Each Day Is a Lifetime, 8.18.08

-LA Times reminds us that manners, not winning, are what the Redeem Team is all about.(BS)

-Simmons once said that David West was so underrated, he was soon going to be overrated. Does this mean that FOX feels Shane Battier is such a divinely modest role player that he's actually a spoiled superstar? (BS)

-I'm not exactly an expert in African-American male grooming practices, but I've got to say, some members of Team USA were looking conspicuously unkempt in the hair department this weekend. We're talking about a sport where, because of the uniform, players want to look fresh and clean whenever they take the court. Plenty of them get daily cuts, and/or employ their own personal barbers—to say nothing of the braid-maintenance necessary to be Carmelo Anthony or Allen Iverson. So why, in front of the biggest audience imaginable, does Chris Paul have an uneven, frizzy hairline and a mustache that resembles my "three weeks and it's all I've got" efforts? Deron Williams's cowlick-ed hair, and scrawny beard-strip thing that's totally 7-11? And that Tayshaun Prince reminds me of one of those farmer's market acquisitions you can't make sense of when you find it in the fridge two days later. I wouldn't be surprised if no one in China knows how to cut black hair, but it's kind of fucked up that the Olympic Village seems incapable of furnishing this simple courtesy. I've decided that Wade's shaved head was a preemptive strike against these difficulties, not a BACK statement like Vince's 2000 mini-fro. (BS)

UPDATE: Ziller says Tayshaun got a haircut.

-Can someone explain to me why lush, sensual FanHouse Fantasy Football is running ads on TPM? (BS)

-You know who really loves style? The U.S. Army:

Seriously, I have no idea how that makes any sense as a recruiting pitch. Maybe for one of those Third World militias where everyone gets to dress funny. (BS)

-Blah blah blah, Ben Gordon has played his last game as a Bull. I just don't get why people care about this guy. Fine, his shot is nice, and he can go bonkers in the fourth. But he's a very good second-tier player, not a limited star. He's got "Knicks" written all over him, and I'd take Jamal Crawford over him any day of the week. (BS)

-To me, this is a microcosm of what's so fucked up about race and patriotism. This shows how it comes out in Team USA (where's Iverson at?), and of course, this election is rife with it. I think we all know that, for Americans who have at various times felt somewhat alienated from their country, coming to love it is a struggle, or at very least a complicated process. Shouldn't that make it more authentic than someone born into it, for whom there's never been any question, or possibility of disjuncture? Especially when, with Bush and McCain, the process of going from a fuck-up to a responsible adult (whether through God or torture) strengthens their narrative. It's like Collinsworth, whom I actually like, is trying to bait Kobe into admitting that patriotism is a costume he's trying on, an old-fashioned, hokey one that doesn't jive with him. Like the very act of discovering how much you love this country, which has been part of the Redeem Team's energy, cheapens patriotism. Certainly, it can't measure up to the unflinching, immanent goodness of those who have always been close to the bosom of the Homeland. And yet Obama's lifetime of success has nothing on politicians who need to be shocked into becoming adults. (BS)

Carter Blanchard: Maybe I'm just being too much of an apologist for the other side lately (I just spent a couple days trying to convince my dad that the vast majority of McCain's gaffes are completely benign), but I really don't take this as a shot at Kobe. I mean with the "historically" bit there's clearly the suggestion that not being raised here means your love of country has to be proven before we can be 100% you're not a spy, but that has way more to do with his international-ness than his skin color I think. And the part that people seem to be going to arms over, the "cool" line, reads to me much more like a shot at young anti-Bushites that inexplicably don't have flags sticking out of their ears and asses rather than anything aimed at Kobe specifically. There's obviously fucked-upness embedded in it, but I'm not sure it's quite as bad as you and others have been suggesting.

