Tuesday, April 01, 2008


More on sports (see also my last post): I opened today's New York Times and discovered that David Brooks had devoted an entire column to The Mental ABC's of Pitching, a book by H.A. Dorfman.

Brooks praises the book for its "moral tone." No, really, he does.

This jumped out at me:

In Dorfman's description of pitching, batters barely exist. They are vague, generic abstractions that hover out there in the land beyond the pitcher's control. A pitcher shouldn't judge himself by how the batters hit his pitches, but instead by whether he threw the pitch he wanted to throw.

Hmmm ... doesn't this seem awfully similar to Bush's Iraq policy? The war didn't help smoke out bin Laden, didn't reduce the global influence of al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, didn't bring true freedom or democracy or stability to Iraq, didn't ensure a steady supply of energy from the Middle East, didn't create a "reverse domino effect" in favor of genial pro-U.S., pro-Israel democracies in the region, and, ultimately, didn't make anyone safer or more secure except al-Qaeda -- but it's OK because Bush threw the pitch he wanted to throw.

So what if the Evildoers hit it out of the ballpark?


You read through the entire Brooks column and wonder what the hell he's getting at, then finally you come to The Moral Of The Story:

Not long ago, Americans saw the rise of a therapeutic culture that placed great emphasis on self-discovery, self-awareness and self-expression. But somehow the tide seems to have turned from the worship of self, and today's message is: transcend yourself in your job -- or get shelled.

Hunh? I thought we were supposed to be in an era of unprecedented wallowing in the sense of self, accompanied by relentless self-expression (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, blogs, yadda yadda yadda). You mean that's over already? I wish somebody would cc me on these memos.


UPDATE: I just want to remind you that this isn't the first time Brooks has found morality in baseball instruction -- here he is in 2005 singing the praises of the yuppified youth baseball his son played ("Those of us involved in this sort of life can see why people object to the over-the-topness of it all: the $200 bats, the professional coaches... [but it] has turned them into remarkable young men"). And I imagine the junior Brooks really won't grow up to be a crack dealer -- instead, he'll be a well-groomed hack screwing things up somewhere in the administration of, say, President George P. Bush, or a pompous pundit apologist for the same.

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