29 April 2006

Intriguing editorial from the New York Times

Or New York Birdcage Liner, as the inimitable spurwing plover calls it.

The reason this particular editorial intrigues me is that I can't tell if it's serious. It seems that the Capitol Hill softball league has split into two, due to a difference in opinion on how the championship series should be held, and the New York Times considers this event proof positive that the wicked, backbiting spirit of Congress has poisoned everything in Washington.

On the one hand, such sentences as "Complaints that easygoing Democratic players prefer 'softball welfare' and that hard-sliding Republicans are into 'class warfare' precipitated a schism," "[the championship system supposedly preferred by Democrats] forces the teams with the strongest records to risk playing one another in the opening challenges, rather than letting them feast first on the weaker teams, as in the great American way of professional sports," and "Perhaps Congress should take time out from mangling the budget to contemplate what its tooth-and-claw behavior has wrought in skewing one of the few bits of innocent fun in Washington" sound like excerpts from the sort of subtle tongue-in-cheek article I might write to mock people who take this sort of thing too seriously.

But on the other hand, we are talking about the New York Times. Is there any group more prone to take itself far too seriously?

Plus, the anti-American remark quoted above and the carefully fostered impression that Republicans are responsible for the controversy really sound very NYT-esque. Notice that while the political alignments of the commissioners of the two leagues are given, the alignments of the teams in the leagues are not. Yet the NYT goes to great effort to make sure that the reader has the impression that the Republicans have monolithically split off to form their own league, leaving the Democrats bereft.

All things considered, I think the editorial may be serious.

And that's sad.


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