BS: I don't think it's a shot at Kobe per se, but it does sound a lot like Collinsworth is trying to find a fissure, even welcoming one. Like "come on man, you can't be serious, this is so square." It has as much to do with his needs and expectations as it does Kobe's actual feelings. And really, do you see Michael Phelps getting asked questions like this? It's that whole question of what it means that America's highest-profile athletes, aside from Phelps, are black people who, in this country, some large amount of the population still links with hip-hop and thugs.

Brown Recluse: Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I get the sick feeling he's using Kobe as a proxy for Obama--he spent his formative years overseas, he's well-spoken, he's black, he's cool, he inspires mass adulation, etc. Actually, do people of Collinsworth's generation hold family, faith, and fidelity dear? He grew up in the 70s, which I guess could be post-hippie nihilistic or Silent/Moral Majority, depending on who you are. That he was a football player from Florida (Go Astronaut High!) probably cuts in favor of the latter, so maybe you're right.

CB: I think you'd get a similar response if a youngish person was going on about how important family, faith, or fidelity was to him. As in, this is much more about Cris's generation gap and assuming automatically that anyone below the age of 40 pisses on the the things his wizened generation holds dear. Although I suppose I have to concede that the surprise would only be increased if the young person also happened to black, which I guess proves your point that there's definitely a racial component to it too.

BS: And incidentally, how is it that playing for Team USA (whether you're Chris Kaman or a no-show) and not playing for Team USA can both call your patriotism into question?

CB: Now that I've had some driving to think about it, you guys are totally right, that question is completely: "Wait a second, I thought Michelle never felt pride and Barrack wouldn't say the pledge. When did flag-waving become hip again?"

BS: Fuck the police.



At 8/18/2008 2:42 PM, Blogger El Presidente said...

That first picture reminds me of this.
I gut-laugh every time I see it.

At 8/18/2008 2:53 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

It's odd, because for many other countries, this type of competition is pretty much the only time you can get away with blatant, robust nationalism. I remember during Euros somebody said that if a Spanish or German dude were to walk down the street dressed in national colors, or flying flags all over the place, it would be sorta anathema, except in that context. Maybe Obama and Kobe, in that regard, are actually two peas in a pod. Patriotism isn't really cool anywhere else.

Oh and off topic: This site is like some mutant wordless version of FD. Like if Shoals had a left-sided stroke and unleashed his frustration in a torrent of semi-obscene pictures.

At 8/18/2008 3:18 PM, Blogger Rjcc said...

lets not forget collinsworth is the guy for whom seeing randy moss rub his fully clothed (albeit in the man-tights all nfl players wear) buttocks against a goal post was the MOST DISGUSTING THING HE HAD EVER SEEN.

At 8/18/2008 3:26 PM, Blogger Pants Wearer said...


that was Joe Buck.

The first time on comment on this fantastic site and it's a mealymouthed correction? I want to slap myself. Then I want to slap Joe Buck.

At 8/18/2008 3:39 PM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

The fact that that site's called tofutti break just made my week.

Also, the real reason Phelps doesn't get those questions is because he eats grits.

At 8/18/2008 4:10 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Did he grow up eating grits? Is his mom from the south, or is this another case of weird Baltimore hybrid southernism? And besides football players and that one golfer, are there any elite white american athletes with honest southern drawls?

At 8/18/2008 4:22 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

Phelps doesn't eat grits, he eats everything, and then he eats some more. Then he swims for 4 hours, goes home, and begins his real workout: eating the entire state of Maryland.

Did you see the "special" on Phelps's meals?

At 8/18/2008 4:31 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Whoever imagineered that site deserves a medal.

At 8/18/2008 4:45 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I go on Tofutti breaks all the time. Whoever is behind that sight owes me some royalties.

NBA players look unkempt in China because they likely didn't bring their barber with them. Generally the barber tends to be a member of the player's entourage... few players, if any, actually go out to barbershops to get cuts. Save for Paco Garcia of the Kings, of course....

At 8/18/2008 4:56 PM, Blogger Grant said...

