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September 24, 2020

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Everyone is wrong from time to time. It gets to be a problem when you can never be able to admit it.

Amen, brother, amen!

lj, thank you for this. I have been very lucky myself throughout my life and especially because I was taught early on that there is no shame in admitting a mistake. Goodness knows I have made many.

I don't have an opinion on what prize money should be, but I agree with Arthur Ashe (the first time) that it should depend on what people will pay to watch. As he said, it's entertainment.

Most of the Supreme Court Justices in 2009 thought that a strip-search of a 13-year-old girl was funny? That's Alito, Roberts, Breyer, and Thomas unfit to continue. Let's sack them and bring in some proper judges.

However, the Justices did vote 8-1 that the search was unconstitutional, Thomas dissenting.

I really wasn't sure where this was going with an Arthur Ashe title and starting off with RBG. It all made sense in the end.

I'd put my mistakes and ventures in wrongness up against just about anyone's - at least those of people who aren't famous for being wrong. You know, like, Jim Jones and Charles Manson probably have me beat. But I'm sure I could give ral some serious competition.

I had the Arthur Ashe conversation with someone back around the time the US Women's Soccer Team was kicking butt and people were looking for them to be paid more.

Specifically, as much as the men. Who don't win as often.

My counter-party argued that men get paid more because there's a bigger bucket of money available. Because more people watch men's soccer.

Which is true on it's face, but which also raises the obvious question - why do more people watch men's soccer?

How much investment is made to promote women's sports, vs men's? What markets and venues are available to women's sports, as compared to men's?

The counter-argument is that "the money just follows what the people want to watch", but I don't actually think all of that happens in a vacuum.

Who says there is no market for women's soccer? A hell of a lot of young girls play soccer, don't they want to watch a game?

Assumptions sometimes create their own conclusions.

"the money just follows what the people want to watch"

And marketing and advertising have nothing to do with what people decide they want to watch. Got it! Just like every other form of entertainment.

Cf. Hollywood film policy. Sequelitis is only a symptom.
Although questionable these days, blaxploitation films were a huge success even with white audiences while before the mere idea of having blacks in major roles (often with whites as the baddies) was unthinkable because 'no white person would want to see that'.
If it had not been possible to make these films on the cheap and to market them to an existing black audience, no one would have taken the risk. White viewers came as a welcome surprise.

see also: the history of Rock and Roll.

A hell of a lot of young girls play soccer, don't they want to watch a game?

But do they go to a game and drop a hundred or so bucks on beer and hotdogs?...

Funny how bigger buckets of money always seem to be available to various groups, and that is just the way it is.

I'm a sucker for those arguments that we have untapped resources in society and if we just find a way to bring them forward, everyone can benefit. It seems to me that if you feel that way, pointing to how diverse things are, you should be really racheting down the available bucket of money arguments.

But do they go to a game and drop a hundred or so bucks on beer and hotdogs?

No.

They spend a hundred bucks on gear.

I'm not a sports person, so I'm perplexed on the subject of how professional/collegiate sports help anyone.

I have young person in my life who is a natural athlete. High school soccer star (but was welcome in other games such as baseball), and Division III soccer star as well. Could maybe have played at a Division 1 school, but didn't really want to make sports a focus.

It was great for this person who, in mid-thirties, still plays club soccer in a very serious way. But I also know parents of kids (girls) who played Division I. Not necessarily a great experience.

I want people to play sports if they want to, and I want women to make as much money as men. But the whole concept is way too close to gladiators for my taste. (Also the trans issue is complicated in sports. I'll just stay out of it, not being an athlete or even a sports fan. [I do try to stay in shape though!])

But do they go to a game and drop a hundred or so bucks on beer and hotdogs?...

Well, their parents certainly take them to games, in my experience, and some of them eat hot dogs while they're there.

And anyhow, if I'm not mistaken (I'm not going to bother looking for links), I believe that vastly more money for pro sports comes from TV deals than from live gate revenue (or beer).

I don't get any of this. I don't have a TV, but when I'm in Ohio I watch a lot of sports because that's what my brother has on. I am baffled, for example, by the fact that there are endless ads for luxury cars....surely the huge majority of sports fans who watch games on TV do not buy luxury cars.

Or from an entirely different angle, I read an article a couple of years ago about NFL players who thought that by rights they should be paid as much as NBA players. Steph Curry (an all-time great) was explicitly mentioned. No word was said about the fact that NBA players play 82 games while NFL players play 16. Nor about the fact that an NBA roster has a max of 15 players while an NFL roster has 48.

On the other hand, I think NFL players shouldn't work without a contract that says their medical and related expenses will be paid for life by the teams they play for, along with support for their families. Ticket prices and advertising rates should correspond. The CTE stuff is appalling.

If men and women compete equally, equal pay will follow. There are some sports where we most likely won't see that. We may be waiting a long time for a female left tackle starting for some NFL team.

