Tag Archives: SNL

When court jesters stop laughing at despots they expect you to stop too


They’re funny, they’re clever, and their comedy can be dead serious, but it turns out when political comedians actually are dead serious they expect their audience to come to heel. Bernie Sanders was just a laugh, look at yourself, you fell for it. Court jesters pile on the ridicule of whoever’s the ruler, but when the diversion is over, the joke’s on you, now shut up. Said Sarah Silverman to heartbroken Bernie delegates: “Don’t be ridiculous.” Adds Seth Meyers: “We don’t have time for this.”

Is Palin writing for SNL or vice versa? Who are this election’s screenwriters?

Remember when Sarah Palin gave her infamous 2008 Katie Couric interview? Palin’s disordered responses were so Miss Teen Carolina that Saturday Night Live writers didn’t have to wring out a parody. Instead Tina Fey brought down the house by repeating Palin’s folksy schtick verbatim. Essentially SNL added a laugh track. Every week the entire country tuned in to SNL in anticipation of Fey’s mimicry act. Eight years later Palin has come out of the wood paneling to endorse fellow freak Donald Trump. Immediately everyone is salivating for the SNL instant replay. Hmm.

It seems Sarah Palin has reprised her role as fount of Ugly Americanisms and I have to wonder. Maybe SNL’s humorists hadn’t caught a break after all. Maybe they had been hard at work in preproduction. Working on Sarah Palin as season pilot. Gag writers didn’t have to write a Palin parody because they drafted the original jokes.

We like to think of our comedians as authors of their own brilliant wit, yet we know their TV talk shows employ gaggles of writers. It’s true from Comedy Central to the Tonight Show. Why do we give a village idiot like Sarah Palin credit for her seamlessly funny imbecility?

Or Donald Trump for that matter? Trump has yet to miss a single sour note or plumb an inoffensive punchline with his every gutterance.

If we recognize the American two party system and its lesser of bogeymen false choice as an unchanging melodrama, we must consider the show has its screenwriters. Palin and Trump and Hillary and Bernie are reciting lines already tested on focus groups, seasoned to our taste, to manufacture consent for political continuity.

And how about casting directors? Somebody is deciding who gets the screentime. Why is anyone asking Sarah Palin’s opinion about Trump or anything for that matter. What qualifies Palin to opine at all? She’s been neither public figure, candidate, governor, nor mayor of Alaska’s meth capitol, since she came and went two elections cycles ago.

Political kingmaking is frequently attenuated by media gatekeepers but clearly the casting decisions they make are based on viewership ratings.

If there’s a show with cast and crew, there’s a showrunner. Elsewhere in TV-land the spotlights is regularly turned on them. I’m not talking about campaign managers or party heads, they are the stage managers or Don Pardos at best. Showrunners are the real auteurs, if that word doesn’t lend excessive dignity to their oeuvre, which is crap.

Team Obama 2008 won advertizing’s most prestegious award for that brand’s successful campaign. The Cleo is an industry award, generally outside the public’s viewshed. Of course the awards should have been Emmys.

If you want to see the real wits behind the scenes, it’s time to unmask the twits. Exile them to Reality TV where they belong. Let us accept or reject the showrunners if you’re going to pretend this is a democracy.

Poetry of Barack Obama invokes MLK but pays true homage to Rod McKuen

Jesus what a bore! Remember when SNL lampooned Sarah Palin’s first prime time TV interview by reenacting it verbatim? They could do that with Obama’ humorless addresses, I think it would make great theater, but the joke’s already abysmally old. Maybe we need a drinking game where everyone paying close attention could drink the moment President Obama mouthed a phrase that wasn’t a cliche or platitude. Alright, not a drinking game.

At least George Bush punctuated his utterances with inanities, funny ones. We appreciate Sarah Palin for the same preposterous gaffs. Obama’s meaningless drone is similarly inane really, divorced from meaning but colorless.

I had to revisit Obama’s Mubarak-steps-down speech to see if there was anything there. His usual podium bedside manner now hits me like chloroform. I’m not sure if Obama’s tennis ball red-state blue-state head swings aren’t calculated to hypnotize, or if the vacuity of his bombast is the prescribed anesthetic.

