Brooklyn Nets 97 – New York Knicks 110 – Game Rec… who am I kidding

On Sunday, February 8, 1998 my mother’s only brother got killed in a car accident (he was waiting for his turn to enter a roundabout when a drunk driver lost control and slammed violently against his car). He was just 52 years old.

It was the first time that I had to deal with the concept of abrupt death in my personal life. Sure, I had already lost three grandparents – to be fair, I never even met two of them, my mother’s parents – and had seen my fair share of old people succumb to multiple health problems, but I never had to witness what such an event brings into your inner personal nucleus.

Frankly, it was devastating. It wasn’t exactly devastating for me: somehow I always had this attitude towards tragedy where I’m apparently unflappable because in the end I’m a fucking pussy who’s so afraid to feel pain that tries his best (worst?) to feel nothing at all. But when it comes to tragedy for the few people who’re close to me, I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s like I have this switch that clicks inside of me: I can comfort people as well as anyone but then everything inside of me resonate with sadness because I physically see the angst and sorrow of the people I let into my life so sooner or later I burst into tears and become as vulnerable as can be.

While my uncle died around 10:00 PM of February 8th, the news of his death didn’t get to my mom until the next day. On Sunday night we were at my father’s mom place to eat a pizza after the basketball team I played for lost badly in the afternoon (as we always did. We fought, we scrapped, we lost by twenty. I still remember I scored 11 in that game hitting 2/2 from three) and, given that at the time cellphones weren’t a thing, we just got a message left to the answering machine where my uncle’s wife asked to be called the next day.

The day after, the 9th (which coincidentally was also my mom’s 50th birthday) I went to school completely oblivious ot the fact. I discovered what happened just as I came home and I knew it even before anyone said anything. It was self-evident just by looking at my mom. My uncle was the last close relative she had left.

My mom is from Sicily. In the 1950s the Sicilian hinterland was a very poor area, and people were leaving left and right to search for more favorable economic opportunities elsewhere; my mom’s father left his family when she was 3 to find his luck in Argentina. Nobody ever knew anything about him after that. When she was 19, my mom, her brother and her mother left her Sicilian hometown to come to Bologna where an uncle of hers made a not so small fortune selling military spare parts. Sadly my grandmother got sick and by the time my mom was 21 she was gone too. My mom were left to tend to her brother until he finally met his eventual wife a few years later. Still, my uncle was everything that was left of my mom’s roots.

My mother is the portrait of selfless sacrifice. She’s not very attached to her regional roots, and if I have to be honest she doesn’t even self-identify as Sicilian; nevertheless, family roots are an entirely different thing. Her brother’s death was the definitive blow about that: she was left alone. Not in the sense that she didn’t have anyone else: of course she got my father, she got me, she got friends and a job and everything else; but she didn’t have anything that could have worked as a geographic origin compass.

So, looking at my mom, going to comfort her, everything broke inside me. I remember everything very vividly. I remember exactly what I was eating while we were in the very early stage of coping with the tragedy (a surpirisingly tasty maccheroni with ricotta, parmesan and black pepper; even in utter despair, my mom couldn’t bear the idea that me and my father would eat less than perfect food); I remember watching how the neighbour was parking his car in the backyard (badly, and slightly grazing the tree that was in the middle of the parking area); I remember the fact that my mom asked us not to say anything at all, since even a single word would have been too much (and this is one of the things that I have more trouble at doing: I need to rationalize things, and I’m unable to do that if I can’t talk to people).

I also remember that Italia1, a national TV channel, would have broadcasted the 1998 NBA All-Star Game starting at 2 PM. So after we ate in total silence, shedding countless tears, I retreated into my room to… I don’t know. To try to feel better and to get emotionally stronger.

You probably remember how All-Star Games used to be. They never were deeply competitive, but they weren’t also the ridiculously showboaty thing that they are today. You could see that the players were actually giving a damn. It was still basketball, played by the best players in the world.

In the second half of that game, there was something that was immediately able to soothe a bit the numb, deaf grief that was pervading me. A 19 year old Kobe, at his first ASG, went streaking down the right lane, ball in his care, while Dikembe Mutombo was backpedaling, ready to protect the rim. This was peak Mutombo, mind you. Kobe just dribbled the ball behind his back, throwing Deke off just a bit, and went on to score on a weirdly gracious sideways baby-hook.

It was a thing of beauty.

It was something that calmed me a bit. The inherent poetry you find in many aspects of life. The song you listened when you finally got over the fact that your first girlfriend dumped you. The wine you drank after those lab tests came back and were positive. The movie you went to watch and laughed at even if you had been fired from your job just three hours earlier.

I always thought of Kobe everytime I thought about that day. It was the first ray of light after the deepest sadness I had known till then.

***

I wasn’t a Kobe fan for much more. It was just two-four years after that game that teen Kobe made way for arrogant if ubertalented, young brash threepeater Kobe; six years after that game there was the Colorado thing (it’s ok if you want to overlook it today, but it never faded away, and I can’t condone it – I have to say, though, that he handled things as admirably as possible after it got settled out of court); then Kobe went on to fully embrace the MJ myth by essentially marketing himself as a basketball perfectionist psycho maniac, alienating a lot of people in the process. There was the second half of game 7 against the Suns where he took only three shots in evident spite of his teammates (it was the Smush Parker years in Lakerland). There was his second stint as NBA champion, where he was clearly the main man out there for the Lakers but sometimes it looked like the team was playing better when he wasn’t doing too much. There was his career twilight, dictated both by father time in general and an Achilles’ injury in particular. Through it all, I found it hard to root for him. I’m not at ease rooting for guys who aren’t team players, and I’m even more put off by guys who are heralded by mainstream media. I simply loved seeing the 2004 Lakers losing against the team-driven Pistons.

I wasn’t a Kobe fan, but he would always have been the guy who reignited my heart on that fateful day.

***

Oh, we won the game. Mike Miller kept on being a disappointment (even if I keep on saying that’s a disappointment by proxy, ultimately it’s Pills’ fault) and played the vets a lot and the youngsters a lot less. Who cares anyway. This was a tragic day, and the only thing we can do when tragedy strikes is to hold our dears close and don’t let go, like I did with my mom when my heart started beating again after a young man performed a wondrous athletic feat on a stupid basketball court.

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Farfa

Just an Italian basketball fan with an insane passion for all things Knicks (and yes, linguine Alfredo is not a real Italian dish).

129 thoughts to “Brooklyn Nets 97 – New York Knicks 110 – Game Rec… who am I kidding”

  1. Farfa
    Again thanks for sharing. This time a beautiful elegy for a flawed yet dynamic impactful man and your ability to connect to yourself and your life is much appreciated.
    As an aside, in my family good food=love. Every time someone, I gained 2 mourning pounds.

  2. Every-time I see Fizdale on NBA TV, I say to myself how could people not see that he’s a phoney and an empty suit??? Remember being chewed out by most on this board last summer for pointing this out.

    Sooo happy he’s gone. Now, just hope Dolan will see that Perry and Mills are made from same clothe after February 6th non-event. Guarantee you that Perry/Mills won’t do any risky moves; most likely, they will not do anything…It’s what Perry and Steve do best. Nothing!!! .

  3. Kobe was all-time great.

    From a Knicks fan perspective Kobe was always the enemy. What makes great entertainment is a great Villain.