On the other hand, some major sports are highly subsidized by the public (oh nohs!!!! Picking winners and losers!!!! Aiyeeeee!!!!). We finance their stadiums. We grant their leagues anti-trust exemptions, tax breaks, etc., etc.

Therefore, they should be subject to public policy choices, and public policy mandating equal pay for the same "sport" is OK by me.

Would this be capricious and arbitrary? Most likely. So what? As a society we make choices. Part of the game as it were.

On the other hand, some major sports are highly subsidized by the public

Welfare for billionaires and their millionaire employees.

The CTE stuff is appalling.

My expectation is that eventually the high schools (yes, in the end even in the South and rural Midwest) will drop football. The damage to children's brains is just too serious. And the evidence just doesn't stop. (Certainly nobody can claim that the kids were making an informed decision about the risks.)

I suppose it may continue somewhat as rugby does, as a college only sport. But absent massive rules changes to protect the players, eventually it will go the way of dueling. No doubt guys will find other ways to prove how tough and manly (at least in their own minds) they are.

Everyone is wrong from time to time. It gets to be a problem when you can never be able to admit it.

OK, so while this is not exactly an open thread, I am putting this here because if follows on pretty well from lj's closing remark.

I think we have established pretty conclusively in the past that we, here, would be considered a bunch of highly intelligent underachievers. So, I thought this piece, among other things on the difference between intelligence and understanding, was pretty interesting (like his distinction in this context between hardware and software. It's by someone called Nabeel Qureshi, who works on biomedical software at Palantir. It's not too long, and this is the first section:

The smartest person I’ve ever known had a habit that, as a teenager, I found striking. After he’d prove a theorem, or solve a problem, he’d go back and continue thinking about the problem and try to figure out different proofs of the same thing. Sometimes he’d spend hours on a problem he’d already solved.

I had the opposite tendency: as soon as I’d reached the end of the proof, I’d stop since I’d “gotten the answer”.

Afterwards, he’d come out with three or four proofs of the same thing, plus some explanation of why each proof is connected somehow. In this way, he got a much deeper understanding of things than I did.

I concluded that what we call 'intelligence' is as much about virtues such as honesty, integrity, and bravery, as it is about 'raw intellect’.

Intelligent people simply aren’t willing to accept answers that they don’t understand — no matter how many other people try to convince them of it, or how many other people believe it, if they aren’t able to convince them selves of it, they won’t accept it.

Importantly, this is a ‘software’ trait & is independent of more ‘hardware’ traits such as processing speed, working memory, and other such things.

Moreover, I have noticed that these ‘hardware’ traits vary greatly in the smartest people I know -- some are remarkably quick thinkers, calculators, readers, whereas others are ‘slow’. The software traits, though, they all have in common -- and can, with effort, be learned.

What this means is that you can internalize good intellectual habits that, in effect, “increase your intelligence”. ‘Intelligence’ is not fixed.

https://nabeelqu.co/understanding

Intelligent people simply aren’t willing to accept answers that they don’t understand — no matter how many other people try to convince them of it, or how many other people believe it, if they aren’t able to convince them selves of it, they won’t accept it.

It seems to me that this is true of some definitely NOT intelligent people, too. The difference isn't whether they can be convinced by an reasonable, and supported, explanation. It's whether they can understand the explanation. Being unable to understand what vaccines do, and don't, do doesn't make antivaxxers intelligent.

Looking for more and better explanations is fine. But just because you can't understand the ones on offer is not, in itself, a marker for intelligence.

Teaching at a university, I get to see a wide variety of intelligences. I've got students who are extremely good at calculation and recall as long as it is focused narrowly. I've got colleagues that were those students, but also had the ability to generalize better and to apply theory. I've got students that are creative, lateral thinkers that take time to build up enough substance to make creative leaps and synthesize complex information.

The best combine the horsepower with the curiosity and with the courage to test their own conclusions.

I don't really trust anyone that lacks that last bit. The hermeneutics of suspicion is crucial.

JanieM: ... surely the huge majority of sports fans who watch games on TV do not buy luxury cars.

Maybe so, maybe not.

But assuming it's true, I think the makers of luxury cars do gain something by training the riff-raff to envy their actual customers. As Mark Twain observed, "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things (like buying a car with real silver dust hand-polished into the wood) to get himself envied".

--TP

Point taken, TP.

I would also qualify my earlier thought train about NFL vs NBA pay by adding in the fact that NFL stadiums hold multiple times the # of fans that NBA arenas do. The one pairing I checked, for Boston, had Gillette with about 66,000 and the Garden at about 15,000. So if all the revenue came from home game ticket sales only, not away games and not TV, and ticket prices were the same per fan per game, then just by the numbers, a Celtics player should make about 4 times what a Pats player makes.

Obviously it's not that simple from any direction.

Fuck all conservatives and their children:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/09/sympathy-for-the-despots

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