3.24.2007

Bust Your Own Pockets



So I went out and bought this giant brain of a phone so I could monitor FreeDarko on the road. . . and you people go and leave so many comments that it can't find the "leave one" link. It was then and there that I decided to just do a new post. Dealing once and for all with the issue of rape in American today.

First off, Paper Tiger's concerns that telling people to shut up about Kobe's rape case is at odds with my own "is TVZ basketball?" angst. For one, that was hardly a key building block in whatever it is FD stands for; you seem to be the only person it made a strong impression on. But in defense of myself, let me say the following: that was about sensibility, not ethics. Sorry, but sports can't tell you what's right or wrong in the world, and neither can music. At least not in any direct way. I know that we've all been groomed to think that Weezy F. is some kind of refracted worldview, but at best he's the correlative to one that's always lurking beyond the frame.

Now, RAPE. Look, I went to a liberal arts school just like many of you. I also have plenty of contact with various kind of feminism. So please spare me your Oberlin-isms.

If you want to prove that you care about the issue of sexual violence, the Kobe case is an absolutely awful example to point to. As I said in the comments section, even assuming it was consensual, that fucking was mutually exploitative and completely bound up in Bryant's celebrity. To think that this was a standard "he said, she said," when both sides had any number of reasons to distort what happened, is an insult to "he said, she said." No one knows what really happened, just as none of us are actually all that familiar with the victim's mental state AND NONE OF US REALLY KNOW KOBE BRYANT AT ALL.



Am I saying this rape accusations are meaningless? That they are just an occupational hazard? No, and not. But seriously, is this Kobe thing more fucked up than the mysterious disappearing Snoop case? Is he the only professional athlete to have ended up in this situation? I'm not saying that this excuses Bryant's questionable behavior. But considering how often this type of thing goes unreported, underreported, or unrecognized by the public, I'm not sure how Kobe's being accused makes him that much different from any other athlete. This is a larger problem, which both makes it worse and makes the very notion of "Kobe's shocking rape accusations" kind of a joke.

Male athletes have an extremely problematic attitude toward women. Sadly, this is why sports today will never ever satisfy every progressive criteria. Being told, though, that I'm downplaying Colorado because all it means is that he's an athlete who got caught. . . to you, I'd say get out of sports watching while you can. Bryant was no more or less guilty than any athlete is, or than you are for avidly consuming a league with a culture of sexism. If he had been definitively convicted, I would be repulsed by him, and his character would be forever soiled. As it is, it was some harsh reality. If you want to keep following sports, this is the kind of shit you've got to get past; else, it will negate the entire personal industry.



I'm not saying that this order of things cannot and should not change. It would be preposterous of me to claim that gender was a lost cause in these parts, while race and class were still worth exploring through the lens of sports. I firmly believe, though, that grandstanding and ignoring the scope of the problem is not in any way an honest call to action. And while I'm all in favor of letting principle influence one's fandom, there needs to be some realistic entry point for this sentiment to matter. At this point, there's just not one in the NBA. Maybe I'm cynical, but I don't think we achieve one by singling out Kobe Bryant. Nor do I really feel that, other than boycotting the NBA, there's really anything we as fans can do to correct the way rich, powerful men treat women.

Meanwhile, some links:

-One of our own guests on a feminist librarian blog, thus proving I'm not an asshole

-Joey with a sky-sharpening point on the NCAA's three-point line.

45 Comments:

At 3/24/2007 9:31 PM, Anonymous db said...

The only problem is, most sports fans would rather see good and evil played out in the theatre of media representation, rather than think about power as a structural issue that might have something to do with themselves. This seems to reach a peak with college ball, where the myth of amateurism seems to become the setting for a morality play full of various kinds of crypto-racist hoosier ideologies.

The people who hate the most on Kobe as a "rapist" seem to do it with the tone of the fundamentalist preacher who molests children when out of the public eye. Their desire to vilify him only seems like a smokescreen to cover over the complex relations of power and sex, and these surely have to be discussed as something which is not always under control in even the most repressed and "innocent" environment. So whenever I hear someone calling out Kobe on the rape issue in the name of justifying their opinion about his game, rather than making a point about endemic sexism, I always wonder what they're hiding in their own lives.

None of this is to say, as Shoals makes clear, that Kobe's behaviour is OK. It's just to say that there's a difference between prosecuting that behaviour in a court of law in the name of justice; and putting that narrative to work when dissecting the aesthetics of basketball on blogs. I think there's a difference there that accounts for the confusion of many who drift unprepared into the darkosphere.

 
At 3/24/2007 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of phone did you get?

 
At 3/24/2007 11:47 PM, Anonymous amphibian said...

I would rather see the shot clock reduced to 24 than have the three point line moved back.

Eleven extra seconds of watching guards dribble around because they don't know how to throw an entry pass is a joy to watch.

Not.

 
At 3/25/2007 12:23 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

perhaps the first time I've ever seen ; else,

Kudos

As for Kobe, as on the court, he was only doing his thing, you know, all over her face.

