Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Assesslessness: and a Nation of Prudes:

The revelation that A-Rod tested positive for steroids in 2003 has set off so much over-analysis, handwringing and backfiling, that I will not even bother to link to a single instance of all the smugrage. Rodriguez was caught in preliminary tests that were supposed to be destroyed and not made public. He apparently used an illegal substance before baseball moved to make it formally illegal. And yet, somehow, he’s expected to grovel, very convincingly, if he desires not to shove his reputation down the tubes.

Meanwhile, our national leaders erase their disasters with stupid admissions like “mistakes were made." What's going on? A pattern is emerging, and it’s a very distressing one. We’ve invented side tests for important roles. A good politician, as I’m sure you know, is someone who has paid all possible taxes, and avoided all sexual kinks.

Why do we apply these side tests (side bets?) to our public figures? Here's what I think: we as a nation have given up our right to assess real quality; we prefer to substitute meaningless measures wherever we find them. By the year 2020, I expect the president of the United States, and also the highest paid player in American sports, to be people who have never eaten transfats. Or smoked. Or left a lightbulb on overnight.


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