Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Worst and Best of New York

Kudos to CBS Radio News Thursday evening for taking a slow news day and making it better – by celebrating the deader.

Damn Yankee

What a schmuck, George Steinbrenner. When the only thing people can say good about you is that you were passionate about winning, it means you are a loser. A felon, a bully, an egotist and a thoroughly hateful man – ah, but he represented New York. He owned the Yankees. Two of the most overrated institutions in the world.

He was clever enough to see the possibilities in the newly created free agency system to buy and sell human beings on a scale not seen since antebellum South Carolina in order to continue a reign of Yankee supremacy and the slow decline of baseball as a national pastime.

That his teams occasionally lost games, or had off seasons despite the “talent” he bought, spoke to the axiom that people with big heads and big wallets don’t know squat about sports. Right, Danny Snyder?

The best thing ever said about this blivet of capitalist excess was by Reggie Jackson, who when referring to five-time-Steinbrenner-fired Billy Martin: “The two were meant for each other. One's a born liar, and the other's convicted."

George Steinbrenner – convicted felon (obstruction of justice) and misdemeanant (making illegal contributions to Richard Nixon) – was pardoned by President Reagan, whose career began broadcasting fake accounts of baseball games.

I'd like to think Steinbrenner, Nixon and Reagan are sitting together right now around the warm fires of where they belong, playing liar’s poker.


He called his band “The USO of the Left,” and Tuli Kupferberg’s musical aggregation made a statement every time they were introduced. They were the Fugs.

The name was a tribute to Norman Mailer’s wicked way around censorship in “The Naked and the Dead,” an affirmation of the ‘60s and a guarantee their albums would not be played on radio, ditties including “(We Like) Boobs a Lot,” “Slum Goddess of the Lower East Side” and the immortal “Kill for Peace.”

I have a couple of their records, and I can’t honestly say I played them very much. But having them on my shelf put me, and keeps me, on the right side of life.

Tuli Kupferberg was a small part of a social movement that made it possible for people like him to be memorialized on CBS. I bet he's ashamed!

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