush's showing up on the pre-game show after Spears performance, which included having two guys pull her pants down revelaing a pair of ultra-tight shorts -- all this at the same time period that eight of the nine Democratic candidates were debating over on PBS. It was obviously a combined, devious attempt to distract the American voters from what's really important with some gratuitous T&A on a channel owned by a big multinational corporation (Disney). Plus, MNF announcer Al Michaels is a staunch Republican. And Rush Limbaugh was on ABC's sister network, ESPN, at the same time. The conspiracy is obvious! (but to their credit, the Democrats gathered in Albuquerque at least were not lip-synching their remarks, as most of the musical performers on the Washington D.C. mall apparently were, and their strategies were better thought out than the Jets' third down game plans, though that's not saying much...)

Posted by: John at September 6, 2003 at 06:30 PM

Listen to him. Shales KNOWS garbage. He spends every waking moment wallowing in it. He's a TV critic for gosh sakes! He's spent over 20 years watching it, writing about it and thinking about it. No wonder his output is garbage, too.

Posted by: timks at September 6, 2003 at 07:23 PM

I think he's scraping the bottom of the barrel for stuff to complain about. Must have been a slow news day in 'TV critic-land' and there was a deadline to be met.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at September 6, 2003 at 09:25 PM

Once again, the disconnect between elites and those they purport to represent...

1.) Bessinger, in his now classic book on Texas high school football, "Friday Night Lights", remarked how George H.W. Bush showed up at a game to glad hand voters while it would never occur to anyone in the Dukakis campaign to do likewise.

2.) Who in the Democratic National Committee even looked at an NFL schedule and said, "Let's do this on Wednesday when blue collar, working families will tune in"? No one, obviously.

3.) A young, and not bad looking, Trotskyite I used to chat up in college would rail against the capitalist system. When I asked her how she would pay the salaries of the Green Bay Packers, she replied, "We (her Sparticist Youth League) have no position on that"!!!

Joe Six-Pack Cheesehead lives and dies with the Packers week to week results and they didn't have a position?!?!

The USSR, etc., had a (dishonest) model for professional athletes/teams and give fat bastard Michael Moore credit for at least paying lip service to the Detroit Tigers but generally speaking, most lefties do not grasp anything about what a working class American might enjoy and support.

"We hate sports, patriotism, guns, and smoking/drinking/junk food. Vote for us!"

Posted by: JDB at September 7, 2003 at 01:23 AM

Tom Shales is, and still for the most part remains, a sharp-elbowed and witty television critic. He's won one (if not two) Pulitzer Prizes for television commentary. Some excellent commentary over his career with the Post.

However, over the years he's becoming, it seems to me, increasing, well, liberal (e.g., his outrageous review of Bernard Goldberg's book "Bias") and removed or distanced from America. That latter change isn't necessarily bad, however; or for that matter, the former either. But what was once somewhat of a pose (not using that pejoratively) - a witty and talented one - has become a sneer, a spiteful and ugly one.

There's a difference between criticizing low-brow or middle American culture or attitudes in a
attempt to, well, lift UP, and looking down at those beliefs with no desire to correct them or improve them. Shales has become the latter.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 7, 2003 at 01:48 AM

Given his size, shouldn't you have titled this post "Shales Whales." Actually that sounds like a fan club.

Posted by: Ric at September 7, 2003 at 01:48 AM

Oh, and another thing...if working class Americans, despite the Left's best efforts to show them the error of their ways, persist in their foolish devotion to sports, patriotism, etc., it's never because the working person has made an informed decision but because they have been "tricked", "fooled", or "lied to" in making that choice by some huge, omnipotent rightwing entity.

The NFL, Bush/Murdoch, NRA, Big Tobacco, Big Liquor, and McDonalds are to blame...

Posted by: JDB at September 7, 2003 at 02:08 AM

I'm going to be tricked and fooled into watching the NFL for about six hours tomorrow; unless, of course, my wife untricks and unfools me with the clarity of chores which need to be done.

Posted by: Jerry at September 7, 2003 at 03:00 AM

Tom Shales can be very funny when he wants to be. But, he's just a little bit too cynical. There are good arguments for not turning the Mall into a commercial zone; they seem a bit hollow to me. The annual Smithsonian Folk Life Festival has commercial sponsors too.

By the way, Tom, the plural of bar mitzvah is bar mitzvot. Get a copy-editor, please.

Posted by: Eric Jablow at September 7, 2003 at 03:20 AM

Shales has gone from writing tongue-in-cheek to now simply sticking out his tongue.

Somewhat similar to Mencken's decline. "Boobgeoisie" to "epater le bourgeois" (okay, not "shock" but ridicule).


Posted by: SteveMG at September 7, 2003 at 05:29 AM

Maybe a couple of defensive backs should use Tom for tackle practice. Or maybe take him off to the showers and teach him to be a wide reciever?

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 7, 2003 at 12:21 PM

Come on, you guys. It's mean to laugh at the funny man.

Posted by: Harry at September 8, 2003 at 03:22 AM