Thursday, July 15, 2010
I confess, I don't follow baseball and am one of the people who had to wait for a descriptive phrase such as "famous controversial Yankees manager" before comprehending who the "George Steinbrenner" was that I've been hearing about lately. Apparently, there's quite a mania about him in New York City and elsewhere, leading Matt Taibbi to see the whole phenomenon through an intriguing class-war lens:
The mania for elegiac slobbering is one of the most disgusting things about this country, but you'll never see a clearer example of America's unique capacity for this sort of activity than this Steinbrenner business. When Bruce Springsteen dies, it won't be appropriate to make jokes about millions of Americans fawning over a dead Boss. But in George "The Boss" Steinbrenner's case, it fits perfectly, because Steinbrenner was in every conceivable way the prototypical office tyrant and the fact that he's being uninterruptedly worshipped after his death by a nation of cubicle slaves tells you almost everything you need to know about the modern American psyche.Don't miss the Stalin Applause Index, either. Something like that is going to happen here one day, just watch—probably at a Tea Party rally or somesuch. "First person to stop clapping HATES AMERICA."
In no other country do people genuinely love their bosses the way Americans do. They'll go home after 12 hard hours of capricious superiors peeing in their faces, and the very first thing they'll do is call up some talk radio show and denounce the graduated income tax that gives them a break at their bosses' expense. In other countries bosses need to constantly fend off revolts and strikes; in America people tune in by the millions to cheer on an impetuous, bloated asshole like Donald Trump as he ritualistically fires a succession of sheepish sacrificial stand-ins who are clearly chosen for their resemblance to the target demographic. And The Apprentice was just one of many reality shows where people literally jack off to their own job insecurity!
They've got peoples' heads so turned around in this country that this ring-around-the-collar self-flagellating terror at being thought of as poor and subordinate has people reflexively worshipping their bosses, to the point where George Steinbrenner -- a workplace Caligula so stupid and self-centered that he could not be convinced George Constanza wasn't named after him -- is somehow thought of as cute and lovable. George Steinbrenner was not cute; he was the biggest fuckhead of his generation. Steinbrenner was the kind of guy who wouldn't accept that two plus two equaled four if a parade of MIT professors proved it to him on a fifty-foot blackboard. And if you tried to point that out to him, he fired you in the middle of the night, which he thought was funny, except that you were feeding your kids with that money.
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