Sunday • 3/31/2013

Like an idiot

image

*            *            *       *     *    * * * * ****

To what purpose, April, do you return again? 
Beauty is not enough. 
You can no longer quiet me with the redness 
Of little leaves opening stickily. 
I know what I know. 
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe 
The spikes of the crocus. 
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify? 
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots. 
Life in itself 
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs. 
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill, 
April 
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
                                                     —Edna St. Vincent Millay
Saturday • 3/30/2013

How do I put this.

As a female person who is a fan of/has written about the NBA, I often find myself confronted by well-meaning mansplainers who enjoy challenging my love of pro basketball.[*] There are, of course, myriad things to criticize about the league. But these mansplainers are concerned with the basketball side, the game itself. In the thick of March Madness (about which I readily admit I know relatively little, not being a big NCAA fan myself—though, speaking of things to criticize about a league!), they trot out the old favorite claim about the NCAA being “more real” than the NBA, or some authenticity announcement of the kind. It’s “better basketball” (what?); the players are hungrier, they “want it more” (really?); it’s more of a “team game,” not just about “one big star making shots” (please enjoy); etc., etc., etcetcetcetclakjsdfklajdf. 

It occurred to me recently that my whole aversion to getting into NCAA basketball might be more about these sorts of people and the prospect of having to keep hearing this insufferable, one-note claim.

Last night my friend Drew, more of a baseball man himself, correctly pointed out that claiming to like the NCAA’s brand of basketball better than the NBA’s is like saying you only watch for Minor League teams, and then when regular season MLB comes back, you lose interest. 

I’d be willing to bet everything I have that there is not one NCAA player who’d rather be playing NCAA ball for the rest of their career than matriculating to the NBA. The NBA is where the best players in the world go to compete with each other. It’s unclear to me why this is such insulting news to the NCAA fanatics. The NBA offers a level of competition high enough to compel the most brilliant players to innovate new ways of playing the game. This is why the “star players” NCAA fans so loathe are important in the NBA game: not just because they are the fucking best and show us the outer limits of human athletic potential, you numbskulls—although how can you possibly not be entertained by that—but because these are the players who don’t just participate in games but set the terms of the game. Star power is a major part of what the NBA is about because the NBA is the league where players of this caliber—and, hell, just as impressive, players with the capacity to actually play with players of this caliber—go to play. And because this level of competition has continuously forced radical innovation of the game, watching NBA basketball, at its best, is a historical experience. You are watching players so good at a game that they exceed its limits and change it by playing it. Right in front of your eyes. 

It’s perfectly great to love NCAA ball. In fact I do get it, I get what people love about it, I get that the whole culture around it is a different and wildly entertaining breed of sport. Maybe you like both leagues for different reasons! Great. Totally understandable! But I do not, will never, get how a person could actually prefer NCAA over NBA. Different, yes. Better? No. By definition, not better. Such a person would seem to be more a fan of the culture around the NCAA than someone who understands, and loves, the game of basketball itself. 

———-

[*] In the worst cases, questioning my love of the game has included questioning my motives: “So, like, did you just get into it to get attention from guys?” is actually something a man asked me last year. In other cases, challenging my fandom has amounted to quizzing me about stats/history/trivia/etc. I would describe myself, on a scale of Ignorant to Expert/Authority, as being ‘Very Knowledgable’ about the NBA. But I’m not the encyclopedic sort with respect to anything I amateurishly love—my favorite authors, shows, movies, whatever—and I readily admit when I don’t know something, because, how much currency does knowing a fact have in the age of Google? But in any case, such dudes can barely contain their victory dance when they tell me something I didn’t know. “You didn’t know that??!?” It’s like they’re playing Stump the Panel.

Saturday • 2/2/2013

Let us pray

FOR LOVE


Yesterday I wanted to
speak of it, that sense above
the others to me
important because all

that I know derives
from what it teaches me.
Today, what is it that
is finally so helpless,

different, despairs of its own
statement, wants to
turn away, endlessly
to turn away.

If the moon did not …
no, if you did not
I wouldn’t either, but
what would I not

do, what prevention, what
thing so quickly stopped.
That is love yesterday
or tomorrow, not

now. Can I eat
what you give me. I
have not earned it. Must
I think of everything

as earned. Now love also
becomes a reward so
remote from me I have
only made it with my mind.

Here is tedium,
despair, a painful
sense of isolation and
whimsical if pompous

self-regard. But that image
is only of the mind’s
vague structure, vague to me
because it is my own.

Love, what do I think
to say. I cannot say it.
What have you become to ask,
what have I made you into,

companion, good company,
crossed legs with skirt, or
soft body under
the bones of the bed.

Nothing says anything
but that which it wishes
would come true, fears
what else might happen in

some other place, some
other time not this one.
A voice in my place, an
echo of that only in yours.

Let me stumble into
not the confession but
the obsession I begin with
now. For you

also (also)
some time beyond place, or
place beyond time, no
mind left to

say anything at all,
that face gone, now.
Into the company of love
it all returns.

___________

Robert Creeley, “For Love” from Selected Poems of Robert Creeley. Copyright © 1991 by the Regents of the University of California.

Friday • 1/18/2013
Lance Armstrong is: Yellowcake

Lance Armstrong is: Yellowcake

Monday • 1/7/2013

Modern Classics

Saturday • 1/5/2013
"The state of being ‘installed’ at a computer or laptop for an extended period of time without purpose, characterized by a blurry, formless anxiety undercut with something hard like desperation,” and other digital-age emotions for which there are not yet English words.

"The state of being ‘installed’ at a computer or laptop for an extended period of time without purpose, characterized by a blurry, formless anxiety undercut with something hard like desperation,” and other digital-age emotions for which there are not yet English words.

Monday • 12/31/2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Sunday • 12/30/2012
#regram from @klughaus of this 2012 installation of GROTESK wooden sculptures with Sure dedication by FAUST. Closest approximation of how I want my world to look at all times.

#regram from @klughaus of this 2012 installation of GROTESK wooden sculptures with Sure dedication by FAUST. Closest approximation of how I want my world to look at all times.

Friday • 12/28/2012
aka The Audacity of Hoop

aka The Audacity of Hoop

Thursday • 12/27/2012 Wednesday • 12/19/2012

The Cyril Hahn remix of “Say My Name” has been making me feel feelings today

Thursday • 12/13/2012
MY BLOCK > YR BLOCK
#Chicago #Bears #1963 #OGwear

MY BLOCK > YR BLOCK
#Chicago #Bears #1963 #OGwear

Friday • 12/7/2012
Thursday • 12/6/2012

Danger! Get on the floor!

You know what really and truly blows my mind and reduces me to a living case for all kinds of anti-anxiety medications is the very fucking real game of intellectual (dis)honesty.

In a recent email exchange with a dear and brilliant friend, I tried to explain it. The thing is that our intellectual choices mean everything when we’re asking ourselves to think through reality as it actually confronts us, not as it appears through the lens of intellectually convenient historical paradigms.

Oh, but those intellectual conveniences are seductive and so powerful. What nearly kills me is the fact of how much intellectual convenience can appear to us as something like proof. A closed yet infinite system of self-affirmation. That’s the darkness! 

Monday • 12/3/2012
… Because this isn’t at all terrifying

… Because this isn’t at all terrifying