3.04.2007

Attach Me to the Radish



This post is hereby dedicated to the anonymous commentors who so irk me. And to anyone who has already figured out that my short posts die quickly for a reason, and will almost always be replaced by a stronger sort.

I want to thank Chuck Klosterman for robbing me of my weekend, but for in the end giving me so much more. In my culture, we have this thing called psychoanalysis. The essence of it is as follows: you protesteth too much before relieving yourself of the burden and admitting the opposite. Bang. Instant sunshine.

So it was with me and his Gilbert Arenas piece for PLAY. When it first went up on the internet, I felt some obligation to respond to it as a steward of one version of Arenas. In particular, I wondered how it related to something I'd written at the outset of this season, when the lore was piling up fast and the press drifting about it like bloody vapor. I ultimately decided that Klosterman's analysis downplayed what it meant that Arenas's honesty sounded weird. Unfortunately, I also insinuated that points of reference were the same thing as structural emblems. No, no, no, they are not.

Here's why I rebelled so much against the article, which in truth was me rebelling against the current state of Gilbert: shit was all low-stakes. What attracted me to Gilbert Arenas in the first place wasn't that he played pranks or went his own way. It was that, when things were on the line, he did things that appeared irrational. The "international pimp" comment before the 2001 Draft, rumored to have cost him guaranteed money. The needlessly long three against Cleveland. His desire to restructure his contract. The no-shooting game. The gaze trained on the basket that never fliches even once he's been fouled. The coin flip for free agency. The streakiness that seems directly tied to excess enthusiasm. Practicing endlessly to cultivate a lack of conscience. With competition and money involved, Arenas seemed to everyone to just miss the point——but to him, he was more serious than everyone else combined.



Over and over again during this season, we've been treated to sideshow Arenas, which is easy to dismiss as merely silly. And which, in all truth, I find a lot less inspiring. At one point, Klosterman writes "It may be impossible to understand Arenas, but it always feels possible to know what he’s like." To me, the latter part is a distraction; I'm far less concerned with his celebrity affect than I am his maverick way of handling what matters. It remains impossible to understand Gilbert, but unfortunately this year this is being masked by the goofiness that makes it "possible to know what he's like."

19 Comments:

At 3/04/2007 10:31 PM, Blogger T. said...

Isn't there a way to turn off anonymous commenting? i mean, it's not like glad hands, d-wil, t., tan, etc. are any less anon.

sorry - i have no pertinent basketball thoughts.

 
At 3/04/2007 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

irk irk irk

 
At 3/04/2007 11:33 PM, Anonymous amphibian said...

I believe a Nash to Stoudemire play from the most recent Suns-Lakers game will remain imprinted on my mind forever.

The announcer said it was like "Ring around the Rosy" and it did seem like the Lakers all fell down from sheer disbelief at the size of Nash's balls.

However, I see it as a different children's game - Duck-Duck-Goose; Nash going in a circle around two Lakers, visually patting each of his teammates on the head and finally shouting "GOOSE!" by whipping the rock to Stoudemire for the thunderous jam.

I think the incomplete fusion of Agent Zero into the mainstream, well treated in When Language Dares Leak, is just too much for those raised on a steady Sportscenter diet.

The anonymity allows those people the ability to verbally hit-and-fade those who assault their ideals and idols. The best way to counter it is by unleashing something that completely annihilates their position and leaves you in control of the battlefied.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what obliterates a Klosterman fan (as the offender seemed to be) - beyond dissing KISS.

 
At 3/04/2007 11:37 PM, Anonymous MegaPickles said...

Brown Recluse-
I hit you up at the FD-email. Claim your prize.

 
At 3/05/2007 2:10 AM, Blogger Robber Baron said...

You say your rebelling against the notion that "shit was all low stakes" with gilbert, but...

Why is it neccessary for you to view gilbert's irrationality in high stakes scale? can't they simply exist as irrational behavior. It seems like you're so worried that people will extrapolate from the media barrage of 'quirky gil' into believing gilbert constantly travels along a scattered random path, that your trying to force his actions into a rigid line.

Yes, I'll readily admit, the action's of gilbert are clearly pre-concieved and often deliberate , and gilbert is obviously an intelligent dude, but that doesn't neccesarily mean that his actions all have to agree in some sort of 'inspirational' high stakes unison.

I agree with you that the sideshow arenas is "a lot less inspiring", but why can't it be that gilbert resides somewhere in the grey area between the black and white. can't he be following a path, but one that winds and zigzags and goes a little off course from time to time?

While this removes some of Gilberts mystique, doesn't that make him more human, more personable. Isn't that, to some degree, what Klosterman is trying to say, by saying "he's knowable'. Not that he's some kinda character everyone can relate to because "HEY, i do goofy stuff too!!", but that we all reside somewhere in the grey area between being perfectly deconstructable and completely impossible to understand.


p.s. that was long, i'm sorry, but i'm just coming out of my non-anonymous shell.

