Combat Sports

Like a lot of people, I watched the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor on Saturday night. The claim is it made six gorillion dollars and a bazillion people watched it. As is always the case these days, the numbers are all lies and the real numbers are vastly lower than claimed. The live gate was about what you see from a typical fight, but the PPV was probably much higher than typical. UFC fans are conditioned to view their sport through television and on-line, rather than live.

Despite the fakery, it was a big deal and even casual fans found a way to watch it. The dirty little secret of modern life is that watching these things via a pirate stream is getting easier and more difficult to police. As we saw with the music business, the video rackets are nearing that point where the cost of policing the underground feeds will exceed the value of their product. There are simply too many ways to get around the paywalls and blocking mechanisms. This fight was probably the last big pay-per-view fight will see.

That’s always the problem with artificial scarcity. It works for a while as the laws of supply and demand are universal. Make something scarce, relative to demand, and the prices rise. There is another universal law of economics though. Anything that has value will be stolen or faked. That means attempts to create artificial scarcity will be met with equal efforts to get around those barriers. That’s what happened to the music business and now music is just about free. That’s what is happening with pay television.

Still, the fight proved something that our betters have been telling us was no longer true and than is men still like being men. Fights are never and can never be pink hat affairs, where the girls show up and pretend to be fans. Boxing and MMA are male sports aimed explicitly at men. This fight was a contest between a bigger, younger man versus the older, but vastly more skilled smaller man. Men enjoy seeing that sort of thing. We like competition, but we like comparisons and contrasts in our competition.

During the broadcast, it became clear that the on-air people were instructed to use the phrase “combat sport” rather than the more common phrases. My hunch is the promoters saw the numbers for this thing and see a chance to bring fighting back as a popular sport again. Boxing killed itself with corruption and the UFC has a bum problem, but there is a market for good fights and the UFC is great at selling their product to young males. The contrast is styles between McGregor and Mayweather made it a great show.

If they fused the two sports, dropping the wrestling and tackling stuff entirely, there is a good chance they can create fun shows like this on a regular basis. Imagine if McGregor was allowed to kick and rabbit punch. It probably would not have changed the outcome, but it it would have made it a bit more fair. Change the ring to make the ropes more sturdy, like the cage in UFC, and the boxer has to change his strategy. There is a middle ground where you can create fun and interesting contests that men will pay to see.

The other thing the UFC can teach boxing is how to develop its talent. Boxing was destroyed by the crack epidemic. The urban gyms that worked as feeder systems for boxing were wiped out by the crack wars. The young guys looking for a way out of the ghetto were drawn into the big money of the drug game. Those still looking to go straight were too afraid to go into the rough areas where boxing gyms tend to be located. As a result, the flow of young talent in the US evaporated and so did the fan base.

That’s the thing about MMA, which boxing can adopt. Go around the country and the mixed martial arts gyms are now where the old martial arts places were located. That’s in suburban shopping centers. Middle-class white women are fine letting their boys go to these places as it feels safe and their snowflake is not getting bullied by urban blacks or robbed in the parking lot. Boxing can be sold to the white middle-class again, but in has to be sold on their turf. White people with kids no longer live in cities.

That’s not to say boxing can ever make a comeback, at least to the status it once enjoyed. That world is gone. We live in the age of niche sports. Even mighty football (American) is feeling the pinch. There will always be a market for men fighting one another under agreed upon rules. Boxing and MMA are just that. If the end result is some fusion of the two that is both white-ish and suburban, that’s not a terrible result. Healthy cultures have ways for men to compete, as well as watch and encourage other men to compete.

As to the fight itself, it was a fun show. As I pointed out prior to the fight, boxers are vastly better conditioned than MMA guys. McGregor was sucking wind in the third round and by the sixth he was clearly gassed. Mayweather is a great boxer and he knew exactly how to take apart McGregor. That said, the Irishman had a great plan and executed it well. He showed tremendous heart. He was just beaten by the better boxer, like everyone else Mayweather has faced. Both acquitted themselves well. It was a great show.

Fake News

I think I may have watched a grand total of one NBA game this past season. The games are not geared for middle-aged white guys. The game has been changed over the years to value running and jumping over teamwork and developed skills. The result is that basketball looks a lot like track and field, rather than a skills game. That’s not a moral argument, just a factual observation. I do follow the game through the stat sheet, as it is a good study of human bio-diversity and not just what is on the court.

The other aspect of the NBA that makes it interesting to me is the conduct of the sports media covering the NBA. It is a good model for understanding what has happened to the mainstream media, particularly with regards to politics. The NBA press does very little reporting. There are still game summaries posted on-line and box scores, but those are churned out by interns and robots. The professional NBA journalist does no actual reporting, Instead, he talks about story lines, personalities and other sport reporters.

The recent NBA draft is a good example. Every year the “reporters” claim it is going to be a wild week of trades and deals. Then they spend the week talking about rumors that are made up by other reporters. Those rumors are often just about rumors. It is not unusual to see a story about how it is rumored that a trade was rumored to have been mentioned by someone. Meta-news is news about news. The NBA is now doing news and rumors about rumors. That’s meta-meta-rumor-news, I guess.