 
At 3/25/2007 12:33 AM, Anonymous Freddie said...

What does any of this mean besides "I have the microphone and you will listen to every damn word I have to say"? Nada y nada y pues nada y nada... You don't like being disagreed with, you don't like your leftist bona fides being questioned, you like to posture and proselytized but you hate when your own ideas are dragged into the mosh.

Well, sorry, but fuck you. There is no question that what you have represented over and over is that the people who continue to bring up a rape arrest are just haters who want to use something "irrelevant" to cast aspersions on Kobe. Color me a hater if that means that when the mans character is brought up by you, when you explicitly and intentionally concern yourself with the man and not just his ability to play ball, I actually engage in the discussion. You don't want your hero colored by his immoral (yes, immoral) conduct. You don't want to consider any aspect of the man that troubles your bullshit "analysis" of him-- even if that means that you have to attack people for considering Colorado in the very same way you yourself did. Is it any worse than Snoop's case? I don't know. Then again, I haven't had time to consider it, because you didn't fucking bring Snoop up. You did, however, dismiss a rape allegation as nothing else than a PC pose, a way to insult a particularly gifted and socially stunted basketball player. Well pardon me, but you set the table. The fact that you insist that I don't sit at it is your own myopia. I don't like accusations of rape dismissed out of hand, no matter how much hand-wringing might accompany it. And I really don't like someone who tries to camouflage all of their opinions in an impenetrable haze of implied racism and fake piety. You want to accuse me or others of being Oberlin crunchy lefties because we don't cotton to your attitudes on a rape case? That's beyond the pot and the kettle. I'll take Oberlin sanctimony over hypocrisy, thank you.

What you really don't want, of course, is for anyone to co-opt your carefully considered and constructed intellectual/political pose, the perch from which you elevate your own brand of being a fan. Well this is your blog, man, and your welcome to it. But don't expect me to roll over and play nice because you mock the strain of liberalism you assume I belong to.

 
At 3/25/2007 1:03 AM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

uh... i'm sorry that your writing makes an impression on me?

look, clearly i'm not saying that sports should give me my moral compass. all i'm saying is that it's pretty stupid to say that there's no room for non-sports based opinions in the world of sport, when that clearly is not where you stand. and i know it's easy to say folks like me are screaming nike sweatshop while rocking reeboks, but in this case that's just too much like excusing your own double standard by assuming others have one as well.

 
At 3/25/2007 1:44 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

pt--mostly i'm amused (and flattered) that tvz/nba made an impression on you. you're probably the only person in america who even remembers that post, and this isn't the first time you've referenced it.

about the double standard: i would never say that non-sports opinions don't matter in sports. but i'm sorry, "kobe=evil" is, like "dress code=racist" a red herring. there are larger problems there, one's that should probably complicate our ability to enjoy the sport. but when it comes to my feelings on kobe. . .it would be a double standard to pretend he's an exception. plus remember, i'm partly reacting against people who bring extra-sportular stuff to bear ONLY ON KOBE.

allen iverson threw his wife out of the house naked.

anon 10:58, i bought a dash and it rules.

 
At 3/25/2007 8:43 AM, Anonymous TheDarnellHillmanMindfuck said...

Super! Sounds like we're all in agreement that most of these guys are scumbags. But were they scumbags before they became rich and famous? Or were they just modeling the previous generation of scumbags? Not limiting the characterization to ballers (sorry, Kobe-slurpers, no pun intended), of course - we can include most of the rich and famous (and some of the poor and anonymous, as well). Oh, sorry - I forgot that the issue is "complicated".

 
At 3/25/2007 2:50 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

also, i just looked at my first post again. . . that sentence "principle has so little to do with sports fandom" was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. mostly because i thought it would be funny if i of all people wrote that, but also to point in the direction of what i ended up writing in this post.

 
At 3/25/2007 2:55 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

and if anyone's been paying attention to the pictures these last two years, this site's main political inspirations are al qaeda, the black panthers, jewish partisans, and marinetti. lest anyone think freedarko is a font of non-stop ideological coherence. . .

 
At 3/25/2007 3:48 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Iverson and his wife had a fight. No assault was committed. Kobe was banging some white girl doggy style when he decided it just wasnt tight enough so he went for the hole an inch higher. She was not down for it, yet Mamba kept dribbling and shooting away. Then he had enough money to get OJ and Jacko in court while this girl got her life threatened and called a slut. Then Kobe rats on Shaq. Mamba has brought all this on himself. But dude is ballin right?

 
At 3/25/2007 4:50 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

iverson fan, it's cool to you to throw your wife out of the house naked if you're having an argument? that's acceptable? according to the letter of the law, that IS assault. so is hitting a white woman with a chair in a bowling alley.

but, i didn't realize who we were dealing with here. apparently, iverson fan was in the hotel room that night and saw the whole thing. how much did kobe's people pay you to not testify? or were you not there at all, and you're just assuming you know what happened based on whatever you've read about the case?

