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Media Meltdowns

Newspaper Columnist Does His Job

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Gather ’round children, and let me tell you of an earlier time. A time before Twitter and real-time roastings. A time when sports blogs were in their infancy. It was a time when bad sports columns roamed the earth, free to drop supernova takes unmolested by criticism. It was a simpler time, and in some ways a better one; connoisseurs know that an exquisitely bad column can be every bit as satisfying and as delightful as a good one. Those days are shrouded in mist now, but every once in a while, a coelacanth of a bad column is spotted in the wild, reminding us of the days when legends and giants were real, and that they’re still out there, if you look hard enough. O my children, a glorious day is today, for we have a verified sighting of yard abandonment.

Enter Peter Lucas, a real, actual columnist for the Lowell Sun, a real, actual newspaper. Lucas has blessed us with a modest proposal. In the event of Sen. Elizabeth Warren joining President Joe Biden’s cabinet, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker would have to appoint someone to fill her seat on an interim basis. Who should Baker tap? Lucas wastes no time in getting directly to the point, signaling that this column begins from a place of lunatic hack-logic and will only escalate from there.

Gov. Charlie Baker — pending an opening — ought to appoint New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick to the U.S. Senate.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you’ve heard this one before, in some form or other, from northeast steakheads and football-worshipping columnists. You’re thinking that Lucas’s argument is going to be ground as well-treaded as NFL coaches are leaders of men, and Bill Belichick’s proven leadership would translate to the United States Senate. That would be a dumb argument, but not one that hasn’t been made, in so many words, by Albert Breer’s lifetime opus.

But trust me, you have not heard this one before.

Coach Belichick comes to mind as a worthy replacement because he is one of the few well-known public figures to urge the U.S. to act against increasingly dictatorial Turkey, as well as Azerbaijan, for their recent attack on Armenia.

OH GOD YES. See, now this, kids, is a TAKE. A take is not “Emily In Paris is good, actually.” A take is not “Good riddance to movie theaters, because now I can eat baked beans and watch Cars 2 in peace.” A take is not even “Make golf illegal.” These are lukewarm opinions by comparison. You splash those opinions on the inside of your wrist to make sure they’re the right temperature to give to a baby. A take, by what should now be the official dictionary definition, is “Bill Belichick offhandedly mentioned the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and we must put him in Congress for it.”

Strengthening the take—a take worthy of awed, affectionate fisking—is the fact that it’s the only take. There is no appeal to Belichick’s track record of success as a coach or businessman. No mention of the Patriots at all beyond the lede. I swear to you, Peter Lucas was so moved by Belichick’s support for Armenia—or perhaps by his criticism of Turkey—that he’s going to spend a whole column on it. And you’re going to get a goddamn geopolitical lesson whether you wanted one or not.

Belichick popped out of nowhere when he commented on the recent attack by Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, on neighboring Armenia over disputed land controlled by the Armenians.

It was a brief but brutal ethnic war — not the first — between Moslem dominated Azerbaijan and Christian Armenia over control of disputed land between the two countries that has changed hand over the years.

This time, as the Armenians fled, the issue was settled to Azerbaijan’s advantage. Russia now provides a peace keeping force between the two warring countries. Azerbaijan was once a province of the old Soviet Union.

What does this have to do with Belichick? His name came up when acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, in a staff memo dealing with national threats, used Belichick’s famous “”Do Your Job” slogan to fire up players.

This column owns. What I wouldn’t give to be a resident of Lowell, Mass., this morning. Putting the coffee on while I fetch the paper from my doorstep. Flipping through the headlines in my coziest robe and slippers. Checking out the sports section while toasting up a bagel. Only then, sated and awake, do I finally turn to the opinion section. And there is Peter Lucas, dropping knowledge bombs about the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s authoritarian skid under Erdoğan, all in service of arguing that the New England Patriots’ head coach belongs in the upper house of our country’s bicameral legislature. And for what it’s worth, once you accept the premise (or more accurately, accept that the premise exists), the execution is flawless.

Again, ostensibly, this column is an open letter to Gov. Baker. Imagine being the governor and receiving this as a letter from a constituent. You’d let your security know, not out of any true sense of worry, but as a heads-up just in case.

If you are from Croatia, or Bosnia or any other provinces that broke away from the former Serbian dominated Yugoslavia during the terrible ethnic based mass killings in the 1990s, you know all about ethnic cleansing. Belichick knows.

Outside of Sen. Eddie Markey, who issued a two-paragraph statement, which was ignored, everybody else has been silent. Except for Belichick. Send him to Washington.

That’s the kicker, by the way. Old-school columnists knew the value of a strong kicker, and send him to Washington, period, is stanozolol-aided strong. You can almost smell the scotch and see the press card tucked into the hat brim.

And does this throwback piece conclude with the author’s AOL email address, a sure sign that this is a column unstuck in time? You know it does. Reader, I know your generation will never believe this, but this is what it used to be like, everywhere. We’re honored by getting to see its like one more time.