Don't mention the war.
War. What is it good for? Profits; haircuts; fashion; the arms, flag and coffin industries; employment; technology; and movies. Yes, but apart from that, what? Absolutely nothing. Huh. Say it again.
I'm a bumper-sticker junkie. I love the way you can tell if an American is a) okay, or b) a rotten, greedy, selfish, planet-raping racist homophobic wanker--just by reading their car.
Doesn't always work, though. Take the sticker "War is not the answer." What if the question is: "State of armed conflict and also the name of a multicultural California funk band of the 1970s, rhymes with door, three letters?"
Oh but enough about the freaking war already. From now on this column--like 99 percent of America 99 percent of the time--is going to pretend the unpleasantness in Iraq simply isn't happening. So let's talk about sports instead.
Did you read new PW writer Dave Zirin's Edge of Sports column last week? Like all great writers, Zirin's a stinking pinko leftist radical commie peacenik planet-hugger. But he wasn't always that way. In fact, when an Iranian-American teammate told Zirin he was skipping basketball practice to go protest the first Gulf War, Zirin was pissed.
At the demonstration the kid was smashed in the legs with a police baton, putting him out for the season.
Shortly after, Zirin was at a college game where the mascot beat up an "Arab" while the crowd screamed "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"
Since then Zirin's become the go-to good guy whenever the mainstream sports press needs a writer with a brain and conscience. But that doesn't always work out. One magazine asked him to write about "why Americans love the NFL so much."
"So I wrote a piece saying it's because Americans are obsessed with war and imperialism," says Zirin. "They said, 'Okay, so we're not going to run this. Um--could you do us 1,000 words on why fall is the best season?'"
We're talking about the war again. How did that happen? I know what it was. It was a cartoon, reprinted in The New York Times, featuring a billboard on the White House lawn. "We can't leave Iraq because it's going ... " it says, with an arrow swinging from "badly" to "well."
Of course the real reason we have, have, have to keep sending our young people over to Iraq to be killed, maimed, crippled, disfigured and traumatized is that if we don't, an unstoppable domino effect will cause all the other countries in Southeast Asia to fall like ripe fruit into the hands of the communists and we'll be fighting the Viet Cong on the streets of San Francisco before the end of the decade. Whoa. Acid flashback.