The reason for all this is the news media no longer bothers to uphold any of its alleged standards. It was not that long ago that editors required two sources that were actual human beings with a credible claim to know the material. Newspapers might bend this rule, but they never went with copy that contained sources unknown to the editor. That’s no longer the case as editors no long exist in sufficient numbers to police it and the remaining ones simply don’t care. Anything goes so its all fake sources now.

Sports reporters have never been terribly bright or hard working so they have responded to this breakdown in order by doing what comes natural. Instead of working hard to get good stories, they make up semi-plausible stories with fake sources. An NBA trade, for example, will involve two or three people talking by phone. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that some guy at ESPN was then briefed on it by one of the parties. Even more absurd, we’re supposed to believe some blogger “broke” the story. Yeah, right.

The bigger issue though is something that happened in the Jordan years. It has been thrown down the memory hole, but Jordan decided the way to help black sports reporters was to give them exclusive access and deny access to honkies. Guys like Ahmad Rashad and Michael Wilbon were given special access. This made their careers, but it also ushered in the era of access journalism. Players granted access to reporters who were willing to sing their praises in their columns and on TV shows.

Something similar happened around the same time in Washington politics. The Clinton machine was ruthless in controlling the media. They would shutout reporters that did not play ball. There’s always been some of this, as people are naturally going to be nice to those who are nice to them and not so nice to people they see as adversaries. The difference was, the Clinton team turned this into a formal policy and the Washington press corp went along with it. They liked being treated like players so they acted accordingly.

The Bush people could not play the same game, as the Washington media is universally liberal, but they did a little bit of it with operations like Fox and the talk radio guys. Rich Lowry of National Review remodeled the magazine to be a GOP mouth piece for exactly this reason. It gave them access to Republicans. The Weekly Standard largely existed as a public relations vehicle for the Bush family. Much of what has gone wrong with Buckley Conservatism is due to the perils of access journalism.

This is why we see the explosion of fake news. The NBA guys want access or at least the illusion of access. To that end, they tweet out rumors and fake news in the hope of getting a reply from an agent or front office guy. That way they can then shoot down their own rumor or fake news with an actual quote from a real person. “After talking with person X, I can now report that the rumor I reported is false.” Fake news about rumors produces gossip that is eventually addressed by a real person in the news.

That seems to be what’s going on Washington with all the fake news. No one in the Washington media bothered to develop contacts in the Trump team. Instead, they mocked and harassed them through the campaign, figuring they were currying favor with the Clinton people. Now, they have no access so they create fake stories hoping to get a response from the Trump people. In lieu of real reporting, it is provocative fake reporting in the hope of gaining access to real people in the Trump White House.

Now, that’s not to say it is all innocent. Clearly, the major fake news organizations are fully converged, as Vox Day would put it. They are so in the tank for the one true faith, they now resemble a UFO cult. The point of their fake news campaign is to discredit the Trump people. Still, this is the logical result of access journalism. When the path to fame and glory is getting exclusive access to a powerful person, it is no surprise that the media has now turned itself into a PR firm for the rich and powerful.

Media Blues

My consumption of sports news is about as limited as possible for someone who still follows sports. I scan the baseball news once a week. I’ll scan ESPN and CBS Sports. I say “scan” as most of it is just made up clickbait stuff. The actual  news stories are so poorly written that they are not worth reading once you have gleaned the news nugget. Most sports “journalists” try hard to sound like hyper active teenagers, writing for an audience of semi-literates. We are a long way from Ring Lardner.

As a result, I took some pleasure in the howling and moaning from sports media as ESPN made some small cuts to their on-air talent. Of course, the media covered like it was the end of the world. ESPN cut 100 people from an 8,000 person workforce. Most people reading this have lived through layoffs where ten percent of the labor force is cut. The ESPN cutbacks are trivial, unless you are a media snowflake convinced you are part of a secular priesthood. Then it is the sign of the apocalypse.

What’s surprising is that operations like ESPN have an audience at all. Their “news” converge is mostly jock-sniffing and their created content is so out there on the Progressive fringe, it borders on madness. The people watching sports and following sporting news are men. Most normal men are uninterested in Progressive lunacy. They watch sports for a break or they simply have no interest in other subjects.

The last thing they want to have to suffer through is feminist free verse poetry celebrating lesbianism.

Beneath the bi***h of buzzer, beneath the crowd’s sputtered swear

and bellowed worship, beneath the joint gasping of sweated air as

tree trunk women hurtle fiercely from east net to west, just beneath

the rampaging pummel of their feet on the hardwood and the hurting

screech when they stop short, pivot and slingshot back, beneath

the hissed invective when the wrong swoosh happens, or doesn’t,

beneath vendors who heartlessly hawk the stupid slap of sugar, spirit

and salt, beneath the huge held breath of halftime and the rattling hips

of tambourines, beneath shouts of the beautiful tangled names of

women, beneath the bladed blasts of whistle that signal stop and start,

Poetry is defined as having meter, rhyme or a point. You have to have two of three in order to qualify as verse. What feminist poet Patricia Smith writes has none of those things. There’s no such thing as a “bitch buzzer” and the words conjure no images so the phrase is nonsensical. A “stupid slap of sugar” is supposed to mean what? Who has ever been slapped, stupidly or not, with sugar? The entire word jumble is the sort of thing you would expect from a high school girl, who thinks she is clever. It’s not even doggerel.