    What I’ll remember and appreciate most about Kobe is that he legitimized Linsanity. It was the Friday night game against the Lakers where Lin outscored Kobe and really supercharged that brief moment of excellence in the last 20 years.

    R.I.P.

  4. Lovely post. Thank you… what a scary reminder of our mortality and our children’s. Very sad for him, his daughter, and the rest of the family.

  5. Beautiful tribute, Farfa. Thank you for sharing about your family’s loss.

    I’m starting to realize the scope of which Kobe was a part of my life. I’m 31. He was part of my mental landscape since I was a child. I think it’s taken time to parse because I never identified as a Kobe fan, for similar reasons as Farfa named — KB taught me well enough to take the antagonist side when talking about Kobe’s place in the basketball pantheon. But there wasn’t any denying that he didn’t belong there somewhere.

    A painful part is that I was beginning to warm to Kobe as he explored life in retirement. By supporting his daughter Gianna’s own basketball journey with such devotion, enthusiasm, and joy, he was emerging as a champion of women’s basketball. And it was obvious from seeing him take joy from being with his daughter in those moments that he was a great dad.

    He and his daughter weren’t supposed to die so young.

  6. To @ 6’s point. If the Knick’s FO had the talent that pervades this board, they would be perennial contenders.

  7. Beautiful piece Farfa. I had a cousin who died far too young, and the pain of those who knew him best, and his mother and father particularly, was the most painful thing I’ve ever witnessed. I hope that everyone deeply affected by the horrific accident is able to find a measure of peace.

    As for the discussion in the last thread about the appropriateness of bringing the Colorado incident into today’s discussion I will just say that this is the only time to discuss it. It’s not like there’s once monthly Kobe discussion days and we can consider the whole picture next time when the wounds aren’t so raw. Yes, hardcore NBA fans will continue to discuss the guy forever but for 99% of the population his life and legacy is being considered now and the public discourse now is the one that will stay with most people. Yes, people know about the “Colorado incident”, but I think to a much lesser extent than many fully enmeshed in NBA culture realize. My wife thought it was a sexual harassment allegation before we discussed it yesterday. It deserves to be a part of the conversation in my opinion.

  8. A painful part is that I was beginning to warm to Kobe as he explored life in retirement. By supporting his daughter Gianna’s own basketball journey with such devotion, enthusiasm, and joy, he was emerging as a champion of women’s basketball. And it was obvious from seeing him take joy from being with his daughter in those moments that he was a great dad.

    He and his daughter weren’t supposed to die so young.

    This so much.

    Thank you guys. I like to think that my uncle Isidoro cracked a smile somewhere after being cited 22 years later on a blog about american basketball.

  9. Thank you for that, Farfa. So well done as usual.

    Whether you loved him, hated him, or were completely indifferent about him, Kobe (and/or his myth) was threaded into our crazy/sick/glorious cultural miasma.

    When a kid from my generation would heave up a whirling, leaping, fading, arcing, against-all-odds shot in a pick-up game, he didn’t yell “Starks!” or “Nash!” or really even “MJ!” It was always “KOBE!”

    On a personal level, it’s a horrible thing for all those families involved, and I hope they find some small pathways to peace in this lifetime.

  10. Farfa, what an excellent piece. You managed to capture the impact of his sudden death and poignantly display why people love Kobe despite the flaws. We’re all grateful that you write for this site.

    As others have pointed out, the real tragedy about his death is that he seemed to be doing an excellent job as a father. Despite whatever misgivings I might have about Kobe, I feel terrible for his family and the others who were lost in the crash.

  11. When a kid from my generation would heave up a whirling, leaping, fading, arcing, against-all-odds shot in a pick-up game, he didn’t yell “Starks!” or “Nash!” or really even “MJ!” It was always “KOBE!”

    Not me. I’d yell “JR SMITH!” (because I was a self-loathing knick fan)

  12. There’s a lot of “I didn’t think this would impact me so much” going around. I think it comes down to how you identify Kobe. Mature Kobe was a lot more likable than the child we grew up watching. I cheered loudly when Chris Childs punched him in the face and rooted hard for every team that played against the threepeat Lakers. And Colorado… I can’t even talk about it.

    But there was a shift in him. I personally began to notice it in 2008 in Beijing. You can argue that he didn’t deserve the opportunity, that he should have been jailed for his actions as a young man. I won’t oppose that. But the man he matured into was a lot more admirable than who he was growing up, and I don’t know that we had collectively realized the extent to which he rehabilitated himself.

    Being a father and a role model to the young NBA stars really seemed to change him. I think Kobe mimicked MJ’s sociopath tendencies but he didn’t really possess them. A lot of how much we dislike him comes from when he was trying to be like Mike. A lot of what people love about him is from when he grew up and became himself.

  13. there it is hubert…who we were, who we are, who we’ll be…and, our connection to and responsibility for each…

    yeah, clear reminder of the frailty of life, and, when it involves the passing of children – just how crazy unfair at times it all can seem…

  14. I have one regret about the peak Kobe years. I didn’t understand the game well enough to appreciate how great he was when it was happening. There was a time in my youth I would have seen it and understood it perfectly. I saw champions and greatness almost every day in the poolrooms and pool tournaments in NY back in those days. I understood competition, winning, losing, and everything involved as well as I ever have back then. I marveled at what I saw. But somewhere along the line I got bogged down in trying to measure things, some that defy measurement. I lost my way. Thankfully, I got past that and can enjoy and appreciate greatness again, better than before because with time comes more knowledge. And just from memory, I know how great a player Kobe was.

  15. Chris Herring ended his piece on Kobe with a line about how a big chunk of the current NBA grew up thinking Kobe was the best player they’d ever seen. It gets to a lot of what I found interesting about Kobe in that it’s both probably true that’s what they thought but it’s also objectively false. Those kids grew up watching a bunch of players who were better than Kobe.

  16. As far as Kobe’s basketball legacy I think it’s a fascinating one. Nate Duncan called him the best bad-shot maker of all time on his podcast this morning, and that really resonated with me. It seems to me like one reasonable measure of what it means to be “good at basketball” is the ability to do things with a basketball that others cannot, and by that measure Kobe really was one of the two or three greatest players ever. That’s not personally how I see the game, but I do think it’s how many players see it and it’s part of the reason he was so beloved and revered. Watching some of the highlight packages over the last 24 hours, the skillset was truly amazing and what really stands out to me was how perfected it all was. All the hours in the gym really shone through – every slight variation on every move always looked so finely tuned.

  17. The thing about Kobe’s basketball career is that it’s always difficult to actually have a fair discussion about it, because there’s so much involved.

    He was obviously a sublime talent and a very very productive player, he had a ten year stretch in which he was a legitimate superstar and led his teams to wins. I’m not fan of the playstyle and I don’t think he defined this decade, I think Shaq and Duncan did, but he’s certainly coming right after them together with Dirk, Nash, young Lebron and Wade, Garnett, etc., but his best years are certainly at an all-NBA level.

    But so much of the discussion about his career has to go through the impact he had, with the titles, the drama, the big games and the terrible games, and the fact that after Jordan’s retirement he became the face of the league. We’ve endured a dozen of people trying to play like Kobe and yet never being as effective as he was, and that defined the early 2000s more than anything in the league for me as a spectator.

  18. We’ve endured a dozen of people trying to play like Kobe and yet never being as effective as he was

    and Kobe was trying to play like Jordan and was never as effective as he was.

