Dr. Fauci: Point Guard for Science
Watching Dr. Anthony Fauci politely try to clear up some of the most egregious errors by Donald Trump, I am fascinated by his political poise.
Dr. Fauci was at his best Friday, calmly labelling Trump’s claims that a malaria vaccine might help stop the Coronavirus as "anecdotal." Trump had a “hunch.” Fauci had experience and facts. And character. And discretion.
I’ve been impressed by Dr. Fauci since he escaped Trump’s dungeon for inconvenient experts. You know, the Deep State. People who know things, like Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 -- six presidents, two Democrats and four Republicans.
Apparently, in this Dark Age, circumstances dictated that one qualified person should be up front with all the Pences and Pompeos.
So there he was, this tiny man (the web does not seem to divulge his actual height) who keeps a straight face while Trump is making stuff up during a grave crisis. And when Dr. Fauci speaks, he does so in a mixture of scientific knowledge and a gravelly accent that says, “Noo Yawk."
* * *
NB: Maureen Dowd spoke to Dr. Fauci. Great quotes. She also uses the word "gravelly," only proving that great minds think...or hear....alike .
* * *
I did not know anything about Dr. Fauci, but felt I knew him from my home town. He reminded me of the humble comedian, Jimmy Durante, a presence in my childhood, always ending his TV show with the mysterious salute:“ Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”
The good doctor also sounds just like Lou Carnesecca, the beloved ex-coach of St. John’s basketball, still very much alive at 95. Looie, bless his heart, would usually begin his post-game summary by saying: “Two t’ings,” which he would then enumerate. And he always raved about New York pizza and bagels, claiming they were superior because of the elixir in the city pipes.
Turns out, I was on the right track, comparing Dr. Fauci with Looie. My brother-in-law Rich recalled Tony Fauci as a star athlete at Regis High School in Manhattan, one of the best Roman Catholic high schools in the city.
Anthony Fauci was the captain and starting point guard for Regis. before concentrating on his studies at Holy Cross and med school and has had a long and honorable career. Surely, running the offense against larger players prepared him for the gross lack of expertise and leadership in this ailing country.
I watch him while Trump is bloviating. He looks straight ahead, no eye-rolling, no twitching, no raising his hand to make a point. Some people might see him as going along with the program, just another Trump toadie, but I see him as Tony Fauci, point guard, trying to find space amidst the blockheads, and taking the charge for the good of the nation.
* * *
(Another alum of Regis is Colin Jost, the pleasant, deceptively sly co-host of Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live.” Jost recently published a sweet little article in the New Yorker, about commuting from Staten Island – bus, ferry, subway, 90 minutes each way, for four years, and the interesting species he encountered, two-legged and four-legged. It’s part of a book he has coming out.)
* * *
Links about Dr. Anthony Fauci:
Very nice column by Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman:
3/21/2020 11:34:48 am
3/21/2020 03:01:31 pm
Hansen, perhaps there is a sainthood for a public servant who is tryig to hold it together for the country...and, dare I say it, the world.
3/21/2020 11:46:51 am
This was great George. I think newscaster Tony Guida was at Regis at the same time. Let's hope Dr Fauci can emerge from this with his reputation intact. Most in trump circle go to prison or are fired/resign in disgrace. I think Dr. F. can rise above this, but who knows?
3/21/2020 03:04:30 pm
Marty, thanks for sending that to Tony, who did indeed attend Regis.
3/21/2020 11:56:05 am
George, as always, thanks for providing perspective and context to current events. This is a moment for leaders to show their true stripes. Not all leaders are a product of athletic competition, but in my experience those that have excelled in team sports know how to bring people together for the best possible outcome. All of you leaders out there, this is your moment... Lead on!!!
3/21/2020 03:11:15 pm
Ted, thanks, You are right, not everybody has a sports background (thank goodness). But look at recent presidents -- Bush 41 played college world series for Yale, Gerry Ford, star center at Michigan. Reagan and Nixon, small-college And Trump was a good BB player at military school. but apparently a bully and loudmouth then, too.
3/21/2020 01:29:24 pm
3/21/2020 03:14:19 pm
Tom, how are you? What is there to say on the radio about soccer from St, Louis these days? I find it hard to read anything if games are not being played. State of suspended animation. Hope life is good with you all. GV
3/21/2020 02:49:54 pm
Hansen, your comments are spot on or as then say in photography-tack sharp.
3/21/2020 03:20:36 pm
Alan: I did not follow CHSAA basketball when I went to Jamaica....(Alan Seiden did Chaminade with a buzzer beater in an early non-league game in our gym.) But when I worked at Newsday, I saw games in some funky little gyms around the city..bodies bouncing off walls. My brother Pete played for Molloy, He came home one day and said Looie hit him with a broom in practice. I asked Looie years later and he assured me, that was him wielding a broom to make players shoot with a higher arc. I think Looie played some BB ad BKB at SJU. Those were great years....but the scandal gutted NYC basketball. He could recruit NYC players to come home after starting elsewhere., a master at that. Thanks for nice words. Sandi is right. Always listen to her. GV
3/21/2020 04:03:04 pm
Teaneck, NJ’s Junior High basketball team played in a tiny gym. One sideline was right at the bleachers and the other was about three inches from the wall. You had to put one foot against it when in-bounding.
3/21/2020 07:16:15 pm
3/21/2020 07:34:14 pm
Wow! Write about a point guard — hear from a championship point guard — NYC PSAL, The Garden. March 1955. Artie made a few points early and Alan Seiden said, “Benny, you’re shooting too much.” Artie, remember you and Alan told me that story in 2005. Didn’t you win NAIA with Adelphi, late 50s?
3/21/2020 07:35:22 pm
3/21/2020 09:31:21 pm
Great insight, George. You "nailed" the persona of Dr. Fauci.
3/21/2020 09:56:36 pm
Liz, thanks. quite a roster from Rich's time at Regis. Tony Guida used to be on TV news in NYC,. Lovely guy.
3/22/2020 11:32:48 am
As George wrote, "the [gambling] scandal gutted NYC basketball." It also gutted -- totally unfairly, on the basis of false charges -- the lives of great NYC high school players like Connie Hawkins and Roger Brown, stripping them of their college scholarships and barring them from the NBA -- Brown forever, and Hawkins till 1969, when the NBA caved in the face of his lawsuit; but by then he was 27 and past much of his prime.
3/22/2020 12:30:38 pm
Gene, you are absolutely right about the over reaction to the 1950’s NYC basketball scandal. These were young kids, mostly from middle class or lower families, who were paid very little money to help the gamblers beat the point spread.
3/22/2020 12:41:33 pm
3/22/2020 05:20:21 pm
3/22/2020 03:31:39 pm
3/23/2020 09:25:16 am
Gene, Kelly was absolutely right. I took ROTC for three years before dropping out....The military emphasized responsibility to the troops. . Pompeo -- West Point guy!-- violated that teaching when he left Amb, Yovanovitch vulnerable to criticism, maybe even violence.
3/23/2020 10:03:13 am
3/23/2020 11:52:32 am
Michael: Thanks, man. Once a New Yorker....my college friend, whom you met at my talk in 2014, is a Manhattan guy, now living Center City. He takes the slow/local train to NYC sometimes for lunch....not lately, however.
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.