Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ian O'Connor has the typical PC post scolding the sports community for noticing that Danica Patrick, who finished fourth in the Indy 500, is attractive. He quotes Billie Jean King below...

When people talk about how we look," King said, "that's what kills us as athletes. Just once, talk only about our accomplishments. That's all we ask."

Apparently King and her court are asking for too much. Patrick had to be covered differently, as she delivered the best female finish ever at the 500. That's history. That's news. But the fact she might be described as a "babe" by a demographic overdosing on bimbo beer ads has nothing to do with her performance behind the wheel of a machine traveling 226 miles an hour.

I'm calling BS here. Do O'Connor and King really want Patrick to be covered just like previous fourth place finishers at the Indy 500? I couldn't name any of the last 5 Indy 500 winners let alone fourth-place finishers. In the sporting world, finishing fourth in the Indy 500 just isn't that grand an accomplishment.

You can't have it both ways -- you can't want special attention do be paid to Patrick because she's a woman, and then expect everyone to pretend not to notice she's attractive.

O'Connor goes on...

Ty Votaw, the LPGA commissioner, junked Title IX in favor of Titleist IX in 2003, ordering his players to improve their appearance and hiring hair stylists, cosmetics czars and fashion editors toward that end. Annika Sorenstam sat there and listened to the experts tell her how to look more attractive on the golf course. Could you imagine Tiger Woods being subjected to that?

Of course not. He's a man, and men only need to worry about birdies and bogeys and checkered flags.

Oh, BS again. You're telling me that every bit of Tiger Woods's appearance and public persona isn't meticulously managed and maintained?

I'm not buying the double standard argument -- image matters in men's sports as well. The NBA just gave the MVP award to a player who's all but useless on defense because he's a 6'1" white guy. Andre Agassi was always more popular than Pete Sampras, in spite of Sampras's superior record. Why isn't Bobby Abreu a household name? You don't think Tom Brady's good looks have helped him?

Just let the women burn rubber without telling the world how hot they looked doing it

Just let me watch the sports I want to watch, without lecturing me that I'm watching it for the wrong reasons.

Look, in an ideal world, would the coverage of Patrick wouldn't mention her looks. But Indy car racing isn't exactly the most popular spectator sport right now. The sportswriters are probably dropping these mentions hoping some folks will tune in because of it, then might get hooked on the action.

American sports fans have never taken too sports, or categories of sports they've been lectured to enjoy. Look at soccer. For years, we've been told how we Americans ought to be embarrassed that we don't share soccer enthusiasm with the rest of the world. And what's it gotten us? Failed league after failed league. It's gone the way of the metric system.

People watch sports for enjoyment not for social betterment. And a fourth place finish in the Indy 500 is not all that exciting in itself. If you want to attract viewers, eye candy might go further than spooning vegetables in our face.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Remember the last election? When Catholics were told that they must base their votes on "non-negotiable" issues, or "intrinsically" evil actions? That we must favor a candidate who opposed same sex marriage, but favored a war of annexation and execution of all homicide convicts because the former is intrinsically evil and the latter is not?

Well, here's the fruits of that thinking, at least here in Missouri. Lots of business breaks, massive cuts to health care for the poor, but no abortion legislation, because the legislature didn't quite get around to it.

I've said this before, if Catholics are going to be expected to vote solely based on these non-negotiable issues, then the representatives that are elected based on this thinking should be held to the same standard. But they're not. And when we try to, we're told not to make the perfect the enemy of the good, to be happy with what we have, and that it's better than the alternative.

But I'm not happy. 1,000 more unborn children are going to be killed today. And I am beyond tired of being told that this must be my only priority on Election Day every two or four years, but that I can't expect it to be a priority for others the rest of the time.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Social conservative values are often depicted as straw men by the media, so I figured I'd save these corrections for later.

  • We're not against all stem cell research; we're against research that destroys embryos.
  • We don't believe that all war is less evil than all abortion or same sex marriage; it's that the latter are intrinsically evil, wrong under all circumstaces, and the former are not.

    I'm sure there's more to come..
  • Thursday, May 19, 2005

    I think this particular Administration is positioned poorly to be makeing judgements against others for acting too boldly on suspect information resulting in the loss of life.
    Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds have been arguing about how important the torture revelations are to the war on terror. Reynolds says Sullivan is naive; Sullivan says Reynolds is callous.

    I think Sullivan is right about Reynolds. The revelations of torture (or if you prefer, coercive interrogation techniques) severely compromise the moral authority of the US in the war on terror, and make it much turn others against us. Every clinic bombing is a severe step back for the pro-life movement; every revelation is a big step back for the US.

    But Reynolds is right about Sullivan as well. It is extremely naive to put hundreds of thousands of troops into a country where people are trying to kill them and expect nothing like this to happen.

    The question neither will ask is whether it's worth it. I say no. Reynolds writes, "I do confess that I think that winning the war is much more important than Abu Ghraib, and that viewing the entire war -- and the entire American military -- through the prism of Abu Ghraib is as unfair as judging all Muslims by the acts of terrorists." I disagree with the first statements, and think the second statement is a non sequitur. It may not be fair to judge the entire war through Abu Ghraib, but pointing that out doesn't change the fact that some people will. And that those who want others to jusge against the war will encourage them to do so. It seems disingenuous to say that atrocities are a part of war, the cry "foul" about people are judging the war.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    For the first time in its history, we have a winner of Survivor who seemed to objectively be the best player. This leaves the question of why it took so long, and why it's happening now.

    Previous winners have exploited irrational behavior that led to inefficiencies in the game. In the original Survivor, most of the players thought it was somehow unsporting or unfair to form voting alliances, so Richard Hatch was able to cobble together an alliance of four people and ride it all the way to victory.

    Later winners survived by exploiting other players' loyalty to an alliance, and spiteful voting patterns by the jury.

    But now, all bets are off. Voting alliances are good for just that week. Furthermore, the jury seems to understand that. The result is that for once, the best player is winning.

    I wonder if something similar is happening in baseball. Billy Beane was able to put together a winning baseball team in a small market by exploiting some inefficiencies in the system. But now, Theo Epstein has taken this same approach, merged it with a more generous payroll, an won a World Series in Boston. Does this mean we're back to having the richest teams win all the time, or are there further inefficiencies that can be teased out?

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    Last night's Law & Order kinda ticked me off.

    The plot involved new evidence that led to the resolution of a murder nine years ago. The perpetrator had since had a sincere conversion to Christianity, and his defense lawyer sought to dismiss the charges on the basis of this conversion.

    Throughout the episode, lawyers on both sides and judges kept lamenting that "the way things are going in the country nowadays," such a motion could be successful, and if not, the jury could nullify what should be a conviction. I suppose it was supposed to be a cautionary tale about creeping theocracy eroding the separation of church and state,

    Nonsense. I would be call myself a "social conservative," and if I were on a jury, I would never acquit a murderer only because of his repentance in the meantime. We do not seek to substitute God's judgment for the judgment of the law. We simply think it's reasonable that our laws reflect the values we share, and that the country was built upon.

    As Ramesh Ponnuru put it yesterday, there's a false choice being proposed here -- either we strip our laws of all Christian values, or we start letting murderers go free if they've really repented to God, since God is the ultimate judge.

    I reject that choice, and I think most "social conservatives" do as well.

    UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg had similar thoughts.