Last Monday, two ‘events’ transpired, only one of which elicited national anger. On the one hand, 25,000 children around the world died from eminently treatable illnesses like diarrhea–25,000 human lives, with all their potential, their beauty, their hope, snuffed out due to a lack of clean water to drink or cheap antibiotics to treat them. On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers lost to the Seattle Seahawks on a last minute call that, observers around the country agree, was blown by replacement referees. Now, there are many angles to this. For one thing, the regular, unionized referees have been locked out by the NFL due to a dispute over pay and pensions, creating a fascinating dynamic whereby numerous anti-union figures, such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, find themselves begging for a return to the unionized referees. What’s more, it’s been absolutely fascinating to read about the fact that, despite a litany of horrible calls by these amateur refs, many of which have literally changed the outcomes of games, viewership has actually gone up! So it seems that the old adage ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ holds true.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, national anger. So one of these two events got the President of the United States, presidential and vice presidential candidates Romney and Ryan, several governors, talk show hosts, tv show hosts, bloggers, newspapers and countless millions of ordinary Americans to unleash a unified crescendo of dismay, disgust and disdain for…the NFL. The fact that so many died quiet deaths in distant villages, crowded cities and everything in between? Not a peep. Not a word. Not even a side note on the evening news.