There comes a time in every man's life when he must stand up to injustice. When he must cast off his doubt and inhibitions, and forcefully raise his voice. When he must rise from the desk of ignorance, dash to the phone booth of revelation, and emerge as a defender of Truth, Justice, and the Masculine Way.
For mild-mannered sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy (aka Curly-Haired Boyfriend), that moment is now. (Read on for blow-by-blow analysis!)
I can't take it anymore. Aliens have overtaken Tom Brady's body. He's not the guy we thought we knew.
The madness begins at the beginning. I'm not talking about alien possession - that's been mainstream ever since the publication of The Puppet Masters. No, I'm talking about the confusion of persons. In the space of three short sentences, Dan My Man has skipped from the 1st person singular (I), to the 1st person plural (We), also known as the Royal 'We'. Looking ahead, he'll also start using the second person (you) when the first person is more appropriate.
When writing an opinion column, it is customary to use one person constitently throughout. Call me a grammar Nazi all you like,* but this has actual literary significance. Jumping between persons leads to confusion. Can you imagine a conversation like this:
Randy: Hey, E. Coli, what's up?
E.Coli: Oh, nothing much. I'm feeling hungry, but we refuse to eat, at least until E.Coli's hunger strike demands are met. How about you all [2nd person pl.]?
Randy: Ah... Now I remember why I don't talk to you.
Back to the column. What tragedy of sport has inspired CHB today?
Yesterday was the last straw. You know what I'm talking about. You opened your newspaper (or perhaps viewed online) and saw the photograph of Gisele Bundchen...
I like where this is going...
feeding Brady at poolside in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
That did it. The tipping point. The coup de grace. The shark jumped.
Leaving aside the obvious (non-tipping) point that most men fantasize about having a girlfriend who is super-hot and gets them food, something's wrong here. In mixing his metaphors, Dan My Man botched one. Sharks don't jump; rather, things jump them. Examples:
1. Noam Chomsky jumped the shark when he crossed from linguistics to political analysis.
2. Sarah Palin jumped the shark when she opened her mouth.
3. Dan Shaughnessy jumped the shark when he first put pen to paper.
I better get back to the column before this degenerates into another writing workshop (Shudder).
She was feeding him.
I know! Surely, Dan has a good reason for objecting to this. Maybe he's using his thorough knowledge of Women's Studies to argue that by feeding Brady, Gisele is reinforcing a demeaning traditional gender role. Maybe he's arguing that she needs to liberate herself and demand equal sharing of household responsibilities.
In any event, I know that Dan Shaughnessy, Honorary Doctor of Gender Studies at Boston University and proud recipient of the Boston Globe Sexual Harassment Program Medal of Completion, would not be making sexist arguments. Surely he wouldn't claim that eating with Gisele is infantilizing, would he?
We put up with a lot. We were OK with Tom as Gisele's errand boy, Tom bringing home the flowers, Tom walking Gisele's dog. We were good with Tom and Gisele canoodling in the candlelight, holding hands coming out of a restaurant.
But you simply cannot have your quarterback being fed like an infant at poolside. Remember, people - this is a football player we're talking about.
Wow. BU's taking away that degree faster than you can say "Larry Summers." On the other hand, I hear the Ayatollah Khomeini School of Sports Journalism is offering Dan a teaching position.
Anyway, let's take a look at the offending photo, CSI-like.
It's not conclusive what's going on here. She could be giving him a French fry. She could be feeling his teeth. She could be taking something off the corner of his mouth. She could be inducing him to vomit. I need more evidence. Enhance magnification!
Damn it, I forgot this is OTM, not CSI. Back to the column!
Gisele was feeding him. Think of Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch. Think of Mike Dukakis in the tank.
Think of Dan Shaughnessy's writing!
This was worse.
No, it wasn't. This is just a picture, one of like 50 the Globe posted. You want documentary evidence of Brady's descent into childhood, try something like this one:
I can imagine him saying, "Let's be BFFs forever!" And then grabbing a balloon. Alternatively, maybe he just has bad taste in shirts and is helping out at a kids event to give back to the community.
Want to know what I think? I think Shaughnessy is just attacking Brady because he's jealous about being provided for. Probably because his own wife is trying to starve him to death.
Call me jealous.
I just did.
Wow. I'm psychic.
We're all jealous of Tom.
All 350 million residents of Shaughnessia. The rest of us have meaningful lives.
But he's a football player, damn it. And it is not OK for him to be photographed like a little boy eating mushy food spooned out of a Gerber jar.
Look back at the photo. See any jars of mushy food? Me neither. Admittedly, it's hard to tell what he's eating. As Brady is a Yankee fan, I'll guess brains.
The balanced view, of course, would be that Tom is secure enough in his own skin to let us see his sensitive side. He's just a guy in love and he wants the world to know.
Note Dan's use of the phrase "balanced view." As if the above reasonable, rational view is equally balanced by his insane theory that being fed turns you into a man-child..
So if Brady somehow isn't masculine enough, who the hell is? Brett Myers, who beat up his wife on the streets of Boston? Michael Vick, proud owner of a dog-fighting ring?
If accepting affection from one's girlfriend is not manly, what in God's name is?
But enough is enough. We were OK when Tom posed wearing the Stetson, holding the baby lamb. We didn't call him elitist when he endorsed Movado high-end watches and private jets (working-class fans certainly can't relate to that).
I think Shaughnessy is missing the point of fandom. It's not about relating to athletes for their similarities to us, but admiring them for their differences. The fact that David Ortiz can take a 95-mph fastball and send it 400 feet through the air for a towering home-run. That Michelle Kwan can dance across the ice and perform amazing jumps that 99% of us could never handle. That Tom Brady can throw 50 touchdowns in a season, or help win three Super Bowls.
Plenty of people complain about the excesses of celebrity. But many also endorse that lifestyle, either by gobbling up episodes of MTV Cribs or by imagining themselves surrounded by wealth and beauty. Some even believe that if you are the best at something, you deserve to be well-compensated.
Dan just doesn't get it, because for all his pandering, he's not a fan - he's a cynic.
*My actual rank is UberCommaCommandanten SturmSplitInfinitiveFuhrer.