Monday, January 26, 2015

They're not real people They are billionaires

These are two columns published yesterday in "The Official Newspaper Of The New Orleans Saints." One is by sports columnist Ted Lewis and the other is by Stephanie Grace. Grace's is far better but they both contain an interesting common phrase.

Lewis's theme is straight-up LEAAVE THE BENSONS ALOOONE stuff. As much as the public may enjoy gawking at the royal follies, Lewis advises us to all "grow up."  He lectures us on our behavior through a series of very short paragraphs.
However you want to look at it, it’s great stuff. And it’s just getting started, so sit back and watch the show.

To which we say, stop it.

Stop. It.


Yes, this is a family feud. But it’s no game show.

These are real people involved.

Yes, they’re flawed people — like all of us are.

Yes, they’ve had dysfunction in their family before — like most of us have.

But they’re also real people who undoubtedly are feeling both deeply heartbroken about what has happened and embarrassed that it is playing out this way, no matter what kind of public face they’re trying to put on.
It gets smarmier than that.  But I hope you guys are all sufficiently shamed now that you have been informed that the Bensons are real people with the same real problems that you or I might have

For example, who among us has not had to struggle with just the right mix of antiques to properly accent our stained glass. And surely everyone can relate to the difficulties of finding good help these days.

But, at the end of the day, we know it's all worth it when the state of Louisiana sends us our annual $12 million gift ... and Mercedes-Benz sends us the $50 million for hanging signs up on a building the state owns... and, of course the rent payments come in from that office tower the state gave us and now rents back from us.   Real life is challenging, sure. But look how rewarding it is also!

Grace takes a slightly different tack from Lewis.  Rather than admonish us to lay off of the Bensons because the are "real people with real problems," she, instead remarks that this is precisely why it's so much fun to gawk at them.
So why isn’t it all more entertaining?

Let’s start with the obvious. These aren’t Hollywood characters but real people we’ve all watched for years, even if we don’t know them personally, and they’re experiencing real pain.

Moreover, some elements of the story are universal. At some point, every family must face the mental and physical decline of a loved one, and it’s always wrenching.
Gah!  At first glance, it looks like Grace is making Lewis's point for him.  We love this stuff because the pain is real. What kind of sick people must we be to so enjoy the thrill of watching human beings deliberately injuring themselves and one another in public for millions of dollars like this?  And anyway, isn't the football enough of that already?

But keep reading.  She gets closer to the point.
We may feel like voyeurs, but the rest of us have a stake in how this turns out, too. All of us, from the Louisiana taxpayers who built the two franchises’ facilities and have spent hundreds of millions on their upkeep, to the fans who buy tickets and merchandise, to the New Orleanians who will never forget how the Saints helped get them through the toughest of times — and who get that the continued presence of both teams signals the city’s survival, resurgence and big-league stature to the outside world.
New Orleans isn't obsessed with Bensonology right now solely for the  sake of titillation. They're concerned that the massive investment they've all made in public treasure, passion, and goodwill is under the stewardship of unstable, incompetent, and, frankly, unnecessary plutocrats.

These are not real people like you and me. These are billionaires squabbling over a fortune which they have, through political manipulation applied via a corrupt system welfare-for-the-wealthy, looted from the rest of us. They really don't deserve to benefit from anyone's well-meaning attempt at empathy, even if they are.. technically... humans.

Bronze Tom official greeting

In other news, what's grosser than Tom Benson?   Roger Goodell, of course.
And yet even some owners have been frustrated by aspects of Goodell's tenure. Bob McNair, who owns the Houston Texans and is a Goodell supporter, told me that when Saints owner Tom Benson resigned from three league committees in 2013, Goodell's pay package and his handling of the Saints' Bountygate scandal were two reasons. "Tom's a green-eyeshade accountant of many years," McNair said. "He's just not happy about what happened." (Through a spokesman, Benson denies this.) It's also an open secret in league circles that some owners, especially Woody Johnson of the Jets, resent the preferential treatment Goodell is perceived to extend to his inner circle.
Goodell's "pay package" is so obnoxious that even robber-barron Tom Benson is offended by it.

Meanwhile, Drew Brees has figured out the problem on the field.
The good news for Saints fans is, after meeting with Payton and Loomis, Brees is confident the front office realized the error of its ways and has a better plan in place entering this offseason.

“I think we’ve identified the problems or the things that got us beat or the things that didn’t allow us to be as good as we know we can be, and we have the solution to fix it,” said Brees, before boarding the bus out of the Pro Bowl. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but I know we can get it done.”
Was Henry Ellard really that much of a problem?

1 comment:

Nolaresident said...

(With apologies to Will S.)

I am a billionaire. Hath not a billionaire eyes? Hath not a billionaire hands,

organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the

food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same

heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same

and summer, as a poor person is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?

you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not