The Republican Ray Allen

On Monday, when Shoals reported that Ray Allen was advising LeBron to "be more political", I was reminded of an important issue I've long been meaning to raise: the organized, subterranean whisper campaign regarding Ray Allen's own political leanings—specifically, the notion that Allen is actually a Republican. But before I do that, let me first provide some context.

A few weeks back, I was reading an article about neoclassical economists and the clubiness and group-think that has long prevailed among segments of the profession. I was curious whether this thesis could be tested using Facebook, where one can actually observe the density of a given social network. Anyway, as I was browsing through the various pages, a peculiar pattern began to emerge: in addition to all being friends with each other, many conservative economists are also friends with Ray Allen, or at least some Facebook version of Ray Allen. Thus, I found myself looking at several profiles like this one, from the CATO Insitute's Arnold Kling...

Kling Friends

. . . a conservative economist, pallin' around with 5 other conservative economists, along with a Fox News personality, a crazy Iron & Wine impersonator who says we can live forever, and . . . yes, Ray Allen. Similarly, many of the conservative economists pictured here are also friends with the Allen, including former Bush advisor/Harvard Prof. Greg Mankiw and those dudes who write for marginal revolution. (Ray Allen is also friends with Nouriel Roubini, also an economist, but one who's politics are more opaque).

At first, I thought it was that the economists were befriending Ray—that it was a common interest on their behalf that explained the pattern of interconnection. Certainly, one can imagine elements of Allen's game (the commitment to fundamentals; a bias towards efficiency; Boston) that might appeal to the more conservative/academic economist fan. But with a little more digging, it soon became clear that the roles were actually reversed. Indeed, the only mention I managed to find of Ray Allen's Facebook page comes from the blog of (yet another!) conservative economist, in a year-old post titled "Did Ray Allen Just friend me on Facebook?". To wit:

A Ray Allen friended me so I friended him back. I checked out his profile and he pretends to be *the* Ray Allen, you know the shooting guard on the Boston Celtics, photo, green jersey and all. He friended me and the Cato Institute, so far no one else. Oddly I've read somewhere that the real Ray Allen is in fact a libertarian and also quite intellectual. What are the odds that this is *the* Ray Allen?

Yes, what odds indeed.

Looking at the actual Facebook page, it's clear that a Republican Ray Allen does exist, though perhaps independently of the real one. In an otherwise-accurate biography, this Ray Allen lists his political affiliation as Republican, belongs to some kind of Milton Friedman fan club, and even shows love for John McCain:


Of course, there is always the small probability that the Republican Ray Allen is in fact the Real Ray Allen; certainly, most of his 2700 friends think he is. Yet from everything we know about the man, it seems awfully unlikely. And even if it were true, I'd still refuse to believe it.

That leaves us with just one final question, which is perhaps the most discomforting of all: namely, who is the man or men behind this Republican Ray Allen, and what is the aim of their deception? I mean, granted, I'm young enough to understand that there are a variety of purposes to which network technologies are deployed, be it the struggle against Bovine Growth Hormone, or getting Larry Summers fired. Still, I remained bewildered by what the goal might be of creating a Republican Ray Allen. What is this monster trying to accomplish? Does he just want to provoke a conversation about the issue. And if so, what's the issue? That Ray Allen might be a Republican?

Either way, the results are clearly mixed. On the one hand, the Republican Ray Allen has 2700 friends and climbing, and none of these has thus far questioned his authenticity. Nor have they inquired into his unlikely politics. Lots of "Great Game, Ray" and well-wishing for the playoffs, but not even the slightest curiosity when it comes to the (yes) elephant in the room. And perhaps this is the morale of the entire endeavor: proving that even if Ray Allen were a Republican, no one would really care.


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At 4/01/2009 3:22 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

What's really strange to me is that it seems like the Republican stuff, which is totally weird, is what makes this seem real to some people. Like it's so bizarre, why would anyone try and fool you with shit like that?

At 4/01/2009 4:27 PM, Blogger jza said...

Clearly an attempt to co-opt Ray Allen by some sort of Republican Party operative, or maybe just a GOP member with too much time on their hands.

What is the GOP's #1 goal right now? Make it look like something other than the last bastion of old, rich, overweight white guys.

Why Allen? Because he's a smart guy that probably does have views other than a presumed liberal bent, that many folks would assume ethnic minority public figures have.

Big deal? Probably not. Unless Allen himself takes offense, but he would then have to reveal more about his own political persuasion than he probably wants to.

Value to the GOP? I guess they are scraping for whatever they can get, and if it means a few thousand people think a NBA player they like is sympathetic to the cause, maybe it's a tiny shift in their consciousness towards the GOP.

Definitely one of the more thoughtful famous-person-impostor-on-a-networking-site. Wild, wacky stuff.

At 4/01/2009 4:44 PM, Blogger dunces said...

What's wierd is that it's too earnest to be a joke, but only for the most part: Comic-con international?

That said, if it were true: I've been looking for a reason to hate on Allen ever since he went to the celtics. This is solid gold on that front!

At 4/01/2009 5:11 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

I like the idea that it's some devious GOP operative stunt. But what's weird about that is, of all the republican/conservative signifiers you could choose from, why pick a bunch of obscure academic economists? Why don't go with Rick Santorum, or Sarah Palin, or even Grover Norquist. Instead, it's Greg Mankiw and the Milton Friedman appreciation society. So weird.

At 4/01/2009 5:11 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/01/2009 5:44 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

So this isn't an April Fool's joke? What's next, Rasheed Wallace says he prefers Fredrich Hayek to Salma Hayek?

