Wednesday, October 19, 2005

How Was The Play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Today's stupidest newspaper story comes from my hometown St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

They sent a reporter out in Houston to discover that most of the thousands of hurricane refugees temporarily in that city are not all that caught up in the Astros post-season run at the National League pennant.

Reporter Jake Wagman makes a non-story up in his head, and then reports it ominously:
In the storybook world that baseball can evoke, it would be easy to imagine the scores of displaced people in Houston adopting the hometown team as their own, rallying around the Astros during otherwise turbulent times.
Hmmm. Can't really say I was imagining that. My guess would have been that out-of-towners living as refugees wouldn't give a hoot about the baseball playoffs, considering that New Orleans doesn't even have a baseball team. But imagination is all this story has, so let's go with it a minute.
Left out of the fun are many of the thousands of transplants from two devastating storms, still trying to put their lives back together as the rest of Houston is consumed by 18-inning games, Roger Clemens and the Killer B's.

"I've got way more important things than a game," said Lloyd Chapman, 27, who left New Orleans for Houston after Hurricane Katrina hit. "I'm trying to survive and live."

The fan gap is a subtle but telling sign of the growing divide between hurricane evacuees and the rest of Houston.
Those evil, selfish Houstonians. Why, they're leaving the refugees out of their fun! These hurricane victims are being excluded.

The amazing thing about this story, keep in mind, is that the entire sum and substance of it is merely some idiot reporter wandering around shelters asking displaced homeless people "How 'bout those baseball playoffs?"

When they correctly respond "We couldn't give a flying rip about the baseball playoffs, you moron," it's seen as a "rift" developing between citizens of Houston and the refugees. Whereas I see it as a "rift" developing between reporter Jake Wagman and his dignity.

Perhaps there could be a huge, roiling "rift" between Houstonians and hurricane evacuees. But it seems like it could also simply be that the locals are really into their baseball team while the out-of-towners are not. Maybe it's not a "rift" at all. If I suddenly lost my home and had to move to Indianapolis, I can't imagine my first concern would be cheering on the undefeated Colts, to which I've never devoted more than 20 seconds of total thought. But my indifferent reaction would be no reflection on the fine people of Indianapolis.

For Jake Wagman's next story, I hear he's going to wander through a children's cancer ward asking the kids what they think of the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives."

No comments: