Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Baseball, Drugs, and Coco CrispPuffs: Chuck Klosterman on Barry Bonds

Chuck Klosterman on Barry Bonds:
Problem 2: We were all fools and now we have to pretend we weren't
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Bonds will supplant Ruth [for the career home runs record], the most enduring sports figure of the 20th century. Everybody knows this, and there's nothing anyone can do.

It's too late. And because we all let this happen -- because we ignored what now seems obvious about McGwire and dozens of other hitters in the late '90s -- we will have to retrospectively reinvent how those experiences felt. Barry Bonds will force people to change their recent memories so they correspond with a new frame of reference, which is how historical revisionism generally occurs.

Problem 3: Tomorrow, today will be yesterday -- and Bonds will represent what that was like

In November 2000, the United States held a presidential election, and nobody knew who won, so we just kind of made up an outcome and tried to act like that was normal. Less than a year later, airplanes flew into office buildings, and everybody cried for two months. And then Enron went bankrupt, and the U.S. started acting like a rogue state, and "The Simple Life" premiered, and gasoline became unaffordable, and our Olympic basketball team lost to Puerto Rico, and we reelected the same president we never really elected in the first place. Later, there would be some especially devastating hurricanes and three Oscars for an especially bad movie called "Crash."

Things, as they say, have been better.
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If it's the era of anything, it's the Era of Predictable Disillusionment: a half-decade in which many long-standing fears about how America works (and what America has come to represent) were gradually -- and then suddenly -- hammered into the collective consciousness of just about everyone, including all the people who hadn't been paying attention to begin with.