Stop making sense

8 04 2015

wis-smAnd so they lost.

I didn’t go to a bar, didn’t follow the game online (tho’ I did check early in the second half to see the Badgers up), didn’t even stay up to see how it all turned out.

It is unlikely they will get back even to the Final Four anytime soon.

So, three reactions:

1. The critic-of-the-NCAA side of me is mildly satisfied with the loss, insofar as it makes it easier for me not to pay attention to college sports.

It’s a shitty reaction, I know, and only reinforces the fact that my so-called principled stand against exploitation is weak and requires reinforcement.

(See also: TBI and football and hockey.)

2. The fan side is sad.

I noted in the last post that a week away from the game and the game won’t matter; here it is two days out and it doesn’t matter.

Still, a win would have nice, and I would have enjoyed it, however fleetingly.

3. I really don’t like being a fan.

Some of the teams I have rooted for—Badgers (various), Brewers, Packers, Habs—have done well, some have not, and I had a lot of fun rooting for them when they won. Losing could be a bummer, but only of the most minor sort.

And then at some point the teeter tottered and the fun fleeted and the bummedness hunkered down, and I ended up ginning up serious mopes over losses.

That just seemed silly to me, so I stepped back.

This isn’t a critique of sports or any other kind of fandom (in fact, I kinda wish I had some of my old music-and-theater mojo back), and I’m making no point beyond the very small one that, for the most part*, for me, following sports stopped making sense.

*Except for women’s tennis. Yeah, as long as Serena is playing I’ll be paying at least a little bit of attention.

 





Talkin’ at the Texaco

2 10 2011

Kitty boy is not out of the woods.

He seems to get better, then, ohp, back the other way. He’s not in crisis, but that the improvement isn’t steady concerns me. I’m trying a variety of home remedies—yes, even after taking in the admonitions for a vet to check him out—which likely have a good shot at taking care of him. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that this problem will likely recur, such that prevention will have to be worked into his everyday diet. He needs to drink more water and I need to increase his acid intake.

Here’s hopin’ Jasper gets used to salt and cranberries.

~~~~~

Good weekend for sports in Wisconsin.

Badgers rolled over Nebraska, Brewers are up 2-0 in their 5-game series with the Diamondbacks, and the Packers remain undefeated.

I am deeply ambivalent about sports—brand loyalty is for suckers, blah blah—and in particular, about football, and the evident harm it inflicts on the players. Thus, the cheering isn’t as full-throated as it was in the past, but it’s still there.

Maybe someday I’ll be enlightened enough to let it all go, but in the meantime. . . .

~~~~~

Thanks to Brad DeLong, I was hipped to John Holbo and Belle Waring’s equine-eviseration of libertarianism:

Now, everyone close your eyes and try to imagine a private, profit-making rights-enforcement organization which does not resemble the mafia, a street gang, those pesky fire-fighters/arsonists/looters who used to provide such “services” in old New York and Tokyo, medieval tax-farmers, or a Lendu militia. (In general, if thoughts of the Eastern Congo intrude, I suggest waving them away with the invisible hand and repeating “that’s anarcho-capitalism” several times.) Nothing’s happening but a buzzing noise, right?

Now try it the wishful thinking way. Just wish that we might all live in a state of perfect liberty, free of taxation and intrusive government, and that we should all be wealthier as well as freer. Now wish that people should, despite that lack of any restraint on their actions such as might be formed by policemen, functioning law courts, the SEC, and so on, not spend all their time screwing each other in predictable ways ranging from ordinary rape, through the selling of fraudulent stocks in non-existent ventures, up to the wholesale dumping of mercury in the public water supplies. (I mean, the general stock of water from which people privately draw.) Awesome huh? But it gets better. Now wish that everyone had a pony. Don’t thank me, Thank John.

The and-a-pony bit is explained earlier in the piece; g’head and read the whole thing.

Once again: libertarianism is not a serious political theory; it is at best an adjunct to serious political theory.

~~~~~

I’ve noted in the past that an over-concentration on process to the neglect of substance bleeds politics dry of its very purpose. That said, some attention to process may fruitfully obstruct an over-concentration on ends.

See, for example, presidential freelancing in the so-called war on terror.

President Bush stepped up the use of extraordinary rendition and justified the imprisonment and torture of detainees (even as he denied that beatings, waterboarding, and sleep deprivation were torture) as necessary to securing the dominance security of the United States. He was hailed on the right, booed on the left, and denounced by libertarians of all stripes (n.b.: see, I can say nice things about libertarians!).

President Obama has allegedly stopped the torture and has tried, with varying amounts of effort, to close Guantanamo. He has also authorized far more drone strikes on militant leaders than President Bush ever did, and hailed the assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki as “another significant milestone in the broader effort to defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates.” (He presumably did not mourn the death of Samir Khan, another American citizen killed alongside al-Awlaki.) He has been (mutedly) hailed on the right, (mutedly) booed on the left, and denounced by libertarians of all stripes.

I’m not particularly a fan of either al-Awlaki or Khan—violent hatred of the world isn’t my thing—and I do think the citizenship status of al-Awlaki and Khan (and John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla, for that matter) ought to give any American pause regarding their officially-sanctioned killing. (I leave aside the question of whether the Constitution covers noncitizens; my understanding is that this question is unsettled, juridically.)

But even if you don’t think the 5th Amendment applies in this case, nor that the citizenship of al-Awlaki or Khan matters, what of the matter of presidential power?

Obama apparently consulted with various staffers and legal experts on the legitimacy of such assassinations, but is a consult with one’s staff an apt substitute for legislative debate? Is it enough for the president to say “it’s okay because I say it’s okay”?

And because it was only bad guys who were killed, then, hey, that’s okay, too? Ends justifying the means, and all.

If pure proceduralism is deadly to politics, so too is pure consequentialism—especially in its democratic forms.

~~~~~

Whine whine whine about my life. What am I doing, here I am flailing, here I am failing, what if I moved. . . .

No.

I don’t know if I’ll be in New York forever, but I do know that this is where I need to make my stand. If I were to move anywhere else, it would be too easy to say “oh, if only I were in New York. . .”, and distract myself from the work I need to do.

I am so far past “enough” that I have lapped myself; still, if I’m ever to catch up, I have to stop jumping away from my life.