The rest is actually worse, if that’s possible. At some point, writing of any kind is so bad it is just terrible. There’s a bottom to terribleness and this junk is there, with all the novels that begin with “it was a dark and stormy night.” It is no surprise to anyone that poetry is dead in America and creative writing is on life support. It’s also no surprise that feminists are terrible writers in addition to being batshit crazy. The question is why is this crap on a sports site? Why would anyone consider such a dumb idea?

What’s happening at ESPN is not unique. Fox News has decided that the way to remedy their high ratings in the cable news wars is to blow up the station, install a gaggle of blue haired lesbians and become a shitty version of the worst rated cable news channels. All over the mass media, it appears the plan is to drive away as many viewers as possible, by offending some and boring the hell out of the rest. That’s thing. Most of it is just boring, not so much offensive. Feminist beat poets are not offensive. They’re stupid and dull.

It’s tempting to go for the reductionist answer and assume it is just proselytizing paid for by the billionaires who own the mass media companies. There’s some of that, but the real issue is that people making editorial decisions are strangers. They don’t know the sort of people who read the sports pages or follow their favorite team. We’re just economic units, who are “out there” on the other side of the walls, so they don’t spend much time thinking about what the typical male sports fan finds interesting about the sporting news.

The people who thought that weird feminist poetry slam was a great idea, probably thought it was a great idea. They have heads full of “theories” about female athletes and “theories” about the twenty people that bother to watch women’s basketball. They just assume everyone is sitting around agonizing about how their vagina defines them. There’s no one in the room willing or able to tell them that feminism is a mental disease and they should be getting professional help, not reading nonsense like this.

The future is female,

we hear,

but the past —

the past is also female.

 

The past is our beginning

and the future —

is also where we start,

where we come from.

 

Poetry is a new language.

It is our oldest language.

Before today’s tautology we spoke in tongues,

we painted images on our walls,

we told stories that meant less then than they mean today.

Women’s Sports

The other day, Steve Sailer had a post about the WNBA and various ways to make the sport more attractive to sports fans. I pointed out that the main issue is spatial awareness, as men are more abstract in modeling their environment, while women are more concrete. Knowing where the herd is going to be when going on a hunt is different than remembering where the berries are when going on a pick. The part of the brain, which controls the perception of speed and the mental ability to rotate 3-D objects, is larger in men as well.

Anyone who has tried to watch women’s basketball understands that it is terrible in just about every way imaginable. Basketball is about speed, jumping and obviously shooting. Fans go to NBA games to see freaks of nature, who can leap from the top of the key and dunk the ball over some other freak. The women’s game is described as low and slow, meaning the style of play is pretty much the opposite of what fans of basketball want to see. The girls look like they are nailed to the floor most of the time.

Of course, in a sane world we would not demand that girls do all the same things men do, but we no longer live in a sane world. Even with the lunacy, there used to be popular TV sports for women that got good ratings. Women’s figure skating used to be a big deal, often put on against football and basketball. The logic was that men would watch football and their wives would watch skating, which was usually the case. Twenty years ago figure skating had better ratings than the NCAA basketball tournament, head to head.

Skating used to be a ratings monster for TV, but that’s no longer true. Today, not even the big events get on TV. Not only have ratings collapsed, but interest in youth figure skating is at an all-time low. Something similar has happened to gymnastics. It used to be that everyone knew the name of the top female gymnasts. Every Olympiad there was an American ready to take her place in the long line great female gymnasts. Today, Simone Biles would have to rob a bank in order for people to know her name.

You can even extend this decline in women’s sports to tennis and golf. The former was huge into the 90’s, but it has fallen on hard times. Women’s golf was never wildly popular, but golf junkies would watch the big events. The big stars were known to casual fans. Tennis still has the William’s sisters, but their popularity is based solely on their value as props in the culture war. Golf has no stars that anyone can name. The top US player is Lexi Thompson, whose name in a google search generates less than a million hits. Sandy Leon, a backup catcher, generates 17-times that number.

Now, all of these sports can point to various reasons for why they have fallen off the map in our culture. Figure skating and gymnastics has been plagued by weirdos and a culture that makes beauty pageants seem mild mannered. Women’s basketball was never popular and sports like golf and tennis have been in decline for a generation. There’s also a demographic issue. Popular female sports tended to be popular with boomers, who had kids. As the Boomers age off, their interest in these things has declined.

Even so, there’s no getting around the fact the female sports are at their lowest in terms of spectator interest. It could indicate a decline in women participating in competitive sports. It is impossible to get reliable numbers on this as the Title IX crazies are worse than the climate change nuts when it comes to fake data. Youth participation in sports has been in steady decline for decades so perhaps the declining interest in sport among the young is showing up first in the least popular spectator sports.

