1.03.2008

The Cheers of the Gratefully Oppressed



Virtually every aspect of my personality aligns me with the liberated fandom espoused by the founders of this fair site. To give just a few examples, I have a healthy distrust of all institutions, enjoy many things that don’t make perfect sense, am Jewish, and will probably read and write about willfully bizarre novels for a living. When it comes to sports, I feel no special allegiance to a player outside of the enjoyment I get from watching him perform, although that enjoyment can certainly be tied up in other issues. Yet, despite all these points of agreement, I feel no desire to stop pulling for the teams I backed when I used to dress up as a San Francisco Giant on Halloween. With my favorite basketball teams (Golden State Warriors and Stanford Cardinal, for those who give a shit), I can acknowledge certain aspects of a player’s game that I dislike or outright hate, but I still cheer when those same guys make productive plays (in terms of strict output).

I’m usually perfectly fine with contradictions – or pretend to be, at least – but this one’s been bugging me ever since I started reading FreeDarko. The two forms of enjoyment seem to be at such great odds that I’ve occasionally assumed there must be something wrong with me, as if my pinko commie proclamations were somehow covers for a natural fascist streak. At the same time, my refusal to even attempt to divest myself of beholden fandom suggests that there’s something deeper at play, or, at the very least, something missing from liberated fandom that the support of one team provides.

Let me be clear that I do not want to expose liberated fandom as a sham concocted solely to convince a bunch of hipsters that basketball is the new irony. While I’ve always harbored the observational tendencies on which it relies, the system itself – and the work of the other writers here – has made me a calmer and more discerning fan than I once was. During the Mavs/Warriors series, I felt no hatred for Dallas or Barkley; instead, I simply accepted the positives aspects of Dirk, Howard, and the gang – even in the two losses – and analyzed them as I would anyone else. Furthermore, liberated fandom’s lack of emphasis on the final score means that I can now watch teams like the Hawks without feeling guilty, and that should validate it right there.



For the most part, it’s not too difficult to bring these tastes to one of your favorite team’s games. An exciting play is an exciting play, after all, and teams are going to score a certain number of points anyway, so why not wish for a Josh Smith dunk instead of a Tim Duncan post-up? And while it will never be possible to root for a team over time and completely disregard the final score, the liberated view can mitigate any anger that might arise from a particularly close loss. For instance, last Friday’s Nuggets win over the Warriors didn’t piss me off at all just because I knew I’d seen Iverson and Melo at the top of their games.

The far more interesting issue at play when someone practices these forms of fandom simultaneously is that beholden fandom requires cheering for things that would never fly with a purely liberated fan. I got lucky with the Warriors, but I can safely say that I only really like the games of three (maybe four) players currently on Stanford. Still, my passion for the team doesn’t waver at all. My enjoyment of the team never feels cheap or dirty; it is as real to me as anything I get from watching Tyrus Thomas jump. However, if the aesthetic considerations that I bring to other teams don’t always serve as justification for my fandom, then it would seem that I get something entirely different out of the Cardinal’s Right Way defense and structured offensive sets.



I must get to that answer by way of a short digression. This fall, I attended Rosh Hashanah services at my childhood synagogue for the first time in four or five years. In that time, the temple has undergone a number of changes: new rabbis, new cantor, new sound system, and, in the real capper, a full band complete with bongo drums and a guitar has been added to the strings, organ, and choir. Objectively, a few of these changes are improvements; the cantor has a pretty great singing voice and the band is quite competent. What has clearly changed, though, is that the entire operation has been secularized to a degree that even irks a bunch of secular Jews. I am in no way religious and haven’t been for quite a while, but the synagogue always felt holy to me. That’s no longer the case; I have little connection to the place other than that it reminds me of past Bar Mitzvahs and Sunday school.

On the face of it, I shouldn’t logically feel much of a connection to those things that were lost when the temple underwent those changes. However, the synagogue, like the teams I root for, is tied to so many of my life experiences that I must have some attachment to it. I do not believe in nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, but these institutions did somehow shape me into the person I am today, so I cannot feel nothing when they undergo changes. In a way, favorite teams are like family members: we get disappointed at them when they falter, criticize out of love, and hold bizarre allegiances to them even though nothing but geography and similarly random circumstances brought us together in the first place. These attachments become so ingrained that they’re not just difficult to break – they’re ultimately impossible to break because they have been so instrumental in the development of our passions and modes of observation. Frankly, breaking a connection to a team can often feel like a willful dismantling of an identity.



