Monday, February 26, 2007

Idle threat of the week

In Detroit yesterday, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addressed his flock's annual convention. In his speech he enthusiastically threw his support behind President Bush and the nascent "surge" in Iraq. He also singled out administration "neoconservative" policy makers for praise.

Actually, that is not true.

What was interesting, and what captured the attention of the panel of judges, is Farrakhan threatened this would be his final public appearance.

Farrakhan, 73, has been struggling with cancer for the last few years, so maybe this declaration was a nod to a medically endorsed fixed time line for earthly existence.

Then again, we couldn't find a single account of yesterday's event in which Farrakhan wasn't described as "robust" and "strong." He was also of sound enough mind to remember to spend the majority of his two hour farewell speech bashing Bush and blaming the President for all the ills in the black community and the world of Islam.

The retirement threat was popularized by professional boxers, and perfected by middle weight Sugar Ray Leonard -- who declared four false retirements over a 15 year period.

It has now permeated throughout the entire sporting world, with legends such as Roger Clemens and Brett Farve issuing retirement threats every year before coming back to play.

Rappers, such as the oft-retired Jay-Z, have followed the trend.

Charismatic religious figures have been the most recent converts to the technique. For what were all those maneuverings that Evangelical leader Ted Haggard shimmied through a couple months ago but an improbable "retirement" from having sex with men.

These baseless threats to hang it up usually end up gaining the "retiree" money and losing him credibility. Since Farrakhan doesn't have a lot of credibility outside of his bow-tied little world, why not?

As an added bonus, Farrakhan has collected the Idle Threat of the Week for 2/19 to 2/25. To be revoked upon proof of death.

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