Back in the Spaceship.
This far out in my journey through the universe I'm getting mixed satellite signals on my craft's television set-- receiving simultaneously the baseball hearings back on Earth, and the literary corruption hearings on Zytron, where I'm headed. The broadcast has been switching planets in mid-sentence, which is confusing.
Is that Mark McGwire or Dave Eggers abjectly crying in front of the world (nay, the universe) while proclaiming the good his foundation does for children-- how many tax-deductible millions it spends? Which of these two stars is throwing himself on the mercy of the panel, tears streaming down his face, quavering, "I'm only an orphan!"
I'm seeing pitcher Curt Schilling, who once called steroid use in baseball "rampant," now taking back what he said, while Media Bistro's Galley Cat insists she never did think Tom Bissell's "borrowing" looked wrong. Sammy Sosa's lawyer states, "My client did not use illegal steroids!" (only the kind that weren't banned yet), as Roger "the Dodger" Hodge defends Harper's by arguing that, technically, legally, the magazine did not cross the line into plagiarism. Sosa's lawyer then adds, "He did not inject needles!" (tablet form only). The images jump back and forth-- embarrassing spectacles at both ends of the galaxy.
The players on both planets are stonewalling. Both sets of politician committee members are fawning. Panel Chair Maud Newton tells Dave Eggers she still has his rookie baseball card-- and will never sell it!
Meanwhile hapless whistle-blower "axe-to-grind" Jose Canseco is befuddled. Masters of misdirection castigate Jose to avoid the fact of his truth-telling. The players are outraged not at the cheating, but that it was found out. Someone talked!
SUCCESS THROUGH CHEATING: this should be up on large banners at both hearings. Players are desperately trying to save their corrupt little worlds, which have been corrupt for more than a decade. "We're the good guys!" they shout while passing grant money back and forth or injecting one another with needles in the buttocks, continuing trying to scam their gullible publics to keep the charades going.
Slick and shady Lewis Lapham takes the Fifth. Jeff Tietz is silent. Fake-intellectual Tom Bissell parses sentences and rationalizes. Rick Moody grins like Benji the Idiot. Frozen-faced Jonathan Franzen speaks through an interpreter: "I did not break any laws of the Dominican Republic." One after another, a slithering parade of the debased, the despicable, and the spineless.
As I look for my remote clicker to see what's being shown on the 30,000 other inhabited planets, Committee Chair Maud has her baseball card collection on full display. She begs for autographs and tries to get photos of herself with the shame-faced players.
Can't we finally admit the truth?
Can't we just SAY that these players are a discredit to the games of baseball and literature?