A favorite team also has the draw of a community. Liberated fandom can obviously produce a community of its own – this site is proof of that – but faceless discussion on the internet is much different from screaming along with 20,000 fellow fans or knowing that wearing a particular hat can start a conversation with someone who might eventually become one of your best friends. Beholden fandom offers a feeling of mass productivity, the idea that, if we all work together, we can reach a goal. Writing that sentence made me feel a little sick, but that is really what any group – like this motley band of writers and commenters, to use just one example – tries to do in whatever endeavor it chooses. The goals of FreeDarko might be less defined than those of a group of face-painters, but the differences between the two groups are matters of degree and proportion – not of structure.

Beholden fandom obviously has its ugly side; there is nothing awesome about abject hatred of an opponent just because they happen to wear differently colored clothes. Like any passionate collective, though, it should be judged on both its positive and negative traits. Liberated and beholden fandom may not always intersect, but the fact that I and others are able to practice both simultaneously suggests that the concepts are not as adversarial as they might initially appear. The key is to juggle them without letting each lose its essence, to let each form of fandom inform and add to the other. Just as the beholden fan shouldn’t disregard the legitimacy and interest of the opposition, the liberated fan shouldn’t assume the worst just because someone finds joy in the crowd.

41 Comments:

At 1/03/2008 12:31 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

"In a way, favorite teams are like family members: we get disappointed at them when they falter, criticize out of love, and hold bizarre allegiances to them even though nothing but geography and similarly random circumstances brought us together in the first place. These attachments become so ingrained that they’re not just difficult to break – they’re ultimately impossible to break because they have been so instrumental in the development of our passions and modes of observation. Frankly, breaking a connection to a team can often feel like a willful dismantling of an identity."

100% True....awesome post.

 
At 1/03/2008 1:40 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Great post. I have often wonder this, though: What is the difference between "liberated fandom" and being beholden to a star instead of a team?

For example, I knew numerous guys growing up that were "Bulls fans", but really, they were "Jordan fans". They didn't care about the Bulls before Jordan, and didn't care about them afterwards.

Or a better example: This guy I knew in college who rooted for the Hornets, because he liked Zo and Grandmama. In all these cases, these guys weren't from those teams locations, and weren't fans in a traditional way.

Isn't FD sort of the same thing? Only with polygamy.

Put another way: wouldn't liberated fandom, in it's theoretical nadir, be "the ability to watch any basketball game, regardless of participating teams, and enjoy it regardless of who was winning or what the score was"? Would you in theory be able to watch the Kings-Heat and still enjoy it for whatever beauty might be there?

I'm just looking for a more refined explanation for what "liberated fandom" really means....

 
At 1/03/2008 2:01 PM, Blogger bleh said...

thank you very much

 
At 1/03/2008 3:30 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

"In a way, favorite teams are like family members: we get disappointed at them when they falter, criticize out of love, and hold bizarre allegiances to them even though nothing but geography and similarly random circumstances brought us together in the first place."

I enjoy reading FD ideas as they tend to come from Nash Vision angles and the writing talents of the contributors show something more then English Major honing yet, the logic in this quote is at the crux of the major flaw in the ideology of FD and does not harmonize with liberated fandom.

Liberated fandom is not hedonistic as I have never read about an AndOne classic moment on this site and none of the writers, it seems, would appreciate it if LeBron's innovation wasn't his being a Tight End playing in the League but in actually taking a pass at halfcourt and proceeding to run to the basket and slam without a dribble. No matter how high he got on the backboard and how hard he brought his crotch down onto Yao's mannequin like torso for a man-boob hump, this would not be NBA basketball. AndOne and the Globetrotters are, like NBA players, entertainers, but not in the medium of competitive basketball. They play a different game which does not resonate as well as the League does.

Liberated fandom is about the joy we get from watching any number of players produce a transcendent play, performance or career. One can get a similar joy from watching a franchise perform in a transcendent manner as well. It takes more patience and certain franchises are more likely to achieve transcendence then others yet it brings us joy none the less. That is the game. That is fandom. Liberated fandom is the enjoyment of transcendent play from any player or any team, no matter the history, geography or who you might like to win.

Family is a different set of circumstances all together. No matter what you feel about your family, there was nothing random about who your family is as, if there was, you might have been born a chipmunk, a mollusk, or a Martian landscape. The core of who you are is forged over a period of millions of years and while any number of changes in the past would have nullified your existence, it does not make your existence random. It makes your existence a blessing. No matter how you feel about your family, you would not exist independent of them so there is nothing random about who you family is.

Your being Jewish is also not a random set of circumstances. The fact that your synagogue has lost all but the most trivial and individual tendrils of connection to your nostalgic Jewishness is because long before you came along, it had been actively seeking to be Humanist and Western, rather then Jewish. In contorting Jewish ideas, Jewish services and Jewish ways of life into those espoused at any given moment by Western "innovation", your shul went from Jewish to gymnast. So, ten or twenty years ago you may have been taught just enough to read a Torah portion to a congregation just once in your life. Today perhaps the kids in that synagogue are learning just enough to sing a "To everything, turn, turn, turn". The Jewishness you grew up with was consciously dismantling the defining principles of Judaism let it survive.

