First off, hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Mine was spent well in Philadelphia with my kids and here in Annapolis with pals, the highlight of the presents being a bottle of Elijah Craig, small batch. Yummm…
But as I took a couple of days off from writing around the holiday, the flame that keeps my spleen venting afresh did not abate. This specific malfeasance is a subject I indirectly touched upon once before. In fact, it was the first piece I wrote for OpsLens moons ago. That article was a criticism of Robert De Niro for his childish and loony anti-Trump gesture at the Tonys, Grammys, or another one of those snooze-fests. They have so many self-absorbed award shows out there it is surprising there isn’t an award show for best award show.
A proper society would relegate entertainment personnel and sports figures to a status level just below chimney sweeps. But since we have no aristocracy of military merit or bloodline —pity that— we raise false aristocracies in their place.
Hierarchies are natural. We just have the wrong ones.
Now before you go screaming “snob,” it’s not as if I would fare well in such a system. My military service was honorable yet uneventful. My greatest martial sacrifice was the watered-down whiskey at the VII Corps Officers Club.
One of my Christmas presents, that I got early, was a 23 and Me kit. It showed a couple of interesting surprises and settled the fact that I share a common ancestry with royalty. Specifically the hostage-taking O’Neill Kings of Ireland. That lineage separated about 10,000 years ago. So, nobody will be giving me the Order of the Garter anytime soon.
I applaud aristocracies of military merit for obvious reasons, as they laud honor, gallantry, and devotion to duty. The case for a hereditary aristocracy is a bit dodgier. I think it rests upon the notion that the aristos, regardless of their private behavior, have to at least pretend to act nobly. We do not know at all the private demeanor of Her Majesty or her grandchildren like the Duke of Cambridge. But they cut a fine public figure and serve as head of state and are an incarnation of national spirit/history much better than grasping politicians of any party or variety.
A figure who does not cut that noble of an image is that Mensa member and NBA phenom, LeBron James.
Two recent statements by Mr. James illustrate the point. First, he compared NFL owners to slave masters. Notice, much like Mrs. Clinton recently on European immigration, he made sure to pick another league so as not to gore his own sacred ox. Two, in another missive he went for that easiest of targets for the idiot class: the Jews. His stupidity consists of posting to Instagram a video of him grooving to the lyrics from some moronic rap song (moronic rap, isn’t that redundant?) that opines, “We been (no points for grammar, LeBron) getting that Jewish money. Everything is Kosher.”
Ah, the sheer genius of the man.
Most would find it strange to pay “slaves” millions and millions of dollars per annum, allowing said “slaves” to live lifestyles far above the average citizen. Now, these “slaves” earned their place by excellence at their chosen vocation: sports. All fine and dandy as they are taking good advantage of the benefits of a free market. But for a man like James, who himself earns a very pretty shekel, to criticize the owners of another league in another sport for putting up the cash and taking the risk in owning a team, is like whining about the owner of a Monte Carlo Day Spa while sipping his Pol Roger.
It would be rank effrontery if James likely understood the meaning of the term. It’s either trendy racism against whites, progressive class hatred of capitalists (you know, the ones who gave Mr. James his job), or a public relations consultant’s idea of how to get some holiday headlines. No matter what, it’s cretinous and shows an infantile view of economics, history and the world at large. But then, the Lakers did not hire Mr. James because of his keen wit and analytical capabilities. Too far? I’m getting close to bigotry? Guess what?
Actual equality when it comes to race or ethnicity means you are judged on factors other than your heritage. Mr. James’ dumb remark has nothing to do with his race and everything to do with his lack of insight into what he was claiming. You don’t get a free pass or, conversely, unfairly pilloried just because you are black, brown, pink (it’s always seemed to me that Anglo-Saxons are rather pink), or any other pigment. And, given the results of the aforementioned 23 and Me genetic test, the only areas in the world I don’t have ancestors from are Australia, India, and a large swath of Asian Russia. Just five generations back I have folks from West Africa. So, take that Whitey!
The basketball star’s quote from the song reflects a part of something that has been known for decades: the civil rights political alliance between rational Jews and blacks has long since been over. From Jesse Jackson’s “Hymietown” line to this, some blacks and others have fallen for the age-old trap of anti-semitism based on resentment and jealousy of Jewish intellectual and career achievement. We’re not supposed to say that, but there it is. Even those who mouth leftist platitudes on race, behind closed doors many Jews do not take too kindly to criticism coming from those whose cause they championed and were at the forefront of almost since its inception.
And Kosher money? Well, for a rabbi to bless cash would be an interesting sight to behold. One I never gazed upon during my Jewish upbringing and adulthood. It’s based on the stereotype that all Jews are wealthy, owners of all that “Jewish money.” As a man who grew up in a very middle class Jewish household I’d like to know where the Jewish money fairy was, the one who was bestowing the geld to fit the stereotype. I must have missed shul that day.
Far be it from me to criticize Mr. James on sports tactics, strategy, and execution. His excellence is evident. And he has a First Amendment right to say whatever he pleases. But perhaps he and celebs like Mr. De Niro should engage a sentient tutor before they comment on matters far above their understanding and experience, as they thus alienate many potential ticket buyers.
It would no doubt make the studio heads and team front offices who “own” them quite happy indeed.