Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Botox, BoSox and Indigenous Blocks in the Bush Leagues: Predictions
By The Ox
"Science has become the new European religion for both capitalists and Marxists; they are part and parcel of the same culture...demands that non-European peoples give up their values, their traditions, their cultural existence altogether. We will all be industrialized science addicts....There is another way.” -Russell Means’ The Same Old Song (1)
Only one baseball owner opposed the wild-card format (based on football, of all things!) when it went to a vote in 1994: George W. Bush.
Voting against the heretical change, which took effect in 1994 before the postseason was canceled by labor strife, he drawled:
“I made my arguments and went down in flames. History will prove me right,” said then-Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush, whose foresight led him to bigger and better things. If you don’t believe me, ask him.
“This is an exercise in folly.”
That’s our Commander-in-Chief speaking a decade ago.
What a maverick! Or, is he? Some might say he’s the wild card himself, leading the pack of predatory wolves we call Americans – fully backed up with rationalizing stats—in their ongoing genocidal, ecocidal practices, their arrogant abominations, caring not a whit about anything that could conceivably be called traditional.
My Native American friends say so. And they say the same about Mr. Botox. (2)
Many people forget that baseball’s a game, and the slightest change in their favorite diversion seems absolutely sacrilegious. Purists out of touch. With short memories to boot. Three decades following the adoption of the Designated Hitter, fans are still going at one another’s throats. But I think the scorecard’s in on the Wild Card phenomenon; the last two World Series winners were WCarders, half of the last eight WSeries contenders were, and the financial/emotional hoopla surrounding the fact of WC races speaks for itself.
So much for history proving it an exercise in folly. For that we have to look at Bush’s Bush League Lethal Innovations.
The reason W was down on the WC might be as simple as the fact that the wild card has kept more fans involved in the game. If you can rule the roost without citizen involvement, why not? If you can profit sufficiently without their participation, hey...who’s gonna knock it? On some subliminal level—although there were certainly other factors—I think the Daft Draft Dodger feared...too much excitement in the stands, among the plebians, the groundlings. Too many nooks and crannies for his taste, mentally boxed in by the thought that a Pandora’s Box might open. He requires consistency, control. Besides, the elitist in him thrives on doin’ somethin’ just because he can, taking an unpopular stand. War with Iraq? Don’t need no coalition, I’m going in swingin’ my bat as a Lone Star.
But how does this get us to Botox’s Beantown?
Massachusetts, Land of many Kennedys. And Boston, virtually alone among the states in that the capital city is also the state’s most significant city in terms of culture, population, sin, food, fun and...sports. Whether it be a cleverly executed U-turn into a lonely parking space or just a routine left turn from the right lane of a busy street, the craft and artistry of a Boston Driver is a sight to behold...preferably at a safe distance. And the twisty streets make it the easiest city to get lost in the fastest. Talk about troubling nooks and crannies. Again, much too much for the likes of W.
That’s why the Red Sox will take it all away from the Yanks this year. And that’s why Kerry will collect all the marbleheads, bringing home a victory of sorts. The planet cannot tolerate the anal-retentive powers that are officially in place, and—on the level of Dream—Boston’s ballplayers and Kerry’s comrades represent a slight diuretic. An almost imperceptible loosening of the noose and sphincters...for the moment...maybe. Not really, but maybe in the minds of millions, a scintilla of relief for the blood and shade of Mother Earth that’s in everybody’s marrow.
Their New England city, as racist (and problematic in other regards) as it is, has some sense of community, some walkability, some livibility, some sophistication, some sense of scale. As opposed to what’s in bestial Texas and what’s in Steinbrenner’s boorish head and pocket. It is time for a change.
On the level of Dream.
Please, no platitudes about The Apple. Both NYC and Beantown have buried their Indians. I want you to get dreamy about baseball, not hunkered down with a hackneyed head.
I want you to lose your loopy, lopsided emphasis on humans as humans, the arrogant European pretension that we’re beyond the nature of all related things. That all we need is Science, Technology and Baseball Sex.
The wild card was originally intended to serve as a safety net of sorts, permitting a deserving, strong team not favored by its divisional placement to have an opportunity in the playoffs. You can see how Bush might be against this business of compensating someone for placement, want to deny compensation.
Nothing is more characteristic of baseball fans than their absolute worship of statistics, an offspring of Science. Readers who believe in Science and Technology would be well-advised to pick up a copy of Welcome to the Machine (by Jensen and Draffan) to get straightened out. (3) For here, for now...I have a peculiar little point to ply, to pry something open in you, hopefully.
It’s no accident that baseball, whose fans use statistics like addicts use heroin, was born in the mid-1800s, when the scientific world was awash in a proliferation of measurement. Historian of science, Thomas Kuhn, suggests that “with the explosion of statistics...came a decrease in the length of controversies...an increase in consensus.” (4) This is what a fetish for measuring precise numbers leads to, what Science, by its very nature insists upon.
Confirmation of its own importance, shortening controversy, promoting consensus. Does any of that have a Bush League ring to it? A Mr. Botox bell, for that matter?
In the 19th century and today the everyday practice of science has aimed at what Ian Hacking has described as devising ingenious instruments and methods for “obtaining very accurate numbers that don’t matter much.” (5)
If anyone’s interested in how little predictive value stats have for individual and team success --contrary to the Monumental Ignorance perpetuated by The Industry in Las Vegas and elsewhere—I recommend The Numbers Game chapter of Baseball and Philosophy. (6)
But whoever wins the very European Races to The Top this fall (electorally or in MLB), all we will get is a continuation of European ethics in one form or another, with tribal peoples an acceptable sacrifice to industrial needs.
