2.24.2006

Truth and Daggers


Part 2,4578,234 in our 2006 'Lamentations on the Lig' series. Today I will return to the topic I presented last week: the imbalance of power within The Association. Generally, imbalance can be healthy for a major sports league. The Yankees and Red Sox play their villainous roles graciously; generally they are defeated, and a sense of morality is restored. Within the NFL, The Patriots (admit it: even when they are not the team to beat, they are always the team to beat) play the role of a champion we can cheer for. And in the NBA, even during the Jordan era, it was refreshing to know who was the foodchain topnotch and who were the crustaceans. In the Amare-less 2006 season, however, Jesus Children of America from the sunsplashed blacktops of Oakland, California, to the brick-shadowed concrete courts of Newark, New Jersey SHED TEARS when Avery preaches defense, when Flip Saunders tightens his necktie, and when Poppovich calls a TO 23 seconds into the game (JUST TO SHOW HOW DISCIPLINED WE ROLL, RIGHT?!).

This is definitively NOT another anti-Spurs/Pistons/whoever tirade. See, just when you think Freedarko is on some macro shit, I bring the argument to the micro level. Man for man. Player for player. There's an imbalance at the individual level that I'm here to tell you about. Of years past, there was a proper hierarchy that has since crumbled. You can keep your MJs, Magics, and Birds. All of them will be duplicated if they haven't been already, or their prototypes will be altered to fit the bodies of your Wades, Brons, Livingstons, Telfairs and Diaws. Big men will fluctuate in-and-out of the Chamberlain mold and the Euro:pass+shoot threes mold until homeostasis is reached. But what I realize every Thursday when I watch TNT, and what I worry we will never again see, is another Charles Barkley: The vocal spokesman of the Dream Team Era.


While Jordan et al. provided the face of the league, Barkley made sure it was functioning properly behind the scenes. Charles seemed to go beyond "telling it like it is," to speaking ridiculousness with the sole purpose of keeping everyone else honest. Aside from the current FACE OF THE LEAGUE problems--Lebron? Not yet a champion or a leader, Duncan? The true champion, but with obvious problems, Wade? Too fucking boring. The Pistons (the other true champions)? Too homogeneous--the league lacks a vocal gatekeeper like Sir Charles. Barkley's influence STILL is profound in the league today. When he criticizes Dallas' pick n' roll defense, they become a defensive-minded team. When he suggests KG ask for a trade, KG is forced to respond. Some would even argue that Barkley's halftime comments altered the course of the all-star game. Age limit, dress code, Ron Artest. People will listen to his views. Charles has earned the right to speak with authority, and to be heard.


A few years ago it would have been possible for AI to capture this role. Unlike Charles, however, AI's emotion-driven rhetoric was never balanced with cold rationale. AI has always been simply too real, and always too much the posterboy for Stern's "50 ways we can clean up the league" campaign of the past few years. Other players in the Barkley's "badboy" image would never be fit for such a prominent position either. Larry killed Roscoe. Artest has no credibility. Kobe has no friends. And so, it seems that over the past few years, Shaq, oddly enough, has taken over the vocal spokesman role of the league. And his capacity for humor aside, there couldn't be someone more poorly fit for the job.


Shaq is too deliberate whereas Chuck was automatic. You get the sense that a lot of Shaq's soundbites are things he practiced saying in a mirror. Shaq is significant because of his stature, yet his being lacks any true semantic quality. What does Shaq stand for??? I have no idea. Charles, on the other hand, is constantly making a statement because of who he is. Having completely defied his physical limitations, he took it upon him to defy all social norms as well. Also, in a strange way, Shaq just isn't very fucking cool. His shoes were always wack, even when he was with Reebok. His streetclothes are straight vaudeville. The whole police officer thing is a little Hulkamania, and we could make Shazam/Space Jam, or "What's Up Doc"/"Everybody stay fly get money kill and fuck bitches" comparisons all day long. Charles, on the other hand, did a commercial with Humpty Hump and married the blondest, most prim and proper, Saltiniest woman possible in the same manner that you or I would buy a mink coat.

But where Shaq fails most in the vocal spokesman role is in his bullyish nature. Barkley never chose such easy targets (e.g. Laimbeer, Oakley, etc.). Diesel's recent track record, on the other hand, is just silly. Picking on Erick Dampier? Too easy. Never ever ever letting the Kobe thing drop until he had the perfect public forum to do so, making it look like HE was the one who squashed it? Mad Hollywood. And just last week, he took it upon himself to--for no good reason--trashtalk Steve Francis.

...Which leads me to switch gears and pose the following question: Why am I the only person on God's entire green earth who will acknowledge that the Francis-to-NY deal was a great deal for the Knicks? For the past 48 hours, I have had to listen to pundits from Walton to Greg Anthony to Aldridge absolutely trash Isiah for this deal. ESPN.com seems decidedly opposed to the deal. And the message boarders/bloggers aren't offering much support either. Excuse me miss, but, last time I checked

THE KNICKS TRADED PENNY HARDAWAY AND TREVOR ARIZA FOR STEVE FRANCIS.