The richness of the NBA is that we have seen Earl the Pearl, Pistol Pete, Oscar, Magic, Deek, and Nash with an eye on the unfolding of Paul, Williams and Rose. I never saw Miken or Wilt but I got to watch Kareem and Shaq and the world is nearly right with the coming of Bynum. I always loved KG and Pierce and thought allot of Allen and his hairline but seeing them in green, and the Lakers come out in the short shorts, dug a depth to that game that the Lakers' performance could not match. I can't quite hate KG but I want to. When you forget history you forget the game.

When you stopped caring much about your Jewishness you did to your history what the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Persians, the Mohammedans or the Europeans could not do to your ancestors. You set yourself alone in the universe, simply a bundle of molecules creeping on the surface of a spinning rock having used all the massive abilities this bundle of molecules could alone harness and decided, this bundle and its simple proclivities are all the bundle will encompass. You have gone so far as to figure that this bundle of molecules is self sustained and self made at best, random at worst. Even if the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob hadn't existed, your ancestors did, and in the random places that your heart craves, you chose to analogize their existence to a game you suspect to be "the new irony". The following statement is the new sarcasm, "Well done".

 
At 1/03/2008 3:48 PM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

What do you mean "used to dress up"? That was like two years ago.

I've been trying to come up with a way of describing my personal way of viewing basketball, because I too feel stuck straddling the uncomfortable fence separating the two forms of fandom, and the best analogy I can think of, which is probably more than a little corny given the obviousness of this site's literary interests, is that I enjoy the game in a similar way to how I'd approach a novel or some other drama. My sympathy for the protagonist isn't fully arbitrary, but pulling for the hero because the author structured it so I would isn't exactly that complex. My appreciation of the story has to be tied in some way to my relationship to the protagonist, but to entirely chain my enjoyment to his fate would be irrational, as there is no guarantee of the author's mercifulness. The flaws and failures of the hero, while frustrating at times, can be every bit as interesting as his triumphs. Furthermore, my interest in secondary characters, while not necessarily prescribed, can be just as rewarding without having to conflict with my primary sympathies.

 
At 1/03/2008 4:25 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Well, first, I thought that bit about "the new irony" was pretty clearly a joke.

Maybe "random" wasn't the best word to use (thinking about it now, it's more like "it is what it is, so let's deal with it"), but I still think the idea holds. I know plenty of people who dislike most everything about their families (I'm not one of them), but that doesn't keep them from going home every Christmas and calling them every week. And I'm fucking furious with how the Giants are being run right now, but I'll keep going to games, wearing my hat, and supporting the team. My point was that these things generally contradict any value judgments we can make about them; they become sacred, in a way, and that's somehow enough.

I think you're either missing something about the temple analogy or I didn't explain it well enough. I definitely agree with what you say about the new group of kids there getting their own bastardized education; I would never claim that I got a pure one. I'm sure they'll return when they're my age and feel the same things, if there are more changes.

What I have trouble with is the insinuation that I somehow don't care about my Jewishness the history of it and my ancestors. I definitely don't care about the religious aspects (in regards to belief in a higher power, not to how that belief molded whatever exists now), but I thought my aversion to whatever changed at my temple would show that there's a very real connection there that I didn't want to lose. Maybe my Jewishness is more individual than it could be, but it's still tied up in the relationships I have with my grandparents, parents, brother, and Jewish friends. Put it this way: I never ran to Hillel as an undergrad, but that didn't mean that being Jewish couldn't serve as a point of connection with someone I was just getting to know.

There's also the issue of "experiencing" history vs. "Knowing" it, but that's a story for another time. I have a lot of trouble with the former -- frankly, I find it incredibly insulting to those who actually did experience those hardships. For instance, in my case, I'd never claim to "experience" the Holocaust just because my grandparents told me stories about it. But those stories absolutely strengthened my relationship to my family and conception of what it means to be Jewish. (I'm not saying you're

My point, I think, was that a connection like one to religion, family, or a team can eventually seem counterintuitive or counterproductive, but there are things to take from it that cannot be provided by a purely liberated (or secular, or whatever) view. So, in a way, I think we generally agree with each other. The trick, as I say at the end, is not to let one of these forms of fandom perform without a net. I would never want to become a basketballular reactionary, but I'd also never want to lose the long-term connections I have to the Warriors and Stanford.

I don't think what I'm about to say is a response to you directly, but here goes: I get really frustrated when people assume that believing that the world is mostly a series of man-made organizing systems somehow means that the world is meaningless. It's just that meaning becomes a more subjective quality, which in no way precludes individuals (and collectives) from forming intensely important, useful, and complicated systems of meaning.

