Tuesday, October 17, 2006

If He'd Said, 'Take my Wife, Please,' He'd Still Have the Job

I'm just going to link to the comment by Steve Lyons made on national TV -- indeed, made in my hearing since I was listening to the very game -- and widely construed as racist and which resulted in his being fired.

I don't think it shows he's racist. I think it shows that as his little brain buzzed in an attempt to create what might pass as a clever remark he strained too hard. He attempted to juxtapose elements that had arisen in the course of the broadcast to create the semi-hostile banter than passes for camaraderie in the world of men. Barney, the dinosaur, would have sung a friendly song to Lou Pinella. But in the world of men, all you can do is come up with an insult to show your esteem for other male animals. I believe they call it reverse, or perhaps inverse, rhetoric.

But poor Steve Lyons did it incompetently. The joke was obscure. The possibility -- attenuated though it was -- that he was ridiculing Spanish speakers was all that was left. As a humorist, he proved an incompetent technician. That is a pretty good reason for being fired. But his failure was one of professionalism, not of morality.

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