Posted on | January 20, 2014 | 23 Comments
Professor Donald Douglas has been trying to get me to pay attention to this, and I’ve struggled mightily to resist. It makes my head hurt to think of it, but The Nation — a publication that spent 74 years cheerleading for the Bolsheviks — now has a sports blogger named David Zirin, whose output is about as zany as you’d expect:
Get ready for two weeks of stories that pit the polished Peyton Manning against his supposed antithesis, Richard Sherman. Get ready for two weeks of interesting coverage about how the best quarterback in the game and probable 2013 MVP takes on the best cornerback in the game and the probable Defensive Player of the Year at the Super Bowl. Also get ready for two weeks of utterly uninteresting coverage that paints Peyton as a Southern gentleman in shining armor who will hopefully slay Richard Sherman, Compton’s “loudmouth” dread-locked dragon. There will be more articles, tweets and commentaries from the media bemoaning Richard Sherman’s lack of “class”. There will be even more tweets from so-called fans that sound like press releases from a White Citizen’s Council. There will be a running loop of Sherman’s already “insta-classic”WWE-infused “promo” rant after Sunday’s victory over their rival the 49ers.
There is a word for such writing. That word is . . . bad.
UPDATE: Zirin is a comrade of the International Socialist Organization, and a contributor to its Socialist Worker site. The ISO is one of those Marxist splinter groups that you used to see at anti-Iraq war protests, handing out their grubby little tabloid newspapers and trying to sign up members. They were pathetic during the Bush era and are even more pathetic in the Obama era, where the the extreme Left is so completely co-opted by the Democrat Party (and vice-versa) that revolutionary Marxism is irrelevant.
UPDATE II: To get a sense of the fringe nature of the ISO, you need to read this (long) manifesto by former ISO member Donna Chidi, who makes the point that leadership of the ISO, an organization whose members claim to see racism everywhere, is overwhelmingly controlled by whites. In 2010, there was a de facto purge of members from the Washington, D.C., branch of ISO, resulting in a group that is 90% white in a 54% black city:
[T]he leaders of the branch called an “Emergency Meeting” . . . in which we would discuss some important issues in our branch and which Ahmed Shawki of the national steering committee would attend and convene.
At this Emergency meeting, Shawki described reasons why the national steering committee had voted to expel Zach Mason and indefinitely suspend David Thurston of the DC branch. . . [Mason and Thurston] were not welcome to this “members only” meeting where the issue of their expulsions would be discussed by everyone else. . . . I commented on how sad it was to see socialists stand up and slander and crucify people they had worked with for 14 years and 7 years respectively without even allowing them to attend and defend themselves.
Among several other hostile comments made in my direction because of this, Shawki closed the discussion by inviting me to leave the ISO, although he has never spoken to me before, “If you think these guys are being crucified, then maybe this organization is not the right organization for you.”
In a 2010 e-mail to the DC-ISO’s (white) leader, Michelle Bollinger, Chidi mentioned David Zirin among her antagonists:
I believe it was made undeniably clear in the last meeting that I attended that I am not welcome in the DC ISO branch — especially in the comments made by comrades Dave Zirin, Mike Stark, and Ahmed Shawki.
Fighting racism by expelling black people? As a strategy, it makes about as much sense as anything else these kooks advocate.