Animal House, via H.P. Lovecraft

Read this and then contemplate the meaning of the phrase “Frathouse America.”

I half expect the Attorney General to go up there and say “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests – we did. But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America!”

Everybody thinks they can hook it…

“Senator Edwards, I knew Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was a friend of mine. Bill Clinton got off with my cousin’s roommate’s sister’s BFF in the back of an El Camino back in ’73. Senator, you’re no Bill Clinton.”


(Ladies and gentlemen, start your blogs. We just looooooove to jone.)


I roll out a phrase from days of yore because I actually did have a sudden realization at some point in the last 48 hours or so. I have mentioned before that at age 36, I have more or less got everything I ever wanted out of life…albeit with the caveat that some stuff I got I didn’t realize I wanted, and some stuff I thought I wanted it turns out I didn’t, and that I had some of it and have since lost it again.

But what occurred to me was that there actually *was* a point when I had gotten everything I ever wanted in life (to that point), and it was summer of 1989. I had:

* A car

* A kick-ass summer job (law firm, if you must know, beats the hell out of the produce cooler)

* A crew of friends, of the sort that would take ten years to start replicating elsewhere

* A girl that was crazy about me. More than one, actually, but it’s a long story, and it ends with one of them 1200 miles away and the other regenerating and not in a good way

* A GPA that AP classes had finally driven above 4. (I don’t know if it was still like this when Technically Cool was there, but in my day – in addition to wearing an onion on our belts and spending nickels with bees on them – the GPA of the entire senior class was publicly posted like it was the AP football poll, on a very regular basis. Despite my best efforts, I never managed to get above #7.)

* Back-to-back state championships in Scholars’ Bowl (one unofficial, one decidedly NOT), an MVP trophy from the Auburn invitational, and the knowledge that the captain’s chair was waiting for me in September.

* Prescription aviator shades. (Seriously. Coupled with the shorts, which I’m not proud of – we were still in the Daisy Dukes back then – I looked like a poor, poor, homeless man’s Grow Your Own Hunter S. Thompson Sea Monkey.)

And most of all:

* The knowledge that in a little over a year, somebody was going to pay for me to leave home and go to COLLEGE, where the sky would be the limit and I could finally do what I’d been waiting twelve years for.

See, back then, the future was nothing if not the perfect storm of possibilities. Anything at all…there was no limit to what could potentially be around the corner.

Now, almost twenty years on, most of the blanks have been filled in. Some of them are pretty damn good, some of them I wish I could go back and fill out differently, and sadly, some of them got crossed out for me. And I wonder if the fact that there aren’t that many big blanks left to fill in tends to make one anxious about what finally will go in them.

Also, believe me when I say that a period of extreme introspection and being kind of antsy is a very very bad time for your financial institution to unexpectedly screw with you. Three-ring-binder-jockeys will quickly get pulled off their phone script.

This is preposterous.

Anybody who’s been on The Daily Show a dozen times, hosted Saturday Night Live and made an appearance in a Frat Pack movie is on thin F-ing ice to talk about anyone else’s “celebrity”.
Is this really the way we’re going to run this thing? Let me tell you something: I don’t want to live in a country where Paris Hilton’s comedy parody response ad has a better articulation of energy policy than the network news.

God, I may piss off some Packer fans here…

…or maybe not. Anyway, it’s got to be said, so here I go:

I take back what I said about Brett Favre being the NFL’s answer to John McCain. Say what you like about McCain, but he’s never gone on the sort of delusional Norma Desmond tear that the Almighty Gunslinger of Kiln, Mississippi has embarked on. After two bloody seasons of teasing the whole will-he-won’t-he retirement angle, and finally retiring in April, now he’s sent the papers in to UN-retire, and looks to be in the verge of actual re-instatement.

There’s no nice way to say this, and it’s a goddamn shame that it’s come to this, but here it is: Brett Favre is not bigger than the Green Bay Packers. No matter how much man-love is slobbered on him by the Maddens and Sports Illustrateds of the world, the fact of the matter is this: the Packers are an NFL institution, older than the league itself. They are the team of Curly Lambeau and Don Hutson and Bart Starr and Paul Hornung and Vince Lombardi. They existed for over seventy years before Favre came along, and they will be there when everyone who remembers that Favre was actually an Atlanta Falcon at the outset is dead and gone.

For Brett Favre to carry on with this charade says much, much more about him than it does about the Packers. They took his retirement in good faith, they drafted yet another quarterback (if I were Aaron Rodgers, I’d have put the first pet cat in orbit by now), they prepared to move on. And yet, despite the fact that he put together one competitive season in the last three, despite the fact that his signature pass from the 2008 season was an interception that gave the Giants a berth in the Super Bowl (what is it with the Giants backing into Super Bowls since 1990? Honestly), despite the fact that he’s already played SEVENTEEN BLOODY YEARS IN THE LEAGUE, Old Number Four sure seems to think that the crown jewel of NFL tradition should slam on the brakes, stop time, and put the entire course of franchise history on hold until he’s managed to milk every last second in the spotlight for all it’s worth. Even if it means another non-winning season, even if it means a first-round draft pick holds a clipboard for a fourth year (Rodgers has thrown a whopping 59 career passes, and last season was the first year he broke 20 pass attempts in the pros), no matter what – Favre has to come back, and the sports media cannot resist another round of the Hallelujah Chorus.

Look, he had a hell of a run. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, no questions asked. But eventually everybody has to go. Joe Montana wound up a Chief, Joe Namath a Ram, Johnny F-ing Unitas a Charger. And in every case, it didn’t take 17 years – because the sad, cruel fact of sports is that sooner or later, everybody has to hang it up. And the only reason it hasn’t happened for Brett Lorenzo Favre is because Peter King and ESPN and the entire hellish host of the Sabbath Gasbags won’t get off his jock long enough to deal with reality.