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Extra innings

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  September 27, 2010 11:59 PM

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Oh, Lord. I saw this coming.

Tonight, the "Tenth Inning" of Ken Burns' already overlong Baseball epic airs on PBS. On Monday night, the filmmaker was on Countdown With Keith Olbermann to plug it. I admire Burns's work, especially The Civil War, and Olbermann's an old friend. (Nice to see they've patched up their differences, BTW. When the series first ran back in 1994, Olbermann left no nit unpicked.) Nevertheless, I was rather dreading this latest thing for a number of reasons. The interview did little to assuage my fears. First of all, pinning the steroid business on the "deregulation" of the 1990's, as Burns did with Olbermann, is ahistorical in the extreme. First of all, "deregulation" began almost two decades earlier; for example, the airlines were deregulated in 1978, and that was Ted Kennedy's idea. In the second place, steroids were never really regulated until they became a PR nuisance. (God bless Chris Rock for telling the truth. You'll see what I mean.) You can't deregulate something that never was regulated in any real sense in the first place. And then, in a discussion of who is the best of the talking heads -- the Shelby Foote, as it were, of this project -- Burns told Olbermann that "Mike Barnicle sort of anchors the fandom." At which point, I pretty much gave up on the whole enterprise and went back to the Mike Royko anthology I was reading.

 

UPDATE FROM THE SELF-CORRECTING BLOGOSPHERE -- Commenter Rock-Eater points out that Burns may have been referring to the deregulation of the pharmaceutical industry as regards supplements, which he correctly notes happened in 1993. If that is the case, and Burns didn't specifically mention it last night, but it may be, then he may have been more correct than I gave him credit for being.

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