Why golf, fishing, and a certain demographic group explain today’s political theater.
After returning to playing golf and paying attention to golf for the first time in decade, I notice things really haven’t changed. Manufacturers are still creating products and advertising to promise longer and straighter shots, or easier putts and chips, cutting a stroke off each hole.
A lot of this is snake oil. Some of it is improvement in technology. Some is a combination of both. In 1999, in his “Short Game Bible,” Dave Pelz writes about how golf irons have changed, had their lofts strengthened, over time so that a modern seven iron should hit a ball further with the same swing speed than a seven iron of 30 or 50 years ago. Balls have also changed and go further than ever before. In other words, players hit a juiced ball with a club labeled one thing but actually built like something else and they feel like they have gotten better or been given a gift. In reality, their swings still suck but they don’t realize it.
In the end though, to play golf well, it still comes down to the hard work of learning, regular practice, and a certain amount of mental/emotional discipline. Of course, one can enjoy the game without playing well, that is a well-known truism. It is certainly more fun the further one walks between shots before you get to the green.
When I was young, an uncle (and others) taught me that fishing lures were designed to fool fishermen, not fish. This is especially true with bass fishing (largemouth bass). From the early days of Bass Pro when I found their bags of product in liquor stores in Joplin and the surrounds, long before the building of the mother store in Springfield, and even long before that, fishing lures have existed to feed a need to catch a fish. A fish with a very large mouth that will eat anything from tiny red wrigglers (worms) to the occasional baby duck, begging the question – what won’t a bass strike?
Something strikes me as wrong that we have an industry where folks happily pay $5 to $10 for a piece of plastic to lob at a place where a fish might be. And said piece of plastic tied to a piece of plastic filament that will eventually break, fish or no. Yes, I love the thrill of a fish breaking the water and taking off with a crankbait or plastic worm, but I am kind of cheap. Cheap enough that I still stick to the things that worked for me 20, 30, 40 years ago.
The fun is in the challenge. I rarely care too much if I catch nothing more than an occasional show of interest.
Golf and bass fishing have this one thing in common. They are both supported by an industry allegedly dedicated to to making things easier for you. You will take fewer strokes, get closer to the hole, make more putts, catch more fish, catch bigger fish, get bigger erections (sorry, those are the ads mixed in with these others). They also have their own channels for dedicated advertising of these things.
Of course, it is all just paraphernalia for lost and desperate souls.
Success from hard work, dedication, learning, and practice. Rarely from just new and expensive toys.
This is what candidates for the 2016 presidential race are playing to. The overwhelming desire for easy answers. The desire to skip the hard work, the sustained effort, learning, and practice.
So these candidates are really nothing more than paraphernalia for lost and desperate souls.
As for the demographic group at the center of this…do I really have to tell you what it is? (listen to the end of the song if you are not sure)