Dear Mr. LeBron James,
With all due reverence, sir, this is not a fan letter. You are a fine basketball player, true, and world-renowned. Your physical talents are wondrous. But such fame and wondrous ability mean nothing if you continue this way, meek and quiet about politics as you have been, when the people of the United States are in need of a moral savior from the sports world.
It is clear that we can’t count on moral leadership from our politicians. We could literally have an all-star game right now between only those Congressmen who have been ousted from office for gross corruption, thievery, kickbacks, refrigerator-banking, fornication with prostitutes and members of the same sex while claiming heterosexuality, etc. Those who cleverly remain or have not yet been nabbed for buggery and bribery are right now making a great show of a meaningless debate on precisely which way the federal government will gorge itself and its moneyed industrial constituents on the criminally inefficient health care resources of the country, while calling the feast, once again, good for the working classes whom they have wavered between neglecting and poisoning for the past thirty years. They may be doing this only to seem humane or reasonable in advance of the next (surprise!) cooked-up ridiculous reason---this time offered by the Hope and Change Administration---to begin bombing select countries of petrochemical value, who knows? (I don't know, because I am left to figure nearly everything out for myself. One can scarcely trust the collected news media, after all, and without the press in a democracy, we are like so many ignorant, land-bound serfs, you might agree. As some smart carper once said, "the challenge for American newspapers is not to stay in business, it is to stay in journalism.") Or they may be pandering to our health care concerns to show us what a very humane Nanny State looks like, before the implementation of the ulterior Draconian Fascist State they have been patiently planning for generations as we tilled the fields, drove the trucks, served and consumed the meaningless filth of capitalism, and generally wiped our asses with everything good and virtuous. Have you noticed, Mr. James, that in America, under every rock is a magic serpent, coiled within...and coiled about with...the lobes of the symbolic, fetishized, human hybrid brain, and spinal column, and topped by its sacred pineal gland? The caduceus of the master medical priesthood? Yes, me too! We have similar predilections. And we both surely agree that we are lower on the great pole of societal being than anyone who wears an institutional robe. Let's get back to temporal business, though.
Bank and finance reform are not on any of our horizons, Mr. James, nor a reconsideration of the militarist and unconstitutional Bush policy doctrines still in effect, nor some gesture towards reducing the 10-25% unemployment rate, our needlessly huge prison population which is the shame of the world, or even the disgraceful murder rates of south central Los Angeles and other of our blighted cities. You and I have been treated immorally, Mr. James, like fools or blind geriatrics, since well before we were born. We have been scammed continuously by professionals whose great-grandparents were great grifters, themselves.
It is also clear that never before have professional athletes held so much influence over the American mind. We actually subsidize you and your stadiums and facilities from middle school through the pros. We see you everywhere and are saturated with news coverage of your silliest private antics. You relentlessly haunt our culture from dusk till dawn, from winter until fall. And it is worth pointing out that our multitude of officials desperately want us to be distracted from their misdeeds and their growing acquisition and abuse of power, which makes you athletes very useful, indeed. You are one of the highest-paid employees of the Department of Bread and Circuses, Mr. James. But your relationship with our government and your handsomely purchased silence are just symbolic. There is nothing in your current contract that forbids you from speaking out when your government is, say, guilty of devious crimes to include coups and bogus terror attacks, or unspeakably cynical negligence in the face of natural disasters, at least, or complicity in the murder of high level political actors judged too anti-establishment. I am inclined to think JFK, MLK and Leo Ryan were not the last politicians to die under awfully questionable circumstances, in America.
Two NBA players did murmur out against the second heat of the 9-11 Wars for Revenge and Expansion: Misters Foyle of the Warriors and Nash of the Suns, some years ago. In the distant past, athletes were sometimes known to pipe up without an undignified and unmanly fear of losing endorsements that could only make them marginally more obscenely wealthy, but it is possible that these political athletes of old spoke out precisely because they weren’t paid much, and had lots less to lose. Still, Olympic medals are quite valuable at any time, and such symbols were once famously exchanged by black American athletes for the right to make necessary, radical political statements in a time of unjust slaughter-war and domestic repression, just as the Heavyweight Title of the world was once given up in protest. That may be why your own generation of disc-hurlers and bladder-bouncers and flingers is paid such extravagant salaries, by comparison: you appear to be the beneficiary of an astronomical hush-money scheme, so valuable are your services.
There’s a comfortably sitting belief here that sometimes wars are good for economies. Well we are already waging two, at least, and the economy is in the sewer, with a chance of near-collapse. But we both know that some specific, highly-connected sectors of our economy do extremely well in times of war. So at best we are sending soldiers abroad to play deadly dodge ball in support of a hallucination; the worst is almost unprintable.
I’m writing to you because I know how much power you have over my strange country, and because I am one of those people who is completely luke-warm when it comes to Obama and his quaint platform of Hope and Change and Bad-mouthing poor Kanye West, recognizing as I do that our government has continued apace with its elitist, toxic policies and war crimes, even though we are supposed to have left all that behind with the dreadful orator and zero, G. W. Bush, and his mercenary, red-handed handlers. I respect your proven skills at the 3 and 4 over Obama's skillful posturing at the 1 and 2.
