Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chuck Klosterman, Blind Faith and Tim Tebow

I've been meaning to comment on this piece on Tim Tebow by Chuck Klosterman for some time. I think the idea of asking "What if Tim Tebow was a bad person?" is a good premise for an article. Comparing people who are Christians to people who believe a certain guy is a murderer? That's not clever - it's actually insulting to Christians if you stop to think about it. But that's the problem at Grantland - nobody stops to think about anything. It is not the oozing condescension that made this article memorable for me. It was the insertion of politics into a non-political "sports" article:
Throughout the 20th century, there were only two presidents who won reelection with a bad economy and high unemployment: FDR in 1936 and Reagan in 1984. In both cases, the incumbent presidents were able to argue that their preexisting plans for jump-starting the economy were better than the hypothetical plans of their opponents (Alf Landon and Walter Mondale, respectively). Both incumbents made a better case for what they intended to do, and both enjoyed decisive victories. In 2012, Barack Obama will face a similar situation. But what will happen if his ultimate opponent provides no plan for him to refute? What if his opponent merely says, "Have faith in me. Have faith that I will figure everything out and that I can fix the economy, because I have faith in the American people. Together, we have faith in each other."
The guy arguing, in effect, against blind faith is himself placing blind faith in Barack Obama with zero to back it up. Klosterman placing Obama into a comparison with FDR and Ronald Reagan? This would be like inserting a comparison of Tim Tebow to Roger Staubach and John Elway midway through the article with nothing to back it up. FDR and Reagan? Jimmy Carter and Benjamin Harrison are more like it. Klosterman literally projects the GOP having an argument of, "Have faith in me. Have faith that I will figure everything out and that I can fix the economy" when that is the EXACT re-election platform Obama will have to take because - well because Obama has objectively been perhaps the most ineffective Chief Executive in the history of the US. The fact that this gets inserted into the middle of a story on Tim Tebow is Exhibit A of the Groupthink that will be the downfall of Grantland. Why go to read any of the articles when you already know the slant and the snark all of the articles will have in common?