There’s also the possibility that biology is returning serve in the multicultural war on reality we have witnessed the last few decades. Women are wired to compete with one another in order to gain the attention of men. Our competitive sports are designed by men for men. It could simply be that the long war against femininity is coming to a bad end for the culture warriors. The girls would rather watch other girls be catty with one another in a TV drama than watch sweaty lesbians fight over a ball.

That would not explain the the decline in things like figure skating and gymnastics, but perhaps those were just early casualties in the feminist war on reality and as the fever breaks, these sports will make a comeback. These things also go in cycles so as the more reactionary Generation Z reach adulthood and start having families, perhaps sensible activities for girls will make a comeback. This is something you notice when looking at the social media of young alt-right types. They appear to be attracted to more traditional sex roles, despite the howling from their parents.

Back To Black

There is a word in German, fremdschämen, which roughly means to be embarrassed by seeing stranger say or do something embarrassing, like be drunk in public or behave foolishly on television. The notoriously shy Finns have the word myötähäpeä that means roughly the same thing. The “second-hand shame” concept is probably something that is exclusive to northern Europeans, but I don’t know. I do know that whenever I watch good whites crash into the reality of race, I feel myötähäpeä.

That came to mind reading this story that was posted on Tyler Cowen’s blog.

Asian-Americans also have a huge advantage in building a fan base, although this is driven almost entirely by Mr. Lin, who is the 27th most popular player despite being the 80th most prolific scorer. Of the 30 most popular players, he is one of only two men who has never played in an N.B.A. All-Star game. The other is Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This initially made no sense to me: Mr. Thompson averages fewer than 10 points per game. But then a friend explained the likely reason to me: Mr. Thompson is dating Khloé Kardashian.

What should we make of the edge in support that black players get? It is of course possible that someone will find an alternative explanation for this correlation, but let’s assume that my analysis of the data holds up and that being black is a large advantage today for N.B.A. players trying to build a fan base. How should we interpret these results? Is it a bad thing or a good thing or nothing?

IF the results were reversed — if white players got a big edge in support — this would clearly be bad news. There is strong evidence that black Americans are discriminated against in many crucial areas of life — jury decisions, police stops, job interviews, dating sites, presidential elections. If African-Americans were discriminated against in building a basketball fan base as well, it would show that white privilege can even show itself in one of the arenas in American life in which blacks have had tremendous success.

But African-Americans getting a boost in support? What should we make of that? I view this phenomenon as good news in at least two ways. I think it’s great that members of minority groups who face discrimination in many aspects of their lives show strong support for other members of the group. And it is also encouraging that many white fans will give some extra support to the country’s most successful minority athletes.

Notice the line “if white players got a big edge in support — this would clearly be bad news.” Then a little later the line “I think it’s great that members of minority groups who face discrimination in many aspects of their lives show strong support for other members of the group.” The writer suddenly finds himself bobbing around like a cork on a sea of uncertainty as everything he knew about whites and blacks is now suddenly invalidated by reality. Watching the poor slob stagger to the finish filled me with fremdschämen.

The commenters on Cowen’s blog mostly sought to dodge the central issue of the story, which is that blacks shamelessly practice racial solidarity, while whites do not. That bit of reality contradicts the narrative of modern American life, which is that the great struggle is against white racism toward blacks. Obviously data that shows that whites not only harbor little animus towards blacks, but favor blacks over their own, turns the world on its head. Throw in the fact that blacks are wildly racist and suddenly life is not worth living.

Thirty years ago I worked with a black guy in Boston who was a Laker fan. He was a Laker fan for the same reason all black basketball fans were Laker fans, regardless of their home city. The Lakers were the black team opposing the white Celtics. Plenty of whites cheered for Magic Johnson and plenty of whites rooted against both teams, but blacks everywhere cheered for Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers because they epitomized black basketball and opposed the very white Celtics.

Before my time, blacks rallied to Mohamed Ali versus Joe Frazier mostly because Ali was flamboyantly black, but also because he was anti-white. Frazier being favored by whites only added to it. The truth is, blacks don’t really like white people very much. It’s not a Malcolm X hatred, but the consequence of ethnic solidarity. Black people prefer blacks over whites. They see whites as the rival gang, the other team, so they always root for the black guy over the white guy.This is perfectly normal.

Humans are tribal so we side with those in our tribe over those outside our tribe. It’s a basic survival strategy that worked pretty well until recent. American whites no longer seem to possess this quality. A couple of generations of propaganda against racism has made most white people so allergic to anything that resembles ethnic or racial solidarity, most whites instinctively prefer those outside their group. It’s why a black sports star will get so much support from white fans, even if he is openly hostile to while people.

Progressives are baffled by this mostly because the central narrative of their cult holds that the great struggle is against white racism directed at the noble black man. Poor Seth Stephens-Davidowitz started his project sure he would find proof of the “systemic racism” he learned about in school during story time. Instead he stumbled onto a horrible secret that may haunt his dreams forever. Or maybe not. Being in a cult means having the ability to process disconfirmation and still maintain belief in the one true faith.