 
At 1/03/2008 4:29 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

The unfinished parenthetical in the fifth paragraph of my last comment should read "I'm not sure which one of these types you are; I just wanted to get this out there."

 
At 1/03/2008 6:09 PM, Blogger Maxwell said...

Lobstah is traif. Discuss.

If your teams are the Card and the GSW, Mike Montgomery has played a monumental role in your existence. Discuss.

My long-term disappointment has been that, but for flickers of hope from Brevin and Childress, Cardinal players in the Association are SOFTBATCH. When I complained about this to a Duke alum, it came out that the only Blue Devils with rings are Danny Ferry (benchdweller for a recent Spurs team) and some dude from . . . the '75 Warriors. But that's a post for another time.

 
At 1/03/2008 6:26 PM, Blogger Jack Brown said...

I am a believer that when you can incorporate a photo of Chris Gaines into a blog entry, and it is generally accepted to the point of no reference by your readers, your authority is reaching new heights.

 
At 1/03/2008 6:53 PM, Blogger padraig said...

rizla lobster: are you for real, man? you're going to guilt-trip dude about this Jewishness or lack thereof over an FD post? I heard that same line from my grandma a bajillion times growing up and it rings just as hollow now as it did then. There's a difference between choosing to be secular and actively denying your heritage. And what business of it is yours anyway? I guess you weren't satisfied with harping away on the dangers of unfettered radical chic so you thought you'd heap on a dose of heavy-handed sermonizing about the dangers of creeping secularism interspersed with some dodgy forays into metaphysics. And, seriously, you're not even good at it - my crazy Orthodox convert Dad would scoff at your inept guiltmongering. What the fuck ever with that nonsense.

SML: I don't think it's really about that pursuit of some higher (or lower, depending on your views), purer ideal of interaction with basketball. I certainly hope not, b/c I can't imagine ever enjoying, for example, the hideous prospect of Ben Wallace at the free throw line. What separates out the FD philosophy of "liberated" fandom from your waves of Jordan Fans is the moral aspect. Those dudes who were rooting for Michael still wanted him to win, you know? They had a normal fan-team relationship with MJ serving as an entire squad. What I hear Shoals and Co. saying is that they don't feel constrained by the need to be loyal to anything beyond their own viewing interests.

I guess you could call it a more liberal application of Jordanism but that feels lacking, cause that ish was totally about a cult of personality, whereas this "liberated" fandom is definitely on much less sure footing. As in, not rooting for the Baron or Agent 0 the person, but the concept, the potential they represent, if that makes sense (it doesn't, I know). The Suns are the perfect example for me - I was, like mad dudes, all up on their jock when they burst out of nowhere - then they kinda lost me for a while (well, the hype surrounding them, actually) and now I'm back to pulling for Nash, but it's for different, entirely sentimental (as in I'd hate to see him endup as lame duck Marino type) reasons.

ps - my favorite part of Chris Gaines is undoubtedly his infinitely awesome soul patch. why are major league baseball players the only dudes rocking that post-grunge style these days (looking at you Nick Swisher)?

 
At 1/03/2008 7:07 PM, Blogger Maxwell said...

SML--I don't see the acknowledgment of basketball's inherent watchability as a nadir of any sort. I freely admit that watching even a decent pickup hoops game is compelling, at least for a few minutes, while I could not say this about any other sport. In practice, this doesn't mean that I hang out by the courts in Venice; I will, however, retain my prerogative to find rewards in any given NBA matchup.

 
At 1/03/2008 8:07 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

I think one of my best conversations with my mom involved her telling me she didn't care if I didn't believe in God anymore.

I was also a bit troubled by the "nadir" part of SML's comment, but I think pedraig and Maxwell said all there is to say.

Stanford is weird. I was actually a big UCLA fan until I went to college, at which point my allegiances immediately changed. Carter and I have talked about this several times before; he thinks that it has a lot to do with the fact that you pick your school, and I'm inclined to agree with him. There's also the issue of having your options determined by grades and extracurriculars, etc. I would have been perfectly happy going to UCLA, but I wasn't going to go there just because I liked the sports teams. I still root for them whenever they're not playing Stanford (uh, like tonight -- I actually have to leave for that), and if FD ever has a Classic Week (unlikely) I'll write about the Lavin era.

Todd Lichti is one other Stanford guy who could have had a legit NBA career if not for injuries. The two that really confuse me in their professional ineptness are the Collins twins; they were legitimately skilled offensive players in college. I guess it has something to do with an athleticism disadvantage, but you'd think they'd be able to do something worthwhile. I'm not sure yet about Brook Lopez; the skills are there but he looks mechanical a lot of the time. I thought the same thing about Channing Frye, though, and he looks like he'll have a solid career.