  19. In some cases the media leave a blemish on their hype targets, usually when the hype ain’t justified (see: Porzingis, Kristaps; Anthony, Carmelo).

    I think Kobe’s basketball image suffered from that among the most basketball-literate fans. It was clear he was a great player, but hack writers were forging his image as a top-10 ever while he’s probably barely top-5 at SG (I’d put him at 4th best, probably: MJ, Wade and The Logo were better) while his actual production didn’t meet the narrative expectation.

  20. Very magnanimous of Magic to call Kobe the greatest Laker of all time, but I’d put he and Kareem way ahead of Kobe.

  21. who we were, who we are, who we’ll be…and, our connection to and responsibility for each…

    And for Kobe, “who he was” for most of his career (and that night in Colorado) was kind of a cunt. But who he had become seemed like an entirely different person.

    Yesterday, for example, my first instinct when I heard Kyrie was taking the day off was a little anti-Kyrie. I thought “Kobe meant a lot to a lot of people, why does Kyrie think he deserves special treatment.” But then I researched their relationship and was amazed by how paternal Kobe was for Kyrie and so many other great players.

    Kobe also offered a positive contrast to MJ, who has disappointed many in his post playing career. Kobe may never have been able to touch MJ on the court but his post playing life was heading in a much more positive direction than Jordan, who seems to have made “become Montgomery Burns” his mission.

  22. i always equated kobe with derek jeter in that way… players who’s star shined brighter than their actual production…. if you bring multiple championships and you spend your whole career there… those cities will build statues and worship you….

    there’s probably a noticeable gap between kobe and lebron and other alltime greats but what i always loved about kobe was that he had a gear that not many could hit…. that gear of no matter what anyone is doing to guard them they will shred them anyway…. that was also kobe’s problem… he kept trying to hit that gear all the time…. but those high notes… oh man .. sick sick stuff….

  23. I had an uber-athletic friend who played shortstop in college. I swear on my life he would purposely delay a jump on a hard grounder so he could make the flashy play, just because he could. That’s Kobe, to me, for better or worse.

    I’ve been thinking more about why this has been sitting in my gut for 24 hours, when I, like ptmilo before me, often chided the celebrity mourners for extending empathy to mere projections — “fame, only the sum of all misunderstandings that gather around a new name,” per Rilke.

    I think it’s because Kobe represented the marriage of incredible gifts, work ethic and luck — for being born the unlikely combination of 6’6″ and graceful; for parlaying those gifts into incredible, and prodigious success; for the almost fiction-like circumstances that led him (like Jeter to the Yankees) to perhaps the only basketball institution that could match his talent with the capacity for athletic sainthood that all alpha-male athletes crave; and of course, for being accused of rape during a time when being a rich, powerful man (a sex symbol, no less) would lead to unsolicited cries of gold-digging at best, so loud that the public could outright exonerate him by his very stature. And still, here we are, talking about unluck in the worst form: a violent death that, if brought to a place dark enough to imagine his and his daughter’s and the other occupant’s final moments, one’s best wish is that the impact was hard enough to knock them unconscious, or that the gas fumes did the trick — anything but “worse than that.”

    It made me look at my wife differently last night, knowing that the weaving of a DUI driver could take her as easily as gravity took those nine lives yesterday. Made me realize that as lucky as I’ve been throughout my adult life, coming to realize with age and experience all of my gifts and privileges, yesterday morning, no one would choose my life over Kobe’s. And now that statement is upside-down.

  24. Chris Herring ended his piece on Kobe with a line about how a big chunk of the current NBA grew up thinking Kobe was the best player they’d ever seen. It gets to a lot of what I found interesting about Kobe in that it’s both probably true that’s what they thought but it’s also objectively false. Those kids grew up watching a bunch of players who were better than Kobe.

    Players probably don’t think “am I statistically better than that guy?” They most likely think something like “could I beat him 1-on-1?” And I bet most of the next generation guys (LeBron, Wade, Melo, etc.) did not think they could take him. He worked harder than them, he practiced more than them, and he was more competitive than them. If the NBA played King Of The Hill like we used to at Seaman’s Neck Park, Kobe would reign over a lot of them.

    Side note: the NBA needs to change course and scrap this mid-season tournament idea for something a million times better…. a one-on-one tournament.

  25. ADDENDUM: I take that back if Mills and Perry still run the Knicks because obviously we would max out some mid-level player who is unusually good at 1v1 ball.

  26. Yeah, Kobe being the Derek Jeter of basketball is definitely a great comparison, even down to the 5 titles both won.

    He was very close with a lot of current athletes, a lot of guys trained with him, Irving, Giannis, Tatum, Leonard, George, Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox, the list goes on. I have no doubt that as life went on, he matured and became a guy who was more admirable than his past persona, and I can respect that. The media and the fans will always treat him as a bigger basketball player than he actually was, but that was his entire career, a mega superstar spending his entire career in the biggest team in the NBA and winning multiple titles, so that’s to be expected. We do the same with Ewing as fans, and he didn’t even win the amount of stuff Kobe did, it doesn’t bother me.

  27. Call me crazy, but 1-on-1 ball is fun as an Instagram clip but would be horrible in long form. Hell, even the Big 3 (which is a very good idea) has the half-court weirdness to it.

    Watching highly-skilled open-court players endlessly back each other down toward the rim, with a tight whistle? Nah, not interested.

    We just need a better way to end games. Clock management endings are an affront to the sport.

  28. i think in some ways the tragedy goes past just kobe, his daughter and the other unfortunate folks on that trip…i guess in some ways it’s surprising we all haven’t become more numb to human tragedy…the connection (no mater how small) we all have to kobe though makes it a little bit more “real”…the time spent going from 2,ooo plus feet to the ground is hard to imagine…

  29. Me and my buddy back in the day used to come up with our starting 5 for the good guys, villians and all crazy team. Kobe (and Garnett) made both the villian and all crazy team.

    our all crazy starting 5 was: AI, Kobe, Artest, Garnett and Sheed.

  30. Watching highly-skilled open-court players endlessly back each other down toward the rim, with a tight whistle? Nah, not interested.

    I was definitely thinking call your own fouls.

  31. Kobe and Tiger have a lot of parallels…not in terms of greatness (Tiger is clearly greater in his sport than, well, maybe anyone) but in terms of being softened up by maturity years after being pilloried in the court of public opinion, and being less of a pompous, self-absorbed, brooding diva as he entered his 40’s. Tiger really showed great maturity in captaining the President’s Cup team…Kobe was on the same path.

  32. forgot to mention – farfa thank you soooo much for sharing your life with us…i know i’m not alone in letting you know that you enrich the passage of time a great deal for me…

  33. Tiger and Jeter would both be great comps in different respects if you add a credible sexual assault to each of their ledgers. I have always considered it a disgrace that he was celebrated, indeed venerated, after raping someone, destroying their life, and getting away with it. His death and the tragedy that was this chopper crash with all the people it touched doesn’t change that for me.