Does that make sense?
Think about that for a second. They traded two bad players for a really good player. And how else were the Knicks going to get better? By acquring one of those awesome Przybilla-caliber free agents with the mid-level exception this offseason? By drafting LaMarcus Aldridge with the draft pick they don't have? By trading one of their untradeable contracts? GIVE ISIAH CREDIT WHEN DUDE COMES THROUGH FOR ONCE.

See, I think all of this Francis-trade-bashing is evidence of this old Genealogy of Morals (fuck yall) type idea of having to suffer to experience pleasure. Like, we don't deserve to enjoy the potential awesomeness that a Marbury/Francis backcourt could create (oh, the matchup problems!). We're not supposed to cheer for this deal because Marbury and Francis are supposedly losers or cancers or because they like to score. Forget that they can electrify the NBA's most important market. Forget they are coached by the same guy who took a shoot-first PG and an undersized 2 to a World Championship two years ago.


This no-fun attitude still painfully permeates popular NBA punditry and comprises the same wheel-spinning about how we shouldn't expect fastbreaking teams to do well in the post season, and Dirk really needs to work on his defense, and Varejao really brings so much to the Cavs, and blah blah blah screw-your-aesthetics, we want to see the drabbest game possible to know that our senses have experienced the "right" form of basketball. And so, dear reader, I am back at where we usually start. This is a League of Bile. And we are a blog of petty arrogance (Thanks to Brandon for pointing this out...click on the image and look real closely in the upper right):



While we have often been criticized for being on some Rockwell shit, we can say that our "paranoia" is at least now somewhat justified, seeing as how Page2 appears to be on some Kylie Minogue shit with regard to us. So on behalf of the entire Freedarko collective, I would like to say to Caple, Shanoff, Scoop, and the rest of the crew:

WE SEE YOU.



45 Comments:

At 2/24/2006 10:50 AM, Blogger emynd said...

Very interesting post. But, I must wonder if Barkley's post-NBA, commentator status has somehow changed how we view his role while he was actually in the NBA.

I remember viewing Barkley more as an Artest type character while he was playing: an incredible talent who had a hard time controlling his emotions. Remember the spitting on the kid incident? The fights? The "I'm not a role model" commercials?

I'm not convinced Barkley was really the voice you claim it is until after he actually stopped playing in the NBA and we got to know his personality through his commentator steez on TNT and I'd like to hear some other people's thoughts on this. I wonder if it's even possible for a controversial player to really have a credible voice while actually playing in the NBA. It seems like their voices are only respected after-the-fact, once they've been canonized as HOFers and thus rendered relatively un-revolutionary the same way canonizing Joyce or Picasso or Public Enemey necessarily robs it of some sort of power.

-e

 
At 2/24/2006 11:10 AM, Blogger Ian said...

Completely agree on the Francis front. Really, I don't see what all the fuss is about their astronomical payroll; if they can pay it, more power to 'em. It's not as this is an "our tax dollars at work!" situation.

 
At 2/24/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

oh sure, barkley has waaaaaaay more license to say what he wants now than when he was in the league. but while he was playing, there was sort of an implicit agreement that you couldn't just be on some bullsh#t with guys like barkley around. wait, maybe that was because of silent jordan's presence. whatever, i'm sticking to my thesis.

 
At 2/24/2006 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's with the Varejao vendetta?

 
At 2/24/2006 11:39 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Varejao sucks. He's one of these players that the media loves to talk up because he takes charges and grabs rebounds. Lee Nailon is a scoring dynamo and can't get any love because that's all he's good at. So, yeah fuck Varejao. I'm pretty sure I'm alone on this one, but yeah...

 
At 2/24/2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

Barkley's always been a loose cannon, but he never had a weekly spot on national (albeit cable) TV to voice his folksy, ball-busting perspective. I loved his dissing of the '05 All-Star halftime show that featured country act Big and Rich, saying that the league was hip-hop, not country. Here's some pretty good Barkley quotes through the years:

http://www.clintcam.com/barkley/

 
At 2/24/2006 12:02 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

Solid post.

Seriously you FD guys are running this shit, for real, for real!
You've become a mandatory (and daily) read for me alongside Simmons, Lang (SLAM) and everyone else. Keep up the good work.

As for the Francis trade; they (he and Showbiz) may electrify the Garden but it won't produce meaningful wins since neither guy (nor anyone else on the squad) plays defense.

Regarding the voice of the league : not sure we need one right now. back then in Chuck's day, you had factions and cliques; dudes would barely acknowledge one another before/during/after games and there was certainly no helping someone up after a hard foul. Nowadays it's all love from the get-go.

