Re: Balls, I say.

1

Actually, I quite like basketball.


Posted by: Ubu Imperator | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 10:12 AM
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Your people seem very fixated on your balls. Does Carolina have something it would like to confess? We're all friends here.


Posted by: Duvall | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 10:17 AM
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Balls are the mind-killer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 10:20 AM
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Your people seem very fixated on your balls.

Everybody's fixated on my balls. It's a burden, but one (or two) I'm willing to carry.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 10:21 AM
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OK unfogged women, time to pile on me:

Oh yeah, catfight!! Meow!


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 10:58 AM
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Had it actually been a dunk, Duke's Dahntay Jones might have the canonical example. But it wasn't, so Vince Carter still wears the crown. So to speak.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:12 AM
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I'm all naive and old-fashioned, so I'm still back at wondering why on earth a player would be allowed to propel himself* toward the basket using someone else's head or shoulders. That's not how I learned it in junior high. ("Good! Now do a bounce pass to your partner.")

*Or herself, if they do this shit in the WNBA, too.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:20 AM
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why on earth a player would be allowed to propel himself* toward the basket using someone else's head or

BECAUSE THIS IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, HIPPIE.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:26 AM
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I have to say, the part you quoted is the least interesting part of that post, in my opinion.

I thought Henry Abbott's conclusions were perfectly reasonable, and well written.

Homophobia is real, it is common, and it is damaging. All that is true in general in society, but especially around sports. There's a reason no current NBA player has ever come out of the closet. People should be aware of that and act accordingly. It's not funny.
These are kick-ass ads, that have meaning and make basketball sense without injecting any homophobia into the conversation. Getting humiliated like that is "just wrong," in a basketball sense, without the male on male interpretation. Pretend the genders were scrambled in that ad -- a woman defender, or a woman dunker, or both. The same headline can work without the implication that the man on man contact is the gross part.
I can't wait to live in a world where this ad would not be commonly interpreted as homophobic, but I'm not sure I do live there now.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:34 AM
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I'm not sure it can be interpreted as homophobic without thinking that gay guys normally like someone's sweaty basketball playing junk thrust in their face.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:38 AM
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10: Everyone's got their fetish, Cala.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:42 AM
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the part you quoted is the least interesting part of that post

Well, I figured people would click through to the meat of the article, as it were, and discuss from there (though it's a sports post, so perhaps that was faulty reasoning). The part you quote wouldn't have made sense without the intro.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:46 AM
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10 is right. This is more offensive to skull-fuckers.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:48 AM
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I'm not sure it can be interpreted as homophobic without thinking that gay guys normally like someone's sweaty basketball playing junk thrust in their face.

Mmmmm, I don't think you have to go that far. I think sports frequently have a strong layer of homophobia running counter to the homoerotic elements, and that this ad taps into both of those emotions.

To quote David Shields from Black Planet (from 1994)

Kristine, a graduate student in English, giver me her take on the new rules the NBA has implemented this year: "In football, they've got all these pads and they've got this helmet on; they don't even look like human beings anymore. In basketball, they're very clearly real men: you can see their faces, you can see their bodies, they're not distorted in any sense, and they're sweating. You can see their muscles, and they're up against each other, and that's become more and more prevalent in the last six years, culminating with the kind of play of the Knicks under Riley -- where it's just, you know, bodies on bodies and it's totally erotic. I think basketball had become almost too threatening in terms of its homoeroticism. Last year it reached its maximum threatening point and the NBA had to react, had to do something to make the visual spectacle less threatening, and the only way to do that was to separate these bodies. So now we have the no-touching-on-the-back rule -- no standing behind another man and touching; the no-hand-check rule; the no-taunting rule. They can't even talk to one another: it pulls relationship out of the game, which pulls sex out of it..."

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:49 AM
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Call me a bigot, but skull-fucking is just wrong.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:50 AM
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Well, I figured people would click through to the meat of the article

I understand.

I waited a little bit to see whether the conversation seemed based on the article rather than the post. After the first 7 comments were all about balls I got impatient and decided to post a little more from the Henry Abbott link.

