@THE GUSS REPORT-It’s October again and that means Columbus Day, which in LA means Indigenous Peoples Day.
But like the majority of things seeping from local governments which try to erase bad parts of history, much of the outrage toward the Italian explorer once known as Cristoforo Colombo is superficial.
While governments stand on their collective soapbox to denounce Columbus, they stay silent about names like CBS, aka the Columbia Broadcasting System, and Columbia Pictures. You don’t see our politicians canceling luxurious fundraising trips to Washington, D.C., aka the District of Columbia.
And where is the call for a boycott like the one LA City Council had against Arizona before the idea lost its luster and became an inconvenience?
While this columnist disassociated from his grad school alma mater at California State University Northridge for its cowardly, torturous and animal-abusing Matador mascot, where is the call from LA City Council for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to disassociate from his ongoing activities with his two-time alma mater, Columbia University?
Not a word, hiccup or snort about any of that.
While Columbus was a brutal invader of North America, this NY Post column (from which these factoids come) says that many Native Americans were equally as brutal toward one another, including live scalping and torture of their children before sacrificing them.
Maybe Garcetti can meet up with his equally ineffective counterpart, NY City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, to discuss those inconvenient embraces of Columbus. I suggest they do this in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, where, in 2018, its 76-foot monument to the explorer was unanimously added to the state historic register, followed two months later by the National Park Service adding it to the National Register of Historic Places.
Dodging the World Series, you don’t trade the greats.
It took this columnist about 24 hours to get past the sudden and swift end to the Dodgers’ season last week. The team was by far the best in the National League with 106 wins and a stunning 59-22 home-field record at Dodger Stadium, which were both second-best in all of Major League Baseball.
Past that, some fans called for the team to trade Clayton Kershaw, who didn’t come through at a critical point in the winner-take-all loss against the Washington Nationals. Maybe they forgot that Kershaw was the man who carried this franchise – and much of baseball itself – for most of the first 12 years of his incredible career to-date that will make him a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame someday.
Kershaw, an exemplary hard worker and a great guy off the field with his charitable work, didn’t give up the game-winning hit or put the opposing player on-base who eventually scored the winning run. He wasn’t even in the game at the time.
True, he has to get past whatever it is that keeps him from delivering the goods in the playoffs. His $31 million salary (not including endorsements) is part of the reason why a 24-ounce beer at Dodger Stadium costs $16 rather than $3 at your local store.
Kershaw's championship days are probably going to come much as they did for NFL legend and former Granada Hills High School star John Elway.
Elway entered the NFL with enormous expectations in 1983 at age 23. He led his Denver Broncos – the only team he ever played for – to the Super Bowl in 1986 but got crushed 39-20. He led them back to the big game in 1987 and lost again 42-10. Then it got worse when Elway brought the Broncos back to it a third time in 1989 . . . and got pummeled 55-10.
If you’re keeping score, that’s three Super Bowl losses in four years, by an average margin of 32 points. Elway didn’t return to the Super Bowl until 1997, at age 37, winning it all and then doing it again in 1998, after which he retired.
Nobody ever thinks about those earlier losses.
At just 31, Kershaw is the same age that Dodger Hall of Fame southpaw Sandy Koufax was when he retired in 1966.
Koufax’s career would undoubtedly have extended at least another decade if sports medicine was a thing back in those days. But Koufax only became a pitching superhero in the final 4 years of his 12-year career, when he amassed a stunning 97-27 record with three Cy Young Awards and an MVP, accolades Kershaw has long-since achieved.
And talk about bad playoff luck! Another Dodger lefty, Tommy John, pitched for the Dodgers against the Yankees in the 1977 World Series and lost. He pitched for them again against the Yanks in the 1978 World Series and lost. But most ironically, he wound up in Yankee pinstripes against the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series . . . and lost. Now there’s someone who has a reason to complain but doesn’t.
Anyhoo, you don’t trade away the greats, especially when they are named Elway, Koufax and Kershaw. You just wait 'til next year.
Speaking of Greatness, how about that Ellen DeGeneres?
By now, much of America saw how comedian Ellen DeGeneres handled the non-controversy controversy of her enjoying a Dallas Cowboys game last weekend, where she experienced the luxurious suite of the Cowboy’s owner and was seated next to President George W. Bush.
The image of them sharing a laugh on TV made the social media Grievance Industry, including some in LA’s entertainment industry, go apoplectic as it tried to bully and shame Ellen for – gasp! – having friends with different beliefs, while much of the rest of America gets increasingly sick and tired of nothing grievances.
Ellen didn’t punch back with immediate social media hostility.
Instead, in almost perfect form, she took a day to hit the pause button – what a novel idea! – to evaluate the situation with those closest to her. On her show last Tuesday, she warmly, humorously and magnificently explained her perspective on friendship and kindness.
She took a complex situation, opened her soul, made it real with humor and made it look easy.
I always liked Ellen, but now I really appreciate her. Good grapes, we need more of that.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.