At first I was going to reprint the speech with the cliches highlighted. I opted to simply reformat it like a poem, putting the carriage return after each cliched platitude. I’ve parenthesized phrases which in Star Trek or ER scripts are called tech-speak, expository details whose particularities are actually irrelevant.

I’ve neither added, nor subtracted from this official transcript. I can hardly believe it myself.

There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place.

The people of Egypt have spoken.

Their voices have been heard.

And Egypt will never be the same.

(By stepping down, President Mubarak)

responded to the Egyptian people’s hunger for change.

but this is not the end of Egypt’s transition. It’s a beginning.

I’m sure there will be difficult days ahead and

many questions remain unanswered.

But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers,

and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity

(that has defined these last few weeks, for Egyptians have made it clear that)

nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.

Well, that’s just the opening paragraph. Obama follows it with more expository blah blah blah. He begins by crediting the nonviolence to Egypt’s military, instead of the incredible restraint of the student protesters.

The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people.

You’ll note Obama is advising the military on appearances — very likely his definition of “meaningful.” He continues by listing the demands of the Tahrir Square demonstrators, without crediting them, as if this list was his own.

That means protecting the rights of Egypt’s citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free.

And then it’s a return to platitudes, encapsulating the admonition that Egyptian forums must give access to secular, “pro-democracy,” pro-Zionist pro-globalist concerns.

Above all this transition must bring all of Egypt’s voices to the table for the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change.

While he has you almost gagging Obama counterattacks with something to blow your drink through your nose. Obama promises to be the kind of friend to the newly free Egyptians that only the day before was supporting their oppressor Mubarak, and promising there’s more help where that came from.

The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary and asked for to pursue a credible transition to a democracy.

And back to cliches:

I’m also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity, jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight.

Isn’t this the same war-on-the Future speech he’s peddling to his domestic audience?

I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world.

Oh you can read the rest for yourself. I’m bored.

Egypt has played a pivotal role in human history for over 6,000 years. But over the last few weeks the wheel of history turned at a blinding pace as the Egyptian people demanded their universal rights.

Alright, one more interruption. Below Obama describes watching events of the Egyptian Revolution, AS IF it was a shared American experience. The irony of course is that he watched it on Al Jazeera, while the rest of America could and did not. They would be at pains to draw the same sympathetic conclusions as he. Obama comes off quite the perceptive, humanitarian bastard.

We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like. We saw young Egyptians say, for the first time in my life I really count. My voice is heard. Even though I’m only one person, this is the way real democracy works. We saw protestors chant… ‘We are peaceful, again and again.’

We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect. And we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for the wound. Volunteers checking protestors to ensure that they were unarmed. We saw people of faith praying together and chanting Muslims, Christians, we are one. And though we know the strains of faith divide too many in this world and no single event will close that chasm immediately, these scenes show us that we need not be defined by our differences. We can be defined by the common humanity that we share.?And, above all, we saw a new generation emerge, a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears. A government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations. One Egyptian put it simply — most people have discovered in the last few days that they are worth something, and this cannot be taken away from them anymore. Ever.

This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the eye to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more. And while the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can’t help but hear the echoes of history, echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path justice. As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, there’s something in the soul that cries out for freedom.

Those were the cries that came from Tahrir square and the entire world has taken note. Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in. The word ‘Tahrir’ means liberation. It’s a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forever more it will remind us of the Egyptian people, of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country and in doing so changed the world. Thank you.

Betty White’s muffin on the boob tube

Which came first: the Snickers ad, the Facebook group, or SNL’s crowdsourced mandate to fete American sitcom icon Betty White? American as Apple Pie
To me this blonde’s netroots smack of a publicist’s hand, and White’s performance Saturday night all but validated SNL’s reluctance until now to spotlight the octogenarian’s one note routine. The SNL tribute could laud only her age, raising the specter that a proverbial domestic bread might have been named for her.

Betty White was a broadcast fixture, not a luminary. On the plus side, she hasn’t stooped to pitching life insurance on infomercials, although I suspect her screen persona lacked the gravitas. It does look like the Snickers “Divas” campaign wants to boost White’s brand recognition up to the visibility of its other stage and screen legends.

Of course Betty’s first name predates namesake archetypes of American comedy, but it’s no indication of her contribution. When a McGruber sketch had the title comic break character to wend an impassioned I Love You to grandmother White, I was horrified to predict that the actress’s persona had no stretch to stray from her signature negativity.

