Last night’s epic Phillies-Rockies NLDS game which Philadelphia won 6-5 began way, way too late for east coast viewers. The 10:07 p.m. Eastern start time meant that the game didn’t end until nearly quarter after two in the morning — criminally unfair for Phillies fans. The mostly explicit reason: TBS wanting to air the Yankees-Twins game in prime time. Screw the Yankees. The Angels-Red Sox game started at noon, so it was absurd to delay the Yankees start time until 7:07 p.m.
Philadelphia, that scrappy red-headed stepchild of a town between navel-gazing New York and bureaucratically dull D.C., was beaten down again. But this is nothing new. The nation’s disdain of Philadelphia, and the evolution of “Philly” into a near-epithet adjective along the lines of “ghetto” or “rough,” is a wrong that deserves to be remedied (probably like the word “gay”).
Who is to blame here? Let’s start with the makers of the 1993 film Philadelphia. Their clumsy sort of parallel symbol — the juxtaposition of a struggling post-1970s milieu of urban decay with a man slowly dying of AIDS — demeans the city. Director Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington all have a lot of blood on their hands. The main problem, one of several, is that the real-life subject of the film had no connection with Philly — so for Oscar-whoring Hollywood types, Philadelphia’s pre-Rendell city setting served as an appropriate milieu for Tom Hanks to suffer from a terminal illness and eventually die. Low-hanging fruit. Total assholes.
Speaking of artists mining real-life trauma for their namby-pamby “storytelling,” Bruce Springsteen is another slum-porn asshole. His “Streets of Philadelphia” takes the film’s lame symbolic co-optation of Philadelphia even further, using “wasting away on the streets of Philadelphia” as a facile image standing in for “the end of the line.” Go ahead — say it, jackass: Philadelphia is where all the total down-and-out hobos go to die.
Bruce is disgusting, and doesn’t deserve Philadelphia. Should Bruce actually play that horrible song next week at the Spectrum, I hope Philadelphia partisans fight back with a giant vat of Cheez Whiz. My fear, however, is that the well-intentioned locals may believe that Bruce is actually praising their city — which would be unsurprising, seeing how good Bruce is at misleading people — he may be the most imprecise songwriter around, a smoke-and-mirrors charlatan.
If Bruce does play “Philadelphia,” it may set back Philadelphia’s redemption from the Springsteen-Demme Cabal and everyone else who “Phillied” Philly. This redemption, by the way, in my view, came when Brad Lidge struck out Tampa Bay’s Eric Hinske last October and Lidge fell to his knees in religious exultation not to Jesus but rather generation upon generation of beleaguered Philly fans. Don’t let Bruce undo that. Get the vat of Whiz ready.
As for me, I vow from here on out not to “Philly” Philly . . . until I hear about another case of vigilante justice, that is . . .