  34. @28…i’ve made it no secret over time i signed up years ago mainly due to my unabashed man-crush for THCJ…i know i’m not alone in that…

    it’s funny, at the time i had envisioned jowles as someone older than myself with an even more critical and stern outlook on others and life in general (not so easy to find and one of the reasons i now find E’s posts so consistently fascinating :)…for so long i even read jowles posts in the voice of ned beatty (basically his character “judge roy bean” from the streets of laredo)…

    i’ve tried over the years to become increasingly more familiar with some of the other folks whom post here regularly that are brave/bold/attention starved enough to share bits of themselves – because, more so than anything, that’s just what interests me…and, we are very fortunate to have a diverse and interesting group that are connected here…

    shocked me to find out i had a good two decades or so on our own THCJ…since then though – it has been such a joy jowles to read your words and witness your growth as a person…

    if you do nothing more in life than to continue to grow as a good husband, sibling and son, friend, and mentor to others you will have achieved quite a remarkable life sir…

  35. “and getting away with it”

    I guess it comes down to how you define “getting away with it.” That’s pretty much an individual judgment. As do opinions on whether anything he has done (or not done) since make any difference in how he is remembered.

  36. He did get away with it. Many people do. Most people.

    The guy should have spent most of his professional career in jail. Instead he died as one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of the world and considered a hero by many.

    I don’t get it. I never have, here or elsewhere.

    I don’t judge anyone for looking past it. The fact that he wasn’t convicted in a court of law provides plausible deniability. But I believe her and I don’t think something like that can ever be lived down.

    Also, he was an average efficiency ballhog.

  37. I like what Jowles wrote in #28. But for me, I feel pretty dispassionate about it. He was tall, had body control, and because of it was paid enough to use a helicopter as a limousine. Like other professional athletes, he was an oversized adult playing a children’s game. That we are affected by his premature death more than the thousands of other people that died an accidental death yesterday says something about who we are as a culture more than who Kobe Bryant was as a person. If we feel like we “knew” him, we didn’t. If we feel like he was playing for “us”, he wasn’t.

    I understand he provided great memories to the people of LA, and those memories are cherished. And I understand that in death, we lionize people who weren’t lions. But as a casual fan of a superficial industry, I find it hard to not roll my eyes at some of the eulogizing going on in the media. There’s an irony that is palpable.

  38. Wonderful article, Farfa!

    One of my nephews, Michael, (my sister’s only son) died at 8. That one was pretty tough on everyone, esp. b/c my youngest son Tristan and my brother’s son Lucas were born the same summer as Michael.

    They’re 19 now, and probably a constant reminder to my sister of what could have been.

  39. just my own belief, but i do believe in redemption…i also believe in serving penance, be it on earth or possibly beyond…

    witnessed it with my own father whom did a bunch of evil shit and mostly was a plague/parasite to those around him throughout his life…he spent the last six years or so of his life bed-ridden and in extreme pain…

    my sister and pretty much everyone else but his paid caretakers had shunned him…i totally understood and appreciated their view of the situation…i chose to continue a relationship because he was my father and i felt as though i had some responsibility as a son to honor that relationship…

    i set clear parameters for our time together and would make the trip from california to beautiful los lunas, new mexico twice a year to visit and spend time…during the time i spent there he would scream during the day from pain, and, then during the night he would scream out loud even more…he was severely haunted by his dreams…

    i won’t get in to it, but, he did some pretty awful shit to my mom, sister and other human beings along his journey (and he could also be a very charming individual, as many “clever” people are)…

    maybe a year or two before his death – he finally accepted the reason he was alone, and in pain was a result of many of his own actions…i know that doesn’t sound like much to be proud of, but, i was very proud of him for finally achieving that level of awareness and acceptance…

    i truly believe he had served his penance here on earth and had achieved redemption prior to his death…

    it’s funny though, there was no funeral – but, i made it a point to make sure to make it out to santa fe, where he was put to rest, to ensure i read him the appropriate pages from his old “preacher’s” episcopalian bible to help with his passage…i ain’t trying to catch no ghosts hanging around me while i’m here on earth :)

  40. I understand he provided great memories to the people of LA, and those memories are cherished. And I understand that in death, we lionize people who weren’t lions. But as a casual fan of a superficial industry, I find it hard to not roll my eyes at some of the eulogizing going on in the media. There’s an irony that is palpable.

    Kobe Bryant was a master of ballet among giants. He was worth 9 figures. He also did some terrible things in his personal life.

    All that being stipulated his accidental death is no more worthy of comment that the 100 odd people that died in car accidents yesterday or the 200 odd people that died of drug overdoses.

    And in Kobe’s case…..probably much less so.

  41. All that being stipulated his accidental death is no more worthy of comment that the 100 odd people that died in car accidents yesterday or the 200 odd people that died of drug overdoses.

    I think I laid out my case above for why it is different. I have a dozen odd friends and acquaintances who died young, almost all of them from accidental overdoses. No one envied them prior to their deaths. No one would look at their lives and see anything but sadness and suffering. For it to happen to a person as seemingly indomitable (for better and for worse, as I wrote above) as Kobe is a sobering thing.

    Maybe those distinctions are nothing if not arbitrary, but since yesterday’s news, they’ve felt all too real to me.

  42. Also, there are people who represent milestones of your lifetime, even if you don’t want. When they die young, their death usually bears a lot of significance, especially if it comes in such a sudden way.

    I might be biased here since I still feel sad for Bobby Phills, Malik Sealy, Jason Collier, Robert Traylor and Eddie Griffin. Those things cut away at my own mortality.

  43. Farfa, I agree. For a long time celebrity deaths didn’t really bother me. I used to kind of laugh at my mother lamenting the passing of celebrities.

    The first that did, long ago, was Andy Kaufman’s. But Joe Strummer’s was the one that really made me sad for awhile. Still does.

  44. I personally was never a Kobe fan (outside of respect for what he could do on the court, and as Knick fans I feel like we got to witness his best whenever he came to the Garden), but it has really felt very surreal and honestly I didn’t think I would feel this way. I think it has so much to do with the abruptness and tragic circumstances which it occurred. It was pretty sobering reading the news. Given the time difference the initial report broke here early Monday morning. My daughter woke at about 6.00 am so I was up and having a scroll through twitter and saw the report and could hardly believe it.

    Even before Kobe, I have been thinking about the whole “separating the art from the artist” thing and I really can’t come up with an adequate answer in my mind (that being said ther ehave been some fantastic responses on this thread).

  45. He did get away with it.

    It’s largely a semantical argument. I would argue that the ones who truly “get away with it” are the many athletes (and non-athletes) who did the same thing (or worse) as Kobe did but didn’t get caught because the victim didn’t come forward (and many don’t either out of profound shame or to protect family members who would become selfishly bent on revenge, I can tell you definitively from personal experience) or who’s case was not strong enough to overcome the many hurdles to even merit consideration (e.g. no DNA evidence) or who either weren’t believed or victim-shamed into silent suffering. Kobe didn’t get the punishment you would prefer (long incarceration, loss of career, etc.) but he did get worldwide public shaming and indelible staining of his reputation. To you and many thousands of others, he will be forever known first and foremost as Kobe the Rapist, even on the day of his and his daughter’s tragic and untimely death. His surviving family, including his daughters and their progeny, will be reminded of this for centuries to come, and I would think that he was acutely aware that this would always be written into his legacy, as indelibly as if it were carved into his tombstone.