 
At 2/24/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'm with mutoni on the "no voice needed" thing. that's part of what makes shaq seems so corny--and cheap, bullyish--he's playing an antiquated role that no one needs or wants but the bullshit media and old white people. maybe this is just evidence of the decline of the league's comeptitive nature, or something about the AAU empire, but it is really all love. you don't get the sense that any teams really fucking hate each other, even the pistons and pacers. and the reason why the current crop of young stars don't need to seem to stand for much is that they work as a collective, as a lot of it is largely implied. kind of a fusion of jordan's legacy, barkley's impetus, and AI's symbolic importance.

no one single guy need be perfect, or a fully-formed public figure, because it's more about the overall effect of lebron, melo, wade, amare, gilbert, etc. they're the brotherhood of ballers, not public officials from their cities. wow, that really does sound like i'm on some "death of the league through free agency and a lack of spirit."

that's why it was so strange to hear everyone in the media point out that melo hates francis with a passion. because it seem that, on a personal level, most of these guys seem to get along, or at least respect each other as the only people who are in their shoes/on their level. like how hollywood actors only ever date each other. even kobe, the great pariah, and duncan, the dry loner, seemed totally in their element during what you saw/heard of them during ASW.

that said, i think that what DLIC's saying about barkley is either possible because of this or allow for this.

 
At 2/24/2006 12:22 PM, Blogger OG said...

i agree with emynd about the commentator thing (not to mention those books he writes with wilbon); it's shaped and augmented his persona in a big way, one which most definitely colors how we remember him as a player.

as far as the trade, this site is the only place i've read people saying it was a good idea. if it ends up working out for the knicks, you should shout that fact from the rooftops. and hey, if it doesn't, it'll just be forgotten (sportswriters rarely seem to get held accountable for mistakes they make, unlike the players they cover).

 
At 2/24/2006 12:25 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

oh, and about the trade:

i'd planned to say something next week about it, maybe after watching them play tonight. but it'll be old news by then, so let me break it down like this:

"it's so crazy it just might work."

just as d'antoni's suns seemed at the beginning of last season

I WANTED TO PUT UP A PHOTO OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER

isiah has effectively destroyed the conventional wisom that the holy grails of acquistions is two monster big men. in doing so, he's offended everything a lot of people believe to be dear about the game (as DLIC said). he is really a terrorist in this league, but it remains to be seen if it's doing anything more than conceptual damage. or, rather, whether it builds as much as it destroys.

PERFORMANCE ART

this is lame as fuck, but isn't there a chance that isiah's just trying to do this job as "incompetently" as possible to make some kind of statement? probably not, but at some point, you have to start wondering. . .

i said when it went down, though, that this is the marbury trade pt. 2.

 
At 2/24/2006 1:11 PM, Blogger emynd said...

"this is lame as fuck, but isn't there a chance that isiah's just trying to do this job as "incompetently" as possible to make some kind of statement? probably not, but at some point, you have to start wondering. . ."

Fuck art. This is a calculated attempt to to murder Larry Brown by inducing a heart-attack. You could probably charge him with first degree murder if it happens.

The "just so crazy, it might work" thing rarely works out in the NBA. After all, look at the Heat. You never know though.

-e

PS. These word verifications are getting really freaking hard! I usually mess them up at least once.

 
At 2/24/2006 1:19 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

I realize that I was among the harsh critics of the trade, and I stand by my belief that this just won't work.

But that doesn't mean I don't want it to. Marbury and Francis in the same backcourt should be some kind of magick spell in which we see the most flavorest of street ball brought onto the NBA hardwood and there are suddenly victories again at MSG and even defeat looks like victory.

I'm just not convinced it will happen. Big Red may talk some shit, but I heard him say that Francis is the same player now that he was when he came into the League, and I think he may be onto something. I don't mean that they needed to "improve their games" in that "work on your fundamentals" horeshit sense that's really code for "stop playing so black." I mean that even though Marbury and Francis are talented, I don't think they've actually figured out the NBA game. They haven't found the conceptual bridge betwen their talent and success. And I'm not sure that playing together will result in them discovering it.

 
At 2/24/2006 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Nailon, he played pretty well for the Cavs a few years back. But what the hell would you expect from a second year backup power forward? He isn't even the first big off the bench. Is there any precendent for the 4th big in the rotation to do anything more than what Varejao does?

 
At 2/24/2006 2:04 PM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

I don't think there is a 4th big in the L that is discussed as often or as glowingly as Varejeo. Maybe Najera? Maybe it's a South American thing.

And yes, fuck NAFTA and all the cartographers that may disagree, Mexico is South America to me.

 
At 2/24/2006 2:44 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

While the league may not necessarily have (or need) a face for the time being; i'm certainly glad they have a voice : Marv fucking Albert!
All hail the Marvelous one. I wish the Grizzlies could start sucking so that Fratello could re-join him and Kerr.