Bar Fights

In my life I have seen some excellent bar fights. Most bar fights are not very entertaining, as one drunk throws a punch at another drunk and it quickly turns into a wrestling match, usually with the two combatants knocking over some chairs and tables on their way to the floor. Once in a while though, you get a good one where the two drunks have the ability to stay upright and the willingness to trade blows. These are the ones that usually start inside, but go outside where they “can settle it like men.”

I once saw a guy setup like Bruce Lee, indicating he was a martial arts guy. He performed a perfectly executed round house kick. His mistake was that the other guy was not a martial arts guy so he ducked and then hit Kung Fu so hard with a right cross that his grandchildren will have headaches. Martial arts man hit the ground like he had been shot and that was the end of it. The crowd went back inside, leaving Kung Fu to search around for what went wrong. When I left he was gone so I guess he lived.

I’ve don’t have much respect for martial arts as a fighting tactic. When I was a little kid, of course, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Then one day an older boy, known for having a black belt, challenged me to a fight. I shot a single leg take down and then broke his nose in an unnecessarily aggressive cradle. When my father was told of my villainy, he bust out laughing. I learned that you can turn a fight into a wrestling match, but you can never turn a fight into a Karate match. It takes two to karate. That’s why my father put me into wrestling, instead of karate.

I thought of this when I read that UFC star Colin McGregor wants to fight boxer Floyd Mayweather. My guess is that it will never happen, but you never know. There are a lot of UFC fans willing to pay good money to see it. Given the two men’s ability to gain attention with their showboating, I bet they could get a $200 million box office for  a fight. I’d probably buy it, even though I know McGregor would end up in the hospital or graveyard. I like freak shows as much as anyone and it would probably be hilarious.

That’s the thing with UFC. It is a modern freak show. They take tough guys and make believe they are highly skilled fighters. The martial arts stuff is a nice touch, because it distracts people from the fact these guys are just tough guys. They are allowed to use the tactics popular in bar fights, like tackling the other guy and kicking him in the groin. The organizers filter out the guys that are not entertaining and they hype the hell out of the events. It’s great marketing, particularly to young males.

That does not change the reality of the situation. McGregor is an excellent bar fighter, but Mayweather is a highly trained professional boxer. Even under the rules of the UFC, he would beat McGregor senseless in the first minute. My bet is the class of fighter you see at armory fights would beat the best UFC guys. The difference in skill, speed and strength is just too big. To even the odds, the rules would have to be altered heavily in favor of the bar fighter so it becomes a wrestling match, rather than a fight.

That reality is why this fight will never happen. The people running the UFC are too smart to have their best star humiliated. They spend too much time developing and marketing their stars to let one of them get beaten up by a real boxer. That would reveal the truth of it too plainly. Most UFC fans get that they are watching bum fights. They just like the back stories and the carnival of it. They can suspend their disbelief as long as all of the fighters are about the same in terms of skill.

My hunch with the UFC has always been that it is choreographed, like professional wrestling. The Kimbo Slice debacle has not been repeated and that tells me the organizers learned their lesson. A lot of people came away from that experience thinking it was just all hype and no real competition. Ever since, they have tried to keep the matches competitive looking, in order to keep up appearances. Whether they go beyond that to make the shows fun is open to debate. Given the age, my bet is they put their thumb on the scales.

Even if it is all on the level, the people running the UFC did not become billionaires by being stupid and it would be very stupid to have their top star beaten senseless by Floyd Mayweather. That’s why it is highly unlikely that it ever happens, at least not as long as McGregor is under contract with the UFC. Even a $200 million payday would not be enough to risk a billion dollar business. It’s much better to let fans pretend that these bar fighters are real fighters.

Progressive Minstrels

When I was a kid, the big deal in sports news was Joe Gilliam, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gilliam was the first black quarterback to start a season opener after the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, which is when people date the start of the modern NFL. Gilliam was benched eventually and never got another chance to start in the NFL. There was grumbling that his demotion was because he was black, but his poor play and drinking problems were the real reason. Still, even then, the default was to blame whitey.

What this means is that for my lifetime, the sporting press has been hunting for the great black quarterback. There have been plenty of black quarterbacks, but none have been elite or counted as greats in their era. The closest was probably Warren Moon, but he never won anything. Recently, there’s been an effort to make Cam Newton and Russell Wilson the black Joe Montana, thus proving that white people are Hitler. The trouble is the former is not very good and the latter has no interest in being anyone’s Sambo.

Steve Sailer has a convincing argument as to why black quarterbacks in the NFL tend not to be elite passers, and therefore non-elite quarterbacks. Oddly, the proof of this is a white guys, Tim Tebow. In high school, he was used as a quarterback because he was big and could run. In college, he was used the same way in Urban Meyer’s single-wing system. He had no career in the pros, because he was a terrible passer. If he had been turned into a linebacker in college, he would probably be in the NFL now.

That does not change the Cult’s desire to find the black Tom Brady and now they think the have found their man.

For Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, the hyperbole has turned into reality. Those who gushed over him in the preseason, lavishing over-the-top praise, have found those compliments to be just and warranted.

