Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
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@ K. 2008 05 11
I’m just enjoying a second viewing of the 2007 movie American Gangster. I like many things in the movie, and this second time I knew to have my ears cocked for a great line: We’ve watched Denzel’s heroin importer preparing to go to the Ali Frazier fight. His woman has seduced him into dressing as a stupid pimp, a foolishness he’d hitherto been specifically wise in avoiding: she wears her minks, he wears his silly chinchilla coat with the chinchilla hat, making him nine foot tall sitting down: in front of the Mafia boss, blocking his view. The scene cuts to Russell Crowe’s cop, directing his crew, setting out to catch the heroin importer (and sales innovator) and whiz. For the fuzz, the Ali Frazier fight is just on the TV, they don’t have third row seats. Somebody asks Crowe as he turns away from the TV if he doesn’t care for boxing. “That’s not boxing, that’s politics.”
That’s exactly right, Copper. Profound observation.
Cassius Clay had been about boxing. He was loud, and he was good, and he was funny, and he was beautiful, and outrageous — and I loved him; but he was about boxing primarily. From Cassius Clay got born Muhammad Ali. Ali announced himself a Muslim, and a pacifist. Ali refused the draft. Ali had his heavyweight championship of the world taken away from him, not in the ring, not with fists, within the rules; but by people who couldn’t have gone thirty seconds with the country’s thirtieth-ranked lightweight.
My friend Phil said, “A man wins a prize in the ring, you can only take it from him by beating him: in the ring!”
Not in this culture. Here, it doesn’t matter what the rules are. The powerful, the shameless, the agenda-insane … can do whatever they can get away with. Catch-22.
Mmm hmm. I loved Russell Crowe saying it. Has any actor since Errol Flynn been a more genuine tough guy playing tough guys? And he can play sweet guys, too. Nice guys, smart guys, crazy guys … bad guys, good guys. A terrific actor. Man, did he do a wonderful job playing The Cinderella Man! Now there was another great boxing movie! After Raging Bull, who thought we’d ever need another half as great?)
Anyway, here’s my subject: sport seems to be one thing; then proves to be something else:
If the Brooklyn Dodgers were the Brooklyn Dodgers, how could they move from Brooklyn to LA? If the heavyweight belt could only be won by a heavyweight, fighting a heavyweight, in an officiated contest, using the Marquis of Queensberry’s rules … what business is it of the politicians?
Politicians can’t conceive of anything not being their business.
If they’re not mucking with something not their business,
then how can they be politicians?
OK, pk, here we go: Now I tie in “sport as big business”: my points will be “the same.”
Years ago, Shaq was playing for the Orlando Magic. The season was over. The playoffs were on. Shaq’s grandmother got sick, or died, or something. Shaq was close to his grandma. He went to the family gathering. Scott Skiles was Shaq’s coach, supposedly. Skiles told Shaq to try to be back for the game by a certain time: say “a half hour before tip-off.” Skiles said that if Shaq wasn’t suited up in time, he’d sit on the bench for the first quarter.
Skiles’ was very clear, and sounded to me to be entirely reasonable. Shaq wasn’t there on time, wasn’t suited up; but did arrive before tip-off. Skiles told him to sit down.
But the owners “benched” Skiles, and put Shaq straight into the game!
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
But they did.
The coach wasn’t really the coach, he was just a puppet.
Just like the American public: we’re deluded into thinking our votes count. But then we don’t know how to vote, and the court doesn’t care, they just appoint the loser of the votes counted to be the winner of the whole damn election! They could have just appointed Bush in the first place: why have the rubber election?
Hell, the government hardly even pretended to be democratic that time.
Gregory Bateson said: the cop may give you a summons for speeding, but the cop must not put his foot on your brake. The judge can impose the fine, but the judge must not nudge you aside and take your steering wheel.
pk adds: not and still pretend to be a nation of laws.
The owner should own, and let the coach coach, and the players play. But no, not where big money is at stake.
PS: Didn’t Renné Zellweger do a fabulous job as James Braddock’s wife in The Cinderella Man? Oh, she was wonderful.