 
At 2/24/2006 3:05 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

Oops. I liked where you were going with the Barkley post - I kept thinking about him during all the AI conversations since he is one of those players who will always be remembered despite never winning a championship. I wish you had taken it to the next level.

But as for talking about the Francis trade...stop it. If you think it's a good trade from a "what will it take for Isiah to get fired, Larry Brown now being on permanenet suicide watch, or no one has ever seen a team with 6 shoot-first, no-defense guards before" angle, then more power to you. But presenting this as a good trade from a basketball or team-building standpoint is about the dumbest thing anyone has written on this site. Shoals has admitted he doesn't know that much about basketball from this standpoint, which is why he doesn't write about the NBA in that way - you need to join him in that thinking.

No one comes to this site for your views on the success/failure of trades - if you honestly think this was a smart move, I don't know what to say to you. And I can't believe you compared Larry coaching the Pistons to Larry coaching the Knicks. A shoot-first point guard and undersized two? That's where the comparison runs out. Billups and Hamilton are about the team and about winning. Marbury and Francis and Crawford and Rose and Q and Robinson are not. And Brown had two of the best big men in the NBA plus a very good SF. Comparing those situations is ridiculous. Seriously, stop it.

 
At 2/24/2006 3:30 PM, Anonymous panoptican said...

pile on = inspiration? or something along those lines. i realize these guys have been dissed for as long as they've been in the league and yet they continue to "fail." this is unprecedented though. i've never seen such universal disdain for a team and a trade. as always i have faith in the underdog. your 8th seed, the new york knicks. speaking of those knicks, i think of jalen rose as the leagues charles barkley. on the court it's not even close obviously, but off of it, there are a lot of similarities i think.

 
At 2/24/2006 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a Bill Simmons hater - and I still usually like his most recent columns.

But I couldn't even finish today's. And it was on the NBA.

 
At 2/24/2006 3:51 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

dude, i'm kidding when i say that i don't know a lot about basketball. i'll readily admit that my grasp of the game's finer technical points might be lesser than that of, i don't know, someone who has played a great deal of organized basketball or coached, but it's not like i write what i do because i couldn't intelligently discuss what goes down in an actual game

 
At 2/24/2006 4:03 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

All I'm saying is that this seems more like a "going against the grain for the sake of going against the grain" than an opinion with any real merit. I mean, does anyone honestly believe this is going to work? And even if they win 60% of their games from here on out, they're still a lottery team (with no lottery pick). I mean, c'mon, just cause everyone is saying the Knicks are a mess doesn't make it untrue.

 
At 2/24/2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

elandfried, fuck off. i appreciate the fact that you started watching basketball probably like seven years before i did and paid close attention to the kobe/shaq threepeat years (whereas my life was too dominated by crappy hiphop to follow the NBA), but seriously, you don't get what this site is about and theres no need for you here. it's usually funny when some newcomer calls us out for making some antisemitic joke because he hasnt been around enough to get the way we operate, but you've been around for a while. you know the deal. we say shit for the sake of saying shit. we say provocative shit. we say smart shit. you think i dont know that PEOPLE DONT COME HERE FOR OUR VIEWS ON THE SUCCESS/FAILURES ON TRADES? dude, who do you think i fucking think i am? this is on some simmons/klosterman calling bloggers out for being inexperienced journalists. for what? you think i dont have other shit to do than go home and masturbate to league pass? sure i check hoopshype, 82games, and popcornmachine first thing in the morning, but i dont claim to be an expert on what makes a trade good or bad. on the other hand, i am comfortable enough with my hoops knowledge (restraining myself from saying "you don't know my history") to know that this was the best possible thing Isiah could have done with the Knicks. My argument is right in front of you. No salary cap wiggle space, no great tradeable parts, no lottery picks. So get a proven player in Francis. I never said THIS WAS THE TRADE THAT WILL SAVE THE KNICKS or LARRY WILL LEAD THEM TO THE FINALS. i made some points that QUITE FRANKLY not a lot of other people are making. my main beef isnt to argue the francis trade though. my main argument is to tell you that (a) i've said far stupider things on this site than saying the Francis trade was good & (b) you're a fucking moron if you think i can't tell marbury/francis from billups/hamilton.

 
At 2/24/2006 4:38 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

I don't think DLIC was saying the Knicks aren't a mess. But we've gotten to this knee-jerk reactionary point where anything Isiah does is high comedy without ANYONE trying to see the other side. In this case, I understand since Steph and Stevie have always been grouped together in the unholy trinity of post-Jordan shoot first points (I've always thought of those two as the aborted, disfigured Alien clones to Iverson's Ripley). But what were Isiah's alternatives? The Knicks were fucked long-term regardless of this deal, Ariza isn't anything special, and it's not like Penny's contract would allow them to make any real improvements any time soon. At least this vaults the Knicks into the spotlight. I know I'll be watching tonight.