 
At 1/03/2008 8:48 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Somewhere way back in the archives, there's a photo of a Chris Gaines gold record on top of someone's toilet bowl. I think about that image at least once a month.

 
At 1/03/2008 9:18 PM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

In Lobstah's defense, Ty is a pretty horrible Jew. This past month we didn't sing the Dradel song once. Not once.

 
At 1/03/2008 9:39 PM, Blogger Maxwell said...

I saw Lichti reverse slam at Maples once. Ah, the 80's. Slightly more recently, Adam Keefe had a few decent minutes for the Jazz. Otherwise, I don't get why a school with a legit program can't attract/produce(/purchase?) one top level pro.

FD Horrible Jew List:
1. Ayn Rand
2. Paul Wolfowitz
3. Keenan

 
At 1/03/2008 10:09 PM, Blogger PhDribble said...

Really liking the convo, but I'm having trouble with something maxwell just said. I'm pretty sure Wolfowitz lit candles all 8 nights this year. Did Ty? I'm skeptical.

I would say.
FD Horrible Jew List should be:
1. Ayn Rand
2. Keenan
3. Wolfowitz

Me personally, I can just feel the HJL points adding up everytime my eyes glimpse over to the left paged transliteration during services. That being said, the last time I was at services was, I think, a couple of Yom Yoms ago, and I'm an awesome Jew.

 
At 1/03/2008 10:15 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I doubt Ty is a "horrible Jew" in the same way I meant Ayn Rand was one. I hope not. Though she was also "horrible" in the way Ty is.

 
At 1/03/2008 10:16 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Or wait, is that the joke going on here?

 
At 1/03/2008 11:35 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

TK-

I'm still constructing a fuller response to your comments one unclear sentence is making it difficult for me.

"My point, I think, was that a connection like one to religion, family, or a team can eventually seem counterintuitive or counterproductive, but there are things to take from it that cannot be provided by a purely liberated (or secular, or whatever) view."

Are secular views more liberated then the non-secular or were liberated, secular, and whatever three different views?

Pedraig,

Try reading as much about Judaism as you do about your alphabet soup revolutionaries and you might know there is no difference between being a secular Jew and denying a Jewish heritage.

You hide behind the game if you think this isn't a forum discussing serious issues, whatever the original irreverent intention.
I'll admit my writing has gotten uptight and heavy handed but give me time P, I'll loosen up.

Where does Gabe Kaplan fit on the horrible Jew List?

 
At 1/04/2008 12:02 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Good feedback. I'm loving it, and I appreciate it guys... I agree with Maxwell, and would add that I could watch a pickup soccer game, too. Football, baseball... not as enjoyable (unless drunk and in social company), but basketball and soccer are inherently fun to watch, in any context.

I've said this before, but I started watching the Premiership only after Tevez (and Javier) got absorbed by West Ham. I rooted for West Ham for those reasons, and now I root for Man U. And Liverpool. And even West Ham, out of routine. More relevantly, I watch random games (Chelsea-Everton), and root for... something interesting. Something spectacular.

Is that really "liberated fandom"? Just rooting for something great, something fun (like flipping a random baseball game, and hoping to catch a no-hitter or perfect game)? Or is "liberated fandom" like finding the value in the most random thing, like flipping on a Cards-Cubs game, and enjoying a Pujols walk, or (more FD) a Carlos Zambrano homer?

My impression is that the latter is closer to the definition, and therefore its closer to my initial opinion that it is star-based, only combined with style. i.e. If you watched a game, rooting for a Jordan dunk, not caring about anything else... you are a liberated fan. Which means you allegiance is not to a team (and therefore a final result), but to a player, or players. And therefore an individual result, like a HR/balk/SB, or the basketball equivalent (A dunk. A great pass, like Isiah's bounce pass alley-oop from half court. Iceman's finger roll. Shaq breaking the backboard. Et al....)

 
At 1/04/2008 12:04 AM, Blogger T. said...

As a Cal grad, I do harbour hate in my heart for Stanford. But everyone's right, it's because I didn't get in.