(for what it's worth, that's pretty much what i also figure happened, based on the evidence in the case, but i would never claim that i knew definitively what happened.)

look, i've never said that i like kobe as a person, although i do find him to be a fascinating character. but the point is that people are attacking kobe's game and his status as a player because he once was accused of rape (but never convicted). it's hilarious to me that one of these people is apparently a huge allen iverson fan, a man who is arguably the only player in the league who shoots as much as kobe and who has had his share of off-court incidents with violence and women.

but lil' dude is ballin right?

 
At 3/25/2007 4:53 PM, Blogger David said...

iverson, there's a central error in your comment. You have no idea what actually happened in that room. No one does, except for Kobe and the woman. To assume otherwise gives one a semi-racist/starfucker quality, depending on which side is taken. That puts the entire thing into an uncertain and uncomfortable light. For obvious reasons, we'd all like to know what went down in Colorado, but we never will.

 
At 3/25/2007 9:02 PM, Blogger PANGER said...

"everyone is this room is wearing a uniform. don't kid yourselves." (frank zappa)

there are no facts available that support any position on kobe bryant as a rapist. weave all the tales you like. they are fiction, a product of one's outward personna and inward demons.

it's fascinating, really, a cultural rorschach test.

if you've bought into the bullshit of the last thirty years, it's rape if a guy doesn't buy a chick flowers after he fucks her.

if you've bought into the bullshit of the last few hundred years, it's rape if a black man has sex with a white woman.

if you've bought into the bullshit of your dick, it's rape if you lose the war but not if you win it.

as for you, shoals:

It was then and there that I decided to just do a new post. Dealing once and for all with the issue of rape in American today.

really? you're going to "deal with" rape in a single blog post?

sorry, i think you fell short.

sports can't tell you what's right or wrong in the world, and neither can music.

okay, just what and/or who can? priests? presidents? please enlighten me.

Bryant was no more or less guilty than any athlete is, or than you are for avidly consuming a league with a culture of sexism. If he had been convicted, I would be repulsed by him, and his character would be forever soiled.

let me get this straight. you spend an entire post chastising people for making assumptions about bryant as a human being when "non of us really know kobe bryant at all." yet in the next breath you assert you would suddenly be repulsed by bryant - his character forever "soiled" -if he received a conviction.

regardless of the facts?

that's one of the dumber things written by a smart person.

these guys were found guilty.

http://agitprop.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/lynching.jpg

repulsed by them?

 
At 3/25/2007 9:18 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

panger--

i was joking when i said i was going to deal with the issue of rape once and for all. i'm kind of insulted you think i would say that in earnest.

and i probably should have typed "definitively convicted," because that's what i was thinking.

that other thing. . .yeah, that was kind of stupid. i guess i'm just a little dismayed by the attempt to make athletes normative.

 
At 3/25/2007 9:43 PM, Blogger PANGER said...

to clarify: actually, i was being a sarcastic little shithead when i wrote the rape one-liner. but i know you from FD a lot better than you know me, so kind of not insulted at all.

 
At 3/26/2007 1:42 AM, Anonymous youshoottoomuch said...

as i said in a previous comment, kobe has made some egregious mistakes. i think the root of all of them (rape, game 7, running shaq off) is his inability to manage his own power, whether that be power over himself or other people. obviously, the one aspect of his power that he is able to manage his power to school fools on court.

i think shoals has defended himself well we has explained that the "rapist" hate is truly missing something bigger, a greater structural inequity. and for me, that is the gross amount of decision making power that someone of his stature has due to his athletic ability and fame. i think his colorado incident (rape or just very dumb decision, to get moral on it) is very good example of what happens when sex and power are divided in a powerful person's mind. because that is never the case.

 
At 3/26/2007 2:10 AM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

I was originally going to say that Kobe is particulary absorbing as a player as a villian or anti-hero and that the accusation of rape feeds into the desire to cast him down morally; however, now I'm thinking that it has more to do with Kobe being such an enigmatic figure, as someone projecting a public persona because he desires the affection of the public. And because the alleged rape case is so obviously personal and 'true', it feels like an intimate penetration of the personality. So it becomes a cheap way to clarify the "is he or isn't he" argument that seems to surround him.

Then again, this is coming from somebody who takes cheap shots (often in the most juvenile ways) at Kobe while hiding behind the rationalizations of being a Warriors fan and that a cheap laugh not taken is an opportunity spurned.

 
At 3/26/2007 4:43 AM, Blogger T. said...

not to distract from the Kobe talk (which now seems like a bunch of people typing past each other) - but interesting news item about Gil-Zero and his $10 bets being deleted from his blog.

 
At 3/26/2007 9:06 AM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

I think it was Tolstoy who played a game with his brother. He told his brother to stand in the corner and not think about white polar bears. Of course, in an attempt to not think about white polar bears, pretty much all the kid could picture were white polar bears. Just the thought "don't think about white polar bears" puts the image of white polar bears into ones head.