As the fourth-round rookie has led Dallas to a 10-1 record and taken franchise quarterback Tony Romo’s job, he has earned it all. So while respected trainer Tom Shaw used to whisper the comparisons he saw between pupils Patriots QB Tom Brady and Prescott, he now no longer feels compelled to keep quiet.

“I had Tom Brady coming out of college as a rookie and then the first seven years of his career,” Shaw told NFL.com over the phone on Wednesday night. “And I had the opportunity to work with Dak before the draft. What I noticed about Dak was, this guy had the same desire, work ethic, the same traits as Brady. Nobody wants to be compared to anyone else. But he was the hardest worker, guys gravitate towards him, he was the first one there…”

This urge to make Dak Prescott into Tom Brady in black face is perfectly consistent with Progressive thoughts about black people. They don’t really like black people very much. They like the idea of black people. Progressives have an image of the idealized black guy, the Magic Negro, that they believe will fulfill the prophesies about race in America. Barak Obama is about as close as they have come to finding their Big Foot and he did not usher in the end times. Instead he was a mulatto Jimmy Carter.

That’s the thing with Progressives and race. They don’t care about blacks as people. They see black people as something they can sacrifice on the Progressive altar, in order to get grace. American sportswriters will now be competing with one another in piety displays, showing their wonderfulness by how much they swoon over Dak Prescott. Whether or not the kid has any interest in being their Magic Negro is immaterial. He does not get a say in this as he is just a prop anyway.

Dak Prescott appears to be a level headed young man with no interest in changing his name to Hamilton or dancing on a string for the Progressive media. But, the Left has a way of getting their man, which in these cases means turning the object of their affection into a white-hating public nuisance. Colin Kaepernick started out as a sensible young man enjoying early and unexpected success in the NFL. Now he is the symbol for what has gone wrong with the NFL. Fans cheer for him to get hurt.

John Derbyshire called Hamilton a minstrel show and it is a good label for it. In fact, Progressive race mongering over the last half century has been a long live action minstrel show. Instead of whites in black face, Progressive deploy blacks to play the roles chosen for them. Blacks are just props used by good whites to distinguish themselves from bad whites and, at times, spite those bad whites. If real black people actually benefit, it is an unintended consequence. It’s something Hispanics should bear in mind.

Football

I’ve always been a sportsball fan. I’ve joked that I’d watch ant wrestling if they put it on television. My sports passion does not manifest itself equally across all sports. I’ll watch the international kick-ball tournaments, but I have zero interest in European league play or the MLS. Baseball is a sport I listen to, more than watch. I’ll often put a game on and read a book, paying attention as the situation warrants. American football is a TV-only sport for me. The same is true of hockey.

For me, Thanksgiving weekend is one of the best sports watching weekends of the year. I’m not a big fan of the NFL anymore, but I enjoy the Thursday games. The big draw is the college rivalry games. Friday and Saturday are packed with old fashioned grudge matches where the records don’t matter. The players on both sides are fueled by a good old fashioned hatred of the other guys. You don’t have to be a fan of the teams to enjoy the games because you know they count.

My guess is I love the rivalry games because I played sports as a kid. As a freshman in high school, the week we played our arch-rival in football was almost overwhelming. Freshman played on the freshman team, but we still played our nemesis at the end of the year. All week the older boys reminded us of what it meant. By the game, all of us wanted to kill the other guys. The only thing better than facing your enemy on the ball field is walking off the field triumphant.

In Dublin, I struggled to explain American football to the locals because they could not grasp the brutality of the game. In my first rivalry game, I hit a kid so hard I heard the air escape his lungs. He was left gasping for air like a fish. To play football requires a reckless disregard for your physical well-being. That’s the thrill of it as a player. Add in the rivalries and the traditions and it is as close a young man can get to being a gladiator. Wrestling and boxing are the only comparisons.

Anyway, watching all of the rivalry games is good fun for me and I look forward to it every year. What struck me watching the games yesterday is that football is no longer a sport played in parts of the country. That’s obvious when you look at college ball. There are no good teams in the Northeast. Penn State would be the one exception, but Western Pennsylvania is more Midwest than northeast. There’s also the fact the players they recruit are from the South and Midwest.

If you look at New England, which is the most feminized part of the country, the high school football is laughably bad. No major colleges recruit the region. Their local colleges are not very good either. The one exception is New Hampshire, which is good enough to make the play-offs, but just barely. The rest of the colleges range from really terrible to just terrible. Boston College is the one major college program in New England and they are one of the worst major college programs in the nation.

Looking at the top division, the Power Five conferences, you have Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Penn State. Their combined record against their FBS opponents is 21-and-35. That includes the two teams that get most of their players from the Midwest. No one in Western Pennsylvania thinks of themselves as Northeastern. Net out those schools and the Northeast is 7-and-29 this year. That’s about as bad as it get in the college game.

This is not just a college phenomenon. In the South, high school football teams have to cut players because they have so many boys trying out every year. In New England, they struggle to field teams and the players all play both ways. I know parents in New England that would not allow their boys to play football because it was too rough. There’s also the firm belief that anything girls can’t do must be immoral so it must be stopped. The result is a dying sports culture.