White may have begun her career in the age of the Honeymooners, but her caricatures belong squarely to the American sitcom as it devolved into cynicism. The high notes of Mary Tyler Moore and Golden Girls were achieved in spite of muddy cutouts like Betty White. The social relevance of every sitcom that followed was twilighted in my opinion by Oliver Stone’s brilliant parody of American television in Natural Born Killers.

Seeing Betty White on SNL reminded me of attending a celebration of another show business icon Shirley Jones. Both larger than life, both admirably spry, and both masters of well-honed chops, but we’re talking pork chops, with no more hue than the rosy cheeks of Paula Dean. Luminescent as they come, Jones could emote with a twinkle, but that didn’t make her Lena Horne. I know, apple pie is not an art medium.

Betty White can play the ditz or calculating shrew. Where else was SNL going to go with her but convalescent home vamp? I’m not sure the jokes made at the expense of her muffin weren’t clammier than Alec Baldwin’s Schweddy Balls. Hohoho, the ultimate promise of the boob tube.

Like surviving veterans of the wars quickly receding in our memories, White deserves honors rekindled with every new generation. Like the soldiers’ contributions, I’d say her deeds in particular were forgettable. We don’t ask our aging vets to reenact their killings. Bad jokes are worse than reenacted, they’re swung around afresh.

Leave Betty White to shill for candy bars, she’s part of America’s cultural pantheon and deservedly so. Laugh track optional.

Keebler Girl Scout placement on SNL

What was with the new face on SNL, cracking jokes on Weekend Update about Girl Scout Cookies? Was it a staff writer getting his on-camera big break? With unoriginal candle-holding to Gary Gulman’s cookie rap? I’ll bet the SNL regulars wouldn’t touch the shtick because it was pure product placement.

Number one: the humor was too self-deprecating. Wanna laugh at the Girl Scouts as an ineffectual distribution method? That’s like saying multilevel has no reach. Amway may look funny to traditional retailers, but the latter has to advertise like crazy, while the former only strengthens with publicity.

Number two: propagate pure falsehood. For example, complain that Girl Scout cookies are only available in season. In this age of consumer excess, it would seem impossible that the Girl Scout cookie varieties wouldn’t have at least generic imitators. The presumption of exclusivity is not even close. Keebler contracts the same baker elves as the Girl Scouts, so of course the Keebler Triple Fudge is identical to the Girl Scout Thin Mint. If you detect that one seems creamier, it’s because one is fresher. It’s the one with a shorter shelf life, because it goes straight from factory to jobber to supermarket, unlike its pricier, smaller packaged doppelganger which makes the rounds of garages, minivans and outdoor tables until a uniformed para-military future-realtor brings it to your door.

Th-Th-Th-Th-That’s all folks, in lipstick

Full text of Alaska Ex-Governor Sarah Palin‘s poetic address, porky pigwherein she explains that her contract with the voters of Alaska has a “lame duck” escape clause, stuff about a God-given right to despoil, some veiled threats to shoot gun-control revenuers, and the protections of both First Amendments.

Sarah Palin, July 26, 2009, Fairbanks AK:

“What an absolutely beautiful day it is,
and it is my honor to speak to all Alaskans,
to our Alaskan family
this last time as your governor.
And it is always great to be in Fairbanks.
The rugged rugged hardy people that live up here
and some of the most patriotic people
whom you will ever know live here,
and one thing that you are known for
is your steadfast support
of our military community up here
and I thank you for that
and thank you United States military
for protecting the greatest nation on Earth.
Together we stand.

And getting up here
I say it is the best road trip in America
soaring through nature’s finest show.
Denali, the great one, soaring
under the midnight sun.

And then the extremes.
In the winter time
it’s the frozen road that is competing
with the view of ice fogged frigid beauty,
the cold though, doesn’t it
split the Cheechakos
from the Sourdoughs?

And then in the summertime
such extreme summertime
about a hundred and fifty degrees hotter
than just some months ago,
than just some months from now,
with fireweed blooming
along the frost heaves
and merciless rivers that are rushing
and carving and reminding us
that here, Mother Nature wins.
It is as throughout all Alaska
that big wild good life
teeming along the road
that is north to the future.

