Being Nowhere
Circus Tradition
Class Politics
Enormous Loss
Haditha Tragedy
Homeless Being
Illegal Camping Ordinance
Journalism Priviledge
Keep Us Safe
Leadership and the People

Lesser Evils
Lynching Iraq
News for Working People
Nice Cops
Palestinian Democracy
Poison Fish
Political Communication
Selective Memory
Vestigial Entrances

Enormous Loss

This is a story about language and politics.

A local editorial recently expressed the view that “The disappearance of Sarasota's historic spring-training tradition would be an enormous loss.”

Not everything that has ben around for a while counts as a tradition. While a history does not necessarily involve tradition, all traditions persist over time and thus have a history. Histories exist whether they are known or not. Traditions, however, are always alive in the present of those who possess them. Where spring training baseball fits is not obvious, so perhaps the writer opted for redundancy over clarity out of desperation.

The notion of ‘enormous loss’ is much more difficult to comprehend. Darfur is an instance of enormous loss. Asian tsunamis and Florida hurricanes are instances of enormous loss. If ‘enormous loss’ is comfortably used in the context of a month’s worth of preseason baseball games, we hamper our ability to articulate our situation.

The phrase is difficult to comprehend even at the level of municipal politics, for at the core of this project is the question whether the gain is worth the pain. Referring to the teams possible departure as an ‘enormous loss’ assumes away the core issue.

Recently, Commissioner Atkins remarked that “Downtown has become exactly what we dreamed of, except for affordable housing.” While there is no dearth of actors in and out of government happy to take credit for solving our crisis of leisure force housing, no one is stepping forward to accept responsibility for the failure to build work force housing. (More than a few fingers point to the invisible hand.) In this discussion, however, ‘enormous loss’ is nowhere to be found.













©Al Katz • Prof. of law SUNY, Buffalo, 1969-1989 (ret.)