It's strange because, naively, the question Collinsworth asks is a variation of one I've wanted to ask every American athlete, Michael Phelps included, who starts spewing patriotism, i.e. Really?

I find almost every interview where an American athlete says how much they love America to be inauthentic.

However, I guess the bigger issue here is that this question was asked to Kobe and not to Phelps. Yes, the racism here makes me sick.

At 8/18/2008 5:06 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

SML--I know, I said that. And I know that no one's about to pull a Dalembert and bring their entourage with them (KIDDING). But given how many people watch the Olympics, and how many African-Americans there are competing, and the fact that at least the NBA'ers there are all about haircuts all the time. . . there's really no room the Olympic budget for a decent barber? Is this some sort of weird Colangelo mindfuck?

At 8/18/2008 5:10 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I think I said this a few weeks back, but it bears repeating: Who has more reason to love America than NBA players? It's the whole I AM THE AMERICAN DREAM thing. I guess that makes people more uncomfortable than pinning it on Phelps, who overcame the hardship of being teased about his torso to become famous for two summers.

And yes, I know Kobe screw this up somewhat by coming from privilege.

At 8/18/2008 5:54 PM, Blogger Bren said...

Maybe it's just that I hang out with a lot of goofy privileged white dudes, but I get the feeling that Collinsworth is more deferential than offensive with the whole "is it cool?" thing. Like, "I'm just a goofy white dude whose privilege has relieved me of much concern over what's 'cool.' But you're a wealthy black guy, which is pretty much the coolest thing ever now-a-days. Your people did the jazz and rock n' roll, right? and this rap music, those straight billed baseball caps, etc"

What struck me as fucked up was the historically comment, especially in light of the well-noted Barack/Michelle patriotism baiting, because, "historically," black people have a lot of reasons not to be patriotic. But as soon as anyone says that, it's over.

Could just be the Italian childhood though.

At 8/18/2008 8:34 PM, Blogger T. said...

(insider alert)

When the US team was in Shanghai, I happened to be backstage at a reception before the game and ran into one of the player relations staff working for USAB who kind of knew me - she asked to see if I knew anyone in Shanghai who could braid black hair. "Are there any African communities? Just one African barber will do."

China has 3 cities with sizable African communities - Guangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing - we told her we could get someone in one of those three cities - and she said "no, we got Beijing covered - it's just here in Shanghai we need someone"

(/insider alert)

As for Wade, I distinctly remember one newspaper story from Macau or Shanghai that said he shaved his head because he didn't want a barber he didn't know to touch his hair and it was easier to shave for 3 weeks.

At 8/18/2008 8:37 PM, Blogger SJ said...

I had the article but D-Wade definitely said that he shaved his head bald because he wasn't letting anyone cut it in China. I think he actually mentioned Vince and his mini-fro as a reason why he shaved it bald. (OT: Mini-Fro Vince was a beast). I'm surprised more players didn't get their cut super low before they left. Melo has always looked haggard though.

At 8/18/2008 9:25 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

I wouldn't consider Collinsworth as emblematic of American concerns. While the MSM has the capacity to effect our views of ourselves, as Americans, it often finds itself at odds with those watching. Its not as if most people watch reality shows because they relate to those on the show. Many watch so they can internally punish the folk on TV for acting like whatever fuckwad thy are acting like on the set. The questions about Obama's patriotism is a little more significant and, unlike Kobe, carries water in more then one jug.

The dude sat in a church while its pastor said, "God damn America". I know nothing about Kobe's politics or worship. Obama's wife said she was never proud of America while an adult until she (through her husband) saw a real hope to change it. Kobe is simply out to get as much money and sports significance as he can. Obama was raised in countries with some very serious anti-American attitudes. Kobe was raised in a country far less anti-American then Indonesia. Obama's father was a socialist. His mentors, according to his own auto-biography, were socialists. Kobe's father was a basketball player and his mentors were basketball players and coaches. I don't know his politics but I doubt Del Harris is a socialist. Obama tends to contextualize himself as an citizen of the world rather then as an American. Kobe is not running to be President of Americana. Obama worked closely with a man who is radical anti-establishment and has bombed federal property. He appeals to folk like you who, from my guesswork, would not consider themselves very patriotic. Kobe worked with a guy who fancies himself a law enforcement agent and enjoys making Kobe taste his ass.

