El Dorado News-Times

Manhood as a Game

- Marc Dion Columnist Dion’s latest book, a collection of his best columns, is called “Mean Old Liberal.” It is available in paperback from Amazon.com and for Nook, Kindle, and iBooks.

So, let me get this straight. You DO want to see muscular men in tight pants play football. You do NOT want to look at Taylor Swift.

This, you tell me, is manliness. You tell me that right before you begin sobbing into your hanky.

There’s a lot of beauty in manhood, and a lot of ugliness. The beauty is the guy working two jobs because he’s got three kids and a wife who had knee surgery and can’t work until spring, and he can’t imagine leaving them or letting them go without anything, so he places his body between them and want. Driving a six-year-old Kia from his day warehouse job to his night convenienc­e store job, that guy is so beautiful, he oughta be in a painting.

The ugliness is swagger and rape and wife-beating and chest-thumping and child support you don’t pay and kids you never see and all kinds of dirt you do to convince yourself you’re “free” like a cowboy or a biker or one of the characters in “The Godfather.”

There’s a certain kind of American man who has three things going for him and three things only: He’s white, he’s male, and he’s not gay. If anything threatens the perceived value of any of those three things, he’ll talk crazy, or he’ll drink crazy, or he’ll shoot crazy, or he’ll vote crazy, and none of those things will dig him an inch out of the hole. There are Black men like that, too, but they don’t value their Blackness as much as white men value their whiteness because they know Blackness has real value only in entertainm­ent sports and inner-city politics. President Barack Obama was the exception to the rule, and even he had to start with a made-up job organizing an illusory fairness in the inner city. Meanwhile, just when some men discover that some other men like to dress up as women, Taylor Swift starts dating a football player, shows up at his games and has many pictures taken of her.

Swift is a singer, a successful singer, and I have never heard any of her songs. She’s skinny and pretty, and she has long hair and a lot of teeth. She is, in short, pleasant to look upon. She also makes the kind of money oil companies make.

It’s a damn nightmare, is what it is. You watch football, and most of the players are Black. You call them “my” Chiefs or Ravens, or Jets, but the team doesn’t belong to you. The team belongs to some rich guy who’d live in a groundhog hole before he’d live in your neighborho­od. The team owner has more money than you. The players have more money than you. Even the girl singer with all the teeth has more money than you. You gotta work your way down to the guys selling beer at the stadium before you get to a guy who doesn’t have more money than you.

“She’s ruining the game,” you mutter. “Show the cheerleade­rs again.”

It isn’t going to get any better. I promise. The NFL is going to keep getting Blacker. Taylor Swift is going to keep smiling that fire engine red lipstick smile.

She’s successful, she’s rich, and she is known to be a liberal. It hurts when they show her jumping up and down in the luxury box, doesn’t it?

Look at it this way. Would you feel better if Travis Kelce was dating Kid Rock?

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