That is what we get to see every day.
Now what the rest of America
gets to see along with us
is in this last frontier
there is hope and opportunity
and there is country pride.

And it is our men and women in uniform securing it,
and we are facing tough challenges in America
with some seeming to just be Hell bent
maybe on tearing down our nation,
perpetuating some pessimism, and suggesting
American apologetics, suggesting perhaps
that our best days were yesterdays.

But as other people have asked,
“How can that pessimism be,
when proof of our greatness, our pride today
is that we produce the great proud volunteers
who sacrifice everything for country?”
Now this week alone, Sean Parnell and I
were on the, um, on Ft. Rich
the base there, the army chapel,
and we heard the last roll call,
and the sounding of Taps
for three very brave, very young Alaskan soldiers
who just gave their all for all of us.
Together we do stand with gratitude
for our troops who protect all of our cherished freedoms,
including our freedom of speech
which, par for the course, I’m going to exercise.

And first, some straight talk
for some, just some in the media
because another right protected for all of us
is freedom of the press,
and you all have such important jobs
reporting facts and informing the electorate,
and exerting power to influence.
You represent what could and should be
a respected honest profession
that could and should be
the cornerstone of our democracy.

Democracy depends on you,
and that is why, that’s why
our troops are willing to die for you.
So, how ’bout in honor of the American soldier,
ya quite makin’ things up?
And don’t underestimate the wisdom of the people,
and one other thing for the media,
our new governor has a very nice family too,
so leave his kids alone.

OK, today is a beautiful day
and today as we swear in Sean Parnell,
no one will be happier than I
to witness by God’s grace
Alaskans with strength of character
advancing our beloved state.
Sean has that.
Craig Campbell has that.
I remember on that December day,
we took the oath to uphold our state constitution,
and it was written right here in Fairbanks
by very wise pioneers.

We shared the vision for government
that they ground in that document.
Our founders wrote “all political power is inherent in the people.
All government originates with the people.
It’s founded upon their will only
and it’s instituted for the good of the people as a whole.”
Their remarkably succinct words
guided us in all of our efforts
in serving you and putting you first,
and we have done our best to fulfill promises
that I made on Alaska Day, 2005,
when I first asked for the honor of serving you.

Remember then, our state so desired
and so deserved ethics reform.
We promised it, and now it is the law.
Ironically, it needs additional reform
to stop blatant abuse from partisan operatives,
and I hope the lawmakers will continue that reform.
We promised that you would finally see
a fair return on your Alaskan owned natural resources
so we build a new oil and gas appraisal system,
an is an equitable formula to usher in
a new era of competition and transparency
and protection for Alaskans and the producers.

ACES incentivizes new exploration
and it’s the exploration that is our future.
It opens up oil basins and it ensures
that the people will never be taken advantage of again.
Don’t forget Alaskans
you are the resource owners per our constitution
and that’s why for instance last year
when oil prices soared and state coffers swelled,
but you were smacked with high energy prices,
we sent you the energy rebate. See,
it’s your money and I’ve always believed
that you know how to better spend it
than government can spend it.

I promised that we would protect this beautiful environment
while safely and ethically developing resources, and we did.
We built the Petroleum Oversight Office
and a sub-cabinet to study climate conditions.
And I promised I’d govern with fiscal restraint,
so to not immorally burden futre generations.
And we did…we slowed the rate of government growth
and I vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars of excess
and wtih lawmakers we saved billions for the future.

I promsed that we’d lead the charge
to forward funding education,
and hold schools accountable,
and improve opportunities for special needs students
and elevate vo-tech training
and we paid down pension debt.

I promised that we would manage our fish and wildlife for abundance,
and that we would defend the constitution, and we have,
though outside special interest groups
they still just don’t get it on this one.
Let me tell you, Alaskans really need to stick together on this
with new leadership in this area especially,
encouraging new leadership…
got to stiffen your spine to do what’s right
for Alaska when the pressure mounts,
because you’re going to see anti-hunting,
anti-second amendment circuses from Hollywood
and here’s how they do it.

They use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets,
they use Alaska as a fundraising tool
for their anti-second amendment causes.
Stand strong, and remind them
patriots will protect our guaranteed,
individual right to bear arms,
and by the way, Hollywood needs to know,
we eat, therefore we hunt.

