Special to Page 2
- "... you cannot rehash the past. If that's the
case, we're going to go way back into 19th, 18th
centuries in rehashing the past and we'll crush a lot
of things in a lot of sports ... if you just want a
lot of things out of the sports world, then we can go
back into the 1800s and basically asterisk a lot of
sports if that's what you choose ..."
-- Barry Bonds, speaking to his good friends in the press.
Good idea. But why stop with sports?
If VH1's "I Love the 80s/90s" programs have taught us anything -- beyond the fact that Joe E. Tata still needs work -- it's that you can always rehash the past, and for less cost than creating something new. Retro jerseys and ESPN Classic, anyone? So it's rather surprising that Bonds would suggest otherwise, almost as if he had something to hide ...
But we digress. Point is, Bonds has one thing right: There's more to yore than what's taught in history books. Go beyond the headlines, the records, and you'll discover that every great deed masks an even greater asterisk. The United States was built on slave labor. Dead voters helped elect JFK. Milli Vanilli didn't actually sing "Girl You Know It's True." And so on.
With that in mind, Page 2 looks back at some milestones in American history, asterisks 'n' all:
The deed: In 1492, Italian explorer sails the ocean blue, yadda yadda yadda. He ends up in the Americas ...
The asterisk: ... along with smallpox.
The deed: In 1775, patriot Henry implores Virginia to join the American Revolution, proclaiming, "give me liberty, or give me death!"
The asterisk: Loudest applause reserved for brewer/patriot and follow-up speaker Samuel Adams, whose remarks begin, "Revolution, schme-volution. Just give me a cold one!"
The deed: Founding Fathers pen nation's birth certificate in 1776, proclaiming, "all men are created equal ..."
The asterisk: ... so long as you're a white, male landowner! (Also, Founders inconsiderately neglect to include treasure map on back of document.)
The 19th Century
The deed: In 1803, United States doubles in size after giving France $15 million for almost 530 million acres of territory.
The asterisk: President Thomas Jefferson agrees to take back the guaranteed contracts of Lewis and Clark, crippling the nation's salary-cap flexibility for years to come.
The deed: Robert Fulton, a former landscape painter, opens the nation's rivers to two-way travel by inventing the steamboat.
The asterisk: Steamboat leads to creation of "Steamboat Willie," who becomes Mickey Mouse, who spawns Disney empire, which owns ESPN, which broadcasts hour after hour of televised poker. What price progress?
The deed: One hundred and eighty-three Texas militiamen inflict disproportionate losses on Mexican army during siege of Alamo mission in San Antonio; battle cry of "Remember the Alamo!" inspires Texan forces in triumphant war of independence.
The asterisk: Texans at Alamo all killed. In retrospect, not much of a victory.