First Annual FreeDarko Child Scramble: La Question Seckbach
As the goy-tastic Recluse pointed out yesterday (BUY THE NEW TEE!!!!), "SWAG sums up the FreeDarko ethos better than any other four-letter word, with the possible exception of JEWS." Thus, it should come as no surprise that our headquarters has closely monitored the perplexing rise of one Elie Seckbach, whose off-putting interviews with NBA players have caused an internet sensation of late. The lesser-known print efforts are even more surreal, and only precipitated the cry for action. We decided to deal with this the only way we knew possible: invite Dan Steinberg and Eli Horowitz for an roundtable on the Seckbach Revolution and its implications for us other hoops-obsessed Jews.
Dr. Lawyer IndianChief: dan, how many elie videos have you watched?
Dan Steinberg: wow, not close to all of them. didn't know there were that many until this morning. maybe 4 or 5?
Dr. LIC: kobe and shaq treat this guy like a non-human
Eli Horowitz: i agree. particularly kobe, particluarly in that 200 pushup debacle.
Dr. LIC: like a pet
EH: it was lord of the flies out there.
EH: and this is why i was particularly curious to hear from you, steinz.
EH: like, how much outsideriness is inevitable?
EH: how ridiculous do you feel in there?
Bethlehem Shoals: is this a jewish question?
Dr. LIC: "the jewish question"
EH: they're all jewish questions
EH: Dan: when I watch your videos, read the Bog, it all feels smooth and natural.
EH: Whereas when I read Elie, I cringe.
DS: ok, i've been thinking about this more as "outsider" than "jewish," because i don't think being jewish makes me an outsider.
DS: actually, i don't know what _does_ make me an outsider, but i definitely am. but he seems to relish that a lot more than i do.
EH: Yes, I agree.
DS: i sort of want the players to be in on the joke. in some of his stuff they are, but in some they aren't. asking that guy to sing the haunukah songs....ugh.
DS: also, i think part of this is the wizards. not joking. i've only been in a few "road" locker rooms, but they aren't the same.
Dr. LIC: when brown recluse and i got credentials to the bulls/wiz game
Dr. LIC: it was dead serious in the bulls joint
Dr. LIC: all laughs in the wiz room
Dr. LIC: much more conducive to outsiders
DS: caron butler is amazing. amazingly underrated, too. gilbert overshadows him, but he's a huge part in making that locker room what it is.
DS: the guys on the wiz (at least the stars) are, above all, polite, which changes the whole dynamic
DS: the wizards i am in no way giving a false impression. they're the best.
EH: it seems like you're all enjoying each other. as opposed to the elie model.
DS: i agree about that being the problem with elie....it doesn't feel participatory, it feels like he's using the players.
DS: lemme also say this....sometimes you swing and miss with these things. maybe the problem is you can write around a promisingly silly question that falls a little flat, or make it seem like it worked, but video doesn't lie
BS: but he seems to like that
BS: that disaster aspect of it
BS: is elie bad for jews who like the nba
EH: either he's bad -- or he reveals the sad truth
DS: i'm just not sure exactly why he would be bad? someone explain?
Dr. LIC: i was thinking about this all day
BS: well, he makes players pay attention to "jews"
BS: but makes "jews" into something silly and fatuous
BS: like we're borat or something
Dr. LIC: right, i forgot we were a "minority" before those videos
EH: i found myself thinking: if i was in the locker room, would I be like that?
EH: but i think dan's right, that "outsider" is as relevant here as "jew"
DS: i wonder what players actually think. my honest guess is that they don't pay him much mind. like, if we asked most of his subjects, they wouldn't even remember him.
EH: because everyone else is equally ridiculous/disposable?
DS: players know beat writers. and tv people. then there's a floating mass of others.
Dr. LIC: this goes back to what i say about kobe/shaq treating him like a pet
BS: that kind of makes it worse
BS: if they did remember, it would be as a bad jewish joke
Dr. LIC: the thing i dont get, why is elie so constantly shocked when players know jews or know hebrew
Dr. LIC: their fucking agents, the owners, the coaches...lots of jews in that crowd
EH: well, i was shocked by that funderburke article
EH: I quote: "He easily could have held a more "Jewish oriented" profession as a stockbroker or an accountant, but chouse basketball instead."
Dr. LIC: the self-stereotyping this guy engages in really bothers me
Dr. LIC: the non-jewish stuff is great
Dr. LIC: it just bothers me incredibly when he asks jason kapono how he knows "mazel tov"
Dr. LIC: it would be like a puerto rican person being surprised that i knew who tito puente is
BS: right, like "don't you know what a weird exotic people we are?"
BS: he's constantly forcing an issue that doesnt need forcing
BS: the self-appponted king of the nba jews
Dr. LIC: then, it's terrible that these players' only exposure to jews are
Dr. LIC: upper management/agents...and elie
EH: what about kornheiser???
DS: never seen kornheiser in a locker room. wilbon is beyond a god in the locker room.