I am guessing that many of you who will vote Obama would be proud of your independence of patriotism. I'll eat those words if I'm wrong but I would appreciate a fair response to that point and you don't even need to share it publicly. Just look and see what you have in your heart. Personally, I think Obama would do what is bad for America if he thought that overall his actions would be better for mankind. That is not what many people want from their President and that is considered unpatriotic. As for Kobe, any lack of patriotism is anecdotal. He won't effect American policies. Equating that question of patriotism asked of a man who plays a sport for his country with another man who is trying to become as influential in his country as any man can be (coupled with the many strange confluences of anti-patriotic possibilities) is discombobulating.

At 8/18/2008 9:37 PM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

I was wondering what was taking Lobstah so long to jump in on a post with both Obama AND patriotism mentions.

At 8/18/2008 9:42 PM, Blogger Dan Filowitz said...

I always knew the Hawaiians secretly hated all the mainland Americans. Thanks for confirming, Lobstah.

The Collinsworth thing looks more like a 'young people today don't think patriotism is cool' thing than racial.

Phelps wouldn't get asked, because Phelps is obviously a dork. But I wonder if one of the BMX guys or the snowboarders in the winter games started getting sincere about patriotism would they get asked a 'is it really cool to love your country' question.

At 8/18/2008 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I think Obama would do what is bad for America if he thought that overall his actions would be better for mankind.

Seeing as how a huge chunk of the world will enjoy making our bankrupt, jobless selves taste their ass the rest of this century, that's got to be a good thing. Better to start repairing relationships while we still can.

At 8/18/2008 10:02 PM, Blogger Jason Gill said...

Lobstah- The patriotism you are appealing to in criticizing Obama is far more a defense of a certain strain of American politics against what are perceived to be 'anti-american' politics by your ilk. For instance there is nothing un-patriotic about socialism or professing views that the establishment is out for a certain subpopulation (re: Wright).

As for your statements about Italy and Indonesia I'm not so certain that its as cut and dry as all of that, and it wouldn't be extraordinary if Kobe faced alot of teasing and backlash due to his heritage while growing up abroad(both parts of being AA).

As for the final points made regarding a president doing what is wrong for America and doing what is right for mankind, this really brings us back to the first point. To get political about it: it was certainly in "America's" interest to invade Iraq, there were considerable geopolitical and economic incentives to do so. Most of the benefits, however, would not (and aren't) be reaped by the average American while mankind (read thousands of civilians) surely suffered. I don't know that this is precisely what you had in mind, but I personally opposed the invasion while understanding that we were going in there to control our oil destiny. This has no bearing on my patriotism.

What people with your point of view need to understand is that loving this country, and loving the current political climate of this country are very different things. I was in Greece a few weeks back (about as anti-American as the 'West' gets) and had countless conversations where I agreed with them about alot of their criticisms of the US, but would always defend my people (Kansans no less) and the beauty of this country. I don't flout my patriotism for advantage, as is done by many people such as yourself, and I for one would rather see someone like Obama (who has a concern for mankind -Oh the horror!!) as president than McCain, who by all indications would have started two wars in the past 10 months (Iran and Georgia) in the name of jingoism.

As for Kobe, Collinsworth and myself would both be surprised if his patriotism is the same as yours.

/and one last thing for the moderators: you should try to swing this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7567692.stm

At 8/18/2008 10:06 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

Someone should ask Phelps if he goes to a diner in Fells Point and eats the entire left side of the menu. I wonder if he and Melo have bonded over Old Bay and the like.

