Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shut Up, Nasty Sports Lady! Alex Is My Bro!

Lately I've been watching the morning news shows more, something I haven't done in over a decade--this is because I have to take care of dilation after breakfast, and I like to watch TV during that time, and an hour long episode of any show I've recorded on my DVR will only cover the dilation period, not breakfast, and aren't you sorry you started reading this paragraph? (Yes.)

Anyway, this morning there was an interview with Selena Roberts, the author of a new book that accuses Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez of using steroids for much longer than he's previously admitted. (He came clean this year that he used after joining the Yankees; the book alleges he'd been using since high school.)

The interview took basically this form:

Interviewer: Nasty sports lady, you're mean to my friend Alex!

Roberts: Um. You see, if you read my book...

Interviewer-Tool: How do you know he could only lift 100 pounds as a sophmore? He might have been modest.

Roberts: Um--I have interviewed people on the record...

Tool: You don't even like him. You hate my bro!

Roberts: Um. What the hell?

...which doesn't even capture the nastiness and hostility of the interviewer. He was practically cross-examining her.

Now, I understand that a book about A-Rod is going to catch flack because of his popularity--the interviewer was a New Yorker, and the Yankees are practically a cult there--but I have to wonder: would he have been so hostile had the book been written by a guy? Would he have challenged her objectivity and reporting techniques had she possessed her own, um, bat? Fer eff's sake, he got after her for reporting that Alex was vain, asking his trainers if his "pecs looked good." (Rodriguez's vanity is something consistently reported in all accounts by people who played with him.) He (the interviewer) actually said,

"Is that vanity, or is that professionalism perhaps?"

OMG. What a sentence to unpack. I mean, there's thesubtext of homosexuality--only ladies like to look good! You're saying he's like a lady! That means he's gay!--as well as casual misogyny, i.e. if a guy works on his appearance, it's professionalism. If a woman works on her appearance--which costs more, is more time-intensive, and frankly is far more expected of her than it is of men--she's still vain.

The interview finishes up with him asking Roberts about the picture on the back cover (Rodriguez lighting a cigar and looking pretty arrogant.) He asks Roberts if she chose the photo; she didn't--authors have surprisingly little say in the covers of their books, but that doesn't keep him from attacking her about it, and then attacking her professionalism again: did you interview A-Rod about these things?

No, Roberts calmly explains, we made that request and it was turned down. And then she talks about one of the interviews she did make with him, where A-Rod talked about how he's calmer now than he was when he played in Seattle, much less worried about being perfect all the time. Which is really the heart of the matter; like Barry Bonds, A-Rod's story is largely about a great player wanting to push the envelope past mere greatness, and willing to cheat to do that. It's a very American story of overreach, and when you look at the Masters of Greed on Wall Street, you see the same kind of arrogance.

And then the interviewer accuses her again of not liking A-Rod. Cause, you know, she's a lady, and can't possibly understand how dudes give each other a free ride, cause they're like, you know, dudes! Bros! And they're all on the same team, really.

Good morning, misogyny: how are you going to fuck up people's lives today?

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