Friday, July 22, 2011

It starts here

This post is for right now. It is not waiting for the perfect moment. The moment is always perfect and is just waiting for this post. This is just what happened this morning and struck me as worthy of comment. I saw something that made my bile rise and my face curl into a sneer. This was all coupled with the helplessness of watching something happen while not being able to do anything about it because it was on TV. That is the essential feeling of watching TV and wanting to talk back to the insanity. The very definition of impotent rage.
I was at my hotel, reading this post by Dave Zirin in the Nation about the NFL owners vs. players (i.e. workers) standoff. This is a situation where the owners, who have the most impervious cash cow in history between their legs, are trying to negotiate a new agreement with players that will have the players working harder (i.e. playing more games) and capping salaries (i.e. funneling more revenues to owners). Re-apportioning the distribution of the business' income toward the top while making the employees work harder is exemplary of the larger economy where companies downsize and CEOs make record amounts. The NFL Labor struggle is even more analogous to the American working-/middle-class struggle than that; just as wall-street CEOs and investors were bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of trillions, to keep them just as fat and happy as they were before the crash, NFL owners have had their stadiums funded by taxpayers to the tunes of hundreds of millions. If we are to take a side in this struggle as fans, we are obviously also on the side of the working and middle class in America.
But the TV show I was watching didn't want to cover current events...
Dave Zirin quotes a courageous and prescient NFL star, Troy Polamalu, calling it like it is: “I think what the players are fighting for is something bigger. A lot of people think it’s millionaires versus billionaires and that’s the huge argument. The fact is its people fighting against big business. The big business argument is ‘I got the money and I got the power therefore I can tell you what to do.’ That’s life everywhere. I think this is a time when the football players are standing up and saying, ‘No, no, no, the people have the power.”

At that very moment, Good Morning America was teasing a video about the very same Polamalu. I turned and rose, pulling the Democracy Now! podcast out of my ears. I keyed to the TV, holding my breath so I wouldn't miss a syllable of the clip of Polamalu delivering the above quote. I anticipated the GMA host setting it up by saying something like, "Troy Polamalu speaks the plain truth about the NFL lockout..." Tender hooks of triumphal music rose from the orchestra. Instead, this is what they delivered:
(fast-forward to 1:47)

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