But the larger point is that we're being conditioned to think only in terms of "the right way." Have we learned nothing from the Suns? Who thought they'd have this kind of success with the rotating Nash, Bell, Barbosa, Diaw, Jones, House 4 guard lineup? This seems like a convenient place to once again point out that long before anyone else even knew the name Diaw, DLIC predicted that Boris would "flourish" with the Suns.

 
At 2/24/2006 4:44 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

I love the "Jon Stewart" rationale that because you are not real journalists/commentators, that no one can call you out on anything you write, no matter how dumb (intentionally or not) it is. It's like Stewart saying that he can't be held accountable for anything because his show comes on after a show with puppets making crank calls. It's brilliant, yes, but still pretty snarky. From the comments you mostly get, it seems most people come here because you guys offer a different and occasionally insightful take on the NBA and the culture that surrounds it. As soon as this becomes simply an ego fuck, you become Bill Simmons. No one ever complains when people write "I love this site!" but every single time someone has any negative reaction you tell them to fuck off (this ain't the first time). Was my comment pissy and elitist? Yeah. So the fuck what? You put shit out for everyone to read, put up with it. Otherwise, cut out the comment section or send these articles to a select group of people. Seriously man, "you don't get it, so get out?" Fuck you. That's not how this works.

 
At 2/24/2006 4:52 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

two quick things:

1) i learned late last night that the spurs were seconds away from completing a brent barry for J.R. SMITH deal yesterday. so close that an official actually told barry that he might not need to board the plane to memphis. FUCK. you have no idea how much this has upset me. this deal would've made Shoals' head spin, and J.R. would have positively BLOSSOMED under the warming san antonio sun. again, FUCK.

2) I will be masturbating to league pass tonight.

That is all.

 
At 2/24/2006 4:58 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

Brick, I see your point, I'd counter by saying that if you're fucked already and are going to trade expiring contracts and a young player for a proven guy or two, why go get a perpetual loser who plays the same position that 5 other guys on your team plays? I'm all for thinking outside the box, but with the Suns, they had a plan in mind. They purposely targeted guys who fit into the run-and-gun (Bell, House, Jones) - Diaw was a stroke of genius and a great prediction from DLIC. But the Knicks don't seem to have a similar plan and that's why I think most people think this is doomed to fail. If Larry Brown decided to go the Villanova route and played a 4-guard lineup every night, then yeah, it could work a bit - but he's never shown he can adjust his style that much. He's got his way of playing and unless he has an epiphany, I don't see that changing.

My apologies for calling anyone out on their basketball knowledge. That was crap and just reflected my bad mood - I sitll think you can allow for a little more dissent though. Again, I just think the "we say shit just to say shit" thing can only go so far. Been wrong in the past though.

 
At 2/24/2006 5:07 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

thank god that deal didn't happened. i might have shot myself. i want him freed as bad as the next guy (expect a j.r. post next week), but that would be like climbing out of the gutter to spread the good word. NOT FREEDOM.

as the person most frequently assaulted in the comments section, i'd like to point out that those "negative reactions" were often people who couldn't tell the difference between an obvious joke and an offensive statement. not disagreements, or people questioning my credbility. disagrements are what this comments section is for; going at a man's credbility on the internet based on one statement is kind of ridiculous. getting the two confused is just fucking stupid.

i'll be watching the knicks tonight.

 
At 2/24/2006 5:10 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i posted that before elandfried's last one; just wanted to point out that "saying things and not meaning them" is not as black/white as some people seem to need/want it to be. of course i know that ricans and argentinians are different, but in this case, it's partly funny/ironic to suggest that isiah is on to something, partly insightful. there's no reason a statement can't be both.

 
At 2/24/2006 5:11 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

elandfried,

it's ridiculous to say that anytime someone has a negative reaction to a post they are told to fuck off. all i did for my first few months here was talk shit and tell Shoals and DLIC how fucking wrong they were. in response, they asked me to write for the site. comment board debates are one of the things that make FreeDarko work.

you've probably been here longer than i have, and you've always seemed like a likeable and intelligent dude. the shit you said today seems pretty out of character. i don't know, maybe you're having a bad day, but your comment today was clearly out of line. where do you get off telling DLIC what he can and can't write about? do understand how maddeningly frustrating it would be to spend hours writing shit for people only to have them tell you what you're allowed to write about?

 
At 2/24/2006 5:46 PM, Blogger elandfried said...

Again, my apologies. I hadn't really read what I originally posted until just now. It was definitely out of line - I certianly did not mean for it to come out that way. I meant it in more of a sarcastic tone - like giving your friend shit for saying something you think is stupid. It obviously did not come out that way. I have no desire to prevent anyone on this site for writing what they want to write. My bad.

 
At 2/24/2006 6:30 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

I tried, but I just can't resist the urge to respond to the collateral attack on Mr. Stewart.