Here is the list of Stanford athletes I allow myself to like:

1. John McEnroe
2. Summer Sanders
3. Mad Dog
4. Tiger Woods
5. Todd Lichti

Least favorite Stanford player ever:

1. Brevin Knight

 
At 1/04/2008 1:50 AM, Blogger padraig said...

sml - that's almost like a koan man - some albert pujols breaks up a perfect game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a HR ish. but can't we have both? I like the way this has shifted into an existential problem of one's liberated fan existence coming into being by transcending the intangible, irrational qualities of traditional fandom.

lobster - theodor herzl, moshe dayan, golda meir, ben-gurion, etc. the secular or, in your vernacular, self-denying jews who brought you, for better or worse, the state of israel - which was largely created by the socialist zionists who dominated the pre-1948 haganah, trade unions & kibbutzim and who hewed dangerously close to being dreaded "alphabet soup revolutionaries". that's what always gets me about religious cats who pretend to have some kind of faux moral authority over less observant jews - even my dad, who is Modern Orthodox and a Shas supporter, would complain to me every time he visited the States about the Haredi cats who want to criticize the state and live off it for free at the same time. that sense of entitlement is what kills me. I respect religious cats fully and far be it from me (unlike yourself) to tell anyone how to live - I just don't believe in organized religion, period. if that makes me a self-denying jew in your eyes I guess I'll just have it live with that horrible burden. if it makes you feel better I'm also whole-heartedly ignoring the other side of the family's Catholicism.

yet more bad jews
1. lou reed
2. the beastie boys - for everything since paul's boutique
3. madonna's crazy wanna-be kabbalah toting ass

 
At 1/04/2008 2:03 AM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

SML--appropriate you mentioned pickup soccer. In his first (and probably best) book, Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby said something to the effect that he would watch any soccer, at any time, in any weather. Which I thought was insane but then realized was essentially how I felt about basketball (minus the weather. Nobody hoops in the rain, and if they do, I ain't watching).

Padraig--damn. I started with an offhand remark lumping Keenan in with the neocons and suddenly we're defaming Lou Reed. I'm not saying he celebrates Sukkot, but come on now. Listen to the Quine Tapes or something.

 
At 1/04/2008 2:05 AM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

I also post as Maxwell. Deal with it.

 
At 1/04/2008 2:13 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

T, how can you not like Brevin? Quick point guards without jumpers are my favorite kind of player. And I think I've told you before that Cal players are some of my favorite athletes. I have nothing but love for this year's team, outside of Braun. (Congrats on the big win tonight, by the way. As for Stanford, it turns out UCLA is pretty good. And people here who don't watch college should remember the name "Russell Westbrook.")

Let me just say that I think it's hilarious that this comments section has turned into analysis of how horrible a Jew I am. (Also, I should clarify that I go to high holy day services every year; I just hadn't been back to this temple in a while. So looks like PhD might need to slide onto that list, too.)

Lobstah, I don't know if this answers your question correctly, but I was using those three terms interchangeably. Also, like padraig, I might just have to live with your displeasure. All I hope is that you think I can still be a good person while being a horrible Jew.

Carter, learn how to spell transliterated Hebrew words. We write "dreidel."

This whole discussion makes me want to go to Shabbat services tomorrow night.

Oh wait, I just ate a cheeseburger. I can't win.

 
At 1/04/2008 2:26 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Not sure if I consider Lou Reed a "bad jew," but I did think he was Catholic for a long time.

 
At 1/04/2008 2:46 AM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

Pedraig

I didn't tell anyone how to live. Its a discussion mate, not a trial.

Just about anyone who is given things for free has a sense of entitlement. Thats the problem with socialized anything.

I didn't say I was religious, nor did I say that religious Jews have moral authority. The highest scholars within the traditional community have authority over Jewish life. That is different from moral authority.

We may yet see the folly of a secular Israel. You are right. Most of the folk who directly birthed the new State of Israel were socialist. How much do you know about the Israeli economy until it began to privatize in the eighties?

You know full well that when speaking of "revolutionary" movements the issue at hand was a sort of reverence given to movements whose purpose was to be a movement. We talk about revolutionaries in the Leftist sense and, as direct decedents of the early Protestants, you begin to engage in ideas like communal property, communal woman and ultimately a paradise on Earth wrought by violence on the entrenched elite and anyone who has individual predilections. This does not describe the activities of Ben-Gurion, Dayan, Meir, Eshkol or Hertzl.

More Horrible Jews
Doron Sheffer
Dana International
Shabbeti Zevi

 
At 1/04/2008 5:51 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

"Otherwise, I don't get why a school with a legit program can't attract/produce(/purchase?) one top level pro."

The problem is admissions standards, which is almost becoming an automatic excuse (and therefore counterproductive) for most of the athletic problems on the Farm. The fact remains that the players who tend to succeed in the NBA (i.e. really athletic dudes who only care about basketball) usually don't work hard enough in school to get in here (standard admissions requirements for athletes are something around 3.6 [with respectable classes] and 1100 on the old SAT, give or take a few points depending on circumstances). Brevin was a fluke recruit -- no one thought he'd be as good as he was -- and Childress came here in large part because Lavin was at UCLA (and you could make the same argument for the Collins twins).

