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January 12, 2008 - 2:59pm



It's a brilliantly sunny Saturday morning (I think it's Saturday -- I've
always been weak on days of the week) in Nashville. UD's on the bus, the big big bus that carries UD plus one or two other hotel overflow people to the Gaylord Convention Center.

The insane unstoppable friendliness of every Nashvillian UD's encountered is exhausting. Take the woman driving this bus. She's got hair like UD's, only it's all white -- an avalanche. Plus big ol' sunglasses.

"Ahm a Florida girl. Ahm used to flat."

She's talking about the hills the bus takes on its way to the Gaylord and how she doesn't like them. "And we can't take the alternate road in these buses either. Too narrow. Your back end drags when you're comin' off a dip and it takes your tail pipe off."

"Wow. They really make you stand out," says an NCAA conference person to me as we pass on the stairs to the press room. She's talking about the vast MEDIA thing reporters have to wear. "It's because we're evil," UD responds, and the woman laughs: "You are."

How many Jews are here, UD wonders.... And isn't it predictable that among the few Jews here this Jew, UD, would be a member of the media. Would have MEDIA emblazoned on her chest like a yellow star... Look out... Jew... Jews control the media...

And they do. I mean, UD, in a rather restricted sense, does. "Ahd lahk a show of hands to start with," said the first speaker at the Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct symposium she just attended. "How many Division I folks? [Very few hands.] Division II? [Lots.] III? [Even more.] Media?" Here one hand flew up. "That's me," I said pretty loudly. Hell, I'm excited. Fired up. Ready to go.

So since I was the only media person at the symposium (maybe there were others, wisely hidden), I get to control what's said about it... I get to spin the thing however I damn well want to spin it... Make it good for the Jews...

But of course the Jews don't care about NCAA symposia on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct. They are the professors, and professors have no interest in athletics and athletes have no interest in professors.... I know there are some exceptions. There's even this Jewish coach.... Greenberg? Yeah. Here's his Web site, complete with Kosher Korner.

I'm part of the culture of cities, Jews, academics, intellectuals... People Richard Rorty calls postmodern ironists.

When one of the speakers at the symposium used the word irregardless I scoffed. Even if they knew it wasn't a word, nobody else in the room cared. So you misuse language. BFD...

The language of this particular gathering was very pre-World War One. Everyone used words Paul Fussell, in his book, The Great War and Modern Memory, told us we can't use anymore. As one writer on Fussell puts it:

In his classic study The Great War and Modern Memory, [Paul] Fussell insists that the ironies of the war -- the deep discrepancies between the heroic ideals of fighting the war and its ultimate realities -- marked the beginning of habits and expressions that still resonate with us today. The Great War, he says, introduced irony as a pervasive mode of thinking. For many, it reversed the idea of progress. Words like heroism, courage, honor and authority became tarnished...

Try telling that to this room, where words like dignity, respect, honor, integrity, sportingness, and decorum are a dime a dozen. Everyone here assumes every moment and aspect of life is a potential ethical lesson, a possibly morally uplifting experience...

That's how they describe their universities: "We're educators," one of them said at the symposium. "Sportsmanship is directly tied to the mission of your school. We're here to make better people."

Try telling that to Stanley Fish.



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