I promised energy solutions and we have,
we have a plan calling for 50% of our electricity
generated by renewable resources
and we can now insist that those who hold the leases
to develop our resources
that they do so now on Alaska’s terms.
So now finally after decades of just talk,
finally we’re seeing oil and gas drilling
up there at Point Thompson.

And I promised that we would get
a natural gas pipeline underway and we did.
Since I was a little kid growing up here,
I remember the discussions,
especially the political discussions
just talking about and hoping for
and dreaming of commercializing
our clean, abundant, needed natural gas.

Our gas line inducement act, AGIA,
that was the game-changer
and this is thanks to our outstanding gas line team,
and the legislature adopting this law, 58-1.
They knew, they know AGIA is the vehicle
to drive this monumental energy project
and bring everyone to the table,
this bipartisan victory,
it came from Alaskans working together
with free market private sector principles,
and now we are on the road
to the largest private-sector energy project
in the history of America.
It is for Alaska’s future,
it is for America’s energy independence
and it will make us a more peaceful,
prosperous and secure nation.

What I promised, we accomplished.
“We” meaning state staff,
amazing commissioners,
great staff assisting them,
and conscientious Alaskans
outside the bureaucracy –
Tom Van Flein, and Meg Stapleton
and Kristan Cole, so many others,
many volunteers who just stepped up
to the challenge as good Alaskans,
but nothing, nothing could have succeeded
without my right-hand man Kris Perry.
She is the sharpest, boldest, hardest-working partner.
Kris is my right-hand man and much success is due to Kris.

So much success, and Alaska
there is much good in store further down the road,
but to reach it we must value
and live the optimistic pioneering spirit
that made this state proud and free,
and we can resist enslavement to big central government
that crushes hope and opportunity.
Be wary of accepting government largess.
It doesn’t come free and often, accepting it
takes away everything that is free,
melting into Washington’s powerful “care-taking” arms
will just suck incentive to work hard
and chart our own course
right out of us,
and that not only contributes to an unstable economy
and dizzying national debt,
but it does make us less free.

I resisted the stimulus package.
I resisted the stimulus package
and we have championed earmark reform,
slashing earmark requests by 85%
to break the cycle of dependency
on a stifling, unsustainable federal agenda,
and other states should follow this
for their and for America’s stability.
We don’t have to feel
that we must beg an allowance from Washington,
except to beg the allowance to be self-determined.
See, to be self-sufficient,
Alaska must be allowed to develop –
to drill and build and climb,
to fulfill statehood’s promise.
At statehood we knew this.

At statehood we knew this,
that we are responsible for ourselves
and our families and our future,
and fifty years later,
please let’s not start believing
that government is the answer.
It can’t make you happy
or healthy or wealthy or wise.
What can? It is the wisdom of the people
and our families and our small businesses,
and industrious individuals,
and it is God’s grace,
helping those who help themselves,
and then this allows that very generous
voluntary hand up that we’re known for,
enthusiastically providing those who need it.

Alaskans will remember that years ago,
remember we sported the old bumper sticker that said,
“Alaska. We Don’t Give a Darn How They Do It Outside?”
Do you remember that? I remember that,
and remember it was because we would be different.
We’d roll up our sleeves,
and we would diligently sow and reap,
and we can still do this
to carve wealth out of the wilderness
and make our living on the water,
with strong hands and innovative minds,
now with smarter technology.

It is what our first people and our parents did.
It worked, because they worked.
We must be prudent and persistent
and press for the people’s right
to responsibly develop God-given resources
for the maximum benefit of the people.

And we have come so far in just 50 years.
We’re no longer a frontier outpost
on the periphery of the world’s greatest nation.
Now, as a contributor and a securer of America,
we can attain our destiny
in the promise of our motto “North to the Future.”
See, the pressing issue of our time,
it’s energy independence,
because there is an inherent link
between energy and security,
and energy and prosperity.
Alaska will lead with energy,
we will prove you can be both
pro-development and pro-environment,
because no one loves their clean air
and their land and their wildlife
and their water more than an Alaskan.
We will protect it.

Yes, America must look north to the future
for security, for energy independence,
for our strategic location on the globe.
Alaska is the gate-keeper of the continent.

