Friday, May 30, 2008

Call this an unfair generalization if you must, but old people are no good at everything.

A Smarty Barrett and dubbschism collaboration:

DS: first off, let it be known that i could care less about the NBA. actually, i could care less about basketball in general. when i was a young’un, i was way into NCAA basketball but by the time i graduated high school and matriculated at Awesome University to major in Coolness, the crappy basketball team (the Awesome University Shitbirds) sucked to the tune of an 0-152 record my freshman year, so i kind of lost interest. buuuuuuuuuut in a tip of the cap to the gents at Fire Joe Morgan, the egregiousness of the following jumble of caca-ness from Jason Whitlock is just too much for us not to rip apart FJM-style.

SB: I have always been a huge basketball fan, and while not exactly a die-hard NBA nut, I do watch it closely enough to boast at least some moderate knowledge about the league. But one thing I am not a fan of is Jason Whitlock. Mainly because I seem to dislike everyone that likes him, for one reason or another. But his most recent column is

In NBA playoffs, less ink means more viewers

DS: when i first read this title, i was thinking “less coverage in newspapers and other traditional print media.” boy, was i wrong. go on, read!

Over the next couple of weeks you'll hear lots of theories about why TV ratings are surging for the NBA playoffs.

SB: Theories? Aren't most of the reasons pretty obvious? And also, factual?

DS: ostensibly, Mr. Whitlock is going to explain these “conventional wisdom” type theories, then blow them out of the water with his own hair-brained theories which have no basis in reality. that’s always the kind of freakishness this type of topic sentence begets.

Of course it helps that large TV markets with storied franchises (Boston and Los Angeles) are still alive and favorites to make the NBA Finals. And, yes, it helps that the league's two most successful franchises over the last five years (San Antonio and Detroit) are competing against the Lakers and the Celtics.

SB: Yes. Yes these are all reasons. And I hate to be nit-picky, but these are facts. Boston is a very big sports market. When a team is competing from this city, the ratings are always very high.

The conference finals are littered with big stars, too. Kobe, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Tony Parker, Ray Allen, Manu Ginobili, Rasheed Wallace and all the rest could make up an all-star team that the rest of the league couldn't beat.

SB: Really? Ginobili? Big star? Other than that, I agree.

DS: those sound like good theories to me. also, the weather in the Boston market has been rather blah lately, not to mention gas prices are forcing everyone everywhere to stay at home and watch whatever is on television. but those theories are not hair-brained enough.

SB: Wait for it...wait for it...

Obviously, there are a lot of factors contributing to the ratings numbers that TNT, ESPN and ABC keep bragging about in nearly daily press releases.

SB: Yes, we get it. Lots of factors.

DS: uh-huh. he just listed a lot of them.

SB: Stars, big markets, historic teams...not really anything revealing here.

DS: i even helped him out with some other novel ideas that maybe he didn’t think of. what is he getting at?

The NBA has been experiencing a resurgence ever since the Suns traded for Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol, the Mavericks got hoodwinked into snagging Jason Kidd and the Cavaliers picked up new spare parts for LeBron.

SB: Agree. This is as exciting as the NBA has been in a while. Also, some things he left out: The Celtics acquired KG and Ray Allen (arguably the biggest move of the last year, and maybe one of the biggest in recent NBA history...why no mention?). Kobe demanded a trade from the Lakers, and then led the aforementioned Lakers to the NBA Finals months later. The Western Conference was just absolutely ridiculously competitive this year. etc. etc. etc...

DS: when i read the last part of that sentence, i thought “the Cavs did NOT trade LeBron James for spare parts,” which is exactly what it sounds like in this context. did anyone else think that’s what he was trying to say? no? okay. guess i’m just a dummy.

SB: Can he just get to the point already? Cuz I get the feeling it's going to be a crazy one!

But there's one issue driving improved ratings that likely won't be touched by all the NBA talking heads on TNT and ESPN.

DS: what about ABC? he mentioned them before. why not mention them here? i mean, if he's going for some sort of parallel device to the paragraph above (and i’m pretty sure that’s what he's doing), wouldn’t he at least re-cite the same three television networks?

SB: Here it comes...

Tattoos. Or rather the lack of tattoos in the conference finals.

SB: Bam. Boom. Whap. Shlorp. Bomb dropped.

DS: tattoos. tattoos? tattoos. really? i mean, lack of tatoos. lack of tattoos? lack of tattoos. really? you might have a valid point, Mr. Whitlock, because one of the reasons that i forgot to mention above why i don’t really enjoy basketball is how much i hate tattoos. which makes me wonder why i ever got one myself.

also, i just want to mention that if you CTRL+C’d and CTRL+V’d those two “sentences” into Microsoft Word, they would have green squiggly lines under them, because they are fragments.