It’s not just that the men in these Progressive strongholds are wimps. There’s also a demographic issue. New England is the nation’s oldest region. Whenever I go to Boston, I’m always struck by how old it is. There are loads of students around the colleges, but outside those areas it is mostly older people. It’s also mostly white people too. New England is honky town. Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire are the three whitest states in the country. Massachusetts is 8% black.

I’ll also note that the war on football via the concussion issue started in Boston. The hysteria over concussions has all the trappings of junk science, driven by fanatics, rather than facts. Blows to the head are never a good thing, but these people are claiming football causes ALS, which is quackery on stilts. My guess here is the Cold Civil War is at the root of this. Football is a Southern sport now so that means the neo-Puritans of New England must try to ban it as immoral.

Given how things happen in America, my guess is football is headed for the same end as boxing. Once the vinegar drinking shrews of New England decided boxing was bad, boxing slowly disappeared from the public sphere. I grew up seeing pro fights on daytime TV. Now you have to buy fights via pay-per-view, as if it is pornography. The best fighters these days are not Americans because American parents will not let their boys go to a boxing gym.

Of course, the future is not written. We may be at peak lunacy with places like New England. The rest of the nation loves football and loves the masculine traditions that surround it. Watch Alabama – Auburn and you see girls being girts and boys being boys, just as their parents and grandparents. No amount of preaching by prim-faced lesbians from Boston is going to change that reality. But, I used to think that about other things that have been banned by the Left.

Marx Was Right, Sort Of

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx described the periodic crisis of capitalism in terms of “the enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces.” Marx argued that the productive forces unleashed by capitalism eventually get out of hand and the result is excess, thus collapsing the value of the means of production. The capital classes remedy this by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces, the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of existing markets.

Marx gets blamed for the 100 million or so murders committed in his name, but he did make a few insightful observations. For instance, the nature of business to ruthlessly exploit existing markets in pursuit of growth, even when it becomes self-defeating, is still true today. Similarly, business will bankrupt itself in pursuit of new markets, all in the name of growth. Much of what plagues us these days is the result of global business desperately searching for a new market to exploit. It is also at the heart of what is ailing the NFL.

A lot of people are blaming the idiotic and offensive antics of the players for the sudden drop in ratings. Football players have short careers and most end up broke soon after leaving the game, but most men envy them anyway. Boys grow up wanting to be a sports star and that admiration carries over into adulthood, long after we know the reality of sport. Colin Kaepernick disrespecting the fans and the country by kneeling during the anthem grates on people. Normal people think he is an ungrateful prick.

That may be part of the problem the NFL is facing, but my sense is the impact is trivial. Maybe it is the last straw for some people, but if you are a sports fan, you are willing to overlook the antics of the meat heads wearing your team’s colors. The individual players are not all that important to the drama. The point of professional sport is to simulate the tribal warfare for which all of us were born. Instead of defeating the neighboring tribe’s men and stealing their women, we watch our team beat their team at a ball game.

The real issue that is plaguing the NFL is they have run out of ways to separate their customers from their money. In fact, they ran out of sensible ways to do that a long time ago. That’s why they have started holding games in foreign countries. They think they can maybe find new customers to exploit. The games they hold in London, for example, cost the league millions, but they hope that Brits will get hooked on the narcotic of the NFL and cough up millions for the product. So far, no good.

As Marx observed, they are also ruthlessly trying to exploit their existing market. Go to an NFL game and you come away feeling like you have just been mugged. It’s not the absurd prices for everything. They constantly bombard the fan with marketing, because they expect the fan to commit his life to the corporate entity known as his team. Go to a Dallas Cowboy game, for example, and you are treated to a long pre-game ceremony about how you are not just a fan, you are soldier in the army of the Dallas Cowboys.

Of course, most people consume their sports via the television and that’s where you see the ravenous appetite of the NFL as they ruthlessly exploit their market. It used to be that the NFL games were played at one o’clock on Sunday afternoon. Now, there are games all day on Sunday. There’s a game on Sunday night and Monday night. Now we have a game on Thursday night. If that is not enough, there’s the NFL package for your phone, tablet and whatever else you use to consume media.

The games are now more advertising than games. As the linked article points out, the games themselves are only about 10-15 minutes of action. The rest of the presentation is fluff and most of that is advertising. There’s a play and then the refs have to hold a meeting about it. That means a break to sell product for three or four minutes. They get back to the game for a few plays and then it is time to have a break for more commercials. It’s why the Red Zone Channel is so popular. It has no ads.

The NFL is in many ways emblematic of the modern credit economy. Rich guys buy the teams on borrowed money at artificially low interest rates. They don’t really care that much about the cash flow, like a normal business. Their game is to inflate the value of the franchise over the duration of their investment. To do that means maximizing the “brand” and that costs money, which is why they load up their product with ads to the point where it is more ads than product. The NFL is a big bust out.