That's me with Kobe and rape charges. It's not that I assume he's guilty--it's that when I think about him, I feel like I'm standing in a corner saying "don't think about rape charges" and unable to not think about it.

 
At 3/26/2007 11:57 AM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Recluse, I wasnt in the room when OJ damn near cut his lady's head off. No one know what happens for sure, but we have to make assumptions. I just vocalized mine and you agreed with them. I'm not sayin it's cool to throw your wife out naked, though I'm sure most of us have had a fight or two with our girls where something like that is conceivable. But to compare that to a situation in which a girl adamantly claims that she was raped only to refuse to testify once her life is threatened, is like comparing dogshit and cupcakes. And did you see that controlled game from Iverson yesterday? Meanwhile Mamba had 43, points 0 assists and 9 turnovers. Way to play the game the right way though. And why is it that it is only hating when it is directed toward Kobe. Do you guys not hate on Wade and AI? I know you all like those dimes yesterday. Just admit it.

 
At 3/26/2007 12:35 PM, Anonymous Jake said...

A) Oberlin class of 06! Go Yeomen!

B) Kobe needs to get smacked.

C) Panger- It might be a touch naive, but there is nothing dumb about believing in the justice system's ability to convict a rapist. It may not be perfect, but it does a pretty damn good job. You obviously feel that it served Kobe well, so what's your beef? The idea that he MIGHT have been wrongly convicted?

 
At 3/26/2007 3:24 PM, Anonymous D-Wil said...

This was originally written over on the, "If You Need Him, He'll be Elevating" post. It originally addressed many Bryant topics. Since the "Kobe Bryant as a platform for all types of mud-slinging" convo has continued here, I thought it best to add an edited version of the previous comment.... it may be a bit disjointed, but I think everyone will catch my drift.

-------------------

I've been watching the comments here and this shit is really crazy.

How many of you know Kobe Bryant beyond the persona he portrays or the persona plastered onto him by the mainstream?

Answer: NOT ONE OF YOU.

Kobe-MJ comparisons (as people)...

The fact of MJ is that he/is was a non-threatening black man whose off-court persona was contrived by Disney - just like Shaq's.

MJ pretended to give a fuck and everybody fell for it; hell, I did at one time, too.

And then Mike committed the most selfish act I have EVER heard of in sports - he went gambling in Atlantic City until around 6 in the a.m. the night before a playoff game against the Knicks.

Remember that? And please don't give me the, well, they won the series shit. It means nothing. Do, though, answer this: how many athletes. especially NBA players could get away with that - unscathed... to the point where nobody even consciously remembers the event?

THAT is how brainwashed people are when it comes to Jordan. MJ, from all his actions, is one of the most self-centered athletes in the history of sport; the illicit affairs; the gambling; the "mystery of his leaving the NBA for a couple of years - all of it

Kobe Bryant cannot approach the social wrong-doing of Jordan.

YET.

Bryant is raked over the coals for having extra-marital sex. Sex with a woman who, at a party the following night, bragged to her female AND male friends about how "big" Kobe is: yes, it's fact. It's in the court docs - go check it for yourself; one of her male friends told the story and one of her female friends corroborated the story.

The "high-horse people" are very selective in how they frame their argument and what they remember of the Colorado case.

Just to let you morality peeps know, it is is abjectly immoral to condemn another human by omitting information that can exonerate that human for the sins which you attempt to accuse said human.

With all that said, what the hell is the beef with KB? Other than KB is an easy target, made even easier by a largely stupid and pliant mainstream sports media, what really is the beef?

(and I just listened to Pat Forde use "shock and awe" in relation to Florida's run to the NCAA crown last season - for all you who so love to parrot what the "worldwide leader" tells you, think about that shit! He used a neoconservative Militainment term that was applied to the bombing of human beings - no matter what you may think about them, they were humans - to describe a fucking basketball team... and he's a representative of the "best" sports media outlet in the world.... Wonderful.)

 
At 3/26/2007 3:51 PM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

D-Wil, you're making some of the same stupid assumptions. Because the alleged victim said that at a party the next day, Kobe MUST be innocent? I have no idea what kinds of things an individual that was raped might be saying or going through in the days following. You're presenting pretty circumstantial evidence (besides the loaded word "bragged"). If she said that, what does it mean? That rape certainly didn't occur? That the rape didn't traumatize her enough? What assumptions are YOU making?

Actually, in the days following the allegations, BEFORE any of these court documents, there were writers and fans just assuming the accuser was an unstable gold-digger. I read articles that just assumed he was not guilty--based on stupid social biases, prejudices, and assumptions.

Again, I have NO IDEA whether Bryant did it. I don't even want to get into a discussion about whether he did it (the fact people might use your type of circumstantial evidence to argue either way makes such an argument ridiculous). I'm not remotely interested in debating whether he did it--I'm interested in examining the perceptions, portrayals, and responses that occured after the event.

