Driving around Las Vegas this morning and listening to the radio, I heard a news item on Bobby Fischer’s death, which reminded me why conservatives are so often infuriated by National Public Radio: The news reader noted Fischer’s death, called him the greatest chess player of all time, and then said that Fischer had, later in life, become “critical of the American government” and moved to Iceland. The abstraction made Fischer sound like a stately dissident, not the anti-Semitic, mentally ill crazy he actually is. I suppose that for NPR, being critical of the American government is enough; the how or why is unimportant.

Stephen Barr’s item about Fischer here on the First Things website is quite excellent—and much more thoughtful.

In other NPR news, the item immediately following the Fischer notice was a summary of Andy Roddick being upset early this morning at the Australian Open. They said that Roddick was “picked apart” by an “unheralded” German player.

With my body still stuck on East Coast time, I stayed up and saw most of the match. It was a thrilling 5-set affair, going 8-6 in the fifth. It was also some of the highest level tennis you’ll ever see: Roddick finished with more than 40 aces and both players had something like 4 winners for every unforced error. I was a little bleary, but I think there were only three breaks of serve for the entire match. It was the type of epic match that will be talked about for years; nobody got “picked apart.” Oh, and the “unheralded” German was Philipp Kohlschreiber, who’s actually the 29th seed and the most promising German player since Michael Stich.

Not that any of that matters, I suppose.