Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Morning Schadenfreude

So it's Monday, and our only day to recuperate between Kentucky Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo. Might as well spend it refreshing ourselves in the misery of our fellow human beings...

1) Lost in the buzz about LeBron James' winning of the MVP award is the story that this year's NBA executive of the year is the Denver Nuggets VP Mark Warkentien. The article on explains why:
Warkentien was the architect of the biggest deal in the NBA this season, trading Allen Iverson and his big contract for Chauncey Billups. The move sparked Denver's franchise-tying 54-win regular season and the Nuggets' first playoff series win in 15 years.
How does that taste AI? They will actually give someone an award for trading you! Bwahahahaa!! Sounds like it's time for you to go home and cry into your millions of dollars!

2) And you know who else I don't feel sorry for? A-Rod. I mean, nobody deserves to have their lives ruthlessly picked apart by the tabloid media. Except for A-Rod.

Some of my favorite zingers have been:

According to the material leaked from Selena Roberts' new book, A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez, he is not merely a liar, a fraud and an egoist, but a cheater of the first degree, whose remorseful "confession" during spring training was little more than a well-choreographed one-man interpretation of Justin Timberlake's Cry Me a River. Turns out A-Rod might have been using steroids since high school, and that he was involved with HGH after becoming a Yankee. In other words, like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds before him, the glowing awe that once accompanied Rodriguez has -- poof! -- vanished. - Jeff Pearlman
So if Girardi were the Czar of the Written Word, we would never read about how the personal lives of presidents influence their decision-making. Great. Or, in the case of Rodriguez, what influences shaped the most famous baseball player in the world to be so reckless, insecure, self-destructive and egomaniacal -- by the way, all elements that impact the atmosphere of Girardi's team. - Joel Sherman
Alex Rodriguez was an insecure prima donna who made a clubhouse attendant load his toothbrush with toothpaste after every game in his three seasons with the Texas Rangers, a new book charges... His Bomber teammates regarded A-Rod as a phony and a hypocrite because he tried to project an All-American public image while pursuing a swinger's lifestyle. - Teri Thompson and Micheal O'Keefe

Ah, yes. Mocking A-Rod for being a womanly, phony, image-obsessed, insecure prima donna.* It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Which is why we do it.

3) So you've just been laid from your job as Secretary of State. Your party has been thoroughly trounced in the last two elections, and now the new president has started doing some very unnerving things, like releasing formerly confidential memoranda, that have you thinking not only about job security, but also about not-being-in-jail security. What do you do?

Join the academy, of course.

So it is with Condoleeza Rice, as she prepares to re-join the faculty at Stanford University as a poli-sci professor. Hopefully you've read Maureen Dowd's column on this, which describes Rice's attempt - and failure - to defend her position on "enhanced interrogation techniques" in front of a college freshmen. Watch her squirm:

Sorry, Condi - nothing makes you look worse, or more frightened and desperate, than browbeating an undergrad about how he cannot possibly understand the pressures that you faced after 9/11. MauDow may have the best observation, though:

The student pressed again about whether waterboarding was torture. “By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture,” Ms. Rice said, almost quoting Nixon’s logic: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
And while I am glad that some students were able to hold Rice's feet to the fire, albeit metaphorically, I was hoping that they would be able to muster up a little more passion, or at least an understanding of the power of spectacle. Where's the sit-in? Where are the buckets of red food-dye? Where are the naked protesters?

Why is this woman not being bombarded with shoes wherever she goes?

* He plays ball like a girl, too.


Rick said...

A funny thing...I watched CNN or FOX, I forget which, and they showed that same clip. Their take on it was "watch the body language of Condoleza" and boy, she sure showed that boy who was boss! Isn't it funny how your slant makes all the difference in how you interpret the same thing!!!

Joel said...

Yeah, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I definitely don't think that the Stanford kid was showing any distinct knowledge or insight about the topic, but I feel like applauding Rice in this situation is a little like applauding Lance Armstrong for beating a Stanford freshman or Mike Tyson for also... beating a Stanford freshman.. there is no honor in it.