As I said, it's like a white polar bear--I can't pretend I'm not thinking about the rape charges. But I'm also not just going to pretend that I know he didn't do it.

One of the things I do hate about sports discussion is how masculine it is. Most of the fans, commentators, and bloggers are male, and that leads to some pretty clear prejudices and assumptions. Let's analyze THAT. Let's analyze why so many fans could assume that rape didn't occur without really knowing. Let's look at what it means to be accused of rape in the sports world. Let's look at the negative representations of women the sports world consistently offers us (Shoals is right in this post: misogyny is a widespread problem in sports). Let's look at this discussion and examine the assumptions we're all bringing to the table. If people like me have qualms about rooting for an athlete once accused of rape, what does that mean about our assumptions and worldviews? If others just look past it and assume it means nothing, what does that mean about their worldviews?

There's something to learn here.

 
At 3/26/2007 3:54 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Question: would people have said Shaq "ran Kobe off" if Shaq had stayed with the Lakers and Kobe had signed elsewhere as a free agent that summer? My suspicion is that the story in that case would have been "Kobe couldn't work it out so he ran off like a little bitch." With all the negative stuff that Shaq said in the press about Kobe while he was with the Lakers, it's surprising to me that Kobe is the one who seems to have received all the blame for their broken relationship.

The Electric Zarko said - I was originally going to say that Kobe is particulary absorbing as a player as a villian or anti-hero and that the accusation of rape feeds into the desire to cast him down morally; however, now I'm thinking that it has more to do with Kobe being such an enigmatic figure, as someone projecting a public persona because he desires the affection of the public.

To be honest this has never been my read on Kobe. I think he definitely does project a public persona, but it's not because he desires the public's affection. I think he's done it because he's learned if he doesn't project something positive he'll simply receive the public's hatred. I think in many ways Kobe's personality is more John Stockton than Michael Jordan, in that I think if Kobe could have played without ever having to do an interview or having to develop any kind of personal relationship with any member of the media he would have gladly done it. He found out the hard way though that attempting to do that simply led to the media branding him as spoiled and petulant. I think the "real" Kobe has no interest in being loved or famous or any of that, but just wants to play ball, win, get paid and live in relative isolation with his wife and kids. But public relations are part of the job, so he's attempting to go along with that. Maybe he's an asshole, but I think he's just a recluse, and I think that's really what initially made Shaq begin to hate him. I think Shaq wanted to mentor him and hang with him, but all Kobe wanted to do was sit in his room and watch basketball. I don't think Shaq liked being snubbed like that (especially by a teenager), and so when Kobe started to come into his own Shaq didn't want it to happen, and set himself to turning the media and the Laker teammates against Kobe.

As for the rape case against Kobe, it never even went to trial. None of us knows what happened in that hotel room cause we never heard any testimony about it. The police who questioned the accuser did say she told them when she asked Kobe to stop that he did, and they found evidence she'd had sex with two other people when they examined her (essentially contaminating the "crime scene", as it were). All we know is she accused Kobe but refused to testify. If one wants to take that as enough to convict him in your mind, well that's up to you; but I'm with Shoals on this one, in that since it wasn't clearly proven to me that he raped her (in fact I never saw any evidence that he had at all), I'm not going to judge him guilty. His wife forgave him, his accuser took his money and has moved on, so it's silly for me to dwell on it.

 
At 3/26/2007 4:35 PM, Anonymous tom said...

If people like me have qualms about rooting for an athlete once accused of rape, what does that mean about our assumptions and worldviews?

Depends on what exactly you have a problem with. Is it simply the fact that he got accused or is it that you believe there's a possiblity that he might've done it. I think most people would have problems with rooting for someone they see as a potential rapist.

 
At 3/26/2007 5:56 PM, Anonymous Mavis Beacon said...

It recently occured to me that moving the three point line back in the college game would also free up the bigs and result in slower double teams. Giving offensive players a little more space might be really cool.

 
At 3/26/2007 5:59 PM, Anonymous D-Wil said...

PV-
I resent that you feel that because I'm a man you think you can somehow twist my words into something anti-woman. I was house-sitting for a friend (male) had a female friend over. some dudes came over to see my out-of-town male friend. I let them in for a minute and ended up getting robbed at gunpoint; they raped my friend.

I know how she reacted - for years. I attended counseling sessions with her. Other raped women and the person closest to them were there this was not a girl friend, but a friend). NOT ONE woman out of perhaps 50 over a six month period reacted to date rape, gang rape, any rape by going to a party the next evening and joking about how "big" their assailant was. So, at least I have a frame of reference for speaking to how out of context her actions were with the accusation of rape.

And to those who said she was a gold digger, there were plenty of people saying the opposite; how the hell do you think the overriding perception of KB as racist persisted???

If you so want to examine perceptions, portrayals, etc. after the event, then do it! And you can start with how the overriding perception of a black man became that of rapist before he spent on second in a courtroom!

I explained the perception of KB and used MJ as a point of comparison for how KB was perceived after the event but you want to get stuck where it's safe - where you don't have to examine anything. And safety is sticking to the woman's reaction and what that may or may not mean.

