History will surely mark the Washington Generals as the outstanding team of the century in its class - perhaps the possessors of the best record in the millennium.
History will surely mark the Washington Generals as the outstanding
team of the century in its class - perhaps the possessors of the best
record in the millennium.
You see, the Generals have never won a game, and they have played
thousands over the past 50 years. In the course of setting that record
for futility, they have been seen by more fans than any other team.
Nevertheless, they are zero for the franchise.
The Generals, as basketball fans know, spend their time barnstorming
with the Harlem Globetrotters, who always beat them. Now the
Globetrotters’ specialty - unlike, say, that of Duke - is not winning,
but looking good while fooling around with the basketball. They do win,
but the fans come to see them dribble through an opponent’s legs or
bewilder their foes by spinning the ball on a fingertip.
It’s clear that the Globetrotters can’t play just anyone, because even a
mediocre player will steal the ball from an opponent’s fingertip and
attempt to score. Hence, the Generals are trained to stand so as to
accommodate the between-the-legs pass and dribble, and to freeze in mock
bewilderment at the other easily foiled tricks.
In the world of public relations and media relations, the closest
parallel to the Generals is the Washington press corps - they lose
regularly to the Establishment. It doesn’t matter which party is in
power - only that their power is secure, and the Washington leaders will
dribble around the media for easy baskets.
Let a powerful Congressional Committee come up with a dazzling story
about Chinese spies stealing atomic secrets from governments labs, and
the Washington press corps will tell us it’s true - even though there
seems to be no evidence to support the most minimal charges, no one has
been arrested and the FBI thinks no crime was committed. But that
doesn’t matter, the media gives the public what they want.
Months ago, we were fed a story from an FBI wiretap that the Chinese
government was spending money secretly for Democratic Senate
Concerned, so the story went, that trade preferences would be stopped,
the Chinese were spending small amounts of money to support senators who
were already on their side. No questions like the following were asked:
Why would the Chinese do this? What Senators were targeted? Instead, the
Generals waved as the Globetrotters drove into the lane for an easy
So the next time an unlikely story comes our way, whether it’s a
’Patient’s Bill of Rights,’ a revolt of ’angry white males’ or ’the
campaign is over,’ think of the Washington Generals. They could probably
win if they tried.