I felt the same way about George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and now with Barack Obama. George W. Bush? Well, yeah, but mostly as a punch line.
Cable TV was more accessible during the Reagan years, which was the impetus of our media saturation and 24-hour connectivity. Of course no one foresaw the coming of the Internet during the Reagan years other than Doc Brown and Marty McFly, though they had the luxury of a time machine. And as we have learned, the Internet is the greatest invention since Tommy John surgery.
So Ronald Reagan taught me that everyday folks like to talk about people they will never, ever meet and/or don’t care a whit about them like a president, congressman, or Lady Gaga. Ina sense, the common man and the cultural star use each other. One uses the other to sell something which in turn forces the regular people to use the seller in a manner that makes them feel better about themselves. In other words, everybody wins.
Or do they? Since the gulf between the two factions grow with each passing TMZ post, each side digs in deeper and deeper. Agendas are forced with no regard for the other side. That’s just the way it happens when a group feels slighted.
In our little universe here in Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb is our new Ronald Reagan. Not a day passes when something is not spoken or written about the man or his importance and future to the professional football team in the city. Go ahead and comb through the daily stories about the Eagles on CSNPhilly.com or Philly.com and I’m positive there will be one mention of McNabb in something produced today. Turn on 610 or 950 and set an egg timer and wait…
Someone will say the words, “Donovan,” or “McNabb.”
The difficulty in this phenomenon is when a guy thinks he is part of one group, though in reality he is not. That’s where Mike Richards of the Flyers enters.
I get the feeling that Mike Richards could walk down Walnut Street and grab a seat in Rittenhouse Square and no one would bat an eye. Probably a shade below 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, Richards looks just like any regular 24-year-old dude seen in the city. He probably blends in in Kenora, Ontario, too, which is probably why he thinks he can non-discretely go about his business in Philadelphia.
INSERT HEARTY LAUGH RIGHT HERE
What Richards might not get—or maybe he does, we don’t know—is that a $69 million contract and the captaincy of the beloved Flyers means he is not a regular dude. Yes, celebrity is both a blessing and a curse and it’s because of these reasons that he is clearly not amongst the regular-dude folk and because he is not “regular,” if he chooses not to talk to the media, for whatever reason, some folks are going to feel slighted or even angry. McNabb or Chase Utley might give obtuse, one-word answers to pointed questions from time to time, but after some prodding and long waits, at least he goes through the motions complete with a bemused grin and a placid stare on non-engagement.
It works for him.
Now I don’t know about the finer details of Richards’ tête-à-tête with the writers that cover the team on a daily basis. I also don’t know anything about Richards’ private life and what he does for fun.
I also don’t care.
However, Richards can make his life a whole lot less complex if he figures out how to do things like Chase Utley or Donovan McNabb and mask his contempt for those commoners with a steady barrage of clichés and bleep-eating grins.
It's worth mentioning that the time McNabb told Terrell Owens to, "Keep my name out of your mouth..." That was awesome.So now we’re talking about Mike Richards for a couple of days in a row. Better yet, some people may (or may not) have learned who he is because of the recent media storm. Probably not too many more, though. It’s not like he’s Donovan McNabb.