It's also a self-sustaining cycle, because admissions standards made it so Montgomery had to plan around getting guys who weren't as athletic as those at top schools. The system became rigid and based around fundamentals, so top recruits knew they weren't going to be given a ton of freedom. Trent Johnson has loosened the system up a bit, but it's caused some grumbling from the boosters because a lot of the current players just aren't quick enough to break guys down off the dribble.

And with all this negativity in the air, let me just say that Tamir Goodman is an amazing Jew.

 
At 1/04/2008 10:15 AM, Blogger Josh said...

I'm kind of new to this topic, but if liberated fandom is so great, then why is the All-Star game so wretched? Obviously, the players choose to exhibit their skills in a different way, due to the situation-- like a previous comment about And-1 or the Globetrotters.

But perhaps the shortcomings of other players bring out the liberation. Certain circumstances (like L. Hughes' et. al ineptness) cause greatness from James. The supporting cast of a team is still needed just to show how great a few really are.

 
At 1/04/2008 11:45 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Casey Jacobsen would die to be the third wheel with these two: (www.kirilenko.ru/photo/1/147_big.jpg) instead they lumber the larger twin around. Not sure if I prefer Lou as a gay Catholic or a hetero Jew, but he is the keynote at SXSW this year. When Adam Keefe was with the Jazz it seemed like he was always bleeding … from the face. Remember erudite Rich Kelley from Stanford? The Jazz traded bad Jew (at least in comparison to father Dolph) Danny Schayes for him.

 
At 1/04/2008 2:22 PM, Blogger T. said...

Ty - my Brevin hatred has to do with his repeated trashtalking with our student section (in which I spent a good .. oh 8% of my hours at Cal - it's the same reason that I will forever loath Jason Terry, Matt Barnes and Reggie Geary). I believe the flow of dislike in Cal/Stanford is only one way. All my Stanford friends think Berkeley is a cool place to go for a day trip and hang out. All of us Cal people think Stanford is the gateway to Hell.

Where does Amit Tamir rank on the good/bad Jew list?

 
At 1/04/2008 2:35 PM, Blogger Maxwell said...

As a contributor to the NCAA threadjack, let me note that I watched 1/2 of UCLA-Stanford last night and it completely reaffirmed my preference for the pros. The NBA pace is infinitely more enjoyable for me.

Keenan--are the academic standards that much lower at Duke and Georgetown? That isn't rhetorical--I genuinely don't know if there's a significant difference.

 
At 1/04/2008 3:31 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

"Keenan--are the academic standards that much lower at Duke and Georgetown? That isn't rhetorical--I genuinely don't know if there's a significant difference."

Pretty much. I'm not sure exactly what the situation is at Georgetown, but there is enough of a difference to make it significant. Duke has basically launched the best PR campaign ever. Coach K has something like two or three special dispensations per year, which, for those who don't follow recruiting, is the majority of a standard recruiting class. For point of reference, Sean Dockery barely qualified as a freshman. I should add that Stanford's standards are generally returning to those of its late 90s/early 00s heyday, but the best recruits then were still big men and Casey Jacobsen.

The pro game is definitely a better product, but I do think there's a lot of great stuff in college. I think part of the problem is that it's too often read in terms of the NBA, so lots of exciting players who don't have a chance at the NBA fall through the cracks.

T, I am actually going to Berkeley this afternoon to meet up with some friends. If Stanford were in Berkeley the school would be much better.

 
At 1/04/2008 4:03 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

OK, Ty, love the essay but Sean Dockery? Is that the best that you can do? Link? I am a Duke alum, class of '92 (same as Laettner the machosensual) and we all knew that there were one or two basketball players who had been "exempted" per year but that was back when kids could still buy themselves into Duke. Dean Smith supposedly said that J.R. Reid and Scott Williams (or was it Jimmy Black?) had higher SAT scores than sister Christian and someone else (Ferry? Hurley?), but is any of it true or is it apochryphal? If it's true why does the football program suck so bad? Basketball is finally bouncing back but they've been circling the drain too.

Boy, I have certainly dated and stained myself today, eh?

 
At 1/04/2008 4:48 PM, Blogger Maxwell said...

I like this special dispensation concept. In basketball, one per year would be enough to make a real difference (football would require several). Get on that shit, Stanford.

Welk, I too finished college in '92 and join you in oldness. Back then Duke grads were pasty and ineffectual in the Association and Stanford won the NIT. Times change, sometimes for the better. Now y'all are cranking out your Brands, your Dengs, your Boozers (plus Grant Hill has entered his Roy Hobbs phase), so I reiterate my request for one Stanford player of NBA weight.

 
At 1/04/2008 5:23 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Dockery stories:
http://nbadraft.rivals.com/content.asp?cid=531404
http://web.archive.org/web/20021009110012/http://www.illiniboard.com/recruiting/player.php?ID=2

I didn't bring that up to disparage Duke in any way, because it's clear to me that an athlete can barely get into a school and still succeed and graduate. And Duke obviously attracts plenty of good students who are damn good at basketball. My impression is that football hasn't earned the dispensations yet. That sport is also an entirely different beast because you need tens of good players, not just two or three. Stanford, for instance, has produced a lot of decent NFL players during the program's worst stretch in years.

