I was watching the Phillies game on ESPN last night and around the sixth or seventh inning the crowd started chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” The announcers helpfully informed us that they were reacting to the news that bin Laden had been killed and suggested we switch over to ABC for the news coverage. So I did, listening for about 30 seconds to the braindead talking heads and pundits ruminate on the killing’s significance for the ongoing war on terr’r.
Then I switched back to the game, where one of the announcers (Orel Hershiser, I think) said, “This is like one of those ‘where were you when this happened’ moments” (yeah, thirty years from now I’m gonna remember that I was sitting on the sofa watching a boring-ass baseball game and scratching my ass when bin Laden was finally “brought to justice”). Some more shots of the crowd, people staring at their electronic devices, more scattered chanting, one particularly dumb fuck stretching the front of his shirt, which, by some stroke of luck or genius, happened to have “USA” emblazoned on the front of it, while giving the “No. 1” sign with his hand.
How fitting that I was seeing the whole ridiculous spectacle unfold in the context of a sporting event. The death of bin Laden has about as much significance for the lives of the poor deluded chumps chanting “U-S-A” as the outcome of last night’s baseball game—in other words, none. Same goes for the effect it’ll have on Team USA’s war on the Middle East and Central Asia. It’s a hollow, symbolic victory at best, a little something for the rubes to cheer about while the managers of the empire go in search of another bogeyman.