Misogyny is a widespread problem AMONG MEN, not just athletes. Far far too many men wish they could be in the position athletes are in so that they could act with the impunity of athletes; just listen to carefully to sports reporters and how they react to mentions of certain women, e.g. Jenny Finch, any number of actresses, Beyonce, even Michelle Wie, who is just a girl!

What does that say about THEIR world views?!

Finally, you don't know how I feel about men. But since we live in a white, western, male-dominated society (to use bell hooks' term for the world in which we live) I can understand the reaction.

 
At 3/26/2007 6:29 PM, Blogger PANGER said...

Panger- It might be a touch naive, but there is nothing dumb about believing in the justice system's ability to convict a rapist. It may not be perfect, but it does a pretty damn good job. You obviously feel that it served Kobe well, so what's your beef? The idea that he MIGHT have been wrongly convicted?

i refuse to toss out critical thinking based solely on the decision of a prosecutor, judge or jury. remember oj? notice where robert blake is living? on the other side of the coin, are you comfortable with this guy being on death row? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/05/30/eveningnews/main200710.shtml was the “system” right about for this man? http://www.schr.org/news/news_alainnocent.htm

“my beef” is with people who, based on the tribe they belong to, cherrypick information to support their belief systems and ignore all rational evidence to the contrary.

as for your assertion that the justice system, while imperfect, does a good job on prosecuting rape cases, i think you summed it up: naive. i’ll add, simplistic. a few prosecutors are phenomenal, caring more about getting to the truth than burnishing their images. some are opportunistic, some flat-out malevolent, many are overworked and/or incompetent. you wanna spend a few days here hashing that out? i don’t. so you can have the last word.

finally, reread what i wrote, please. i did not write nor did i imply that the justice system served kobe bryant well or poorly. what i did write is that i'm not privy to sufficient facts that would allow me to reach any conclusion. i further wrote that anyone comfortable making judgements from either side is merely projecting his or her own deeper biases.

athletes are human. they do good, they do bad. the difference is, what they do is writ large in our culture. they live their lives in a fishbowl. if they’re innocent, it doesn’t matter; anyone with an axe to grind can trash them. if they’re guilty, it doesn’t matter; they can afford to buy “reasonable doubt.”

so i’ve made a conscious choice to ignore the extraneous crap. this is basketball, not life and death. i love watching kobe bryant cuz he's a spectacular player. i've often rooted against him cuz i’m not crazy about the lakers. end of story. simplistic? maybe. but it works for me.

One of the things I do hate about sports discussion is how masculine it is. Most of the fans, commentators, and bloggers are male, and that leads to some pretty clear prejudices and assumptions. Let's analyze THAT.

was wondering if i'm the only female involved in this dicussion.

 
At 3/26/2007 6:37 PM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/26/2007 6:42 PM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

Oh, and Panger and D-Wil, I'm male, for what's its worth (I got the impression in the last lines of your comments you thought I was female).

Though reading back on my previous comments, I can see a completely different reading based on whether you thought me male or female.

 
At 3/26/2007 6:44 PM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

D-Wil,

"I resent that you feel that because I'm a man you think you can somehow twist my words into something anti-woman."

Did I do that? I thought your circumstantial assumptions flawed. My last comment about the masculine nature of sports conversation was not directed at you, but at the conversation in general. And it ended with the statement that the assumptions we come with need to be examined--and I of course included my own assumptions.

"If you so want to examine perceptions, portrayals, etc. after the event, then do it! And you can start with how the overriding perception of a black man became that of rapist before he spent on second in a courtroom!"

I'll start wherever I want. Of course I would want to examine the racism prevalent in assumptions of guilt about a black man and a white woman. But why do I have to start there? If I want to start with perceptions about gender behavior, I can. As long as I'm aware of my own assumptions in where I want to start, I'm being honest. But I don't have to start my examination where you tell me.

"I explained the perception of KB and used MJ as a point of comparison for how KB was perceived after the event but you want to get stuck where it's safe - where you don't have to examine anything. And safety is sticking to the woman's reaction and what that may or may not mean."

Bullshit. I didn't say anything about your KB/MJ comparison because I didn't have anything to say. I don't typically write comments about what I'm either in agreement or indifference to. What would that add to the conversation? I'm not avoiding that subject, nor do I think I chose the "safe" subject "where [I] don't have to examine anything." I don't see how the part I responded to was "safe"--it seems to me, it would be easier to talk about about perceptions of two players than to talk about perceptions of gender and rape. Clearly I'm not staying in any safe area.

"Misogyny is a widespread problem AMONG MEN, not just athletes."

See, here I'll note somewhere I agree with you. Where did I ever disagree with this? A good deal of my teaching is devoted to examining gender perception and tearing down misogynistic assumptions.

"What does that say about THEIR world views?!"

That's EXACTLY what I want to analyze.

"Finally, you don't know how I feel about men."