 
At 1/04/2008 5:23 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Dockery stories:
http://nbadraft.rivals.com/content.asp?cid=531404
http://web.archive.org/web/20021009110012/http://www.illiniboard.com/recruiting/player.php?ID=2

I didn't bring that up to disparage Duke in any way, because it's clear to me that an athlete can barely get into a school and still succeed and graduate. And Duke obviously attracts plenty of good students who are damn good at basketball. My impression is that football hasn't earned the dispensations yet. That sport is also an entirely different beast because you need tens of good players, not just two or three. Stanford, for instance, has produced a lot of decent NFL players during the program's worst stretch in years.

 
At 1/04/2008 7:25 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Wow, only 15 on his SAT? That is low. J/K. Good find.

P.S. The Duke LAX players are guilty!

 
At 1/04/2008 11:04 PM, Blogger Coconut Pete said...

T - You are a terrible representative for the Cal nation, save the fact that you actually went to games when you were a student.

Three reasons I feel perfectly comfortable writing this as a fellow Cal alum (if you really did graduate):

1. I'd estimate that 10% of my friends at Cal also applied to Stanford for their undergrad. You have an inferiority complex most other Cal alums do not harbor. Do you think most UNC fans hate Duke because they didn't get in?

2. You like Mark Madsen. That's an absolute travishamockery. Why don't you just go home, rip a bowl with Todd Bozeman, and call me when Tedford hires Gilbie to be the new OC.

3. The "rivalry" should be characterized as mostly good natured, but certainly two-way. I spent several years at an old job debating with an alum of the other school which school had better and worse looking women. In the end, I think Alien vs. Predator stole our conclusion for their tag line, "Whoever wins, we lose." But saying "All my Stanford friends think Berkeley is a cool place to go for a day trip and hang out" proves nothing. Everyone but Huckabee's base thinks Berkeley is a cool place to hang out. But go to an actual Cal @ Stanford game and you feel the hate, especially among the undergrads at Stanford, who think they're the sh-- despite the fact they cannot tell the difference between zone and man D or find the g-spot.

Readers of Free Darko, understand that Ty is an absolute anomaly, most people who did their undergrad there are pretty awful when it comes to actually being a knowledgeable fan. And most of them definitely hate Cal, or at least try to.

Ty - You are an awesome rep for the Stanford nation, and you should notify me when new posts are up. If I didn't just spend the last two plus hours before the War's game finding any piece of internet content that mildly amused me, I might have missed a debate on how bad of a Jew you really are. My two shekels, as a fellow Tribesman, is that it's American Jewish tradition to pretty much reject it outright from two weeks after your bar mitzvah until two months into your wife's new pregnancy.

 
At 1/05/2008 12:37 AM, Blogger MaxwellDemon said...

Pete, Berkeley is cool and all, but I don't think I appreciated it until I was older. As an undergrad I thought it was like colonial Williamsburg, and somebody was paying people to dress up like it was '67 and give the place atmosphere. Stanford itself is quite nice--Palo Alto is the problem. Not a lot to love.

The one time I was really jealous of Cal was when Kidd committed to play there. Big jerk.

 
At 1/05/2008 11:57 AM, Blogger T. said...

CP -

If I really did graduate? Sheesh.

1. I'd estimate that approximately 60% of my Cal friends applied to Stanford - and about 10% got in. Different circles I guess.

2. Mad Dog and I have a personal history outside of the Cal-Stanford thing. He did some work with me on a project when he was with the Lakers - turned out to be a really good guy.

3. Sorry, I just don't feel the same hatred from Stanford alums as we Cal alums have towards the Farm. Example - here in Shanghai where I currently live, we had a gathering of about 20 Cal alums to watch this year's awful excuse for the Big Game. I know people who STILL (10-15 years later) will not own any red articles of clothing. The 6 or 7 Stanford alums I know in Shanghai's response . . "Oh, the Big Game is this weekend?" - You might make the argument that it was the team's respective records, but I was able to gather alums to watch Big Games in Holmoe years in Hong Kong. No Stanford alum I know (and this is all my personal experience) cares like we do/did at Cal. I think it's just different social circles - but all the Cal people I know bleed blue and gold, all the Stanford people I know may own one Stanford sweatshirt they wear on occasional weekends.

T. Cal '96. and I've been to basketball and football games every year since despite living in Hong Kong, Houston and Shanghai. You may disagree with me, but there's no way I'm a terrible rep for the Cal nation.

 

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