Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mike Wise Discovers Fire, Promptly Dies in One

Fire Good.
Chances are the name Mike Wise isn't ringing a lot of bells for you. By the look of him, he's not ringing a lot of bells for anyone. This taupe Neanderthal is the latest in a long line of Washington Post sports writers who never played sports, but nonetheless manufactured a career talking authoritatively about what it is to be an athlete (we're looking at you Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser). Honestly, we don't know how the Post keeps digging these guys up. D.C. figured when ESPN took those yabbering motormouths off our hands that we'd get a respite. Kornheiser spent the ten years following the Redskins last relevant season writing variations of the same annoying article just with less and less actual sports. But no, The Post brought in Mike Wise as a scab. Lucky us.

So we open up the sports page last week. Top left corner is Mike's bemused face, and an article called, Even in Season of Change, Some Things Remain the Same. It begins:

Great. Beautiful. Just swell. I am finally geeked up to attend an entire, 48-minute WNBA game - which for a lot of my colleagues in town is the work equivalent of visiting your in-laws - and they blow it.

Why is going to a Mystics game so bad, Mike? Is it because they're so much worse than the Redskins, Wizards or Nationals? Teams that picked #4, #1, #1 in their respective drafts due to their magnificent incompetence. The Mystics were in contention all season, and are the number one seed in their division. They don't feature an Albert Haynesworth malcontent and their shooting guard didn't offer to play Russian roulette in the locker room. So why is going to see them so bad? Is it because you don't know the rules of WNBA games? Like for instance, oh I don't know, the WNBA play 40-minutes games? It's the NBA that plays 48 minutes. Easy mistake to make when you don't take the sport seriously, and openly admit you hate going to the games. And by the way, just because you corrected yourself in the online edition doesn't change how it looks in glorious print. So why is watching the Mystics so bad that despite employing a phalanx of beat writers to cover the minutiae of the Redskins off-season, it chooses to run generic AP articles to cover Mystics away games? Since when did being bad have any relation to the quality of the sports coverage in Washington? If that was the case, the Redskins should have been in a media whiteout since Clinton.

Is it because they're just girls? Is that it Mike? Have you spent a lifetime covering up the sting of getting picked last for sports by sneering at women? Let's see what else you have to say about the athletes you are paid to cover:

I wanted to see someone lay some wood on somebody, plant a babe on the hardwood, put a forearm in somebody's trachea.

Babe? You wanted to see babes? What kind of wood are you talking about laying on somebody, anyway? Were you dreaming of making it rain at the strip club after the game? Are you fucking kidding us? How is the weather in 1958? Are you lost in a Don Draper fantasy where you have hair? And no, before you get started, there's nothing inherently wrong with the word "babe". Couples call each other "babe" and all manner of weird pet names all the time, but calling women you don't know babe, particularly in a professional setting, went out of style with Farrah Fawcett. It's kind of like the word "boy", Mike. Buddies can say, "he's my boy" and it's a term of endearment. But I dare you to walk onto a playground anywhere in DC and tell the first black man you see, "Hey, come here boy." See what happens. It's all context, Mike. Context and history.

But back to babe. See the reason we have our matches out is that you contribute to a sports culture that denigrates and marginalizes women's sports (see also: Don Imus' Nappy-Headed Hos). A male culture that only likes one women's sport, tennis. Why? Because, the women are viewed as babes to borrow your pithy idiom, and gives middle aged guys a socially acceptable venue to ogle fit twenty year olds in tight outfits. The rest of women's sports are thrown overboard because they aren't as good as their male counterparts. The NBA is better basketball than the WNBA. Major League Soccer features better athletes than Women's Professional Soccer, and so on and so on. We've heard that argument made quietly for years. Guys just prefer to watch the best athletes, and "sadly" men are the better athletes blah, blah, blah. Except there's one problem with that argument. It's not remotely accurate. We'll give but one example...

Where is the best football in the world played? The NFL obviously. So by that argument why would anyone watch college football? College football must be dying a slow death since it features thousands of players who will never play in the NFL. It's an inferior brand of football. No? It's hugely popular? And there's an entire Arena Football League filled with guys who couldn't cut it in the NFL? How can that be? Men only want to watch the best athletes compete. That's the explanation for why women's sports aren't embraced by men. But now you tell me that, in fact, men are quite happy to watch all levels of athletes compete from the professional all the way down to the cult status of high school football in Texas. Could it be that many sports fans just like to see evenly matched teams competing hard?

Maybe you want to provide another explanation for why the Mystics are such a horrible part of your job, Mike. And why you pander to such a stereotypical, knuckle-dragging male viewpoint on your radio show. You are a smarter guy than the anything-women-like-is-lame persona you play on the air. Women aren't actually that bad, Mike. You might discover you even like women if you took them seriously and didn't treat them like punchlines in bad stand up. You do know Henny Youngman is dead, right? Take women's sports.....puhlease. It just isn't funny anymore. So start acting like a guy with a college education. Start leading and stop following, or else quit inflicting your prehistoric fingers on computer keyboards. Would you do it for us, babe?

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