I'm wondering where I claimed I did.

 
At 3/26/2007 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how many people a serial adulterer like Magic Johnson could have unwittingly infected with HIV before being diagnosed?

 
At 3/26/2007 7:48 PM, Blogger zip zip said...

Kobe Bryant?

Why is FreeDarko not dissecting the future brilliant career of Lord Zeke's newest Sith protege Randolph Morris?

 
At 3/26/2007 8:15 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Just for the record I though it was gangster when MJ went gambling and then beat the Knicks. Let's talk about Zach Randolph not getting his due. Kobe the racist is so 2 years ago.

 
At 3/26/2007 8:17 PM, Anonymous D-Wil said...

"One of the things I do hate about sports discussion is how masculine it is. Most of the fans, commentators, and bloggers are male, and that leads to some pretty clear prejudices and assumptions. Let's analyze THAT."

Since you began your comment as a response to me, I can only gather that the above statement at least includes me, if not every male.

And you'll start where you want? Since you want to deal with perceptions and all that, why not begin with the person who was guilty before he entered a court of law? Seeing as how he's black, my suggestion is the responsible place to begin. and it is my feeling that if someone, including you, does not begin there, then the crux of the KB incident will not be properly dealt with (again, another bell hooks principle for how events are dealt with in this white, western, male-dominated society in which we live - and unfortunately minority men and women of all colors fall into the same trap.)

"Let's analyze why so many fans could assume that rape didn't occur without really knowing. Let's look at what it means to be accused of rape in the sports world. Let's look at the negative representations of women the sports world consistently offers us (Shoals is right in this post: misogyny is a widespread problem in sports)."

The comparison I made between KB and MJ directly impacts the above statement of yours. Becuase MJ is an emasculated figure, he is one of the few black men who stands a chance of being seen as innocent first in the court of public opinion - and I disagreed with Shoals - and you; it's not just athletes, it is men, generally.

Finally, you claimed to know me when you used a blanket statement to describe men who are sports fans: "Most of the fans, commentators, and bloggers are male, and that leads to some pretty clear prejudices and assumptions."

Again, unless you make a clear distinction in a comment in which you begin by addressing me, I'm can only believe you're talking about, or including me. However, I let you know that I understand the reaction, but I guess you didn't read that far. Since it appears that you didn't get that far, let me repeat:

"Finally, you don't know how I feel about men. But since we live in a white, western, male-dominated society (to use bell hooks' term for the world in which we live) I can understand the reaction."

 
At 3/26/2007 8:30 PM, Anonymous James said...

As long as we're talking about why people hate Kobe:

I can speak from long experience here.

1. I started out hating Kobe because he was lucky enough to play with Shaq, on the Lakers, and I was mad at Shaq for abandoning the Magic. And for getting so much superstar treatment.

2. Then it was plain, old-fashioned, this guy wins too much dislike (haters).

3. Then it morphed into a 'wow, this guy is fucked up' with the whole rape fiasco. I'd agree with the many people who think that he isn't guilty as a rapist, but the whole episode revealed he was still a jackass (cheating on wife, throwing Shaq under the bus, etc.). For that matter, his lawyer was such a colossal jerk as well.
I'm pretty much over this issue though.

4. The style of play issue. I just don't like the way he plays. I'm not sure if this is a result of the 'triangle' or what, but the way the Lakers play just seems ugly. Hard to like the star (especially given his history in points 1 and 2) when the team just isn't fun to watch.

As for what Shoals said previously:
"MERELY BEING SELFISH DOES NOT GET YOU ON THE LEVEL OF CHAMBERLAIN, JORDAN, AND BAYLOR."

Totally true, but being selfish DOES mean I don't have to like the way you play (however successful you are at it). The fact that this style of play hasn't ever been very successful (witness Chamberlain, Baylors and Jordan's postseason success when they played this way) means that it isn't irrational for someone to think this.

I don't think these constitute irrational thinking.

 
At 3/26/2007 8:47 PM, Anonymous zarathustra said...

37 comments later, a conclusion:

KOBE IS THE UBERMENSCH

(?)

 
At 3/26/2007 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an awesome article on ESPN- http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=hill/070326&sportCat=nba&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab3pos1

I try not to be chauvinistic but I must admit to being wary of female sports writers. But she is right on the money about Kobe- talent wise, he is better than MJ23. That said he will never be the winner MJ is (6 titles) - winning is a reflection of how dominant a player is to his peers, Kobe's peers- Dwade, LBJ23, TMAC are not that far off from Kobe, at least not in the MJ vs. Clyde Drexler vs. Gary Payton vs. John Stockton kind of way.

 
At 3/26/2007 9:29 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

James said - The fact that this style of play hasn't ever been very successful (witness Chamberlain, Baylors and Jordan's postseason success when they played this way) means that it isn't irrational for someone to think this.