  46. I used to kind of laugh at my mother lamenting the passing of celebrities.

    yep, exactly true…time can most certainly change your perspective…weirdly, now when someone passes one of the first questions in my mind is “how old were they”…like i’m measuring my own success at survival in terms of the passing of others…talk about morbid…

    “separating the art from the artist”

    i run up against this issue all the time with michael jackson, his music is everywhere…and, i like his music…no doubt though i consider his end to be far to gentle considering the sickness of his mind and evil in his soul…

    trying to evaluate the entirety of someone’s life from a relatively brief glance seems absurd, but, yeah – more and more we come to know about some of these people whom may have at one time shone so brightly in the public eye (or, are still there), and discover they weren’t just simply making “mistakes” along their journey, but, actually a predator amongst others…

  47. i run up against this issue all the time with michael jackson, his music is everywhere…and, i like his music…no doubt though i consider his end to be far to gentle considering the sickness of his mind and evil in his soul…

    I was at a wedding over the weekend, and the band played some Michael Jackson songs (as is the standard). It feels off watching people celebrate along to his songs given what we know now. One of my favourite bands as a teenager through to my early 20’s was Brand New, whose lead singer was accused of some nasty grooming stuff. I kept getting drawn to their albums, but a part of me always feels guilty/questions whether I am allowed to enjoy the art.

    I guess we don’t know Kobe personally, but in some sense it seemed there may have been some redemption for him watching him post-career and as a father. I don’t think anything he could do would ever absolve him (nor should it), but maybe it is in his post-career life the public somewhat softened on him. It is a tough one, and ultimately it is a personal choice we need to make, so I can respect both sides of the coin on this one.

  48. I think it’s a case-by-case basis. I can’t watch Woody Allen movies anymore, nor can I listen to R. Kelly — mostly because of how their art functions as an extension of the worst of their character (obsession with age disparity and hypersexualizing young women, respectively).

    John Lennon was a different kind of asshole — an absentee father, an abusive husband — but it’s hard to not listen to his music based on that. The Sex Pistols were, by all accounts, an especially shitty group of individuals, but I will listen to them all day. Morrissey’s and Eric Clapton’s respective bigotries haven’t put me off of their best work, either.

  49. Morrissey’s and Eric Clapton’s respective bigotries haven’t put me off of their best work, either.

    Morrissey is making it harder and harder to enjoy his work. Thank God for Johnny Marr though.

  50. John Lennon was a different kind of asshole — an absentee father, an abusive husband — but it’s hard to not listen to his music based on that. The Sex Pistols were, by all accounts, an especially shitty group of individuals, but I will listen to them all day. Morrissey’s and Eric Clapton’s respective bigotries haven’t put me off of their best work, either.

    damn, i did not know all of this (although imagining the sex pistols to be idiots isn’t so hard)…

  51. It’s largely a semantical argument. I would argue that the ones who truly “get away with it” are the many athletes (and non-athletes) who did the same thing (or worse) as Kobe did but didn’t get caught because the victim didn’t come forward

    That’s a fair point. We have Damyean Dotson on our Knicks. I can say for a fact that most of the time when he touches the ball the allegations against him are in my head. Although I have far less visibility into those.

    Personally, I prefer a more typical redemptive article. Real consequences, real contrition, and then a long track record of convincingly good behavior. Kobe’s story is far from that. It was essentially a slap on the wrist, some mild public shaming, the loss of a few sponsorship deals, and then he resumed his climb to a 600 million net worth. The people that feel the way I do seem to be a very small minority.

    I do agree it’s very complicated. I am sure I am hopelessly inconsistent about who I personally cancel and don’t.

    It is a little sad how hard it is to have heroes these days. There are a few out there though.

  52. thank god for #42 – mo…no doubt #10 – easy e (although i’m not sure what exactly happened with that signature stuff) is up there too…

    i don’t really know a whole lot about him off the court, but, it makes me smile to see julius and his son hugging it up before and after a game…

    i’m sure there are a lot of other sports related folks who are worthy…sadly the spotlight doesn’t always shine so bright on the folks doing good…

  53. Kobe wasn’t Ghandhi or Jesus.
    He was a basketball hero.
    Feeling sad for the sudden death of a bball hero is natural for a bball freak.
    It has to do with Kobe’s psyche/effort/passion/determination on the court and with the fan’s memories from him.
    It’s instinctive.
    No need for guilt or apologies for Kobe’s life shit.

  54. damn, i did not know all of this (although imagining the sex pistols to be idiots isn’t so hard)…

    As far as I am concerned, Sex Pistols are the One Directions of the punk world, but that is an argument for another day and potentially not appropriate for this thread ha ha.

    It is a little sad how hard it is to have heroes these days. There are a few out there though.

    I think with stars like Kobe, overtime their indiscretions are overlooked as people have a tendency to outweigh the good their legacy has done (i.e. inspiring young players, charity work etc.). I don’t think that necessarily goes to absolving him, but it may go to why we struggle reconciling conflict surrounding our heroes. It’s a stupid analogy, but I think back to the Rick and Morty episode with the King Jellybean. Ultimately the ones that knew his terrible actions opted to hide the details from everyone after his death, as they knew the people would get more from the idea of they jellybean they thought he was, as opposed to the jellybean he actually was.

  55. The people that feel the way I do seem to be a very small minority.

    I feel the way you do, Owen. It’s been a weird day or so thinking about this; since I wasn’t a fan of his as a player – I did respect him, but admire his often immature and selfish style of play, no – it’s given me a certain perspective on the public response to his death. He most certainly is being deified: one image I saw had him walking away from the camera, holding hands with his daughter, with halos over their heads. Literal deification. And to react to that negatively does not make you a graceless jerk.

    I do not wish the way he died on anyone – it sounds awful. And the fact that it was a group of teenage girls heading out to play basketball is tragic. It does break my heart. I feel terrible for his family, all their families. But I found myself thinking about the moral relativism of a world where there are thousands, or tens of thousands, of similar deaths every day. Deaths of people who may in their personal lives truly act as saints, deaths that go unreported and unremarked as “complicated” or otherwise. What is it about us as a species that we want to, perhaps need to, invest our energy and attention into making people gods?

  56. they knew the people would get more from the idea of they jellybean they thought he was, as opposed to the jellybean he actually was.

    But that’s just it: what do we get?

  57. But that’s just it: what do we get?

    Very good point, and I think that’s where it all becomes a subjective thing. I 100% get where you are coming from @63, and appreciate there would be a lot of people that felt the same way outside of Lakers fans. It’s probably justified to feel that way too.

  58. A guy I know played in Morrissey’s band. He was Morrissey’s personal whipping boy, Moz just picked on him incessantly, in ways that got increasingly cruel. One day this guy had enough and slugged Morrissey in the face.

    When the management fired him, they were like “Listen, no hard feelings and we know he really had it coming but we’re going to have to let you go…”

  59. I truly have great respect for nearly all of the posters here, and certainly for you, Owen. One of the valuable takeaways when these tragedies happen is how we take stock of our own peculiar judgmental tendencies.

    I never felt any particular kinship to Kobe on any level. I admired his talent and drive, but pretty much always rooted against him and thought of him as spoiled, selfish and arrogant even apart from the Colorado business. And I don’t give him much credit for being a “loving dad” just as I expect no credit for doing my best to be one to my 3 kids.

    As to Damyean Dotson, I shook his hand last year (he was doing a community service thing at my school) and when I did, I looked him in the eye and took stock of his expression. I felt and saw a gentle, humble kid, one deserving my empathy and forgiveness and of a second chance. When I see him play, that’s also what I see. I rarely think of the allegations, but sometimes I do. Sometimes I remark about them to my wife and my two daughters when they are watching the game with me, and listen to what they have to say. In my view, that’s an impactful consequence. But that’s what I feel, and I have no judgment regarding those who feel otherwise.

