Lincicome: Not all that's debunked these days stays debunked
In times like these we fall back on that reliable swamp philosopher, the possum Pogo, who observed, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
This may seem a long way to go to get to the Australian Open, but then Australia is a long way to go, nor is there any good reason to make the journey, certainly not for tennis, the sweatier antecedent of pickle ball. And, don't worry, this is not about tennis.
The rut that tennis is in remains, though for a few days it got a hand up from Novak Djokovic, the Serbian Aaron Rodgers, disdaining science for ... well, it's hard to know what exactly.
Some time ago someone decided that the Australian Open was a big deal, that it is one of the Grand Slams, if not the grandest slam then at least the first, way over there where all our actors and actresses come from.
We were reminded of its significance because Djokovic, the Serbian Nicki Minaj, declined vaccination in a place where that sort of thing is taken seriously, more seriously than here where athletes duck in and out of assorted protocols while the rest of us reach for a thermometer first thing every morning.
Staying healthy and alive is a lonely business when the next person who breathes on you might be toxic. How to know? Mask up. Vaccinate. Avoid life, or risk losing it.
We all exist between fear and foolishness, just to get back to Pogo for a moment. We are the weapons and the causalities, sometimes both.
With as public a fool as Rodgers, the American Novak Djokovic, using his lofty status as an idol who is above it all to misguide the gullible, no tears are shed here for his dismissal from the NFL playoffs, the 49ers teaching him a lesson that shame could not.
It does seem that sports has let down the side when it comes to making common sense for the common good. Sticking together is called teamwork in every stadium and arena.
Celebrities, too, RFK Jr. no less, as well as ordinary folks who rely on the example of the famous to guide them, are both out of touch and risky to touch.
It was Charles Barkley, the American natterer and expanding pool toy, who famously proclaimed that he was no role model. Well, too late for that. Same with Rodgers and with Djokovic, the Serbian Kyrie Irving, and any others who trade their obscurity for fame and fortune.
It can't be helped. We elect Presidents because they are semifamous and cling to our poor judgment long after they've disgraced themselves.
Not all athletes are going to be Lou Gehrig with humility and modesty bravely facing the end, nor Jim Valvano in tux and tears urging all to never give up. But they don't have to be John Stockton either, who makes both Djokovic and Rodgers seem like the two Wise Men.
Here's the Stockton story. We remember him as a decent fellow, as dull as dandruff but a superior basketball player, a Hall of Famer, in fact. He played for Gonzaga when Gonzaga was Cinderella and for Utah when Karl Malone was forever finishing off one of Stockton's deft passes.
The school Stockton lifted out of obscurity, Gonzaga, has revoked his tickets to games because he won't wear a protective mask. OK. That's their choice as it is his. But wait. Here's the creepy part.
To justify himself Stockton contends that there are "tens of thousands, perhaps millions who have died from vaccines." Stockton told this to a Spokane newspaper who quoted him and repeated it, just as I am doing, not because it is believable but because it is too wacky to ignore.
Here's more of the quote: "I think it's highly recorded now, it's over 100 professional athletes dead -- professional athletes -- the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court."
I think we would have heard about this before now. Especially if it was highly recorded. This all has been debunked as so much bunk, not that debunking has the same effect that debunking used to have. Once when something was debunked, it stayed darn well debunked. Now it just blossoms.
This is serious stuff. I think we can all agree on that. But, wait. Even the Supreme Court cannot all agree to wear masks. Pogo was right. Google it.