Ten days ago in Charlottesville, a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of leftist protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. A gang of neo-Nazis surrounded 20-year-old Dre Harris and took turns violently assaulting him. On the following Tuesday, Herbert Gilbert, an unarmed black man, was fatally shot by police in Thomasville, Georgia. Last weekend, black counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Boston were kettled by riot police and attacked with batons. On Sunday a 22-year-old Cleveland man was hospitalized after being beaten by an assailant shouting, “You don’t belong here. Go back to your own country.” At a rally Tuesday night in Phoenix, the president of the United States signaled his intent to pardon a sheriff convicted of overseeing a draconian racial-profiling regime while police fired tear gas at demonstrators outside.
These are the wages of bigotry and oppression. People are murdered, terrorized, deported, impoverished, disenfranchised, blackballed, extorted, poisoned, and in countless other ways made less free and less safe.
At some point in the last ten days or so, while many of the things above were happening or about to happen, a gaggle of dimwits at ESPN arrived at the decision—in the boring corporate way that boring corporations tend to arrive at decisions—that C-squad play-by-play guy Robert Lee would be reassigned from this Saturday’s UVA home opener “because of the coincidence of his name,” out of a desire, in the words of network president John Skipper, not to “create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling.”
These are the wages of PC sensitivity. A guy was going to call a football game, and now he will call a different football game.
What should’ve happened in the wake of this silly and needless but wholly inconsequential decision at some quotidian production meeting in Bristol is, of course, nothing. But because our universe has taken a right-hand turn into the very stupidest of all possible timelines, what actually happened next was maddeningly predictable. Somebody at ESPN leaked the decision to sports-media village idiot Clay Travis, who licked his fingers clean of his favorite brand of paste long enough to fire off a brief item that framed the move as a capitulation to a PC-police backlash that very, very obviously would never have happened.
This is the dung heap on which Travis has staked out his burgeoning media fiefdom, buoyed not only by his loyal legions of SEC frat goons who chew on their boat shoes for sustenance and Midwestern golf dads who upholstered all the furniture in their post-divorce condo in Dri-Fit Polo material, but by the full might of the right-wing grievance industry at large. Barely more than 24 hours after the ESPN story broke, it’s the subject of three posts on the Breitbart home page, three at the Daily Caller, and five on FoxNews.com; Travis has spent time between back-to-back primetime appearances on Tucker Carlson Shoves His Stupid Smug Constipated Face in the Camera for a Whole Hour talking and tweeting about little else.
For the bitter dickheads who have made names for themselves whining about political correctness and snowflake SJWs and the great campus activist menace, this story is a godsend. Silver-spooned pseud and plagiarist Ben Domenech, still living large on think-tank welfare at The Federalist, is surely not at all wrong to suggest that ESPN’s decision “will be an item of ridicule for months to come.”
Never has this crowd felt more gleefully vindicated, and it’s a testament to just how unaccountably moronic they are that they don’t mind showing it. If Travis, Carlson, Domenech, and others had the slightest bit of sense—or maybe if they simply, deep down, believed any of the shit they’re always saying—they might be inclined to slow-play an item of so little consequence, to laugh it off as a goofy non-event and keep their powder dry for a bigger fish. These are, after all, the same people who’ve spent years conjuring images of militant hordes of free-speech-denying, safe-space-enforcing black-bloc thugs come to crush poor, put-upon white Christian conservatives under the bootheel of diversity and tolerance; a number of them earnestly believe in something called “white genocide.” Treating Sports Announcer Gets Reassigned for Silly Reason as the PC Run Amok beat’s Pentagon Papers kind of gives up the game.
But it’s all these dipshits have, and all they’re ever going to have, so they’ll grift while the grifting is good. People in this country will country will continue to struggle and suffer and die in the face of real oppression. They’ll bleed to death in the street, their bodies will bake on the asphalt, their families will be brutalized for demanding justice. Mothers will be torn from their children’s arms and deported to countries they’ve never known. Muslim parents will take their kids to the local mosque wondering if today is the day it will be firebombed.
Through it all a distributed network of aggrieved reactionary dipshits will stand watch in various air-conditioned and dare I say safe spaces across the country, eyeing their professors and classmates and baristas and neighbors and coworkers, ready at a moment’s notice to run the slightest overcorrection towards human decency up the chain of dipshit command, from their hell-swamp of a Facebook feed to Clay Travis’ idiot megaphone to that towering Mount Sinai of demagoguery, Fox News, where it’s possible to speak directly to the Dipshit God himself. Come to think of it, it’s a bit odd that the president hasn’t weighed in on this story yet, but it’s surely only a matter of time, because no timeline is stupider than this one.