Reacting to a few news items that have caught my eye…
Novak Djokovic hosted a tennis tournament last week with no rules about social distancing or face masks and no testing for the players or the fans in the stands. The pros “mingled freely, exchanging hugs and handshakes.” Well, guess who has contracted the coronavirus? Djokovic. And his wife. And two coaches. And three other players. And the wife of one of those players. Djokovic now says, “I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm.” But no one should have expected anything more from Djokovic, a notorious science-denier and anti-vaxxer who, in April, said that even if there is a vaccine for the coronavirus, he won’t take it. According to the NY Times, “He has spoken frequently about his belief in natural healing and ventured far outside the mainstream in a podcast last month by maintaining that ‘molecules in the water react to our emotions.'” That’s the sort of Gwyneth Paltrow bullshit that makes no one healthier. If US Open officials are smart, they’ll tell Djokovic to stay far away from the tournament in New York later this summer. While that may hurt TV ratings, especially with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer already skipping the event, it won’t affect ticket sales, because there will be no fans in the stands. Now, if they can just knock off the hugging and high-fives.
I know you’re sick and tired of stories about the lack of attendance at Trump’s Tulsa rally on Saturday, but here’s one more thing to think about. In an election, most people do not want to vote for someone they think will lose. While the Liar-In-Chief’s hardest-core followers will never be deterred from voting for him, there’s a sizable segment who voted for him in 2016, but are now, finally, beginning to doubt whether it’s worth voting for him again. I don’t mean they’re suddenly Biden fanboys (is that even a thing?), but their dropping enthusiasm levels may be what we’ve seen in the three national polls released this week that show a double-digit spread between the two candidates. Seeing all those empty seats at the arena in Oklahoma is probably stirring up more of that doubt.
Speaking of ballots, John Bolton — whose new book I wouldn’t read if you paid me — said this about Trump to Martha Raddatz of ABC: “I don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t think he has the competence to carry out the job. I’m not gonna vote for him in November. Certainly not gonna vote for Joe Biden either. I’m gonna figure out a conservative Republican to write in.” WTF? If it’s that vital that Trump be removed, why not hold your nose and cast a vote for Biden, the only person with a chance of beating him? This has been another chapter in the book, “John Bolton: Always A Douchebag.”
Next is the story of Ryan Dubiel, a cop in Woodlynne, New Jersey, who has been charged with assault for pepper-spraying a group of Black men after a complaint that they were loitering — in their own neighborhood. According to the NY Times, this is the ninth police department Dubiel has worked for after “a history of interactions that policing experts say should have raised red flags.” But, “New Jersey has no central database tracking police malfeasance and, until recently, had stringent rules preventing the disclosure of disciplinary records between agencies.” In other words, Dubiel was fired repeatedly, then hired by other departments who had no knowledge of his history. In what other industry is that permitted? Didn’t Dubiel have to fill out the space for “previous employment” on his job applications? Didn’t anyone ask him why he’d moved around so much? I’m pretty sure if you’d been fired by multiple Burger King franchisees for repeatedly spitting in the Whoppers, word would get around to the other BK outlets.
Now we come to this headline: “Bars, Strip Clubs, and Churches: US Virus Outbreaks Enter Unwieldy Phase.” Strip clubs? Where women make most of their money not from dancing nude/topless on stage, but from rubbing against the crotches of male customers during lap dances and close-up encounters in the VIP room? Who would have guessed that might be a problem during a pandemic? I know many of the men who go to such venues are desperate to see and touch unclothed women, and the dancers are probably desperate for money after the clubs were closed for a couple of months, but how can either party think it’s a good idea to get that up close and personal during a pandemic? Something tells me that installing plexiglass between performers and clientele isn’t going to work.
And finally: when I read in Fast Company that the Segway is no more, I was shocked. Not that the company that makes them is pulling the plug, after years of anemic sales, but that the damned things were still around. I remember when Dean Kamen first introduced his invention to a lot of fanfare in 2001 on “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show. The hosts were all excited and couldn’t wait to go for a ride, completely buying into Kamen’s claim that his invention would be “to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.” Yeah, not so much. A better analogy would have been what a pogo stick is to a ladder. The only ones buying Segways were “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” types, not a big enough market to keep anyone in business. And once people started falling off and getting hurt, the public moved on to other fads not related to Kevin James movies.