Lebron, Crazy Fred and The South African Vuvuzela

First and foremost, hello to my dear old friend Fred the Tuckpointer. I think Fred thought he scared me out of town. Well in a way, he and his ilk all scared me right out of town – to Cape Town, South Africa, where I took in the beautiful game with two of my beautiful undergraduate assistants, Hannah and Thea.

We arrived in South Africa early, took in a safari, hiked the coast, sipped wine in the evenings and dined on umleqwa, isidudu and bobotie, along with koeksisters for desert – you know, the typical fare for a former Dutch and British colony. It’s hard to know what was more amazing – the food, the people, the eloquent and graceful game of futbol, or Hannah and Thea. In order to live a more humble existence while traveling and avoid coming off like crass over-consuming Americans, we shared a room the entire trip. It made for tight quarters, but we didn’t mind.

Fred, I brought back a vuvuzela for you. It’s an elegant instrument with a very engaging sound. The South African people played it all throughout the World Cup games. I thought you might like to try it at one of your American football games that you attend there in Cincinnati.

So of course I return to the states to find that Sarah Palin is attempting to put herself on par with the Bard. I don’t know what’s crazier, Fred. That everyone is so upset about some ball player moving to Miami, where frankly, the club scene is over-rated, or your beloved anti-intellectual, mentally feeble, misinformed self-proclaimed thought leader believes that she can put herself on par with the greatest writer in the history of the English language. It’s as nuts as Americans thinking they can advance past the round of 16 in the World Cup, and as ridiculous as claiming that the Super Bowl is a “world championship” game.

I invite you and your arrogant, hard-hat wearing, oil-changing, conformist, non-thinking conservative friends to reach out to the rest of the world to discover that it’s ok for men to dance, children to drink and intellectuals to make love to a beautiful undergrad or two on a terrace in Cape Town. Embrace world sports, get over this obsession with Nike, Shack, and ESP. I don’t even know what those last two things are.

I think that our differences may not be so different, Fred. As I sit here, smoking a hookah with Hannah (Thea’s parents were quite adamant she return home before the school year starts up again) I can’t help but think that perhaps in the dance that the rest of the world calls Football, that Progressives and Republicans can find common ground and possibly, alas, comaraderie. I mean, probably not, but I am really high right now. I intended to put apple-flavored tobacco in the hookah but I think I grabbed the wrong bag. Or the right bag.

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