A President wearing a flag lapel pin is like a dude who wears the Skynyrd T-shirt to the Skynyrd concert. Way to make a statement--pussy. And yet that counts as patriotism. The former, not the latter, although Skynyrd is pretty American.

Salt Bagel, that site has blown my mind and will continue to do so. Bonus points for the Mr. Show reference.

At 8/18/2008 10:31 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

You know what was awesome? When T. gave us the inside scoop on the Team USA hair situation.

At 8/18/2008 10:35 PM, Blogger ItTakesAThiefToCatchAThief said...

Anyone else think J-Smoove, AK-47, or Marion could do what Phelps does?

8 Gold Medals. I get it. And I'm not impressed.

What's swimming? What Is IT?

At 8/18/2008 10:54 PM, Blogger Jason Gill said...

Well, Chad Johnson certainly thinks he can beat Phelps (go to 4:18)

At 8/19/2008 2:49 AM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

You think that's clever? If Kobe qualifies as having been raised in Italy then Obama qualifies as having been raised in Indonesia.

"Seeing as how a huge chunk of the world will enjoy making our bankrupt, jobless selves taste their ass the rest of this century, that's got to be a good thing."

--- Right, and they all wanted us to keep our jobs and remain financially dominant before the wars. Have you actually looked at our unemployment rates? France, Germany, the UK, etc... would love our %. Did the fact that American individuals voluntarily give away much more in % of GDP of our wealth to worldwide charity really make the world love us? Does it keep the world, including its favorite citizen, from expecting that we be legislated to give charity? Was Kyoto an attack against America that predates our wars or was it after? There are plenty of good points and swell arguments that indicate that anti-Americanism predates our "Imperial" methods. Did the Food for Oil scam not convince you that France and Russia were attacking American interests before our "Imperial" methods. Can we add the UN to the list before or after the "unilateral" methods (which btw was only unilateral if unilateral means without UN support. We had far too many allies in on Iraq to qualify for the prefix uni-). Many in the world were against us before the wars and before Bush.

Right, I only perceive it as anti-American. Blaming us for the worlds problems is just a perception. Every one of his speeches is marked by absurd criticism of America and how its hope lies in a future he will lead us to. It is unpatriotic when the support for socialism comes at the expense of the general welfare of the country. Universal healthcare, green taxes and the world poverty tax are designed to give the bureaucrats control over you and your actions. When the perception that that establishment has it against a subpopulation is clearly false then it is malicious and anti-American.

So tell me how removing a man from power, whose country controls a huge chunk of the world's petroleum, who was breaking his cease-fire agreement, who was illegally circumventing the Food for Oil agreement, who had capacity and will to make weapons of mass destruction that could have been ready in less then 2 weeks (he had the chemicals, the scientists, and the facilities and we just months ago found barrels full of tons of yellow-cake in Iraq), who had shown the will to use it and the capacity to pass it on to others who would as well, how was removing him not good for the average American? How is making an ally right in the middle of the most anti-American part of the world not good for the average American?

Being against the war is not unpatriotic. Continuing that opposition once we are in that war and working towards our surrender is.

You don't know me so framing me in an ilk and saying that I flout my patriotism for my advantage (although patriotism that has no advantage is worthless) is a leap of faith on your part.

Kevin Love me some Scoop Jackson.

At 8/19/2008 11:20 AM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

@lobstah--continued opposition to the war is unpatriotic? Speaking as a veteran, and thus a great hero/patriot, that logic is fucked.

At 8/19/2008 12:36 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

1st off, thank you for your service. Second, your service does not qualify for logic. If I said that Andrew Bogut is overpaid and you said, "I'm an accountant so I know that's not true", it wouldn't be a great argument either.

At 8/19/2008 4:34 PM, Blogger Jason Gill said...

Just a quick note as I understand that this is not the proper forum for these posts.

Lobstah- I'm grouping you with your ilk regarding this discussion, not toothpaste preference or hair color, so I have every right.