 
At 3/05/2007 9:15 AM, Blogger Wade said...

Whatever, Arenas is so overrated. Debating the intricacies of his weirdness...
Forget it, I'm tired of trying to make sense of this blog.

 
At 3/05/2007 9:25 AM, Blogger Jeffrey Hardy Quah said...

Birds have tongues. Huh. For some reason that never occurred to me before.

 
At 3/05/2007 11:32 AM, Anonymous Daniel* said...

The New York Times does that to everything it touches: sucks the essence out of it in favor of making some wise-sounding "on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand" pseudo-commentary.

Therefore, in the Times, the government couldn't really have been deliberately lying about WMD... they must have believed their own lies. And Gilbert Arenas isn't as weird as he seems. The wise voice of moderation, even when the truth is extreme and moderating it makes it into a lie.

Makes some people feel very safe, but it drives me f-ing insane.

To get a good, forceful, memorable, and true article, they have to go outside their stable of writers, like in DFW's article about Federer.

 
At 3/05/2007 12:51 PM, Anonymous Brendo said...

The media is taking the fun out of it, man. The "Arenas: Self-Constructed for Public-Deconstruction" gear in Klosterman's piece is indicative of both the current bent of the majority press swarm and semi-backlash to his omnipresence in Association consciousness.

I don't need the "childlike warrior" trip in their pages anymore than I need a field goal % number from 30+ feet (or when we got that rap for a season of Ron-Ron drama, come to think of it)- I just need them both to be there, in motion on the court. And then I guess the less said about them is the better in my book.

 
At 3/05/2007 2:19 PM, Anonymous paddy said...

I know Gilbert Arenas by his perceived polar opposite: boring Kirk Hinrich.

 
At 3/05/2007 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsflash Freedarko: No one gives a flying fuck about Gilbert Arenas. This shit is so played out there's nothing left to say about this but I'll try. Gilbert Arenas is a just another quirky athlete in a long strong of quirky athletes. Big fucking deal. How about you drop a piece about Marvin Barnes rolling up to a St. Louis Spirits game in a full-length full fur coat or some other zany tale of that ilk? Yes, Marvin Barnes is now deceased and Gilbert Arenas is an active member of the NBA. Quite simply, this isn't enough. Freedarko talks about Arenas like a sports columnist might mention his wife or family. No one cares and you're boring us to tears. And no one gives a shit what you thought about Chuck Klosterman's article. (See Simmons' introduction to his most recent deconstruction of the Scoop Jackson Vegas piece).

 
At 3/05/2007 3:07 PM, Anonymous the lurker said...

FYI: From what I hear, Heinrich thinks he's the blackest guy on the Bulls.

 
At 3/05/2007 3:53 PM, Blogger terriblist said...

i thought Chuckle's arictcle was on the money dudes. you guys want your mythology so bad, i don't know. lay off it once in a while? or go play D&D and get it all out there?

you're "a steward of one version of Arenas," yeah well i've been playing this level 8 wizard for a while, and i call him gil (get it? wizard?)--he's so crazy, i'm like a steward of how crazy he is but also ilke, how benevelont he is too. it's fun, pecae.

(MORE BILLUPS PLZ)

 
At 3/05/2007 4:20 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

That last picture is one of your most inspired yet.

Apparently, some segment of the reading audience isn't interested in self-analysis/autocritique (no over-intellectualizing). I'm shocked.


wv: gmtxocok = gil-mtxocok = wv comes through again

 
At 3/05/2007 4:28 PM, Blogger Kirk Krack said...

I really hope hinrich and ty2 are best bros on the team and do shit like throw basketballs full court aimed at chris duhon's balls, ala Rasheed and Bonzi in the good old days. t'would be good for america.

 
At 3/05/2007 7:14 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

Apparently, some segment of the reading audience isn't interested in self-analysis/autocritique (no over-intellectualizing). I'm shocked.

Which leads to the obvious question of why the fuck are they part of the 'reading audience'? That sounds almost...intentionally quirky to me.

 
At 3/05/2007 11:34 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

I'm with you Pooh: If one is tired of endless analysis of the mystiques of Kobe, Arenas, Stoudemire, et. al., I have to wonder what one is doing reading FreeDarko. Hasn't this pretty much been the steez since day zero?

Shake the haters off, fellas.

 
At 3/05/2007 11:39 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

It just occurred to me I misread what Pooh was commenting on. My bad.

But what I said still stands. If you're a reader (anon 3:04) who don't give a "flying fuck" about Arenas, I have to wonder what brought you here in the first place.

 
At 3/06/2007 2:24 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

No, you were right the first time, Andrew.

Go read Slam! if all you want is thoughtless jocking.

 

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