SB: Tattoos, folks. TATTOOS!!! Let's read on.

Part of the reason more people are watching these playoffs is because the average fan isn't constantly repulsed by the appearance of most of the players on the court. Most of the key players left in the playoffs don't look like recent prison parolees.

SB: Sweet Jebus, I can't even begin to break down all of the things wrong with this statement. He's implying that the average NBA viewer is so repulsed by tattoos on players that he/she recoils in horror and changes the channel? Do you, Mr. Whitlock, think that people - actual everyday NBA watching people - take tattoos into consideration before decided whether or not to tune in? How ridiculous does that sound?

DS: also i’m not really sure what the function of the word “recent” is here, since tattoos are kind of, ya know, permanent. also, it’s estimated that 16% of all Americans have at least one tattoo. 36% of those 25-29 years old have at least one, and 28% of those 30-39 years old have at least one. and since the average NBA fan is between 18 and 34 years of age, i’m gonna go out on a limb and say it: nobody fucking cares.

SB: Also, let's count the stereotypes while we're at it. So far 1. All tattoos are repulsive. 2. People with tattoos look like/are recent prison parolees. That last one makes him sounds 80 years old. This man has many tattoos. Does he look like a "recent prison parolee" to you?

The only accurate way to describe Garnett, Pierce, Duncan, Allen, Manu, Parker and even Kobe is "clean cut."

DS: your clean cut manu ginobili:

Yeah, there are a couple of tattoos in that group — Duncan has something on his back, Kobe still has his post-rape-allegation tat — but the Lakers, Spurs and Celtics have far less ink on average than your typical NBA franchise.

DS: 1. he is contradicting himself,

2. is Kobe’s tattoo real or metaphorical? even so, wouldn’t a rape allegation make one less likely to watch an athlete perform than his personal body artwork?

SB: Let's face it. Using amount of tattoos to judge a person is incredibly shortsighted, stereotypical, and moronic.

Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony have more tats on their hands than the entire Spurs roster.

DS: um, the Denver Nuggets were in the playoffs this year, so that sort of blows up this dingbat's whole argument.

SB: I think he's only talking about the teams still left. Although on that note it makes me wonder...what would this article look like if Denver was still in it? Would there be no article at all? Or would it be a "there are three great teams and one team of murderous thug jerks!" kind of deal?

DS: ok, even if he's only talking about teams left, there's still this:

average TV market ranking of last year’s Conference Final teams: 20.75.
average TV market ranking of this year’s Conference Final teams: 14.25.

face it Whitlock, you're wrong.

I know many of you probably think the number of tattoos doesn't influence viewing habits.

SB: *raises hand*

You're wrong.

DS: hey Whitlock, i just said that you were wrong! you can’t just say it back to me.

Like everything else televised, appearances matter. There's a reason you don't see nude scenes in movies with fat people. Trust me, fat people have sex. It's just no one wants to see it. Not even fat people.

SB: Um, OK. Wow. Is this really all the proof he has? Fat people? This has ZERO correlation to his original point! Also, gross.

DS: this is the slim and slender Jason Whitlock, not picturing himself having sex with anyone.

No one wants to watch Delonte West or Larry Hughes play basketball.

SB: I do. I like to watch basketball, and these guys are pretty good at it.

It's uncomfortable and disconcerting. You don't want your kids to see it. You don't want your kids to think they should decorate their neck, arms, hands, chest and legs in paint.

SB: Still counting those stereotypes? 3. People with tattoos are uncomfortable to look at. Hell, you don't even want your kids to see them! Do you have kids, Mr. Whitlock? Because I just now thought of a fat person (you) having sex. And it was worse than seeing someone with a Chinese symbol on their ankle. Trust me.

You don't want to waste time explaining to your kids that some millionaire athletes have so little genuine self-confidence that they find it necessary to cover themselves in tattoos as a way to mask their insecurities.

SB: 4. Everyone with a tattoo is insecure. I mean seriously, what is wrong with this man?

You just want to watch basketball and feel like you're watching people you can relate to a little bit, people you somewhat respect.

SB: 5. One cannot relate to or respect anyone with a tattoo. Yikes, I'm no psychiatrist but this man has some crazy-ass phobias.

We finally have that again on the NBA's biggest stage, and everyone can see it because the league's substance isn't covered in a barrel of tattoo ink.

SB: This is one of the worst metaphors I have ever read.

David Stern has been arguing that the NBA is the best book. Ever since Ron Artest went into the stands, Stern has been slowly changing the cover of his book. The dress code and the age limit have helped. The midseason trades helped. Garnett's donning of a Celtics jersey really helped.

