Thursday, October 15, 2009

They feel pity, such self-pity

"I am without doubt the person who's been the most persecuted in the entire history of the world and the history of man," announced Silvio Berlusconi, Italian prime minister and Man of Sorrows. The self-described "dam against the Left in Italy" has to keep taking time off from governing to defend himself against various charges of bribery and corruption, and it's forcing him to curtail his nude parties and limiting his opportunities to make foot-in-mouth comments about how tan President Obama looks. Long accustomed to corrupt, incompetent government, Italians shrug and discuss their chances in next summer's World Cup.

But Mr. Berlusconi has a rival in suffering, and it's our very own Rush Limbaugh, denied an opportunity to invest millions of dollars in the St. Louis Rams. Needless to say, this has nothing to do with his comparison of the NFL to "the Bloods and the Crips," or his suggestion to a black caller that she "take the bone out of your nose and call me back." It's a huge plot to violate his First Amendment right of free speech (duh?) by the NFL Players Association, the NFL itself, the Obama Administration and, of course, the liberal media's "blind hatred." (That means you, Olbermann.) The whole spectacle is funnier than a circus train full of fundamentalists.

"College" football -- I prefer to think of it as minor-league football -- may be a religion in some parts of this country, but the National Football League is first and last a business, a capitalist enterprise that keeps its eyes firmly on the marketplace. Its enormous public-relations apparatus swings into action whenever a player is arrested, or fails a drug test, or gets caught doing something America won't tolerate, like arranging dog fights. It can't afford to annoy the season ticket-holders, or the even more important television sponsors. It is deeply conservative, patriotically supporting every war that comes along and deploying military color guards and bands at every possible occasion. So how disgusting do you have to be for the NFL to tell you you're money's no good? Now we know.

You're right, Rush-trade, it's a plot. All the decent people got together and said no to the Oxy-addicted racist with the hog-like countenance, just as they said no to John McCain eleven months ago. You may have millions of listeners, but it's short of a majority, even among NFL owners. You may have millions of dollars burning a hole next to the Ring-Ding crumbs in your pocket, but you'd be better off sponsoring a NASCAR team, or -- and I'm just thinking out loud here -- looking into Italian citizenship. Those people will put up with anything.



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