Sitting In The Stands: A Fan's View · S.D. Grady · Tuesday July 21, 2009
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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Come one! Come all! Under one spectacular tent, you can find it all!
In the first ring, we have the stock cars. They’re big. They’re bad. Hold your hands over your ears, folks, ‘cause you’re never gonna feel the floor shake quite like this anywhere else.
That’s it, ma’am. Hold your child up high! We’ve got all sorts to please every boy and girl. Red, blue, yellow, and green. Watch them speed through the corners and stop on a dime…
In the second ring, see the clowns on their cycles! They’ve got all sorts of goodies for the children in the audience today. T-shirts! Hats! Toy cars! Stuffed Animals! And for you, sir, a platinum-plated Goodyear Racing Eagle coffee table. My! Those look mighty tempting…
And at last, in the third ring! Right before your very eyes, we see a death-defying feat. For those with young children, you may want to take them home. The man standing before you will be attempting the impossible… and he might not make it. That’s it, folks. Shhh! He needs your complete attention and silence.
Drum Roll, Please!
Meet Mr. Jeremy Mayfield. A couple months ago, the net was pulled from beneath his very feet by NASCAR just as he was about to take that leap back into Sprint Cup competition. The resulting crash was amazingly spectacular. We haven’t seen anything like it in all of history!
Mr. Mayfield is just about to try again; except this time, he’s welded the tightrope to his feet and if you look over there, in the shadows? That’s NASCAR. Ladies and gentlemen, please keep your eyes focused on the center ring as NASCAR lights the fuse. Will Mr. Mayfield fall to his death? Is there any escape for this intrepid competitor? Or has he chosen to deal with the Devil?
There is no doubt about it. In this world of soundbites and micro-ads, NASCAR has mastered the art of spectacle. It’s just a shame they’ve decided to expand from the endless source of competitive smack into Celebrity Screw-Ups Extraordinaire.
Right now, I have no need to turn on any kind of primetime television drama — I’ve got Headline News! Between the unfolding mystery of Michael Jackson’s sudden demise and Mayfield’s new reality series, there just doesn’t seem to be any need for fiction.
I do wonder why one of the most popular sports in the nation feels they need to resort to the Big Top in order to prove their point, though. Or is it Mayfield that is taking advantage of the average American’s obsession with both the bizarre and the unseemly?
Perhaps Brian France and Mayfield received phone calls from the Jackson entourage with tips on how to garner massive public attention. Just know that when common sense, scientific method, and judicial wisdom don’t work to your advantage, just throw an evil stepmother, a 24/7 camera crew, and good old American propaganda at the problem. Even if it doesn’t net the desired result, you’ve surely upped your ratings by 50 percent.
But now, I’ve stopped watching the Dastardly Drug Debacle with any kind of honest interest. Somewhere between the Jackson children paternity mystery and now Mayfield’s wrongful death suit, I’ve had enough of naughty narcissists. It no longer matters to me, and I’m sure the same is true of many a sponsor as well — whether Mayfield is innocent or not. He’s taken his show on the road with the Two-headed Woman and the Man-Eating Moth, a circus attraction with the fatal flaw of failing to hold your attention.
Does anybody care to see if he lands on his own two feet? Maybe it’ll be good for T-shirt sales.
And now? Bring in the Clowns…
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