Mr. James: Take a stand and join the 9-11 Truth movement or something insanely brave and meaninglessly symbolic like that. From your towering platform tell people about shadow government or, say, the proven and seemingly ineradicable link between the legitimate economy and the black and narco-economies, between intelligence agencies and international drug dealing. Start there. Because these issues are wonderful heuristic devices, and they contain answers and questions that necessarily cover all the political issues and themes under the sun and its worshipers. Wear a black wrist band and throw that hand up after every dunk. If you were to get yourself disappeared, even, imagine the galvanizing effect it would have on the sleepy political will of the American people. At the very least, please make a public declaration that the Global War on Terror is a terrorist fraud and that we should be suspicious of rulership, and not one another and foreigners, so much.
***Editorial Update, July 8, 2010, free-agency season.***
The basketball player known alternately as "King James," "LBJ," and "The Chosen One," has just completed his amusing round of fat-headed playfulness with the NBA fans and GM's of the universe, by choosing to go play for some expansion team on the dirty prong of clubbery and cocaine-huffing known as Florida. As we all understand, Florida and especially Miami, that trans-shipment point of most of the CIA's incoming cocaine, is a filthy place without a shred of virtue or value beyond its vast drug profits. In opting to go play for one of this narco-kingdom's miserable NBA upstarts, Mssr. James has chosen the lowest road possible. It is surely the quickest route to a Scurvy reputation. Americans are supposed to be unanimously opposed to predatory capitalism and unseemly excesses. But for some reason they have not yet voted to eliminate Florida from the union. So now, considering how we worship sporting events and their never-ending seasons, it will be quite unthinkable to eradicate the seeping member of Florida from the American body at large; we adore our celebrities far more than we abhor our filthy grasping dynasties, one learns from reading newspapers. There are a great many Pro ballers in Florida, just as there are a great many strippers.
So it is proper and meet that the author of the above letter to Mssr. James rescinds all the sentiments detailed. If the man from Akron wants to become King of Weaseldom, to conserve his niggling NBA salary wealth within Florida's undemocratic tax system and reject the chance to join one of several reputable teams that might require him to play the game with a spine, then it should be accepted as true that he will never care one tiny whit about ethical political matters. Whosoever shall go play for Riley with those other All-stars cannot have a moral viewpoint, and shouldn't be expected to ever raise his voice beyond anything other than a meek whisper for more endorsements and the advice of Warren Buffet.
***Hot-headed Addendum, June 9, 2010***
This letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is a fine case study of the insane degree to which America takes its sports fetish.
It is the kind of childish and spiteful venom rarely seen outside of Congress, and Mr. Gilbert will live to regret his ego-driven, mass public indulgence in hasty pudding, just as Warren Buffet's little buddy will regret his own unseemly public feast. Because there is simply nothing wrong with the South Bitch leaving his "hometown" Cleveland team after seven years and repeated failures. In and of itself the move is just business. But the manner of LeBum's announcement and the fact of his choosing "To take his talents to South Beach" are what really do stink, and surely are what drove the Cavs owner to this petulant madness.
But anyway you slice it, LeBum the South Bitch sneered at the soul of basketball for an extended marathon of several weeks, pretending uncertainty, as happy as a dog rolling in shit who has just gobbled the chickens in the coop without anyone the wiser.
You see, the soul of basketball exists in New York City, and nowhere else. The city itself is sheer madness and her people accordingly insane, but one does not piss on the soul of basketball, for anything. The fertile female Mother-soul of New York City, (the world's greatest and arguably most aggrieved city) even the Big Bitch in the harbor herself, prepared the matrimonial bed for you beginning last summer. It was done with ritual and undisguised care. She lay waiting for you, totally in surrender, and you chose to go have a ten-year orgy in Miami with some mindless club tramps with huge butts. You may be a big fool, a typical modern American to whom winning and dominance and gross sensualism is everything, but you are not so stupid that you will fail to realize what you did and how shabbily you pulled it off. You may think just like a good market-raping capitalist, like your friends Jay-Hovah and Mr. Buffet, but the majority do not. We dislike narcissism, uneven fields, and cowardice. It will eventually sink into your fat pirate's skull that you have done something deeply metaphysically wrong, and that your reputation will now drag behind you like a diseased carcass for the rest of your days, despite your excellent genes and titles.
I had a dream of you pissing on Ground Zero in Manhattan last night, but you were squatting as you did this, and you were accompanied by the Queen of England, and you were begging her to piss on you. And there you were, guzzling the royal piss of monarchy as the shrieking mob gathered at the rim of the pit.
*****Disinterested update, today: Lebron James is now entering his second season of Rebirth....in playing for his Hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, a team named in theory after a class of steel-encased aristocrat inbreeders who practiced the tradition of raping the virgin brides of their land-tilling male serfs on the very night of their lowly wedding ceremonies. It was good enough for Charleton Heston and it's good enough for Lebron James.