Politics And Sports: Please Mix Only As Needed

If you are not a sportswriter, and want to write about politics, please, feel free to do so. Also, feel free to eat the blade of someone like Charles Pierce when you do it badly. (It's not a swift death. You are warned.)

We'll be brief. No matter what your political bent, please stop killing and skinning the subject of sports so you can dress up your pet idea in its hide. It's a bad fit in most cases, and disturbing for all concerned. If I want to read about the Heat and the Thunder, I don't want a discussion of public financing and stadiums shoehorned into the discussion, because that's what political people always do: infect the debate, mutate it into something covered in scales and horns, and then turn your impromptu party into a sales pitch for the latest intellectual pyramid scheme they can't wait for you to join.

That's what political people do. This is all they know how to do, ever, in any setting anywhere on this earth.

There are two great responses to this infection.

1.) Abbie Hoffman, political activist, took the mic during Woodstock during the Who's set to make a political point. Depending on your account, Pete Townshend either hit him with his guitar, or grabbed him by the scruff of the neck before swearing to kill the next person who came onto his stage.

2.) William F. Buckley Jr., granddaddy of the modern conservative movement, made irregular appearances as a harpsichord player. (He loved what is arguably one of music's least lovable instruments.) Once, at a small concert in Florida, he took questions from the audience. Inevitably, someone asked a political question. Buckley politely cut him off, and insisted that the night be about the music only.

So please, take a lesson from your betters. Sometimes, on rare occasions, the night is about the music. And if you don't want it to be about the music, someone will hopefully hit you with something heavy.

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