DS: i’m not sure what this whole “book” thing is that Whitlock is talking about, because per my disclaimer at the get-go, i don’t pay a lot of attention to the NBA. is it actually something Stern talked about? or is it just another very bad metaphor? can someone enlighten me? this search illuminated nothing. but i wonder if the book has "ink" on it's cover?

also, what do the midseason trades have to do with improving the image of the NBA? seriously, Whitlock is so off his rocker at this point that i don’t even feel like this piecemeal refutation of his lunacy is even necessary. it really just speaks for itself.

SB: Do I need to mention that as commissioner David Stern has little or nothing to do with the quality or quantity of trades in the league? No? OK, good.

Kobe's maturity and ascension to Jordan's throne has probably been the most important development. Kobe is everything the league wants LeBron James to be.

SB: An alleged rapist?

Sorry, had to.

But don't underestimate how much having a visually pleasing product to look at has benefitted
[sic] the league at conference finals time.

DS: i won’t underestimate it, as long as he doesn't underestimate the powerful therapeutic effects that the new “atypical” neuroleptic drugs can have for people suffering from episodes of psychosis. (caution: side effects may include dysphoria, increased risk of stroke, and irreversible tardive dyskinesia.)

It's a television show. Pleasant smiles, non-threatening people sell products better than menacing, tattooed brutes.

DS: agreed. fair enough. because we are talking about a sales team here, and not world-class athletes whose goal is to win as many games for their team as possible, a goal which of course is predicated entirely on how much subcutaneous ink they don’t have.

SB: (whispered) No we're not.


If I was [sic] David Stern, I'd commission Nike and/or Under Armor [sic] to create a basketball jersey with long sleeves, all the way down to the wrists.

SB: Hmm...I like it. Except, umm...he kind of has ALREADY BANNED ALMOST THE SAME THING! I forget what page of "the book" this is on.

DS: hey, don't forget, if this did go down Iverson and Anthony would also have to wear gloves.

I'd make Iverson wear a turtleneck jersey with sleeves. I'd cover the tats.

SB: Once again, he kind of already wears the same thing! On one arm, at least...

Do you think Sports Illustrated would let its swimsuit models cover themselves in tattoos? Models are paid to look good. Athletes are no different from models. Everyone accepts that female basketball players — when possible — are pushed to showcase their feminine beauty.

SB: Wow. Not the same thing. Not even close to the same thing. Models are paid based on their appearance. Basketball players are paid to play basketball. What doesn't he get about this??

DS: this paragraph itself needs to start taking antipsychotic drugs. fo realz. first of all, Sports Illustrated DID let its models cover themselves in tattoos. sorta kinda, anyway.

second of all, tell me the correct answer to this analogy:

athletes: models:: Jason Whitlocks:

A. Anti-religious rabble rousers

B. Apocalyptic zebras

C. Bakers who use splenda instead of sugar

D. Sportswriters who need to be committed to a mental institution

if you chose D (which is wrong), then you also believe that athletes are no different than models. which means you probably don’t have Randy Johnson on your fantasy team. (the correct answer is C, by the way.)

finally, what the dual is the deal with that last sentence? let me repeat it, in case your brain short-circuited the first time you read it.

Everyone accepts that female basketball players — when possible — are pushed to showcase their feminine beauty.

SB: "When possible"? Is this an attempt at a joke? That's kind of mean.

DS: "when possible" as in only when the female basketball player involved isn’t a 6’5” Amazon completely devoid of feminine beauty? or as in when they’re off the court and all dolled up with makeup and a miniskirt? whatever Whitlock is trying to say here, i think his arrow missed the mark and instead he’s hit the bull’s-eye of "over the line chauvinism."

It's unfortunate that too many young athletes are too unenlightened to approach the game like a business. They resist almost all ideas that would put more money in their pockets. They have to be forced to do the little things that would help them make more money.

DS: next article Jason Whitlock is going to write: Why Nobody Will Talk About Why College Athletes Should All Major in Marketing and Should Convert to Jehova’s Witnesses and Not Get Tattoos.
also, i like to picture Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson sitting together at the tattoo studio, and Carmelo turns to Iverson and says “Man, if we could only make more money. Then we’d be set.”

Growing NBA ratings is what's best for the players in the long term. Adopting a non-prison-ready appearance would help everyone in the league earn more money.

SB: As opposed to the prison-ready appearance of a player with a tattoo.

But no one will talk about it.

DS: except for you, Jason Whitlock, with your “edgy and thought-provoking style.” an edge as sharp as a tattoo needle, and a style as fad-erific as tramp stamps.

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