‘Patrick Kane is in the restaurant,” says Grant DePorter, checking his BlackBerry as we file into FBI headquarters.
I quickly try to assemble my features into an expression of enthusiasm, but don’t do it fast enough, apparently, because Grant, who as managing partner of Harry Caray’s has an eye for detail, detects a certain blankness.
“You do know who Patrick Kane is?” he says, narrowing his gaze.
“Sure!” I bluster, immediately deploying my Emergency Sports Conversation Algorithm (a logic tree that works like this: 1. What team is currently in the news? The Blackhawks! 2. What player on that team is currently being celebrated?
“Of course,” I bluster. “He’s the guy who lost his teeth.”
“No,” says Grant, with a hint of frost. “That’s Duncan Keith. Patrick Kane is one of the biggest stars on the team. He went to Harry’s after the Cubs game. So did Jonathan Toews — the captain — Brian Campbell and Adam Burish. They walked in, one after the other.”
“Wow!” I say. “Exciting!”
Got it everyone?
In case Neil was being too subtle (which of course you didn’t grasp because you’re a dumb sports fan), you are stooopid because you like sports and you know who Patrick Kane is. Got it? You = stupid. Neil = smart and also better than you.
If you go on to read the entire column (a difficult feat), he tries to dance around it by saying yeah, yeah, I get it. You have your interests and I have mine, he writes. Yet somehow his interests – opera for instance – still come out sounding superior to your dumb sports.
Again, to reiterate, YOU ARE DUMB. Yes YOU, the Blackhawks fan reading this, the man who would rather watch a sporting event than go shopping, the woman who would rather do the same and finally, you, the serious news consumer who loves, say, public affairs reporting but also loves to read the sports section.
That last demographic is hinted at when Neil goes on to bemoan the gallons of ink that will soon be spilled to cover the Blackhawks in the Sun-Times. All the while, he writes, what will be written for the masses who are not hockey fans?
I don’t know Neil. How about THE REST OF THE NEWSPAPER? I mean, are all your colleagues in the newsroom about to take the next two weeks off? No more stories from Fran Spielman, Abdon Pallasch, Frank Main, etc? Did a loudspeaker just announce that the entire staff of the Sun-Times is now devoted to the Blackhawks 24/7?
I could go on, but I’m too exhausted. I now pass the baton to you.