Mitch Berg, Shot in the Dark
"...I like they way they present their view even when I don't agree."
Lewis Medlock, Deliverance
"...fortuitously discovered in my recent wanderings - good stuff."
Zee, Road Sassy
"...entertaining and provocative. Just how I like it."
"...whew, wow, yowsa and yikes!" Jan Karlsbjerg
"Malignant." Tim Dailey
Fleetwood Mac snob." Mitch Berg, Shot in the Dark
THOUGHTS ON THE NFC TITLE GAME: If any of you happened to catch the NFC Title matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, you got to witness one of the most stunning upsets in the history of pro football.
Green Bay had a 16-0 lead at the half. And--get this--with 2:45 left in the game, the score was 19-7 Packers. One might reasonably ask how the Packers managed to lose this game. But lose it they did.
Without dwelling on the succession of pathetic (from the point of view of a Packers fan) plays in the last two minutes that pushed the game into overtime and then resulted in a successful Seattle drive to win, I'd like to look at the larger backdrop of the game.
Seattle, Washington: A dynamic, forward-looking city that is one of the nation's most important tech capitals (and as such, always a magnet to the educated). I know quite a bit about Seattle because I used to live there. That was in the Seventies, before Seattle was a tech capital--Microsoft had just been founded in a garage and the city was better known for its bustling port and nearby paper mills. For all of that, it was still an optimistic, forward-looking town... which is exactly why it has become the economic powerhouse that it is today.
Then, ahem, there is Wisconsin.
It would be hard to find a more backward-looking state if you bent over backwards trying. Actually, there probably isn't one. Even in the good old days before the Tea Party rethuglicans turned Wisconsin upside down and sold it to a few billionaires as a lab experiment, there was always trouble lurking under the happy-go-lucky "Scandahoovian" facade. For instance, the state's chronic inability to address its out-of-control DUI problem (first DUI is a traffic ticket and residents with 10-plus DUI's are not uncommon) and nasty tendency to blame any local educational initiatives on "Madison libruls" (the Tea Party's preferred spelling, God knows why). The same basic stock settled both Wisconsin and Minnesota--Norwegians, Swedes, and Germans, primarily--but for whatever reason, Minnesotans have always placed a high value on education while Wisconsin has demonstrated, time and again, a deep suspicion of both education and educators. That Wisconsin has always had a (until recently) gem of a public university is nothing short of miraculous--though most Wisconsinites associate UW-Madison with its football team, not the pointy-headed degrees it issues or the great research that has been done on campus.
As probably befits a state that doesn't trust education, Wisconsin has never really seemed to figure out which way it wants to go politically. What can you say about a state that has elected U.S. Senators as far left as Russ Feingold and Tammy Baldwin or as far right as Eugene McCarthy and Ron Johnson? What can you say about a state whose governors have included progressives like Fightin' Bob LaFollette and Gaylord Nelson as well as radical Tea Party/Koch Industries mouthpiece Scott Walker? The only Wisconsin politician who seems remotely centrist is former governor Tommy Thompson--and he was overwhelmingly popular too.
Wisconsinites never knew what they wanted, until they elected Scott Walker. The thing you keep hearing is that "he's one of us"--although actually he's from Iowa by way of Colorado, and Wisconsinites usually have a hard time trusting fully anyone who wasn't born and raised here. Of course, most Walker voters believe he's from Wisconsin... because, once again, they haven't done their homework.
But the thing they like about Walker is that he's uneducated, and has the same bitterness and suspicion toward the better-educated that they do. Almost every time Walker opens his mouth, he steps all over himself and betrays his profound lack of learning and intellectual curiosity. That the man thinks he's Presidential material is beyond laughable, but Wisconsinites have set him up to believe that he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Wisconsin has finally found a man who speaks for Wisconsin.
And that's a problem for the Green Bay Packers. Wherever they go, they now have to represent the "Jethro state" that makes Mississippi looks like a bastion of intellectualism (remember that Wisconsin let itself out of the closet--just a few years ago it was a fairly respectable place to live). Packers fans, to the rest of the nation, used to be "those crazy, loveable cheeseheads"; now, they're pathetic rubes and simpletons whose idea of fun is destroying their own state because they don't want to see teachers make a decent living.
You could say that Wisconsin has become the anti-Seattle.
And on some level, I think the Seattle Seahawks sensed this. They had to know that they were playing a team that Scott Walker touts as if he discovered it (no doubt because that's "quintessentially Wisconsin" just like brats and Friday-night fish fries), whereas they represent one of America's most advanced cities. Seattleites can smoke pot on the street if they so desire (no more state funds wasted on a pointless "war on pot"); Wisconsinites can be arrested for carrying newspapers into their own state capitol building.
The Packers, like Wisconsin, started out great. But for the Seahawks, it was just a matter of waiting until the Packers (like Wisconsin) killed themselves by believing a lie--that they had somehow "won"--and making all the stupid mistakes that came with that lie.
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