Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Subjunctive Hooey

Just watching SportsCenter getting the blather bellows loosened up for this weekend's NFL action. The show was employing some deranged, sportscasterly form of the Socratic Method in which one talking head would toss out a question, which would then go up on the screen while the other answered it, while highlights and music played (for the kids, you know).

Anyway, under the rubric of "QB who will be most talked about Monday" the response was Peyton Manning, whose Indianapolis Colts play the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. The reason the NFL's tub-thumpingest QB will be the "most talked about" one?

Because if [the Colts] win, it will have been a spectacular performance, Peyton will have taken on a great defense, and hammered them and played well and thrown touchdowns and got them in rhythm and put the ball in the end zone. ... but if they don't win, you know what we're going to say? No matter the result, is it's going to be Peyton Manning's fault according to everybody and boy, he didn't win the big game, why can't Peyton win the Super Bowl? Peyton Manning is the reason this team's here for the most part. They will win because of him, not in spite of him if they do. He must perform in this game.
This is an excellent example of what Bob Somerby, if he wrote about sports media, would call "script typing." It's when the media collectively decides what the reasons for something happening will be before the event actually occurs, and then as events unfold, slots data points into the preconceived narrative. This is more than infuriatingly lazy and dishonest, especially for a profession that likes to talk about providing the first draft of history. It's simple eisegesis.

The emperor has no clothes _ and even some blow-dried, fourth-string dope working for ESPN can see it. (Five bucks says he goes and uses one of those storylines anyway when Chris Berman and company take his temperature on the matter after the fact). I could go on for several spittle-flecked pages about how much this whole practice baffles, angers and saddens me. But I'll spare you all the Cotton Mather treatment and just go grumbling off to the liquor cabinet, which has Bourbon to soothe my soul.

In conclusion: Tennessee fans should shut up about how Peyton deserved the Heisman over Charles Woodson.

Also, this would be an excellent time to add Fire Joe Morgan to our list of recommended reading. Lo, it is done.


CrimeNotes said...

This is a test comment. Can we still get comments?

Flop said...

Yes, we're back on line.

CrimeNotes said...


Flop said...

Hoot indeed, Crimenotes. Hoot indeed.

22280 said...

Hoot indeed.

This is for all the doubters.

President of the official CSB Boise State fan club

22280 said...

Wow - vindication for this post.

Colts win and Peyton does nothing.