I think you've failed to acknowledge that there's another way to interpret his statements. If someone had calmly pointed out to him that, (1) whatever the original intent of The Daily Show, the channel on which it appears, or puppets that sometimes precede it, it has become a substitute source of news and a popular stop for politicians with something to sell, and as a result, (2) he has some responsibility as a quasi-journalist to call them on their shit, then (3) Stewart might very well have acknowledged it.

But they didn't do that. Instead, in response to Stewart's quite supportable allegation that most of America's media people have, during the Bush administration, neutered themselves to the point that they are little more than stenographers, those same bow-tied fuckwits defended themselves by saying that they're no worse than a satirical news show that appears on Comedy Central, occasionally preceded by puppets.

Think about it: their only defense was that they're no worse at their job than the entertainers who pretend to do the same job for laughs.

I don't think Stewart was saying that he can't be held accountable because he's an entertainer; he was highlighting the admission by the media that, at this point, they don't consider themselves to have any responsibility other than to entertain.

 
At 2/24/2006 11:33 PM, Anonymous T. said...

By the way

Yao Ming 22pts. 21 rbds.

Fuck all y'all haters.

 
At 2/25/2006 1:06 AM, Blogger elandfried said...

I want to make clear that I loves me some John Stewart. I wasn't really attacking him - in some ways I was trying to show what a genius he is.

I agree with you on your view of that particular interview. But I have seen other interviews with Stewart where he has said the exact same thing when asked why some members of the media don't seem to like him. The interview with Beavis and Carlson (or whatever their names are) was probably a little different story, but he has defended himself by claiming that no one should take him seriously since he does fake news on Comedy Central. And again, I think that that is an incredible stroke of genius. But at the same point it also gives him free rein to say whatever he wants with no accountability.

Even if you disagree with my assessment of Stewart, my point (perhaps the only one that I'm sticking by in my stupid rants today) was that at a certain point, as someone or something becomes popular, people do start to take what those entertainers say as the truth. Wasn't there some poll about how many young people get their news from the Daily Show? So there is a responsibility that Stewart (and to a lesser extent Simmons) has to at the very least be aware of that. Maybe Stewart is and maybe he's said things to that end, but in the interviews I've seen, he always skirts that responsibility. Again, it's genius, but it's undeniably a little underhanded at the same point.

What's hilarious about Simmons is that within a couple weeks he'll go from mocking the fact that Isiah wants a piece of him (What me? I write for Page 2! I have no sway - I'm just a sports humorist, why is this guy taking me so seriously) to the quote of the day he currently has on his website:

"I've got a lot of e-mail on something written by a guy named Bill Simmons on ESPN.com. He bashes Houston. Please don't respond to him. Please don't ask me to respond. People write stuff like that because they're desperate for someone to read their stuff. They're doing it to push buttons. The guy couldn't be more irrelevant." -- Richard Justice writing in his Houston Chronicle blog this week

Meaning he's mocking this guy for thinking he's irrelevant. Which is it Simmons?

 
At 2/25/2006 12:29 PM, Anonymous aug said...

As someone who might consistantly disagree with the writers on this site in the comments section more than anyone, i don't really understand your beef elandfried. I know i probably have a bad rep in the free darko world because i am seemingly against style, hip hop, and run and gun teams. Most of the time when i disagree with a post on this site, it's purely for fun and arguments sake. Contrary to popular belief, i'm all about style, hip hop and high scoring teams like this year's suns. I just don't think it's very interesting when i see a bunch of comments either from other writers on this site, or fans praising the article that sometimes seems to preach to the choir. I like arguing just to mix it up, keep the people who write this stuff in check, and entertain myself(what else is a college student supposed to do? study?).

As a long time player, 2 year coach, i really do appreciate fundamentals and good team play. This is one of the reasons i don't like the francis trade at all. Chemistry really plays a huge role. Sometimes, removing one of your better scorers to make better team chemistry and allow others to perhaps blossom is the best way. Not unlike the magic, my 11-12 year old Baby Bulls had a talented ball hog who wasn't as good as he thought but on a pretty low talent team, he was one of the only guys i had. He just kept angering kids, getting in my face, never moving the ball and giving it to our best player/only big man. We suffered big time, until i started benching him and not letting him play. Everyone else stepped up and played their role. As a magic, fan, i'm just hoping(praying) this happens along with darko's development. It is possible to have 2 shoot first gunners play on the same team. My team last year had the 2 best "take you off the dribble" kids in the leauge. I would try to keep them in opposite lineups most the game till the last 5 minutes of each half, then let them expload. If larry brown can somehow mesh their styles and games, to somehow play together, he's better than i ever could've imagined.

