Saturday, April 4, 2015
Sports, philately, and something important
hat tip Patterico. Read the comments to see where I got my topic.
I don't follow sports. For instance, while I'm aware that there's a basketball tournament going on right now, I couldn't tell you much about what's already happened, who's won, who's lost, who's favored, and who's f**ked. I'm aware—because I follow political news—that the "Final Four" is happening in Indiana [RFRA]. I don't know who's playing in the Final Four except that Kentucky is probably going to win the whole tournament. I can't defend that prediction with any facts, stats, anecdotes, etc. And shockingly to some of you, I don't care who wins. American men are expected to watch sports. They talk about games, coaches, players, strategies, odds, and "The Spread." Sports heh! You guys should talk about the weather. It's about as interesting and a whole lot more important to the lives of everyone concerned.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind anybody having a hobby. You like collecting stamps? Awesome. I'm really glad you got the one with the flaw in the thingamabob doohickey in the corner. No. I don't collect stamps. I'm sure it's really interesting. I hope one day that you succeed in collecting an example of every postage stamp ever created. I hope philatelists—[I am sadly unable to escape the knowledge that this word sounds strikingly similar to another word which means something completely different]—the world around beat a path to your door to gaze in wide eyed envy at your perfectly complete collection. Kudos on your acquisitional skills! Now what? I hope you're not going to be too dismayed if you have to sell some of them off to pay for your kids' college, retirement, etc.
Hobbies are important. They give average Joe an outlet to express him/herself, belong to a group of similarly interested individuals and provide hours of no doubt scintillating conversation. [That part in italics was sarcasm by the way.] You have a hobby. I have a hobby. If we share an interest then that means we have a connection. We can impress each other about our deep knowledge of X. We can drink beers and reminisce about when X really meant something, or when subset [a] of X had real potential to change the whole X paradigm.
Tomorrow is Easter. They'll be watching basketball in the den. They'll talk about basketball. They'll talk about coaches. They'll talk about players, strategies, tactics, and odds. They'll discuss spreads and stats and scream in both excitement and dismay as one-foot high glowing figures manipulating an orange circle gyrate madly inside a big rectangle. They're my family but I won't fit in because basketball is a course of study I never worked to learn. In fact I never studied any of the popular sports nor as it turns out the unusual ones. There's a basketball tournament but no matter who wins or loses, only the players on the teams and their ancillary staff—and perhaps I suppose the universities hoping to attract donors—will be affected in any way by the outcome of this tournament.
So why all the discussion about sports? What's more important, that [a] was victorious over [b] in a contest of ball-handling legerdemain, or that a successful baker's livelihood is in jeopardy because he refuses to create a homosexual themed wedding cake? If you want to discuss your shared hobby you should certainly do so, but what gets me is this nationwide assumption that if you're a real man your hobby should be that of sports fan.
I'm angry! I'm really pissed. The world is coming unraveled and nobody is paying any attention. They've got their beer and circuses and you can't tell them shit. Average Joe has been hypnotized by the knowledge that if he excels in the study of X he'll be the envy of all his beer drinking buds. They'll come to him for insight and information. He'll be the big man on campus—well big man on the block anyway. Who needs to know about politics or weather, when you know that subset [a] of X will defeat subset [b] of X. If average Joe put that kind of study, organization, and calculation into picking a President, who knows, America might not be on her deathbed today.
Joe has every stamp that ever was and your team won. Kudos! Now what?