  60. No one life is worth more than another.
    But it’s fair to say that not all lives have the same impact on the world.

  61. Loving or Hating the Sex Pistols you can’t ignore their dominant influence on the “rock” scene with only one album under tough circumstances with their record label(s).
    Personally i love em.

  62. JK47 – as someone who was incessantly picked on in elementary school, I can relate.

    I know it’s not emotionally intelligent to say so, but sometimes enough is enough and it’s easy to feel the only way to break free of that kind of torment is through physical means. In fact, I was taught growing up that sometimes you had to.

    I’m glad that nowadays there’s much more awareness of bullying and diffusing methods that don’t involve fighting.

  63. It’s a stupid analogy, but I think back to the Rick and Morty episode with the King Jellybean

    not such a bad analogy at all: https://rickandmorty.fandom.com/wiki/Meeseeks_and_Destroy

    both sad and crazy…but, i actually felt relieved when i learned mister rogers wasn’t some weird perv dude behind the scenes…i mean, i am from new york, so, anyone that’s a little too friendly makes me highly suspicious…

  64. The frustrating thing is that this cuts short the time that Kobe had for atoning for the harm he did, and also for the victim to find justice. I think Kobe had the potential to do so. I think about how Jemele Hill helped persuade him that his initially dismissive views on the Trayvon Martin murder were wrong, and within a few years he was speaking out for social justice in public. He seemed like someone interested in learning and growing as a person. But speculation is all I have to go on.

  65. i know right…fucking dude had to suck the joy out of one of the two dozen or so wins we’ll get all year…still a selfish dick even in death…

  66. I think it’s a case-by-case basis. I can’t watch Woody Allen movies anymore, nor can I listen to R. Kelly — mostly because of how their art functions as an extension of the worst of their character

    You can’t separate the art from the artist, nor should you. What we know about Woody Allen changes the moral of Manhattan, but the work, along with all his others, stands as a projection of an aspect of his psyche. He is a person with morals incompatible with modern society, but that doesn’t mean society should throw out the baby with the bath water. Plato slept with underaged boys. George Washington owned slaves. You can apply a moral relativism to them, because without them we literally (in the case of Plato at least) regress into the dark ages. (If you put Dostoyevsky on anti-depressants, you can’t expect to then read Crime and Punishment). My issue with the Kobe coverage isn’t that they are whitewashing him. It’s that even whitewashed he’s not a hero, and shouldn’t be treated as if he was one.

    (Btw, today is Mozart’s birthday. He died at the age of 36, just as he was entering his prime. He was penniless, and was tossed in a pauper’s unmarked grave. 264 years later all 600+ compositions in his catalogue are still played every year. Maybe it’s hard for people to understand what a proper legacy is because they don’t understand their own existence in its proper context?)

  67. It’s also Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    Z-man – I would trust your opinion on Dotson. As I said I don’t know the particulars of the case. And I think redemption is absolutely possible.

    Anyway, enough from me on this…

  68. The particulars of the Dotson et. al. police report, specifically in regard to his role, are not good…certainly in the same ballpark of culpability as Kobe if not more so. I won’t rehash them, as they are easily available for anyone who wants to read them.

    The particulars regarding Dotson’s vs. Kobe’s respective life situations at the time of their incidents are light years apart. Again, I won’t get into the details, but I do think Dotson’s persona since his fall from grace, both on and off the court, is more suggestive of remorse than Kobe’s. Dotson carries himself every day as if he’s incredibly thankful to have gotten a second chance. I never really got that vibe from Kobe.

  69. The particulars of the Dotson et. al. police report, specifically in regard to his role, are not good…certainly in the same ballpark of culpability as Kobe if not more so. I won’t rehash them, as they are easily available for anyone who wants to read them.

    Considering how much there is in the Kobe situation, it really is shocking how much more there is in the Dotson case. I’ll admit that I forget about the Dotson charges often and then I’ll remind myself and…yeah…it’s tough sometimes.

  70. I’m never able to forget Dot’s charges. That’s why every good Dotson game still leaves me with a sour taste (also why I would never want Kendrick Nunn on my team).

  71. Dotson was an 18yo college freshman when his situation happened. I don’t judge 18yo’s as finished products. As the father of two college aged girls, a college age son who has been a victim of violence (one perpetrator was let off with a violation and the other was a juvie) but also a maker of serious mistakes, and as an educator of young people, my feelings on the subject are hard to put into words. In general, I tend to be more forgiving of youthful offenders (as is the legal system), depending on how them move forward with their lives. In Dotson’s case, I have not seen or heard anything but a humble acceptance of wrongdoing and taking a path of redemption. As to the price of his un-prosecuted crime, he was thrown out of college, given a second chance at a lesser institution, and every coach since then, both college and professional, has raved about his character. He will always have that incident and the police report attached to his name even though he wasn’t prosecuted for it (which isn’t his fault, legally speaking.)

  72. Re: Dot vs. Kobe, I will say that I agree with Z-man that the difference in life situations at the time of the incidents does make my reactions to them different. To me, the fact that Kobe brought every bit of his wealth, power and influence to bear on trying to avoid the consequences of his actions at every step really makes it hard for me to buy into whatever redemption arc people want to try to craft. From trying to coerce the woman to silence during the incident, the way he interacted with the police throughout, the strange attempt to bring Shaq into it, the high powered lawyers slut-shaming and tarring the victim in public, to ultimately buying her silence and, perhaps to an extent, his wife’s forgiveness. It’s hard for me to believe in a path to atonement that at no point includes a true recognition of the harm done and an acceptance of consequences.

    Still I would not hold up Dot as a hero either.

  73. There is no possible excuse for a man forcing himself on a woman partially or fully. However, (and I hope people understand the HUGE distinction), there is an explanation for it at times.

    Young men used to be WAY less aware of appropriate behavior years ago than they are these days.

    When I was in my teens (40 year ago) I remember being told by older friends that if she says “no” that doesn’t always mean “no”. I was told to back off a bit and then try again because sometimes the “no” will eventually become a “yes”. That’s pretty grey advice. In my case it was never a factor because the “hard no” came pretty clearly right away. lol

    But when horny young men are trying to get laid and they don’t know or understand what is appropriate or how to seal the deal, miscommunications and mistakes can happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to educate both men and women on these things.

  74. Dotson was born in 1994 so it’s not like he grew up in some completely different age.

    I do think #MeToo has changed things a lot. I spent a lot of the 00’s touring with major label artists, and the toxic bro culture of some of the executives was really out of hand. One bigwig executive I knew at the time was a serial sexual harasser, and he has now gotten his MeToo reckoning, but not before rising to the absolute top of the industry. Hopefully there has been a change in the culture and you won’t see this kind of abuse of power and status anymore.

    But on the other hand, there’s a guy running the country who was credibly accused of sexual harassment by double digit numbers of women, and who was caught on tape bragging about how he’s entitled to “grab ‘em by the pussy” and not only was he voted into office, he is today celebrated by the devoutly religious as a great man of God. Some people even made and wore cute “grab ‘em by the pussy” t-shirts.

    So maybe we’re not quite there yet.

  75. Duncan Robinson 6-9 from three. Now up to a 67% ts%. Adebayo had a triple double. If you had told me that the Miami Heat were going to be in a much better position in terms of young talent three years ago I would have thought…. Dolan’s Razor.

