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"Lance Armstrong no more deserves a shimmering spot in the limelight," it pronounced, "than Sammy Sosa deserves a spot in the baseball Hall of Fame."
Pundits like to pronounce on what people in the news do and don't deserve, but do they understand how magisterial and self-important they sound when they do? Not to mention fatuous. I have no idea how to measure deservability but there's a strong odor of irrelevance to it. The young man didn't deserve to get sick and die. Yet he did. This newspaper disapproves.
Thinking over the editorial, I wondered if I'd put my finger on one of the press's bad habits. I went googling for recent evidence and found it.
Headline to column: "Lance Armstrong Doesn't Deserve Oprah's Easy Redemption"
Headline to column: "After lockout, NHL doesn't deserve fans' loyalty"
Column: "Here's the conundrum for Karl. McGee doesn't deserve to play. But the lone way Denver can discover if there's a winner that can be coaxed from deep within McGee? Live with the mistakes. Play McGee more."
Headline to column: "Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve American's admiration"
Headline to column: "Gut reaction: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens don't deserve Hall of Fame"
Headline to column: "Bonds, Clemens, don't deserve Hall of Fame honors"
Headline to column: "Climate deniers don't deserve attention"
Column: "God's grace is the Christian's most prized possession. That undeserved gift of God is the difference between the believer and one who doesn't believe; the heir of eternal life and the possessor of eternal death."
No one deserves eternal life, but God gives it to some of us anyway. God wouldn't have made much of a pundit. He's too slow to pull the trigger.