What Not to Say: "I Own This [Town, Turf, Team]"
Ok, so maybe you don't exactly want to look toward these three for advice on proper living, but something weird is going on here, and it's time to draw a simple lesson from America's Worst Youth Sports Commissioner, that nutty blogger who keeps harassing Sen. George Allen, and Saddam Hussein.
Here's the lesson: When you get in trouble over something, do not shout out anything about how you own this [team, town, turf.]
As chronicled in Tim Dwyer's astonishing tale Saturday of the northern Virginia youth football commissioner who sacked the coaches of his own kid's team because they had defied dad's orders to play the kid on defense every single minute of every single game, commissioner Dan Hinkle made his demands clear by writing in an email: "He is my son, I own the league, and he plays every snap on defense." (Let me repeat a key phrase here: writing in an email. This is the central stupidity of our era. Thank you.)
Then there's the wacko who seems to enjoy getting removed from Sen. Allen's campaign events. Liberal blogger and law student Mike Stark, after having been manhandled by Allen staffers at one event where he tried to badger the senator into talking about the sealed court records from the breakup of Allen's first marriage, was removed from another rally by police Saturday after an Allen supporter said Stark pushed him to the ground. This time, Stark responded by calling out to deputies that "I'll own this town." This is not the Dale Carnegie-approved approach to a police custody situation.
Finally, we have Mr. Saddam Hussein, the probably soon to be swinging ex-dictator of Iraq. Saddam never quite uttered the words "I own this country," but he repeatedly came close in the early days of his trial for crimes against humanity. He challenged the court at the start of the trial: ''My identity is as the president of the Republic of Iraq. And I ask, who are you, and what are you? Who are these judges?''
The judge replied: ''You are Saddam Hussein al-Majid, former president of Iraq, born 1937.''
Hussein retorted: ''I didn't say 'former president,' I said 'president,' and I have the constitutional rights according to the constitution, among them immunity from prosecution.''
Election Eve is no time to be preaching humility, I suppose, and I'm sure if you have a dispute with a shop manager, it may feel just swell to blurt something like "I'll own this store," but I think it's fair to say that the efficacy of such declarations is minimal.
Can't we all just sing out in unison, "STFU!" (Oh, man, there I go, being boorish again. Let's try that again: Can't we all just, well, get along? Ugh. Way too syrupy. How about, Can't we all just chill and play some Twister? [I ripped that off from a blog way too nasty even to link to--apologies to the blogger.] (There's an Internet myth that Fidel Castro loves Twister; I can find no evidence to support this. However, continuing the category of Cuban Dictators and Board Games, Fidel does appear to have an animus against Parker Bros.' Monopoly: "In Cuba, the game had a strong following until Fidel Castro took over and ordered all known sets destroyed."
Another reason to support democracy. Go vote tomorrow. (Whew, finally found a way out of this one.)
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