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Pumpsie

Tuesday 7/21/20

It was on this day in 1959 that Pumpsie Green debuted with the Red Sox, becoming their first African American ballplayer. Staggering, when you think about it. Jackie Robinson debuted in 1947. What a huge gap. All of that talent, and the Red Sox let it all pass. Ted Williams was a big time advocate for black ballplayers, as I've written about for The Daily Beast, making Hall of Fame cases for several Negro League stars. A good guy, Williams, and one who was always fond of Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who many brand a racist. Certainly there is that track record of not signing players of color. It's interesting, isn't it? The contradictions we see. So is Williams a bad guy now? Clearly, no. So what then? You always have to think. And then you always have to think some more.



I guess it was today that Robin Williams born. There was clip from Good Will Hunting somewhere, that scene in the Public Garden. Williams' Boston accent is terrible. You know, not everyone in Boston has a Boston accent. I've lived most of my life here, and I don't have one in the slightest. My parents did not have Boston accents. People in these movies can just talk without an accent. You don't always have to do the accent thing. The thinking, I suppose, is authenticity, but it's really neither here nor there, given that some people have accents, and some don't.


Someone unfollowed me because, I think, I don't like cats. It's true. Disgusting beasts in my view. Lick themselves, hang out in a box they defecate in, all of that bacteria in the claws, coughing up the hair from after they coat themselves in their own saliva. Nasty nasty nasty. Having said that, I am writing a story involving a cat. What I do, when I write, is I espouse things that personally run counter to what I like or believe. There are even elements of that in "Fitty." Things I'd stay well clear of, which I think are limiting, but which are put forward as commendable traits, loving qualities, prospective forms of connection that I don't believe are pathways to connection. And who knows? Maybe I will see something, as a result, differently than I do.


A story, a book, a work of art, when it is fiction, is not some record of your personal beliefs of how you think you should live your life. That can be in there, certainly, but you can't limit yourself to that, or you will limit your work, limit who you can reach, limit who you can entertain, limit who you can help. Help via reaching. Not help via "you got it all wrong, do it this way!" And you're also limiting what you can reveal about humanity, human nature, being human. It occurs to me that no one else takes this approach right now.


But I think this was over the cats. Not that I post about cats and whether I think they should be put in bags and drowned. I don't post "hooray Trump," I don't post "Trump is the devil." I don't post anything offensive, I'd say. What I post is incisive, it's well-written, and it always presents something in a manner that no one else would. Consequently, I have no followers. But I was looking through the last couple dozen things, and there wasn't a single one where I was like, "yep, that'll do it." I posted a photo of what was the first prison in Boston, where Captain Kidd was stashed before his extradition to England, and which Hawthorne wrote into The Scarlet Letter. The other day marked the anniversary of Louis Armstrong cutting "Ain't Misbehavin'," and I posted something about that. Another post, on Sunday, was about how hot it was, with a nice Heat Miser joke. Another post was about a Wodehouse story collection I am re-reading. Another was about how the New York Rangers could be a sleeper team to make some noise in the NHL playoffs. Not much to be offended by there. Another post was about a rabbit I saw in the Public Garden. I've been in the Public Garden thousands of times in my life, and not until the other day had I ever seen a rabbit there. I've noticed that rabbits have been moving north across the city. I don't know. Seems like a pretty interesting Tweet.


Chris Simms remarked that the Patriots had Cam Newton followed. Chris Simms will say anything. He need never be correct, he need never be interesting, he need never be respected, but he will be paid a lot of money. He's a kind of "sure, what the fuck, I'll say it" guy. A clown, a punching bag, the witless court jester--so, not Lear's Fool--who'll spout off bottom-of-the-barrel gossip-y shit talk. His business model is to not be taken seriously by anyone, not respected by anyone, but engineer content. Lowest common denominator content, that even the lowest common denominator demo does not take seriously. But this is a role that media institutions like to have people fill. You were not anything as a player--Chris Simms started all of sixteen games in the NFL--and now you do this.