  76. Duncan Robinson, the UDFA signing? Adebayo, the 14th pick? What? You can’t get good players that late!

  77. even the “good” nba writers like Lowe will put something in their Kobe hagiographies like ‘we need to reckon with the complicated legacy of what happened in the colorado incident’ and then spend 5,000 words talking about what a great player kobe was because of his mamba mentality. Kobe was a great basketball player, but he was also great at manipulating the media and crafting an image for himself.

  78. Burneko made the same point. Probably no player ever has been better at crafting his own narrative. I always thought he was so painfully obvious about it. It was always clear how full of crap he was, how obsessed with his own self-mythologization. But somehow even that became part of his mystique.

    My take on Kobe, beyond the stuff we have discussed, is that he was a full blown narcissist, and I mean in the clinical sense, leading his absolute best life.For that kind of person, the typical thing you say is that no amount of fame or adulation is enough. My sense was that Kobe actually got enough. In serving that aspect of his personality he was as successful as any sportsman has ever been. He bent gravity around him like few people. For my own reasons, I found this aspect of Kobe upsetting too but the way he was embraced and celebrated for it was a good lesson.

  79. Lowe starts his article by telling a story of Kobe essentially inviting him over to watch some film and drink a couple beers. On his twitter account he and his wife are reminiscing about how excited he was that night. It’s possible that Kobe both respected Lowe as a smart basketball writer and maybe wanted Zach’s opinion on things and also realized that it would be good for the Kobe brand to have a good relationship with a talented young guy in the basketball media.

  80. The discussion here the last couple of days has made for an excellent read. Thanks to all of you.

    I don’t think just the “era” one lives in totally explains personal behavior such as how boys/men treat girls. Individual circumstances can really shape young people and how they behave, esp. the local culture where one grows up and parental guidance or lack thereof. I was raised that “no means no.”

    My parents split when I was 6, father pretty much a “dead beat” despite becoming wealthy, raised by single parent mom in a housing project, welfare, food stamps for many years. However, our mother instilled a lot in her kids, and we’ve all done well in life. I know that was NOT the same for some of those who lived around us, and as a high school teacher for nearly 30 years, I became aware of lots of just awful situations that kids are raised in.

  81. I appreciated Lowe giving Kobe his rightful due. 80% of Jordan. (edit:that was Zach Harper actually and double edit the Lowe piece was excellent) As for that beer and game tape story, narcissists are many of the most charming people in the world. Until they aren’t.

    Checking Lowe’s twitter, I was also reminded that De’Aaron Fox pulled off the best bang-the-foul-shot- off-the-rim-and-lay-it-in I have ever seen last night. Amazing. Probably illegal but whatever.

    https://ftw.usatoday.com/2020/01/kings-deaaron-fox-free-throw-miss-lane-violation

    And one more think piece on Kobe. Because I can’t help myself.

    https://slate.com/culture/2020/01/kobe-bryant-rape-allegation-coverage.html

  82. I’ll say this about Kobe: he was the uniquely perfect sports celebrity for the Los Angeles sports fan. Kobe dominated all sports talk here for like 20 years, he was by far the most iconic athlete in this town for a number of reasons. His won rings and scored lots of points but more than anything else I think people here loved the drama that Kobe brought to everything. There was a soap opera quality to a lot of those Laker teams and it always swirled around Kobe.

    They flew the flags at half staff in this town yesterday. As an Angeleno who really loves the city I found that kind of embarrassing.

  83. They flew the flags at half staff in this town yesterday. As an Angeleno who really loves the city I found that kind of embarrassing.

    I also found it a little weird that they turned on the purple and gold lights on the Empire State Building

  84. I don’t think just the “era” one lives in totally explains personal behavior such as how boys/men treat girls. Individual circumstances can really shape young people and how they behave, esp. the local culture where one grows up and parental guidance or lack thereof. I was raised that “no means no.”

    My mom is and has always been a feminist (not a terribly intellectual/literate one, but she was not fazed when my otherwise-kind grandfather asked her why she had to continue going to college when my dad got his first good-paying job) and my dad, while no misogynist, is fairly mute and dumb on big social matters like consent, etc., and I assure you, I thought through my early 20s that women wanted to be pursued, that any mild embarrassment or nervousness was of the erotic sort, and I was dead wrong.

    I had a sort of “gray area” encounter with a friend a long, long time ago, in a sober, end-of-party hookup thing — she was extremely petite and, unbeknown to each of us, queer — wherein I thought we were just having well below-average sex and she, as she revealed years later, was anxiously uncomfortable and wanted it to stop but was afraid that I, despite my apparent non-violent, gentle ways, would get aggressive if she asked me to stop. We did stop — as I read that she, like I, was not having a good time — but that was a moment when I realized that consent was not simple; reading between the lines of a situation was a task both complicated and necessary for moral behavior; and that I needed to talk way, way more, especially with new partners.

    I was not raised to be a misogynist, but I wasn’t raised in a household in which “consent” was a long-discussed concept. The culture raised me, and thankfully, education pulled me out of the hole that the culture raised me into.

  85. Addendum: Consent is simple in the sense of “no means no,” but less simple when you are not instructed to talk about consent before and even during a sex act, and you think, perhaps correctly at the time, that talking about it might ruin the spontaneity of the moment.

  86. As for that beer and game tape story, narcissists are many of the most charming people in the world. Until they aren’t.

    the truth right there…

    As an Angeleno who really loves the city I found that kind of embarrassing.

    hold up – you just happen to be currently residing (the last umpteen years) out here in la la land…

    at this point i’ve spent a little more time in cali then i did in new york – but, once a new yorker always a new yorker – only a new yorker :)

  87. Lowe starts his article by telling a story of Kobe essentially inviting him over to watch some film and drink a couple beers. On his twitter account he and his wife are reminiscing about how excited he was that night. It’s possible that Kobe both respected Lowe as a smart basketball writer and maybe wanted Zach’s opinion on things and also realized that it would be good for the Kobe brand to have a good relationship with a talented young guy in the basketball media.

    Jackie MacMullan had a similar story.

    Kobe read How To Win Friends And Influence People. Or maybe he just hired a PR firm who put a plan together for him using those principles. He probably had encounters like that with every important person he could reach.

    Luka Doncic’s story of his encounter with Kobe was pretty textbook.

  88. it’s a whole lot easier to talk about self-restraint with women when you’re in your fifties than it is when you’re in your 20’s and every cell in your body is screaming at you to get out there and go procreate…

    and yeah, blame the cleverness of evolution – but, it feels really good too…

    the thing that most changed my view on “men and women” was taking responsibility for the care of a young female child…oh but does your perspective change swiftly then…

    i don’t know a whole bunch of what is talked about in school these days, and, i realize many people feel very strongly that the subject of sex has no place whatsoever in our primary educational system – personally i feel as though it is a topic of discussion which does in fact need to be institutionalized in some way…

    it’s funny, during our many political discussions i’ve come to learn that weirdly enough – i’m in favor of an even more intrusion political/social/judicial/educational system within our country – which is odd, because i don’t really trust anyone, nor do i particularly enjoy anyone or anything telling me what to do…maybe it’s because of my lack of faith in my fellow human that i’d like to see more societal restraints in place…i’m not sure…

    abuse against women is just too prevalent of an activity for it not to be addressed from outside the home…at an early age (i’m not quite sure when that age may be – continuing on from 12, 13 years old maybe)…

  89.  I was also reminded that De’Aaron Fox pulled off the best bang-the-foul-shot- off-the-rim-and-lay-it-in I have ever seen last night. Amazing. Probably illegal but whatever

    I only watched the YouTube game highlights (which were awesome. The Kings were down more than 20 points with five mintues to go and got the game to overtime) and didn’t replay the moment, but yeah, my first instinct was, “I know Fox is freakishly fast, but no one is that fast!”