What’s happening to the NFL is their endless pursuit of growth has put the live product out of reach for most people. The TV version is exhausting the viewers with marketing and advertising. In an effort to fully exploit its market, it is destroying the desirability of the product. This is not exactly as Marx imagined the crisis of capitalism, but it is a good lesson on the fantasy of endless growth. The whole point of the NFL as a business is to get bigger and that cannot go on forever.

This does not mean the NFL is about to go out of business, but it serves as a useful lesson about the limits of the asset model. The modern credit economy is based on the idea that asset values can grow forever, therefore the credit base can grow forever. The NFL is based on the same premise. In both cases, the effort to keep the fantasy alive in the face of objective reality, is doing more harm than good. The question is how long does it take the people in charge to figure it out.

 

Honky Ball in Bodymore Murderville

I had the chance to attend a sportsball game last night in the city of Baltimore. My Red Sox were in town to play the Orioles, so I got a chance to see the Olde Town Team in person. I don’t attend many live sporting events these days. It was a nice change of pace, even if it meant the hassle of getting into the downtown area at rush hour. Baltimore has a reputation for being gangland, but people still do work in the city and that means traffic at the predictable times. The downtown area that caters to tourists, both local and foreign is easy to navigate so it is not too bad.

Many on the alt-right are encouraging normies to boycott sportsball and I get why they say it. It used to be that a normal man could get a few hours away from the preaching of the loons by watching a baseball game or football game. That’s no longer the case in football, as they have filled the broadcasts and the games with proselytizing for the New Religion. The players protesting the anthem may be at the heart of why the NFL is suddenly having a TV ratings problem. It would be nice if that were true, but we’ll never know as the media will cover it up.

Baseball has so far been immune to the efforts of the loons to turn it into an instrument of the New Religion. The reason for that, according to one of the players, is that baseball is the white man’s game. That’s true in many respects. The players are mostly white and Latin. Just 8% of MLB players are Afro’d Americans. The NFL is 70% black and the NBA banned the pale face years ago. Further, baseball is a turn based, rules game that does not favor running and jumping. There are few opportunities for attention getting antics during the games, so it tends to appeal to honkies.

Still, the Cult of Modern Liberalism is trying hard to ruin baseball for the white man. ESPN has destroyed their Sunday night broadcast by having a screeching powerskirt as part of the announcing team. She pretends to have played the game and have the same depth of knowledge as a former player, but does so in a way that reminds every man of his first ex-wife. A TV series has been created featuring a female baseball player making it to the majors. Of course, she’s black, because, well magic. Taken together, it is a warning that the crazies are coming for honky-ball.

Then again, the Cult has been at war with baseball for a long time. When I was a kid, they tried to make us play soccer, instead of baseball. That flopped as bad as the metric system. Soccer became the sport for effeminate white kids, who lacked the athletic ability to do anything else. Then they tried to force boys and girls to play together, but girls, and their parents, liked softball much more and that effort failed. Finally, the last two decades have seen a PR campaign to tell us that baseball is dying and basketball is the future, despite the the facts on the ground.

Even so, baseball has held up pretty well. In the 70’s, when the culture war began, even the most popular clubs struggled to attract fans to games. Today, even bad teams can get 15,000 to a weeknight game. Some clubs do better than others, but overall, baseball remains well attended compared to the past. A lot of it has to do with the excellent ballparks and the family friendly atmosphere at the games. A bigger reason, I suspect, is the ballpark is one of the last places where old weird America still exists.

The players look like us, the crowd looks like us and the customs are the same as they were when we were kids. The game starts with everyone standing for the anthem. There is the seventh inning stretch. The players embrace the customs and unwritten rules that have defined the game for generations. I walked in the park and I remembered my dad taking me to my first game. I could remember my grandfather, as if it were yesterday. That’s not something that happens at football or the human flea circus that is the NBA.

One example last night was the response to a rookie the Orioles just brought up from the minors. The crowd was mostly Oriole fans, naturally, but there were many Red Sox fans too. Everyone cheered loudly, knowing that the kid was getting his first at-bat as a major leaguer. When he hit a home-run in his second at bat, the whole place stood until he came out to tip his cap to the crowd. Even the Sox fans stood as that is the way it is done. The cycle of life has always been a part of the game, so you cheer the rookies and honor the veterans, as they pass out of the game.

If you want to understand what went wrong in America, walk around Baltimore, where you see what it is, what it should be and why it is not what it could be. It is a city where the people that know better are vastly outnumbered by those largely incapable of maintaining modernity. There are pockets of beauty and excellence, but they exist in a sea of degradation. Baltimore is what is happening in South Africa. Civilization has retreated into pockets the tourists see, hoping to hold out until the world comes to its senses.

But, the Olde Town Team carried the day, with the legendary Big Papi hitting a three run blast to seal the game. The Red Sox are headed for the post-season for the first time in a few years, and they have a good shot of winning another title. I get why the alt-right kids reject sportsball, but for old guys like me, who still remember when normal people had hope that this craziness would pass, it is a nice reminder of how things used to be. Perhaps the kids sitting there with their fathers and grandfathers will carry with them the seeds to restore the world long after I’m gone.