So, we are here today at a changing of the guard.
Now, people who know me,
and they know how much I love this state,
some still are choosing not to hear
why I made the decision
to chart a new course to advance the state.
And it should be so obvious to you. (indicating heckler)
It is because I love Alaska this much, sir (at heckler)
that I feel it is my duty to avoid
the unproductive, typical, politics as usual,
lame duck session in one’s last year in office.
How does that benefit you?
No, with this decision now,
I will be able to fight even harder for you,
for what is right, for truth.
And I have never felt
like you need a title to do that.

So, as we all move forward together,
let’s vow to keep championing Alaska,
to advocate responsible development,
and smaller government, and freedom,
and when I took the oath to serve you,
I promised… remember I promised
to steadfastly and doggedly guard
the interests of this great state
like that grizzly guards her cubs,
as a mother naturally guards her own.

And I will keep that vow
wherever the road may lead.
Todd and I, and Track, Bristol,
Tripp, Willow, Piper, Trig…I think I got ’em all.
We will forever be so grateful
for the honor of our lifetime to have served you.
Our whole big diverse full and fun family,
we all thank you and I am very very blessed
to have had their support all along,
for Todd’s support. I am thankful too.
I have been blessed
to have been raised in this last frontier.
Thank you for our home, Mom and Dad,
because in Alaska
it is not an easy living,
but it is a good living,
and here it is impossible to lose your way.
Wherever the road may lead you,
we have that steadying great north star to guide us home.

So let’s all enjoy the ride, and I thank you Alaska,
and God bless Alaska and God bless America.”

Is there a sumo in your future?

Mark FidrychThe Bird
I used to avert my imagination on the subject of Sumo Wrestling. Probably I still do, visualization wise. But the bigger than grotesque spectacle has suddenly fascinated me, as a historic predecessor of the wide world of sport of our future.

How odd that a tiny bonsai-grown island people fixate on professional athletes multiple times a normal human size.

It seems so inorganic, to cheer for man-hippos, instead of competitors made from our own image. After all, we cheer for home teams, not cross town rivals.

But sports fans are coming round once again to see their hero athletes for the super humans they need to be, to impress us with their superhuman feats.

Might I suggest that for a brief democratic period, baseball offered more than an illusion, that a neighborhood hero could emerge from the most unassuming physique. Today Americans recognize that professional athletes are no longer improved versions of us. Real winners are crafted by genetics and unimaginable dedication, for their superhuman destinies.

Our insistence that athletes cannot use steroids therefore seems to me awkwardly unreasonable. Doping levels the playing field, for aspirants up against genetics.

That viewers recognize the well demarcated expectations of the differing athlete body types, became no more clear to me than in this year’s Super Bowl, when a Steelers linebacker carried the ball from end zone to end zone, dodging not only his pursuers, but the book maker’s handicap as well.

Even Saturday Night Live parodied the feat, although their urban comedy cannot be said to snub the NFL certainly. Weekend Update portrayed the beleaguered James Harrison as still out of breath, a full week after SB XLIII. It seems even SNL knows that non-sports watchers would recognize that Harrison’s 100 yard triumph was over and above what a non-running football position could be called upon to do.

It could almost have been an ordinary Japanese man facing a Sumo. That would be populist fantasy, but not sport.

SNL pays their respect to Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin on Saturday Night LiveSARAH PALIN GETS A PASS ON SNL. But much more than that. From cultural figures whom we suppose to be rabid critics of the ice-rink-leibfrau, we get deference, flirty ass-kissing, an abrupt skedaddle, and an ovation. What were we expecting — Palin to embarrass herself? She’s flubbed her interviews, the debate, and by my measure for certain, every utterance. But Saturday Night Live amped the celebrity appearance and let Palin make of it her least funny yet, and to a chorus of applause.

No really. Make what you will of the take-a-pass gag (lifeline?), Palin worked out not having to face the headlights. Some viewers may think her refusal to do the Weekend Update rap skit was real in live-time. But she didn’t make a fool of herself, and she got to look like a good sport. She got deference from Lorne Michaels, star-struck flirtation from Alec Baldwin, a prompt skedaddle from Tina Fey, and an ovation from the SNL audience when she finally reached the microphone. This, when most of us want to level accusations to her face or instinctively step on her feet. Instead we watch our only few political/cultural heroes fawn over the Machiavelli in lipstick doofus.

It’s a pattern established by George Dubya.