Sunday, January 31, 2010

Go Saints!

I suppose it is de rigueur to root for the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl because of Katrina and because they’ve never been and because Drew Brees is a great guy. I’m down with all that. But I have other reasons to pull for New Orleans next Sunday.

1. I don’t think they have political ads like this in Indiana.

2. My folks spent an impoverished but magical year in the Crescent City while Pop was getting an M.A.T. at Tulane.

3. If you’ve read The Moviegoer or Confederacy of Dunces or A Streetcar Named Desire, you feel that New Orleans is sort of vicariously your town, like you've been there and know it from the inside (even though the real New Orleans would probably chew you up and spit you out like a bad Po Boy). There's a kind of second-hand citizenship to be had in being able to close your eyes and picture malaise-stricken Binx Bolling purchasing a revolting hot dog from the gargantuan pedant Ignatius J. Reilly on a streetcorner in the French Quarter (and Stanley Kowlaski about to beat up both of them).

4. It is Louis Armstrong’s hometown.

5. When I was a kid, even though we lived an hour from Atlanta and I should have been rooting for the Tommy Nobis / Claude Humphrey Falcons, I somehow became a Saints fan. I thought Archie Manning (pictured) was cool (One of the few real bummers in my generally pleasant childhood was when my folks took me to see a Saints/Falcons game and Manning’s understudy, Bobby Scott, played instead). Maybe I liked the Saints because in their brief history they already had two moments freakishly successful enough to make it into Strange But True Football Stories: John Gilliam’s kickoff return for touchdown on the team’s first play ever, and Tom Dempsey’s then record 63 yard field goal (nice profile of the now 63-year-old Dempsey in the Times today).

I don’t like their chances, but I like the Saints.

BTW: Speaking of things whose chances are doubtful but much deserve to succeed, National Health Care is not dead, nor should it be. Please write your congressperson and encourage him or her to vote for the Senate bill. Thanks!

BTW2: Of all the wonderful commentaries on the life and work of J.D. Salinger that have appeared the last few days, I can't help but like The Onion's best.

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