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Sunday, June 10, 2007
Cleveland, Vous Ne Gagnerez Rien

At Wizznutzz HQ (well, at the Wizznutzz HQ auxiliary, since Darvin won't let me into the loading dock of the Circuit City at Wheaton Plaza anymore), we subscribe to the Washington Post both to have newsprint on which to cool cookies after they come out of the oven and to ensure that we are fully up to date on the latest doings of Washington sports teams. You know, because the paper has the word "Washington" in the name.

Imagine my horror when I picked up the "Outlook" section (there was a steak on the front of it) and found an article by some joker named Dan Chaon titled "Cleveland, Je T'Aime," propounding the unappreciated greatness of the Mistake by the Lake and hymning the emergence of the Queen and his royal retinue on the bright stage of the NBA Finals.

You read that right: The Washington Post, which supposedly serves a city that has a basketball team that has been eliminated from the playoffs two years in a row by the basketball team from Cleveland, today published an article extolling the basketball team from Cleveland.

I have often defended Washington's reputation as a sports town from those who would malign it by pointing out the fanatical devotion of Redskins fans, by citing the big crowds the Nationals drew before Stan Kasten implemented his "Operation: Suck Mightily" long-term plan, and especially by showing the many examples of the happy, fervent affection we feel for the Wizards. But the Post isn't doing D.C.'s reputation any favors by publishing this trash. What are we going to see next? "Theocracy, Je T'Aime" by Moqtada al-Sadr?

In proper blog style, I am going to quote especially red-meaty chunks of Chaon's article and then deride them mercilessly. Please also note that Chaon's latest book has a sales rank of 209,753 on Amazon.

I come into my younger son's room, where he is supposed to be studying for a test, and find him looking at Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas's MySpace page instead. "Did you know," Paul says, "that Zydrunas has Michael Jordan in his top friends?"

Somehow this does not surprise me. After all, Salieri always welcomes a new project in breaking down young egos and sowing doubt and perversity. That he's using the Internet to extend his reach, like some common pedophile, is just more cause for concern.

Laugh if you like, but I'd venture that my quality of life here in Cleveland is much better than yours.

I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of the Cuyahoga River catching on fire. Could you repeat that one? Thanks.

If you're from Cleveland, you always have the vague sense that all the other cities are laughing at you.

If you only have a vague sense that we're all laughing at you, you're not paying enough attention.

Faced with national and international scorn, Clevelanders frequently harbor deep-seated fantasies of acclaim and honor. We can be unreasonably thrilled by even the vaguest contact with celebrity. (A teensy portion of "Spider-Man 3" filmed on downtown streets! Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus spotted at a Cavs game!)

That is really vastly pathetic, so much so that it almost dredges up some sympathy in my heart for your city. I'd bring up the fact that your symphony orchestra is the best in America, but that would probably just remind you that its concertmaster is like a combination of Boss Tweed and Bob Packwood and that some folks are apparently trying to surreptitiously move the orchestra to Miami. So I'll keep quiet.

When I told my son Paul that I was writing an essay for The Washington Post, he narrowed his eyes. "Make sure you write in there somewhere that the Wizards suck," he said, vengefully.

Big Dan Chaon, putting his thoughts in his son's mouth. (Is that legal?) Let me just make one thing clear: This year, the Cavs beat the Wizards only because Gil and Tough Juice were injured. What do you think would have happened if a healthy Wizards team had faced the Cavs sans LeBron and Ilgauskas? Sweep, and Gil would have spend the last half of the fourth game breakdancing at center court and trying to steal G-Wiz's trampoline. So don't get a swelled head, "Dan Chaon's son."

"I'll tell you something," my friend Peggy says. "I don't think it's possible for Cleveland to win anything. Ever."

This is the only genuinely perceptive statement in the whole article.

Down the block from me, a church advertises its sermon: "How We Play the Game Really Does Matter!" And maybe that will be true. But then I see my son and his friends, avidly reading stats and comparing notes on players, all of them wearing that T-shirt with the Cav's Psalm-like motto: "Rise Up!" All of them waiting ardently, eagerly -- as if their hearts can never be broken.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Spurs in four. Everybody better go to church.

In case Cleveland fans get bored at halftime tonight, I recommend they watch this to buck up their spirits:

--posted by intern Rex Immensae Majestatis Chapman

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posted by wizznutzz