I have to touch on Jon Stewart. I fully believe what elandfried said than backed off of. He has done this a bunch of times(not just the infamous interview). He's not really qualified to talk about politics anymore than we are. He does say some pretty stupid shit, and doesn't like to be held responsable for it. He wants everyone to respect his politcal opinions, but not call him out when he says something dumb. I think the man was much funnier, pre-iraq war and pre-lets all make fun of bush because we're out of jokes eras. His show has gotten pathetic lately. It's just him preaching to the choir, and making lame jokes about bush/republicans so his idiot hipster audience starts clapping. I dislike bush as much as the next young person, but i don't appreciate low blows that aren't funny. Stewart is a bit too full of himself these days for my taste. I can't wait till bush is out of office, not because i'm some liberal fiend, but because comedy will finally get back to normal.

My god. On of my 5 basketball jesuses, shaun livingston left my jaw on the floor earlier this week. I'm still in shock.

 
At 2/25/2006 12:46 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I agree with the sentiment that the Francis/Marbury backcourt experiment is "so crazy it just might work." The success of teams built around players such as Shaq, Duncan, and the Wallaces, have rendered many fans and media-types brainwashed that the formula for building a championship contender starts and ends with aquiring allstar caliber big men.

The Suns model has given me hope that there are new and creative ways to construct a winner. Quickness can overcome size and strength if used properly. Of course I know all about the glaring difference in approach between Larry Brown and Mike D'Antoni, however, it is a good sign that Marbury and Francis both started together last night. Granted, they lost while the two diminutive cast-offs combined for just 22 points but, it should be noted that Marbury is rusty after missing 11 games due to his shoulder injury. Francis, on the other hand, chipped in a respectable 16 points in 32 minutes.

This team, if given time to learn the nuances of one another's game, could evolve into one of the league's best offensive clubs. The major caveat being that Larry Brown must first realize what he has in Frye, let him play, and convince Marbury and Francis to pass to one another as well as to Frye. I'm just as interested to see how this unfolds as I am to see how Darko develops in Orlando. These are the story lines within the regular season that are most compelling to me.

By the way, I just had trouble with my word verification too.

 
At 2/25/2006 1:15 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Two things:

1. Elandfried, all is forgiven and forgotten. Dissent during wartime is the highest form of patriotism. IN THE NAME OF DARKO.

2. BRANDON is now properly credited with pointing us to the Page2 item.

 
At 2/25/2006 1:46 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

word verification is a bitch, esp. with v's and w's. i think it might be formatted for a browser i'm not using. but since they do let you try again, it's not like crap comes flying.

i kind of resent aug's assertion that anyone who more or less agrees with us in the comments section is a waste of time. T. once referred to this as "open-source" writing, and to me that perfectly captured why this thing works at all. most of the time, we throw these posts up without thoroughly realizing our own argument, much less exploring all the directions it could be taken in. as exhilirating as arguing in the comments section can be, i'd much rather be part of a constructive, collaborative effort that fine-tunes with was initially said. or debates the details.

it's hardly self-serving for other freedarko staff members to comment, since this site isn't just about one man taking a stand and readers either collapsing in praise or vehemently rejecting our stance. we're trying to figure out some shit about this league that i think anyone reading finds worth discussing; exploring a tangent through trial and error is what's usually called for when the whole thing is one huge fucking experiment. in only partly meaning stuff, of course.

about livingston, that drive he had last night was like seeing the world open up before me. i knew he was a pure point genius, but that move he made was like god' version of tayshaun prince.

 
At 2/25/2006 4:13 PM, Anonymous 412hater215 said...

Vis-a-vis the orignal post, Barkley is different from just about anybody in the NBA today because he had/has a sort of folksy wisdom that belies an understanding of his unique position in society. He is self-aware and reasonably intellectual.

Shaq and AI are self-aware, but they only soft-pedal the Barkley act. Instead, being 2nd to 3rd generation post-Magic-Bird guys, they are less interested in much going on outside of themselves. They don't have any memory of the days before the NBA was a 100-mill payday.

To find the only Barkley cognate, I think you have to look to football. Michael Irvin and Shannon Sharpe come close. But football is quite different in that it isn't a league of stars like the NBA.

By the way, did somebody mention Najera earlier in the comments? I thought I caught it while skimming. Dawg is the best Mexican baller ever to walk the earth.

 
At 2/25/2006 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

people i insist you take a look at linas kleiza. here is a euro worth yor time. quickly now before r. patterson and r. evans push him to the pine go go
i have word that he left mizzou because quin snyder fucked his girl. this is serious, funny as it is. my source said his girl was a slut. quin seems a bit of a slut too. linas however is marraige material as you will go now and see...

 
At 2/25/2006 9:45 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Wow. While that last comment seems to have been very non-sequitur-ish, I know a guy who left SW Missiouri State because Steve Alford allegedly got his girl.

And by got I mean had sexual relations with.

this is all supposedly and hearsay

 
At 2/26/2006 4:25 PM, Blogger Dodos said...

