Almond Killjoy


But of course: “Effete New York Times Asks: ‘Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?'”, as spotted by Tim Graham of Newsbusters:

The New York Times has a very strange sense of morality. Abortion at any time for any reason is never savage. When the Kermit Gosnell case erupted, the Times could only editorialize it was irrelevant: “What does the trial of a Philadelphia doctor who is accused of performing illegal late-term abortions by inducing labor and then killing viable fetuses have to do with the debate over legal abortion?”

But on Sunday, the Times Magazine published a column titled “Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?” Writer Steve Almond, best known previously for resigning an adjunct professorship at Boston College because Condoleezza Rice was picked for commencement speaker, argued that sending men to the NFL was like sending our underclass soldiers off to war in Afghanistan (don’t miss the part about the late Pat Tillman):


After ranting on about professional sports being “monetized arenas for hypermasculinity,” (an accusation that Pinch’s Eloi-staffed New York Times need never worry about receiving) and football as “a distraction from the moral incoherence of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq” — well, that’s one way to criticize President Obama’s feckless Middle East policy, I suppose — Almond goes on to write:

No single episode speaks to this twisted dynamic more pointedly than the death of Pat Tillman, an idealistic N.F.L. star who enlisted in the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. In 2004, Tillman was killed by friendly fire in a bungled ambush in Afghanistan. His superiors orchestrated an elaborate cover-up that included burning his uniform and recast the circumstances of his death as a heroic charge into enemy territory.

But suppose Tillman had survived, returned to play in the N.F.L. and wound up with brain damage at age 50. Would we see him as a victim of friendly fire? Would we acknowledge our role in his demise? Or would we construct our own personal cover-ups?

The N.F.L. and the bloated media cult that feeds off it rely on fans not to connect the dots between our consumption of football and brain-damaged human beings.

Oh how I pity the person hosting a Super Bowl party next week to which Almond — or anybody who’s read his column to use as cocktail party talking points — shows up.


One person who did read Almond’s column is Ann Althouse, who’s having lots of fun with it:

The question-asker is Steve Almond. Am I supposed to know who he is? (Is it immoral not to know?) There’s no note about the author on the page and the name isn’t a hot link. What’s his moral authority?

Perhaps he wants his ideas judged by the strength of this one text, like an anonymous pamphleteer, but I Google his name and see that he’s a short-story writer and that he was an adjunct professor in creative writing at Boston College who resigned in protest when Condoleezza Rice was brought in to do the school’s commencement address. Moral authority noted.

Here’s a picture of Almond wearing a brown shirt that says “chocolate boy.” Lest you take that the wrong way, his website is called and he wrote a nonfiction book called “Candyfreak,” about his love for candy and his search for the stories of “the small candy companies that are persevering in a marketplace where big corporations dominate.”

I’d embed the photo, but the photographer, who seems to have just snapped a pic when Almond spoke at a high school in Minnesota, put lots of “not in the public domain” language around it when he uploaded it to Wikipedia. How boring! That photographer lacks moral authority in this world of creative commons. It’s a picture of somebody else, and that someone else was nice enough to show up and allow photographs.


But the photo at the end of Althouse’s post, after an assist from Camille Paglia, definitely makes up for it.

I certainly hope everyone at MSNBC reads Almond’s column on the air and brings in Bob Costas to ask him if it’s immoral to broadcast the NFL, if you believe that the sky is falling so quickly, we all must do this:

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Last year’s Super Bowl was broadcast by CBS, whose nightly news anchor Scott Pelley once compared global warming skeptics to ‘Holocaust deniers.’ I wonder if anyone will ask him about the immorality about his network having lavished so much attention on the event?

Speaking of which, the NFL has talked about rescheduling the game next week if sufficient quantities of severe global warming risks negatively impacting the fans in the Meadowlands. (Pete  Rozelle, who invented the notion of the Super Bowl to played in warm weather stadiums as essentially a giant annual press junket for the nation’s sports reporters, must be looking down and laughing his head off over his successors’ decision to hold the game there.)  The league has only one hope for the Super Bowl to air on schedule next weekend: It must keep Al Gore as far away from the stadium — possibly the entire Northeast Corridor — as humanly possible.


Earlier: Interview: Daniel J. Flynn Fights Back Against The War On Football.


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