The thrill of competition, the emotion of sport — can there be a more profoundly American experience? As the fall season prepares to begin, and the NFL mounts this year’s edition of the Roman spectacle of pro football, there’s a new competitive sport vying for your attention. For years we’ve heard of the bake-off and the face-off, the standoff and the playoff. Now, ladies and gentlemen … welcome to the 2009 Bad Manners F___-Off!
Still your points leader in the competition, on the basis of sheer nerve, brevity and audience offended in millions, is Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina. Wilson’s stunning “two-word” performance on the floor of the House of Representatives last week, during a joint session of Congress, will be a hard one to top. Right now it’s his to lose.
But over the weekend, we’ve seen two game challengers emerge, each of them ready to take the lead in the match.
On Saturday, of course, Wimbledon champion Serena Williams made her play to take the lead when she melted down after a bad foot-fault call at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow, Queens, N.Y. It led to her losing her semi-final match to unseeded, unranked Kim Clijsters.
Williams, in the amateur bad-manners division, showed she was ready to step up to the next level, with comments made to the line judge that could peel paint off a wall. Here's part of the transcript: “I swear to God I'm f___ing taking this ball and shoving it down your f___ing throat."
Williams ran her heat shortly before Kanye West stepped out on the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, as country singer Taylor Swift was accepting her award for Best Female Video.
West wrested the microphone from Swift mid-acceptance speech ands went into a diatribe claiming that Beyoncé had been cheated out of the award. "Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time,” West said.
Clearly, the judges will have their hands full deciding which of these three worthies goes home with the Golden Turd.
The competition between them is fierce, but because of the F___-Off’s status as a pro-am event welcoming any and all challengers over the course of the year, anything can happen. Another contender in either the private or public sectors could emerge from nowhere between now and December. So get ready for another three months of spirited, unpredictable action in the public square. We're live at the F___-Off. We’ll have a winner soon. Back to you in the studio.