(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Friday, March 16, 2007

Farm Country

I'm involved in an extracurricular activity that's consumed a good deal of my spare time in the past 3 months, so much so that it's cut into my blogging (and, yes, I will post on Princeton's men's hoops season within the next week so that I can offer my thoughts, albeit late).

By way of background to this small story, I think you'd agree that I've kept my politics to myself and that while I live in a state that is schizophrenically red and blue, you can't tell from my politics whether my politics are red-state oriented, blue-state oriented or somewhere in between, and I'd like to keep it that way. This is a sports blog, and while I offer some social commentary it's social commentary, not political commentary.

As you also know from reading this blog, I live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which is the county that is northeast of Philadelphia and in between Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey (not to mention Princeton). Thirty years ago, farms predominated. Now, tract housing does. Historically it's been a suburb of Philadelphia, but in the past 15 years both New Yorkers and New Jerseyites have moved here, if for no other reasons than to get more house for the money, good schools and the ability to pay lower taxes, both on earned income and on real property. Translated, this means that there are more Mets and Yankees hats in the area than there were, say, even fifteen years ago. The indigenous populations and the invaders from the north get along peaceably, even when the Mets play the Phillies or the Eagles play the Giants.

At least so far. :)

(As many know, about 200 years ago a hideous political deal between northerners and southerners moved the nation's capital to swamp land that became Washington, D.C., with the result that Philadelphia lost its stature as the money center to New York and the political center to Washington. Later, it became known as the "Workshop to the World," making everything from steamships to locomotives to men's suits. Most recently, it's still known for many things, but it's not a global center the way New York and Washington are).

So. . .

I'm talking with an acquaintance (from the NYC metropolitan area) about people whom we know who are writers. She asked me about a particular acquaintance, who I said thought writes for the Washington Post. Then I said that I wasn't certain whether he wrote for the Washington Post or the New York Times. I conceded that perhaps the reason for this was that I did not read either newspaper.

"What are you, a Republican?" was the question on the other end of the phone.

"No," I replied, "I'm a Philadelphian."

I then explained -- and I'm now disappointed with myself for feeling a need to explain -- that I read three daily newspapers, none of which emanate from Washington or New York. I shouldn't have had to explain that. Put differently, it was none of her business (because the activity in which we're involved isn't political and, as I said, she's an acquaintance, which means I don't know her well). Moreover, I inferred from the tone that either the person on the other end was a) either a New Yorker incredulous that someone didn't read either the Times or the Post or that b) it's bad to be a Republican and that not reading either of those papers is an indicia of intolerance for, or disappointment in, those two papers and, also, a failure to embrace the political tides of last fall.

Needless to say, I was amused. My telephone correspondent seems very well-intentioned on the subject we're working on, and the topic of newspaper subscriptions was only an aside to a more important conversation.

Still, just because Philadelphia and its suburbs do not form the political or financial capital of the free world doesn't mean that we don't get newspapers. As for the Post, I don't know who might sell it locally on Sunday. As for the Times, I had a historical problem with its ink running off on my hands, and it's sports page is usually a day late and a dollar short. As for drawing inferences, draw them at your own risk. (Although hoops and the alma mater are thicker than mostly anything, with the result that I have supported Bill Bradley when he ran for President).

And, the last time I checked, our area has enjoyed the benefits of indoor plumbing for at least several generations, too.


Blogger Michael said...

I've just moved back to the Phila area after living in NYC & HK for almost 20 years.

But, I'm guessing you are probably one of those North East Republicans. My Dad used to be one until the National GOP went batshait crazy. But I think he's still registered GOP.

Well, the inky used to be a really, really, really good paper. Didn't it used to win a few Pultizer's every year or so. But since I've gotten back it looks like it's really gone downhill. I read the editorial page and I wonder who is letting them put all this crap in the newspaper.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Amen to your apolitical opinion of the NYT Sports Section - - it leaves far too much ink on your hands.

That's the best you can say for it...

11:56 PM  

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