Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Those Were The Things That Happend Then Part II

Like most Bears fans, I had assumed after the Bears preseason that they would scratch their way to maybe eight wins tops in front of an aging defense and a comically ineffective offensive line.

Bears plans for the offensive line went horribly awry early in the
2010 season

And, for the beginning of the season, that prediction looked solid, as Cutler darted for his life behind the group of matadors, turnstiles, and maitre d's that allowed him to be pummeled into a swollen-brained incoherence that interfered with his Rex Grossman-like desire to deliver the ball to the opposition. But football is a game that changes fluidly, governed by the whims of fate more than the whims of spittle-emitting fans calling for the heads of everyone even vaguely involved with the organization after every loss, and somehow the Bears became the top team in the NFC North by the end of the season. The defense regained its fierce Chicago pedigree that terrorized a wide assortment of third-string quarterbacks, the offensive line became at least functional, and Devin Hester began Devin Hestering people enough to demonstrate the comical ineptitude of my football prognostication skills.

Pretty much my only skill in prediction
games like fantasy football is picking up
Kyle Orton as my main quarterback and
then taunting the unfortunate people in
my league with endless digital reams of
Orton-related propaganda as I lose game
after game because my entire team is built
around Kyle Orton


One of the most exciting things I've come across in the past several months the fact that a book exists entitled Is the Kaiser Insane? A study of the great outlaw published in Britain in 1915 by Arnold White.

Perhaps if Wilhelm wanted to avoid an unceasing
string of Kaiser-bashing from ramshackle sports
blogs in the next century, he would have made more
of an effort to adorn himself with slightly more
restraint than other major world leaders such as
Victor Von Doom

I have not read the book yet, but according to one contemporary review, "the author has gathered no little evidence regarding the Kaiser’s genius, egotism, insensitiveness, obsessions, and cunning, and seeks to prove that he is a dangerous megalomaniac." I trust this reviewer's opinion implicitly because it comes from a 1915 edition of the spectacularly titled British Journal of Inebriety (which suffered an unfortunate series of name changes and exists now as Addiction).

I am taking this opportunity to launch my own
publication called the Journal of British Inebriety
featuring articles such as "Oi, the fuck you lookin' at:
a history of lookin' at me, 1931-1946" and "1984: A
Year in Headbutts"

The publication of a book like that is not at all surprising, considering that the British war effort focused on liberating the world from the Kaiser's brand of Teutonic tyranny and not the various ism-based causes of war found in AP history textbooks; White's book certainly seemed to have filled a void for British readers who found comfort in taking to the trenches against a cackling madman hell-bent on world domination.


Despite my enjoyment of the unexpected success of the Bears' season, it still ended on a sour note with a loss to the hated Packers in the NFC Championship game. The Packers were a particularly irritating team last season since they demonstrated intolerable amounts of pluck after most of their team went down with injuries. By far the most annoying subplot before the game, however, was the endless comparisons between Packers' likable happy-go-lucky quarterback Aaron Rodgers grinning and flaunting his Butte College merchandise, and the Bears' churlish, sour-faced signal caller Jay Cutler.

The images of a carefree Rodgers contrasted with Jay Cutler, here shown
wearing an expression comparable to this photo taken from an Onion article
with the headline "Whaler Sandwich 'Not Sitting To Good' With Area Man"

The Bears-Packers rivalry naturally raised the question of how players are portrayed in the media and whether or not I should care if evidently the quarterback for my favorite team is consistently presented as kind of a jerk. And obviously, I don't. Even if Cutler is as unpleasant in the comical 1980s fingerless glove enthusiast bully way that reporters allege (which reached its zenith with this Rick Reilly attack column that opens with the unmistakably groan-inducing zinger "For a man from Santa Claus, Ind., Jay Cutler is one of the least jolly people you've ever met."-- if anything Jay Cutler does momentarily angers Rick Reilly, then he should be immediately canonized by someone with lax canonization standards), it has zero effect on how I enjoy the Bears. In fact, it would not irritate me at all if Cutler decided to give in to his reputation and toured schools knocking lunch trays from the hands of impressionable students, stood around on street corners only to laugh in the faces of elderly women attempting to cross, and started an offseason game show entitled "Don't You Know Who I Am?" inviting various Chicagoland service industry personnel to test their knowledge of whether they know who Jay Cutler is, do they know how much money Jay Cutler makes compared to them, and what are they going to do to stop Jay Cutler from just walking into this club right now with like eight or nine other dudes.

(I'd like to pause for a moment here to recognize the guy responsible for the Lyttle Lytton writing contest who singled out probably the platonic ideal of a Rick Reilly shame on you-style column opener:
"Some things are so small, so miniscule, so atomically insignificant, they can be seen only from three feet away using the Hubble telescope. The heart of Jean Musgjerd is one of these things.")

Cutler fell further under fire by getting injured in the championship game, leading to thousands of Chicagoans to evidently take online courses to become amateur videographic orthopedists allowing them to question the severity of his injury and his willingness to play through pain. Some NFL players even joined in the fray, which implied a certain unpopularity among his peers.

Cutler was also targeted by a wide variety of sports columnists

With more access to athletes than ever before, modern sports fans have to decide the extent to which how they perceive athletes off the field colors their enjoyment of sports. As a football fan, I enjoy watching gigantic people smash into each other in an organized fashion for my amusement; I'll support anyone who helps the team I like smash the other team more effectively regardless of churlishness, smarm, sass, or blandness. On the other hand, I would prefer that none of these people does anything so unreasonably heinous that supporting them becomes uncomfortable-- unless they commit a crime so spectacularly grandiose that it falls into the category of heist, or involves doing something like stealing the Great Pyramid of Cheops and then attempting to ransom it back to the Egyptian Government with a series of opaque riddles designed to foil international police agencies. Unless that plan involves a dastardly attempt to crush Europe with the spike covered fist of megalomania.

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