Wow. Just watching the Orlando-Houston game and Darko has 4 points, 3 blocks and a rebound in like 7 minutes. Could it be possible that he wa listening to Larry Brown and Flip Saunders and actually knows how to play defence? I guess playing with Ben and Rasheed everyday will do that to you.

 
At 2/26/2006 6:17 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Blocking shots at a prolific rate is not necessarily anything new for Darko. If you look at his career per-minute statistics, he blocks 3.39 shots every 40 minutes. It's a small sample size but I think it's reasonable to conclude that, if given enough minutes, Darko could be among the league leaders in blocks. What's kept him back, however, has been his shooting percentage. For his career, he's shooting an abysmal 35%. On the bright side, in 05-06 he is shooting nearly 52% from the field and 80% so far with Orlando! Magic fans should be very excited about the Howard/Milicic twin towers.

 
At 2/27/2006 12:38 PM, Blogger kaifa said...

This is probably not the best time to join the debate with about five different topics being discussed at once. So I'll hold off on trying to make a well-crafted argument for now and save that for later comment sections.

Basically I just wanted to introduce myself, give you an idea where I'm coming from (both physically and as a basketball fan) and hoping to be able to contribute some ideas to your forum. And if not, then at least I'll kill some time and learn some of the 'big words' you like to use to make your point.

Anyway, the same way the NBA has profited from the steady rise of the Euros, I hope I can provide a few interesting thoughts from across the Atlantic. I'm from Germany, hold the above statement (the positive influence of the Euros that is) to be true and will never accept the notion that all non-US players can be labeled a 'Euro'. That's not because I'm on some old German fascism trip, but rather because the brand of basketball is just so damn different.

Other things I will hopefully get the chance to argue at some point in no particular order:

- neither Kobe nor Shaq will ever win another championship

- a team identity can be more fascinating than a single players/superstars persona (think Odom-Miles-Richardson Clippers, who I was devestated to see broken up)

- Dwyane Wade has ten times more style than Vince Carters or LeBron for that matter

- LeBron is on the wrong path already

- the Wallaces are given way too much credit for their defense

- at this stage of his career Shaq actually hurts his team's defensive scheme so much that well-coached teams like the Spurs and Pistons (and maybe even the Pacers when healthy) will pick them apart

-me actually being able to judge what's going on in the NBA when all I see is highlights and the occasional live game

- my total perplexion as to why guys like Najera, Raja Bell, Adrian Griffin and even Eric Williams (pre-Raptors career version) are constantly misjudged by so many GMs

- Varejao making way more sense alongside LeBron at PF than Drew Gooden (the self-proclaimed D-Rizzle)

- paranthesis' are a bad stylistic device because either you want to make that point or you don't

And for this post to be at least somewhat relevant to the origin of this discussion, I think Marbury/Francis won't work. And that's not because you can't play them at the same time, but rather because the Knicks don't have the kind of players you'd need alongside them to make it work - Channing Frye being the exception being a great pick-and-pop target.

 
At 2/28/2006 5:16 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Just to close a loop ... after a little checking, I must admit that Stewart maintains that he thinks of himself only as a comedian, not as a political or media critic. As such, he doesn't think he has any obligation other than to be funny.

There's certainly part of me that thinks that that's fair. I've never bought into the idea that famous people have responsibility just because they're famous. If people look outside themselves for what they ought to think and do, that's their decision; the person looked to owes them no more than they choose to give.

And if it weren't for the interviews, I'd have an easier time defending that position. The other parts of the show are pointed satire, but they're still "fake news." The interviews aren't fake. Those are real "important people" who stop by to promote themselves or their product. Sometimes Stewart gives them a pass, but sometimes he pulls off genuinely insightful interviews in which he forces people with an agenda to confront the weak foundation of their unsupported assumptions. The problem is that he isn't consistent. Either they should all be fluff, or he should at least make a genuine effort with all of them, even if he fails. The inconsistency creates the impression that he's letting some of them off the hook, which opens him exactly to the charges that he isn't being responsible with the power that he allegedly now holds.

Incidentally, Stewart has stated that the interviews are the weakest part of the show. It'll be interesting to see what direction he takes them in in the future.

Plus, I think you have to differentiate Jon Stewart, dude on the street, from Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." He still a person. If he says stupid shit as a dude on the street, people should call him on it, just like they would any other dude on the street. They shouldn't try to turn his personal stupidity into professional failure just because the real news insight provided by his fake news satire provides more effective analysis for many than the "real news."

He has been getting a little more hammy over the last year and half or so.

But I definitely don't agree that the show is less funny now, interregnum Bush and Iraq. The Mess O' Potamia material has been consistently brilliant. Great Moments in Punditry as Read by Children--the same. I have yet to see a low blow. The Daily Show is fake news; it covers what's in the news, which has been mostly Repubs for more than a few years now. Disagreement on that assessment is perfectly legit, however, and I doubt anyone is likely to be dissuaded from his current position on the issue.

 
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