Saturday, February 20, 2010

Says you!

How many of us have heard children arguing:

Nu uh! Yeah Huh! Nu uh! Yeah Huh! Nu uh! Yeah Huh! Nu uh! Yeah Huh!

It's as pointless as it is annoying. Sadly, a lot of what I hear on talk radio and on certain Internet discussion boards is exactly like this.

Americans seem to have totally lost their grip with objective reality. Scientific facts are now up for debate. Historical facts are questioned ad nauseam, while conspiracy theories are discussed as if they have the same standing as historical facts.

Leonard Pitts, Jr. recently relayed such an encounter with a reader.* Pitts notes that, "We are a people estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from even objective truth." His observations echo Susan Jacoby's recent book, "The Age of American Unreason."

On more than one occasion I have been asked if I "believe" in evolution or if I "believe" in global warming, as if the validity of such scientific facts relied at all upon faith.

I made the mistake of listening to the "Walton and Johnson" show one morning and received a hearty dose of modern post-intellectualism. In what is advertised to be a humorous program, the hosts relentlessly bashed all things liberal and scientific like snarky school boys blurting out insults about their romantic rivals.

Facts and information from reputable sources were absent. Instead, the program mostly consisted of reading odd news items and then drawing outrageous conclusions about how the story proved either the validity of their own political, social and economic views or discredited the views of those who thought differently. There was a lot of back and forth, "Yeah, that's right," and, "See, that's what we've been saying."

I guess I understand why they left New Orleans years ago to join their contrarian comrades in Houston. What is disturbing is that they are popular enough to be heard beyond Texas and in markets such as New Orleans. Does anyone find their program funny? Are there really enough shallow-thinking, gullible listeners to sustain the program? The answer to the second question is obviously yes.

One thing upon which I did find I could agree with Walton and Johnson: America appears to be on the decline. And these guys are a perfect example of why.

*Note: I first read this editorial in The Times-Picayune but could not find it posted on their web page.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Touching Saints victory

You're probably not supposed to touch it. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's bad for it if you do.

But it seems that everyone who gets an opportunity does in fact touch it--and they touch it as much as they can.

I don't know what other teams and coaches have done with the Lombardi Trophy, but I've certainly never seen anyone before the Saints actually encourage fans to rub their unwashed hands over it. Surely the smooth sterling silver football on a pedestal was not meant to be so handled. Yet that's what the Saints have been doing with it ever since a little after 9pm Sunday night.

Not just hold it high for all to see, mind you. Not just carry it around or put on public display. No sir. After the festivities had ended at the Super Bowl, Coach Sean Payton made a point to bring the trophy over to the sideline where Saints fans were gathered. They leaned over the railing and he held up that symbol of victory so that they could all touch it.

He did it again when the team returned to New Orleans the next day. Coach Payton held the most beautiful reward in the entire football universe up through the sun roof of his car. Fans lining the road reached out to touch it, like religious pilgrims yearning to touch the hem of a holy man's robe.

That's perfectly fitting in my opinion.

Everyone in the Saints organization has consistently maintained that the victory in Super Bowl XLIV belongs to the fans. It's our team, and our trophy. We paid for it--not just in public support for the Superdome, the Saints training facility and the annual support from the state treasury. We paid for it in years of tickets and logo shirts and "Dome Foam.".

Even more than that, we paid for it with loyalty, hope and perseverance. We paid for it in our own blood, toil, tears and sweat. So much toil. So many tears.

All paid off now. All paid off in the simple elegance of a 22-inch tall, 7-pound trophy.

By the time the Lombardi Trophy is finally positioned in a glass case somewhere for long-term display, that new trophy will probably not look so new anymore. In fact, don’t' be surprised if it looks about as battered and tested as a trophy of at least 43 years of age. And wouldn't that be appropriate?