2001-12-29 / Columnists

Boyle-ing Points

By Kevin Boyle
He’s Just Another Benedict Abdul

He should be called by his chosen name, Abdul Hamid. You probably don’t know who the hell I’m talking about because he’s always called John Walker or occasionally John Walker Lindh, the most famous American traitor since Benedict Arnold.

Malcolm Little became Malcolm X. You know that guy on NBC sports, Ahmad Rashad? He used to be Bobby Moore. Muhammad Ali, of course, used to be Cassius Clay. Lew Alcindor became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

At some point we couldn’t call him Prince, it had to be the Artist Formerly Known As. I think he started out as Prince Roger Nelson but nobody ever called him that except his parents, I suppose. We’ve long accepted name changes for those who go Hollywood. Cary Grant was Archibald Leach. John Wayne was Marion Morrison. Tony Curtis grew up as Bernard Schwartz. Charlie Sheen was baptized Carlos Estevez.

Abdul Hamid is his name. I don’t know if it’s political correctness (he’s not Arab, we might be insulting our Arab friends by using Abdul Hamid) or simple lazy convenience (Abdul Hamid doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily as John Walker).

Whatever the case, he has chosen a new name and it should be the one used by the media, by all of us. Abdul Hamid is who he is. Sounds Arab or seems anti-muslim? Tough. It’s the name he chose. The media shouldn’t be recasting him as John Walker----that’s not their job. In fact, the media has generally honored name changes (see the ridiculous attempts to honor the name change of the ridiculous Prince) for forty years. There was some hesitance to use Muhammad Ali rather than Cassius Clay but I can’t recall another time when the media didn’t agreeably acknowledge a name change. We all accepted and learned Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ahmad Rashad---there would’ve been an uproar if we hadn’t.

John Walker abandoned his name and turned against this country. He used to be John Walker---now he’s Abdul Hamid.

More Boyle-ing Points:

Although I’m offended by the use of the name John Walker and am disgusted by his actions I can’t shake the chuckle out of my head whenever I see that familiar video clip of him sitting against the wall next to that other hairy dirt bag. Good old Abdul Hamid looks like Howard Hughes and the dude next to him looks like Rob Lowe in American Werewolf in Afghanistan. Can’t argue with the TV buffs who’ve mentioned the dude looks like Eddie Munster in the episode where Grandpa’s magic potion makes him grow a beard.

*** Low-grade depression is a legitimate epidemic these days. Terrorism and a recession make things pretty damn grim for most of us. Of course, there’s no way cookie makers are feeling the economic pinch. You feel bad; you do a sleeve of Oreos. Then you feel bad because you ate a whole sleeve---so to feel better you eat the other one.

To the year 2001: just get the hell out of here. Go. Leave. Nobody wants to see the likes of you again.

***George Johnson has to be thrilled with the new bronze statue inspired by the flag-raising photo taken at Ground Zero. For years, he’s been saying he was sculpted.

I’ve got some nerve getting on George. Truth is, Boyle-ing Points began as a complete rip-off of Scrumdown News (the rugby column) authored by George and his brother, Bob. (Other stuff I pilfered from the Rain Man of pop culture, John Ronayne, who used to write the St. Camillus basketball league column). Some of you are probably surprised to read that---figuring I was ripping off Meet The Irish and Dorothy Dunne all these years.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, mentors.

*** Things keep going this way and my readership will hit double digits. Linda Gleason and Sally McVeigh came out of the closet, so to speak, recently declaring themselves fans of Boyle-ing Points (I don’t get too full of myself--- I think Linda used a fake last name). And Sally, she’s a Steeler’s fan, so what does she know.

***Janelle McManus, unhappy with playing time at Boston College, will be taking her considerable talent and love for the game elsewhere. It’s a shame we’ll never to get to see that one-two punch of Janelle and Claire Droesch but we wish her the best. Janelle really does love the game and she should be able to find a place willing to give her playing time. I just hope she keeps enough eligibility to make it worth her while.

She’s got to make a decision soon, like yesterday soon. But she’ll do okay, I bet---she’s always been good in transition.

*** Meanwhile, up in that same neck of the hardwoods, Kevin Fitzgerald’s Boston University is tabbed as a league favorite, which means they’ve got a real shot at the NCAA tourney this year. I’ll have to search through Emil Lucev’s Historical Views to find out when the last time we had a local in the Big Dance. (Or maybe I’ll start reading Ken Reeves’s sports reports in The Wave).

***While doing research for this column I stumbled upon an important fact: The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Now, don’t you feel like you got your 35 cents worth today?


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