BS: kornheiser is an equally shticky jew
BS: but far more credible and likable
BS: like if only he would do pti with a yellow star on, elie would be negated
DS: tk would never ever ever ever be in that degraded outsider role that elie takes on. incidentally, you guys think A LOT more about your jewishness than i do. i feel white in nba locker rooms, not jewish
Dr. LIC: lest this get back to elie, which it certainly will...
Dr. LIC: his intentions are good
BS: for whom?
DS: re: borat, at the end of the day, my problem with it was it was funny but unfair, which sort of invalidated the humor. i feel the same thing about elie.
EH: but borat was maybe unfair to the subjects. elie is unfair to elie.
Dr. LIC: and to me
BS: i just don't know who benefits from elie
BS: other than funderburke
Dr. LIC: in elie's head
Dr. LIC: the jews are a marginalized/oppressed people
Dr. LIC: (in elie's head)
DS: well, is s.a. smith unfair to black journalists?
Dr. LIC: talk about a can of worms (re: SAS)
Dr. LIC: SAS is not a dork
Dr. LIC: elie is a dork
BS: i wish farmar were here
DS: i think it's unfair to hold elie responsible for jew=dork in the nba mind. trust me, those guys will encounter many more dorky jews besides elie. he's just the one on youtube
Dr. LIC: yeah, but the players won't KNOW the other dorks are jews
BS: but he makes it worse in a whole 'nother way by explicitly eqating the two
Dr. LIC: plus israel = legitimate persecution complex + small country's complex
Dr. LIC: intense nationalism
DS: but you'd think that would equate to self-confidence, not to the self-humiliation schtick
BS: that's why i'm suspicious
BS: i think he's secretly laughing at the players
Dr. LIC: he actually thinks he zings the players when he, like,
Dr. LIC: makes a mother joke to shaq
EH: oh, i don't think laughing at. i think he thinks "we're all in this together."
EH: "me and the guys."
DS: that's the key question i guess.
DS: not in terms of jewishness but in terms of the whole operation.
EH: like, steinz realizes he's an outsider, so he's able to navigate and thrive. elie seems entirely unaware, and so...
DS: here's why i might disagree.
DS: did you see this comment he posted on fanhouse?
DS: “For the record Marko Jaric is an awesome person - and no he's not anti anything - he was just kidding. Thanks again for the kind words. Elie”
DS: "he was just kidding" means he thinks they're all in it together, i think. that's what i would say in such a case.
DS: the ? is whether the players agree maybe?
EH: yeah, he does seem accepted. dan, the fact that they're answering his questions -- is that significant, or just part of the ritual?
DS: hmmm. i think it depends on the player. some guys are just real decent to anyone who comes up, some aren't. in most cases, i would venture, they don't even know who they're talking to
EH: ricky davis must be a saint. "well then, keep em torched!"
DS: but i don't sense recognition from most of the guys he's talking to
DS: like, it doesn't seem like they really know who he is. or is that just me being a jealous fellow blogger?
EH: at the very least, they seem to know he's different than the rest.
DS: i just don't know how much of elie's thing is an act, and how much is real. if that aol homepage really his? if so, his proud description of his relationship with players made me shiver
Dr. LIC: i actually wonder how much of his shtick is a language/idiom barrier
BS: he definitely plays that up
EH: the sadness in dorell wright's eyes crosses any language barrier.
BS: 11 fucking years
BS: you'd think he'd be a little less awakrd/out of place around players
DS: i think that's a deliberate put-on, all the awkwardness
DS: re: the whole insider/outsider thing, insiders have confidence. that's the key difference. or one of them.
DS: it probably doesn't have to be about race, but it's a factor. i think comfort and confidence go hand in hand
Dr. LIC: see, theres this thing i'm trying to reconcile. elie makes portrays jewish to be outsider to the extreme, when if anything (with regard to the nba), it should be insider
Dr. LIC: given history, etc
DS: but screw history, a jewish guy walking into a room of 13 black guys wouldn't expect to feel any more confidence/comfort than a black guy walking into a room of 13 jewish guys
BS: i would pay to see the latter
BS: the question is: would the average NBA player care that they were jewish
BS: or just see them as white
DS: i have no idea
BS: i think the whole point of elie is assuming that nba players would care about jew as opposed to white
Dr. LIC: my sense is that the average nba player doesnt have a stereotype about jews
BS: so wait, is elie being clowned by acting like they should care, or somehow clowning them by trying to get them to care?
BS: i kind of feel like it's the latter
DS: should care that he's jewish?
BS: it's almost like he tries to pressure them into caring about it, and then they look silly if they fall for his "jewishness" as important
BS: when it's a total joke
DS: overall i think my entire response to elie is tinged by jealousy, for the record
DS: maybe the players DO like him. i just don't know.
DS: that to me is the issue (last thought).
DS: if the players are cool with it, and they don't feel like they're props, then it's fine by me.
POST-SCRIPT: When I re-read all of Elie’s FanHouse comment referenced in here, I suddenly got very sad, started weeping, and wondering if we're not doing a horrible disservice to a lovable little man who just wants to hang out with the athletes he admires. The real reason I hate Elie so much is that I fear he says something depressing about my own truly juvenile relationship with the NBA.