Opposing a war while it is ongoing is not an opposition of patriotism; there are hundreds if not thousands of troops in Iraq right now who oppose the war and they should certainly be classified as patriots for their service, far more than you or president Bush.

No one who is informed would suggest that the American mainland, and hence the average American was threatened by Saddam. And in fact, Bush himself has reneged on the claim that Iraq had ties to Al-qaeda. Also, prior to the invasion Saddam was on record as claiming that his unwillingness to admit to his dearth of military power was to prevent an invasion from Iran. Iraq and its government is now the largest ally of Iran (not the US) in the Middle East. If you don't believe that than go look up recent quotes from officials in the present Iraqi government.

You have no right to claim that this government has not pursued policies negatively targeting subpopulations: think Japanese American concentration camp during WWII, the red scare during the cold war, CoIntelPro's destruction of AIM and other less subversive Indian groups, to say nothing of Jim Crow and the continuing push by the GOP to disenfranchise minority voters in swing states. These policies, I would argue, are among the least patriotic acts in the history of this country, and were perpetrated by your ILK.

At 8/20/2008 5:26 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

Mr Gill,
Opposition to a war is one thing. Acting to prevent the country from winning a war is unpatriotic. Soldiers fighting for our country who work towards winning the war they oppose are patriotic. Any soldier, governent official, elected official or average citizen who works towards subverting our effort to win the war are traitors... and unpatriotic. Code Pink, moveon.org and others who support an effort to remove our troops before success are traitors.

You've framed the Iraq situation on your terms. Bush never said that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. As for ties, seeing that the term ties is fairly vague, we know Saddam invited Bin Laden to hide in Iraq. That's a tie, but not one deserving of open war. There are and were then plenty of informed people who thought Saddam was a threat to the mainland and our allies. He spent ten years bluffing the international community and had not provided us with his legally mandated opportunity to check his cards. So, because he fooled everyone, and in the meantime broke over 200 other agreements then that proves that Obama is patriotic? You think Obama would have found a way to stop the Food for Oil circumvention or would he have been too busy freeing the Japanese and ending Jim Crow? As for an Iran-Iraq alliance, even if it were the best way to interpret quoted coming from Iraqi officials, this would be a great reason to stay and finish the job, not to leave.

I didn't know we intered Japanese. What's this about Jim Crow? I didn't realize that Obama was running on a platform to end these injustices. You convinced me.

The Red Scare? Have you seen the files that were released after the Cold War? You do realize that the Russians cooberated their infiltration of the State Department? McCarthy was a jerk but he was largely correct.

Can you substantiate the minority voter disenfranchisement? As far as I know, any American can vote.

I don't work for the GOP. I don't give money to the GOP. If given the opportunity I would vote for Truman, JFK or Scoop Jackson over McCain. If you knew history you'd realize that Jim Crow and Jap Camps were Democrat policies. The GOP freed the slaves, put throught their right to vote and pushed suffragette through. Don't confuse your team with the good guys.

At 8/20/2008 5:35 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I just find it endlessly fascinating, and kind of cute, that you even read this site.

At 8/20/2008 8:56 PM, Blogger Jason Gill said...

"Don't confuse your team with the good guys." - R. Lobstah

I think Alanis Morissette wrote a song about this.

/done with this

At 8/21/2008 2:28 AM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

The site is well written. I love basketball. I find plenty of the angles of thought taken by the posters and readers interesting. Isn't that why anyone might read the site?

I have allot of respect for your talent, I just think your politics lacks the examination some of your other ideas contain. Two questions, the first in two parts. Just how vapid a concept does the coolness of patriotism strike you and if that sort of trend awareness informs the politics of most FD contributors might it indicate a suseptability to any ideology if packaged to taste? Second, once you get over your condecending sense of cuteness, do you think maybe comments regarding endless facination, which make no mention of the ideas this passion of yours gives rise to, might actually be indicative of some part of you wondering if my interest actually indicates gaps in your view of my "ilk"?


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