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And Another Thing

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AP | File
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011.

O sad, sad man

I suppose, at this juncture, I'm obliged to be outraged. That is what we do best now in America, right?

And so, yes, I suppose, listening to Donald Sterling bash Magic Johnson as no role model or whine that he's no racist even if his actions have long spoken eloquently otherwise, that I should be working up yet another heapin' helpin' of disdain for the man. My jaw should drop, my eyes should widen, and I should belt out our favorite new anthem: "He said WHAT?!"

Sorry. I fail. I feel no outrage at all for the man at this point.

All I feel is pity.

I feel pity not because the NBA finally did what it should have done years ago -- rid itself of as ridiculous a caricature as Marge Schott was back in her Hitler-just-went-too-far days -- but because venting outrage on a man like Sterling is wasted motion. It's like flinging darts at a brick wall. The wall doesn't feel it, so what's the point?

That's the takeaway from Anderson Cooper's interview with Sterling, as sad and painful a journalistic exercise as I've seen anywhere at any time. Cooper spoke English. Sterling replied in gibberish. The end result was not so much the unmasking of a bigot but the revelation that Sterling is, at bottom, an addled old man playing chicken with senility. And apparently losing.

That makes it almost pointless to refute anything he says, particularly the business about Magic Johnson. When Sterling asks "What has he done?" you could point out that very few people have done more, given that Magic built his business empire by investing in impoverished and at-risk neighborhoods.

What has he done? What hasn't he done?

But, like the dart hitting the brick wall, all of that would simply bounce off Sterling unacknowledged. He doesn't get it. He's never gotten it. And the day when he might have gotten is long past. So why waste the energy?

And why waste another word on this Blob writing about him?

Ben Smith's blog.

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