Daddy-O at first objects to being anointed an SSI Yo-Yo. Dr. D repossesses the award in the middle of the night, indignant that Daddy-O didn't appreciate the honor. Daddy-O, sadder but wiser, asks for his award back, but inquires as to the availability of even higher awards. Does SSI have anything like the Fickle Finger of Fate award?
I knew we'd been grasping for something, but wasn't quite sure what it was. Hey, they recycled 21 Jump Street and that was only 20 years ago. This one's going on 40 years ago. I bet you that we even have to explain it ......
The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award, saluting actual dubious achievements by the government or famous people, such as the announcement of a new Veterans Administration hospital to be erected in Southern California shortly after another such facility was destroyed in the Sylmar earthquake of 1971. The trophy was a gilt, outstretched finger atop a square base. "The flying, fickle finger of fate" was already a familiar catchphrase on the show (Dan Rowan would use the phrase when ushering "new talent" like Tiny Tim on stage). - wikipedia entry
For those who just joined us, Rowan and Martin used the Fickle Finger Award to lampoon people who had (1) been successful but (2) hadn't earned it.
Inspector Clouseau, and Bill Murray's unwitting "spy" in The Man Who Knew Too Little, those type of characters were in the spirit of Fickle Finger award winners. Man Who Knew Too Little is one of my favorite "garbage" movies to rewatch once a year on cable. Most times, you get movies in which wonderful people stumble into undeserved tragedy, like Katniss in The Hunger Games. Me, I love movies in which complete dummies stumble into total victory, like Dr. D in The Mariners Blog-O-Sphere.
Remember also: in Rowan and Martin's era, political satire was relatively good-natured. This was the 1970's. You had protest and upheaval, a strong desire to improve things for the better. But what you did not have, was a society in which 10-20% of the population would welcome a full-throated U.S. civil war with 50 million casualities and all the trimmings. College students hated Nixon, but they did not universally hope for his death. They wanted him impeached, not assassinated.
The FFFF reflected the mood of the 1970's. It was sardonic, not toxic.
=== FFFF Inaugural Winner ===
Sorry Daddy-O. First award goes to Bud Selig for his extra Wild Card game. And he even stumbled into the concept of a 1-game winner takes all format. Breathtaking presumption meets complete serendipity. :- )
Bill James has argued that as you reduce the playoff entrants, you increase mathematically the number of "dramatic games" played in September. We'll refer you to BJOL for the logic.
There is a sense in which Dr. D could buy the idea that fewer playoff entrants create a more "noble" playoff race. In the English Premier League, there is still a single pennantwinner with no playoffs at all. The late-season, and even early-season, matches between the Big Boys are therefore always epic showdowns. Manchester City vs. Chelsea, even in week 2 of 38, has a Transformers feel to it.
Watching Felix Hernandez duel Josh Beckett in a 1-game playoff, this year, would be like watching Unit vs Langston in 1995 -- a game which we will remember with pleasure literally for the rest of our lives.
It's a little bit cheesy, a little bit shallow, to expand the playoffs. But there are times I like entertainment as opposed to nobility. I enjoyed, and valued, the Groundhog Day movie more than I enjoyed the Titanic movie.
Even in 1995, the Seattle Mariners weren't a team that was talented enough to really merit their place in baseball history. But they were courageous enough, and I think that 1995 Mariners helped rescue baseball from the 1994 strike. It was the mouth rinse after the dentist's work.
Not sure that Selig's Wild Card game was the product of masterly achitecture. But it's going to be a winner. Bud, take a bow and accept this FFFF with our most sincere wry smiles.