At 4/01/2009 6:00 PM, Blogger Jon L said...

Maybe Republican Ray Allen friended economists to a.)make it seem more real, and/or b.) keep Real Ray Allen from finding out about it too soon. Like, if Allen friended Tucker Carlson or someone, chances are another news outlet would pick up on it and ask Real Ray Allen what he thought, and if he didn't like it would shut it down. But no news outlet is going to run with "Ray Allen is Facebook friends with Tyler Cowen."

At 4/01/2009 6:16 PM, Blogger El Presidente said...

Allow me to pull your head from the sand, as done by photoshop second-guessers on basically any site on the internet.


wv: budeves - the peruvian ricky rubio.

At 4/01/2009 6:20 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I don't think anyone's saying this is really Ray Allen. Are you saying it's a fake Republican hoax? That seems odd. . . and plus THIS HAS MICHAEL STEELE'S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER IT

At 4/01/2009 6:20 PM, Blogger Brother Mouzone said...

"But what's weird about that is, of all the republican/conservative signifiers you could choose from, why pick a bunch of obscure academic economists? Why don't go with Rick Santorum, or Sarah Palin, or even Grover Norquist."

Well, if we're operating under the assumption that it's a GOP operative, we'd assume it's a younger one given the platform (not to mention a pretty clever guy). Maybe it's all part of the internal struggle within the GOP between the principled intellectual conservatives and the "Drill Baby Drill" wingnut crowd.

At 4/01/2009 6:54 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

I'm really into that last interpretation (i.e. Brother Mouzone's). Maybe we can get Ross Douthat to weigh in.

At 4/01/2009 7:30 PM, Blogger Jason B. said...

Wow, this bunch of politicoconspiracy mongering is the funniest, least FreeDarko shit I've seen lately.

Hey, paranoid wackos, maybe it's a libertarian economics grad student who's a Ray Allen fan. You know, it's like, a tribute site? Sometimes the most obvious explanation is the correct one...

At 4/01/2009 9:46 PM, Blogger David said...

Michael Steele!? She was hot (name any female bass player who isn't!) but this doesn't seem like her style....

At 4/01/2009 10:55 PM, Blogger N.J.G said...

working on a piece about how the thunder are the same as I love you man. wondering if people would be interested in contributing so far, we got
sydney: durant (amazing, saving the best for later)
dad: green (solid, fundamental, not a franchise guy, friends with hank mardukus)
brother: livingston (could be great, but one being held back)
squaky voice guy: kristic (no reason other than I imagine thats what it sound like when he talks)
guy who kisses him: weaver (good, but his mind is not in the right place)

At 4/02/2009 2:50 AM, Blogger sophisticatedboomboom said...

This Ray Allen thread - wishing for Bron to become some basketball Bono, fear of a black NBA neocon - makes me think of Dylan's unwillingness to oppose the Vietnam War.


How do we know that Bron and Ray Ray aren't, as you say, for monetarism?

At 4/02/2009 8:15 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Speaking of basketball-related April Fool's jokes, though ya'll might like this:


At 4/02/2009 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of Bron as a basketball Bono makes me want to buy the Kobe t-shirt.

At 4/02/2009 11:09 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

This was going on long before April Fool's Day.

At 4/02/2009 12:16 PM, Blogger C.J. said...

I HATE having to do this so often, but libertarians are NOT conservatives. Arnold Kling is not a conservative. Tyler Cowen is not a conservative. Bryan Caplan is definitely not a conservative. Greg Mankiw, on the other hand, is a conservative.

Milton Friedman is somewhere between libertarian and conservative, but I lean toward calling him a libertarian because in Capitalism and Freedom, he describes himself as a 'liberal' in the classical sense, which is basically means the same as libertarian.

The Cato Institute is not conservative.

I'm not going to get into the difference between libertarians and conservatives, but I'll just say that libertarians and liberals tend to agree on social issues (most of the 'conservative' economists mentioned are socially liberal) and libertarians and conservatives tend to agree on economic issues.

And while this is probably not the real Ray Allen, simply attending the inauguration doesn't mean he's a liberal. I went and was thoroughly overwhelmed and I am a libertarian.

Oh, and isn't Ray Allen single? Correct me if I'm wrong.

At 4/02/2009 4:33 PM, Blogger Bhel Atlantic said...

I think the "Comic-Con International" membership lends credence to the "nerdy libertarian econ grad student" theory.

At 4/02/2009 4:41 PM, Blogger avery said...

this was freakin incredible. great work by silverbird.
But I don't think the idea that basketball players or any pro athlete for that matter could actually be republican...where is that arenas quote from before the election about how a vote for Obama would be more expensive to him? If the nominee was Clinton, I think a lot more athletes would have gone for McCain...or they may have voted for him anyway.

At 4/02/2009 10:24 PM, Blogger El Presidente said...

Less hoax, more "First time Cavuto took acid in college" shit.

At 4/03/2009 1:00 AM, Blogger Damian said...

Another shade of this: I'm friends on Facebook with J.R. Giddens, the Celtics rookie/D-League whatever. On his page is a comment from another Ray Allen page (http://www.facebook.com/s.php?k=100000080&id=626361627&ref=mf), telling him to work on his shot if he wants to get called back up.
Like any sane person, I assume famous people found on social networking sites are invariably fake, but might this be the real Ray Ray because him and J.R. are, you know, teammates?

At 4/06/2009 2:38 AM, Blogger Arkay said...

This is the real Ray Allen and I voted for Kevin Durant.


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