Thursday, August 6, 2015

“Quite Frankly,” Have the “Takes” of Skip & Stephen A. Grown Stale?


“You’re right, Skip, because you’re always right when you speak about golf.”

So proclaimed Stephen A. Smith during a segment of ESPN’s First Take recently.

A serving of goose with your late breakfast, perhaps … some Poppa-gander? (Sorry, very bad pun – though the Stooges did utilize it in one of their film classics.)

Propaganda – now there’s a word one seldom hears nowadays. More’s the pity … the initial consonant sounds (punctuated with a guttural hard “g”) just pleads to be spit out in disdain, whether offered in high-society parlance or back-alley patter.

The very word itself is a self-contained vocabulary lesson in Connotation.

The techniques and tendencies of the propagandist, categorized and concisely defined, used to be readily available to language or social studies teachers with class time to fill and young minds to challenge.

From Testimonial – it worked for me it’ll work for you …

To Bandwagonning – everybody’s doing it so don’t get left out …

To Endorsement – four out of five dentists recommend artificial chewing tobacco …

The latter is Mr. Smith’s forensic tactic of choice in this instance – essentially deference to an accepted standard of authorization, in this instance his debate partner’s encyclopedic knowledge of everything “golf,” the sort of distinction Brother Smith claims for himself in certain other areas.

Clever wordsmith (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk) that he is, Stephen A. even supplies us with an implied syllogism in which to frame his acquiescence:  Skip Bayless is infallible when he speaks of golf; Skip is pontificating on golf; ergo, best believe what he says.

Of course, such compositionally clever and unconditional endorsement typically is a prelude to debate, the fuel that drives First Take.

No wonder Smith is so prone to dub another panelist’s viewpoint “incredibly valid.”

Incredibly valid? Incredibly valid?

Properly reasoned and presented to the point of DIS-belief?

Oops … looks like we’ve back-tracked to propaganda.

Bloviate, boys, bloviate.