Certainly, Native Americans (worthy of the appellation*) would agree with me, watching their landbase—their very spiritual ground—continue to disappear, treaties notwithstanding, the topsoil washed away, agriculture only feasible with massive infusions of chemical “enrichments,” aquifers compromised beyond repair, groundwater becoming synonymous with lethal toxins, acid rain rendering our surface water...a wasteland.
*I’m talking about the Winona LaDukes of this world, not the Casino-keepers. (7)
As you go out to buy your bottled water for the ballgames, keep in mind that we’re just touching the acid rain surface of...part of...Liquid America, the land of situational/opportunistic values...going down the drain. Not even approaching the fur and forest issues, the tissues damaged by products affecting your hormones...your ecstatic-over-elastic kid’s plastic playroom.
Thank the heavens for the Host World.
While politically correct progressives still hang on the comfortable complaint about “Braves” not being an appropriate mascot, the more difficult acknowledgement that Boston should be the Racists not the Red Sox, and the Yankees the Genocidists, not the World’s Daddy falls by the wayside.
But back to the landbase directly. Neither Wild Card Bush nor Kerry Da Kine can do. Neither can stem the selling of America and the world down the dirty river. Neither one wants to. Take the iron and the steel, sacrifice The Host World. Extract the oil, ignore “Pennsylvania.” Extract the coal, ignore “West Virginia.” The foundation of American power lies not only in the theft/rape involving gold, silver, bauxite, zeolites and uranium, but in the (more than) marginalization of Native Americans. Killing, redefining and/or forgetting them, etc. For the “etc.” see Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s recent article in CounterPunch.
Play ball! But make sure the ball comes from the anguished slave labor of Haitians, descendants of the wiped out indigenous people of Hispaniola.
No technological fix will be found for our technological Euro-based catastrophes. That’s a given. And no First World/Second World/Third World solutions currently in vogue on the horizon offer anything worth fighting for, to put it very mildly.
When I worked for Wyland Galleries as a salesperson on Maui, there were always plenty of colleagues who would chalk up a bad day to...any number of causes. (8) The economy. The weather. The new outlet down the street. The first Gulf War was a biggie. You name it. Initially, I chimed in.
But then I became Director of Sales.
It was then I saw that the only thing that counted in the realm that counted with me (and those who paid me, oddly enough) was...results. War, schmore. How many Wylands came off the wall today? Then was also when...I began to be disgusted.
Play Amazing Grace.
The need for personal gain at any cost must go. Ditto for the very ground of our European being, our heritage starring Newton, Locke, Descartes, Smith, Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Einstein, Bohr, et. al.
We no longer need a continuation of the system of science/materialism so that we can deal with life at each stage where the old “answers” wear out.
Again, change/continuation—in whatever European-based form—cannot substitute for truly revolutionary thinking, acts.
There are few who can show us the way, but they are here. And they can be deep inside of you, if you don’t block yourself.
It can be. Listen to the Land. (9) Dream. Outside of the Battered Box. (10)
It will be. (11)
Doesn’t matter what the odds are.
*Editor’s Note: This article was submitted to Press Action prior to New York’s 10-7 victory last night in the opener of the American League Championship Series with Boston.
(1) In Marxism and Native Americans, edited by Ward Churchill and published by Boston’s South End Press in 1983.
(2) They don’t say the same about Ralph Nader...who ran with Winona LaDuke, a Native American, in 2000.
(3) Vine De Loria Jr.’s God Is Red addresses Science on this count too.
(4) Thomas S. Kuhn, “The Function of Measurement in Modern Physical Science,” Isis, Vol. 52, Issue 2 (1961), pp. 161-193.
(5) Ian Hacking, Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p.242.
(6) Subtitled Thinking Outside The Batter’s Box, this collection edited by Eric Bronson (published by Chicago’s Open Court in 2004) is an eye-opener vis-a-vis stats.
(7) Winona’s Foreword to Ralph Nader’s Cutting Corporate Welfare (published by New York’s Seven Stories Press in 2000) is clear, condensed and useful for indigenists.
(8) Wyland—of one name like Madonna and Napoleon—hails from the Detroit area. He became famous as the painter of over 100 murals of cetaceans worldwide. You’ll find his images these days on the toxic towels and bathroom curtains of Martha Stewart-type/related stores. I think California offers one of his whales diving into the deep as an option for license plate background. I had repeated similar experiences/situations at other gigs throughout my life, of course, not just at Wyland Galleries.
(9) Listen to the Land is the title of one of my favorite books by Derrick Jensen.
(10) Watching television celebrity Chris Matthews, political commentator, on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show this evening, it struck me that he was hawking the November elections like Don King selling a Tyson fight.
(11) At the very least, we can be supportive of the efforts of AIM, such as what was reported on Democracy Now! yesterday:
“200 Arrested at Columbus Day Protest in Denver”: On Saturday, police in Denver arrested 230 people after they blocked the city’s Columbus Day parade for over an hour. The protest was sponsored by the Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement and other Native American groups. Protest organizers charged Columbus Day is a celebration of genocide against the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and it elevates the theft of our homelands, and the murder of Native people, to national holiday status.”
The Ox (Richard Oxman) is an indigenist living in Los Gatos, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.Share