1st and Ten - The Weekly Tendown, May 2-8 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dear Internet:

I have no air conditioning.  Had no air conditioning for about a month.  I live in South Florida.  Yesterday it was 88 degrees.

I want you to know that's my circumstance.  The AC is beyond repair, but I'm moving soon; just as my car finally stopped running literally as I was about to trade it in; my air conditioner, which has limped along for the past half dozen years spurted out its last breath of cool juice a month ago.  Had my house not lost 75% of its value in the past 3 years, I assume I'd dip into my retirement fund (jokes, I tell the jokes; I'll never be able to retire) and pop down a few grrrrr on a new system (my AC was triple old). But as, one way or the other, I won't be the owner of this house by July, that's not an investment that makes a lot of sense.

So, I've just been sweating it out.  Yes, I'm miserable.  Yes, this is my life.  Yes, yes, that's how it is.  Everything's comin' up Milhouse.

But we got Tendown 25 today!  And this train don't pull no sleepers.  Let's get it poppin'!

First:  By the Time I Get to Arizona

Back in Tendown 24, I talked about the Show Your Papers immigration statute passed in Arizona, specifically casting it in a Tendown meme - the distance between right wing/Tea Bag rhetoric about the need to keep government small and to oppose tyranny with violence if needed and the reality of their support for the two decade long middle eastern wars and their worship of whatever type of skull cracking police procedure is in vogue. 

It's not exactly a conundrum worthy of great minds..  Government power is a problem if its intruding on your life.  But someone else's life?  Especially if that someone has a darker complexion than you?  Absolutely.  That's what government's proper role is.  When middle aged white guys want to load up their guns and go to a health care debate - that's the proper exercise of the 2nd Amendment.  But if police, based solely on their judgment, want to pull someone over in Arizona and demand papers, then the 4th Amendment takes a back seat.  After all, there are plenty of white people in Arizona who want to bring their guns to Starbucks without worrying about a brown skinned person ahead of them in line. 

But the story was advanced this week - this week, the Phoenix Suns wore their alternative uniform, Los Suns in a playoff game, expressly in protest of the new Arizona state law.

And that, I have to tell you, is amazing.

In grad school, one of my primary research interests (enough that had I decided to pursue a PhD, I would have made it the focus of my dissertation) was anti-establishment speech in sporting venues.  The examples, beyond Smith and Carlos in '68 are small.  The occasional flag salute protest by athletes (which never turns out well in the court of public opinion); the even more rare fan generated activism, and not much beyond that.  As a venue - the systemic pressure on all who enter it maintain a border between sports and state (despite the allowance of any form of establishment speech, pro-war, pro-military, pro-church, pro-government, pro-status quo, and the most obvious - pro-corporate, so pervasive it goes without political analysis) almost always serves to chill. 

But not this week.  With thousands outside the arena protesting against the anti-4th amendment law, with fans inside the arena making similar statements:

...the Phoenix Suns made an historic statement in opposition to a law of their own state this week.

The TNT pre-game show, as noted by lefty sportswriter (I bet he has air conditioning) Dave Zirin was filled with similar sentiments, with Barkley and Kenny Smith supporting the Suns choice of protest and Chris Webber referencing Arizona's previous refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a historic analogue. 

It was exciting.  The most exciting sporting event of the year. 

After the jump - the rest of the Tendown.

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