Doesn't Jordan have the all-time record for highest playoff scoring average of any player in history? Doesn't he also have the NBA Finals record for average points per game in the 1993 NBA Finals (over 40 a game)? The idea that Jordan suddenly stopped being selfish and played "the right way" after losing to the Pistons in 1990 is widely thrown about, but come on, the guy didn't turn into Magic Johnson. He still continued to lead the league in scoring all through the 90s and his 6 titles. He bought into the triangle and helped his teammates score, but he still dominated the ball a hell of a lot.

In any event, I would still wonder how much someone actually watches Kobe play if they continue to have this assertion that he's such a "selfish" player. To quote an ESPN article today about Kobe's recent scoring spree:

"The thing I've learned most from Kobe Bryant's recent scoring binge is that he finally gets it. More than anything else, Kobe's 65-50-60-50-43 point outburst is a testament to his maturity.

The fact that he was able to put up such numbers should surprise no one. Outside of Wilt, he can score as well as anyone who's ever played the game.

Instead, what most impresses me about Kobe now, is that he has obviously spent most of this season sacrificing individual goals/records/achievements for the sake of his team.

Is there any doubt Kobe could be averaging at least 36 points a game?

But for the better part of this season, he has held back, shot less and gotten his teammates more involved so the Lakers could win more. He's finally realized that winning scoring titles is not as important as winning games."


People who watch Kobe a lot can easily see when he has been forcing it, but for the first half of the season while the Lakers were healthy his shots were way down as he was letting his teammates carry the load. He even said as much in numerous interviews. But then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best players on the team (Lamar, Luke & Kwame) got injured for long stretches (not to mention Radmonovic, Cook, Evans, Turiaf, etc), and as such Kobe's been forced to score more. The 3-13 stretch for the Lakers certainly made a convincing argument, and now the Lakers are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season. Is it really "selfish" if it's what the team has desperately needed?

Granted, if the Lakers are going to have any success in the postseason they're not going to get it with Kobe going for 50 every night, but I expect as the rest of the team gets healthy again Kobe will begin to scale back his offensive production. This recent explosion was just to stop the bleeding and to help out until people could get healthy again.

 
At 3/26/2007 10:12 PM, Blogger S-Love said...

Who was naked, Iverson or his wife?
Looking at Jordan's deceptions makes me think of the "Kobe as ersatz Jordan" perspective. I learned more about phoniness from Jordan than I did from Holden Caulfield. One could find so much information on Jordan, but virtually none of it made it to the mainstream press or affected his character. I've never found Kobe's dissimulation interesting. (Then again, I watched Jordan during the formative years, and Kobe came into his own after I was a jaded-and-still-sheltered adult.)

 
At 3/26/2007 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kobe is the greatest rich kid athlete of all time. Seen in that context, everything else that has happened (or will happen) to him or by him begins to make a lot more sense.

 
At 3/26/2007 11:28 PM, Blogger T. said...

anon@11pm - not only that, but rich kid athlete who grew up in Italy and then was raised in suburban Philly.

Speaking of Philly - SHEEEEED

 
At 3/27/2007 2:50 AM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

T. - I continually drone on about how Kobe is the greatest Euro of all time.

Also, I still feel like Kobe's desire to be wanted is maybe his most dominating trait. It's clear to me that part of surpassing Jordan to him is achieving the same cultural ubiquity as Jordan (which is impossible, which is part of why Kobe is so fascinating, more fascinating than Jordan because really, we always prefer our Othellos and Macbeths).

 
At 3/28/2007 9:08 AM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

D-Wil,

(I realize once a new post goes up, the conversation thread is abandoned, so I'm writing this on the possibility that it will still be read).

"Since you began your comment as a response to me, I can only gather that the above statement at least includes me, if not every male."

The comment does include you, to the extent that you are a male involved in a sports discussion. It also includes me. But I was not engaged in a fallacy of composition or division (assuming all parts share the characteristics of the whole, or vice versa), so you don't have to read it as if I were. Generalizations are always wrong. Still, we make them to make some sense of things.

As far as where to start analysis: there isn't a "correct" place to start. In attempting to get at "Truth," there are many starting points. You insist that we MUST start with racist assumtions to understand the situation as clearly as we can. I believe we can ALSO start with gender assumptions to understand the situation as clearly as we can. Is ther eanything wrong with that? If anything, a rape accusation of a white woman against a black man splits progressive social thought in half: we hate racism, but we also hate violence against women. In most stories if you are progressive or conservative, it's pretty clear which side you'll line up on. In this case, it's not.

"Finally, you claimed to know me when you used a blanket statement to describe men who are sports fans: "Most of the fans, commentators, and bloggers are male, and that leads to some pretty clear prejudices and assumptions.""

Absolutely not. Again, I wasn't dealing in the fallacies of division or compositions: a generalization should never be assumed to include every single part of the whole. If you're assuming I mean my generalization of "men" to include "each and every single man," you are making a pretty clear mistake.

"but I guess you didn't read that far. Since it appears that you didn't get that far,"

Me so stupid! Me not have bility to read that far! English unpossible!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home