I did mean to thank you for posting the link.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:51 AM
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In the quoted passage in 14

"giver" S/B "gives"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:54 AM
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14: I get that about sports. So much that goes on could be coded as 'gay' that you get a lot of insisting that 'no we're not gay.' But this didn't strike me like one of those rules.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 11:57 AM
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I realize, I should quote the second half of the anecdote in 14:

"Having the game become more congested around the basket -- why is that bad or ugly? They said it was the violence. I think it's because watching men we can identify touch each other in that kind of way, an emotional way, watching emotional black men touch each other like that, close up like that, with the cameras right there, and all this excitement about scoring, well that's threatening and it gets labeled as bad. In American culture the most dangerous symbol, the most frightening symbol, for white people is black men in love. The moment black men love each other, the United States is done for." Everything Kristine says seems to me clever and maybe even a little true, but I realize that all my friends and I are like Will Self; we're adamant about articulating coolness because we can't embody it.

I agree, that it is a self-consciously clever interpretation.

I would note, in addition, that Abbott, as an update:

Update to yesterday's post about that Nike campaign that some see as homophobic. ... Most had been upset by the headline on one, which reads "That Ain't Right." But another headline says "Punks Jump Up." While that's a saying that's around, it's best known (thanks for the heads up, Christian) as the title of a 1992 Brand Nubian single that got the group in trouble. The song is mostly bragging about violence, some of it very specifically targeted to gays. The lyrics could hardly be more anti-gay. They are out there for the googling, but be aware they're PG-13 at least. This is not a good development for whoever it is that will end up having to defend this campaign to those most offended here.

(apologies for the lengthy quoting, but I happen to think that both the original TH post, and the David Shields book are particularly well written. So I'm inclined to quote at greater length.)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:05 PM
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In American culture the most dangerous symbol, the most frightening symbol, for white people is black men in love.

Any estimates of the percentage of Murrcans who have never had that fear cross their minds at all? Not even after thinking about WTF that sentence might possibly mean?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:17 PM
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19: The second quote is good. I had long since forgotten the Brand Nubian lyrics, but looking them up just now, ouch. That is going to be a problem for somebody at the ad agency.

The first one, though? Not really working for me. Knicks b-ball was ugly because it was dragging a fast, high-flying, acrobatic sport into a low-scoring, plodding mess. Even in football, the highlight replays are the WRs and RBs breaking long plays, not the interior blocking at the line of scrimmage.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:18 PM
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The first one, though?

Yeah, when I was reading down to the page and got to the line "Having the game become more congested around the basket -- why is that bad or ugly?" I thought, it's bad and ugly because spacing and passing are parts of the game. It is clearly trying too hard.

That's why I thought I should post the second half.

I grabbed that just because it was a memorable passage from a book that's good about documenting how much of the culture that surrounds sports in this country consists of white men talking about the bodies of black men.

I could probably find a better passage, but it's tangential to the discussion anyway.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:23 PM
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white men talking about the bodies of black men.

Hott.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:31 PM
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I grabbed that just because it was a memorable passage from a book that's good about documenting how much of the culture that surrounds sports in this country consists of white men talking about the bodies of black men.

I like your wingspan, NickS, and you've got surprising length.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:34 PM
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OK unfogged women, time to pile on me:

Oh yeah, catfight!! Meow!

Hey. Hey? Hey! Get it, Women's NBA - brawl, catfight? Cats? Fighting? Women are cats?!

I'm ready. Waiting. Still waiting.

Sigh. Yeah, fine, back to work. No one likes me at all. Sigh.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:52 PM
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I like you, Tripp. And Ogged would, if he were still alive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 12:56 PM
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apostropher,

I like you, Tripp. And Ogged would, if he were still alive.

If that did it I'd be the luckiest guy alive. But it is, you know, the woman thing. Women.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 1:13 PM
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For those who are interested--as if anyone isn't--here is a link to the WNBA fight.

http://blacksportsonline.com/index/2008/07/rlcandanceparker.html


Posted by: Zach | Link to this comment | 07-23-08 5:39 PM
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