  90. @Jowles, geo et al.

    Agreed, but I think that restraint can be shown even by guys in their teens or twenties. I had situations in my 20’s where I was pushing a bit for sex but backed off. When I was 23 I was on a first date with an attractive girl when it got, much to my surprise, extremely hot and heavy. Ironically I was the one who put a full stop on b/c I did not have a condom and I barely knew the girl. I had an actual James Joyce-like epiphany.

    My wife had a couple of bad encounters with forceful guys before she met me. One was with a guy who parked his car in a remote area after a date and told her that he was not starting the car until he got what he wanted. Not sure who raised him, but not cool there. Only when she got out of the car and started walking away did he relent.

    I wonder how often on any give day women have to deal with situations like that and worse? And, with wealth and fame, how much additionally entitled does that make some men feel?

  91. clash fan, you’ve spent a bunch of time in the school environment with young folks – is this stuff: “no means no, have safe sex” brought up at school?

  92. I’m of the opinion that consent really isn’t a concept that really gets at the current issues between men and women and by that I mean primarily that women’s issues in many of these situations aren’t really that they (very) technically can be said to have consented. Which is why so many women think the system treats them badly, makes them not want to get involved or report what happens to them, etc. — because the system concerns itself with consent and consent doesn’t really get at what the woman is complaining about.

    So we have the cultural conundrum whereby provable objective lack of consent is the only moral and ethical basis for putting the perpetrator in jail, while at the same time that indispensable ethical standard doesn’t really get at what’s really involved. It’s only one of a bunch of substantially similar situations, but I’d recommend the stories about Sarah Silverman and Louis C.K. as a representative example.

  93. @107
    I really don’t know, geo. I was a high school English teacher, mostly 12th grade. But, my 19 year old son is right here, so he tells me that 9th grade in Health class was when he first remembered sex education stuff being brought up, including use of condoms and such. Remember that we’re talking about East Tennessee, here.

    Certainly, there were many times when issues of male/female relations came up in class discussion of literature, though. For example, when I’d read and discuss Browning’s “My Last Duchess” and “Porphyria’s Lover” in class, we’d discuss domineering, violent males. I’d share an anecdote our two about that, and sometimes the students would, too.

  94. thanks clash fan…despite having young folks around…i feel a bit out of touch with what goes on in school these days past elementary school stuff…

    i can imagine the push back from parents in regards to broaching the subject of sex in any form within inside of a school…

    I wonder how the folks in europe, asia and the rest of the world handle this subject (if at all)…it would be interesting to know which cultures are by and large getting it “right”, and, how they’ve achieved some success in either educating or disciplining their young folks…

  95. @110

    I don’t recall any issues with students, parents, or admin over school Health classes in either school that I taught at. In my own case, I never had a complaint about discussions about sex in literature, though I could have easily defended myself if needed.

    I do recall some parents having an issue about Of Mice and Men being taught in 9th grade English at my first school, but I don’t recall if that was about sexual or religious content. My only issue with a parent about literature was my teaching of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn due to its extensive use of the n-word.

  96. Agreed, but I think that restraint can be shown even by guys in their teens or twenties. I had situations in my 20’s where I was pushing a bit for sex but backed off. When I was 23 I was on a first date with an attractive girl when it got, much to my surprise, extremely hot and heavy. Ironically I was the one who put a full stop on b/c I did not have a condom and I barely knew the girl. I had an actual James Joyce-like epiphany.

    Of course it can. And I too have been on the receiving end of unwanted attention (from men and women alike) and with it came a whole lot of learned empathy for women and their day-to-day. (Perhaps not coincidentally, the rise of my understanding of consent and its moral value came with a marked increase in the amount and quality of sex that I had, further annoying the shit out of any poor Red Pillers in my immediate orbit.)

    I’m just saying that many of us grew up in a time when the culture vomited out trash like Revenge of the Nerds, which had an actual rape scene played for comedic effect, or Back to the Future, whose third act’s major plot point is — spoiler! — that Marty deliberately sets up his mother to be (WHAT THE FUCK) sexually assaulted so she can be saved by his would-be father (WHAT. THE. FUCK.) and they can consequently (WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) fall in love. It was normalized — it took a certain degree of enlightenment to see the gray areas as maybe not so gray. The line for forced sexual assault has always appeared far brighter, of course.

  97. @112
    Totally agree re how the media sometimes contributes, often in awful attempts at “comedy.”

    Ironically, all this discussion happens as I’m in season 4 of a MadMen binge rewatch, and my wife has, finally, gotten into the show with me. I have friends and family that can’t “get into” the show past the pilot b/c of all the drinking, smoking and sexism of the male characters. I tell them, that that is part of the point of the show, but that there’s much more to it.

    Seasons 3 and 4 of MadMen are magnificent. The first three season build to an amazing climax, and then season 4 just takes the show into cool new directions while still building on all the relationships. The male/female dynamics in the show is just part of the rich depth of it all. Top three all time for me (Deadwood, MadMen, The Wire).

  98. I fell off at the end of Season 4. I should get back into it.

    I’m sure it’s a lot like the people who think that The Wolf of Wall Street was praising excess and philandering. Uh… nah.

  99. @114
    The show does drop off a bit after season 4, but is still very good. It also stopped winning the Emmy for best series after season 4, coincidentally. I have a very liberal brother who couldn’t get past the pilot. I keep urging him to watch further…

    How amazing that AMC’s first two series were, I think, MadMen and Breaking Bad!?

  100. Mad Men is a distinctly feminist show. Conservatives, if anyone, should be put off by it. Paging Professor Sepinwall…

  101. Overheard a coworker last week saying that military service should be required in order to become a citizen, ‘like in Starship Troopers‘.

    Satire is a tricky thing.

  102. clash fan, you’ve spent a bunch of time in the school environment with young folks – is this stuff: “no means no, have safe sex” brought up at school?

    It might depend on what type of school you go to and what environment you grow up in.

    Granted, this was a long time ago.

    I went to a Catholic grade school. So sex was obviously never discussed. Most of the teachers were nuns. lol I had kissed and made out with girls at parties by then, but that’s it. I didn’t know a damn thing about anything except what I saw and heard from older friends.

    In my first year of high school, we were required to take what was called “hygiene” class. I remember almost nothing about the class except the first day we discussed sex. It was obvious I (and my friends from the same school) knew way less than the kids that went to public grade school. But the biggest shock was that two of the boys in the class were already fathers. We are talking abut 13 or 14 year old boys. So clearly environment matters.

  103. Larry David is tackling the “rich ugly celebrity dating in the age of consent” quandary in this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, for those of you wondering how that demographic is coping.

  104. Yup, the line between depicting something sympathetically vs. satirizing it is sometimes very thin. Take the old Batman 60’s TV series, for example. I’ve known people that totally miss the satire, which I think is rather obvious.

    Anyways, off to a Thai restaurant…

  105. I thought I was in a parody last week when a customer — a young guy, surprisingly — told me that he didn’t care about any of the data collection stuff. This was after I told him we replaced our Ring cameras with a different brand that did not store our footage in the cloud, and certainly didn’t give our footage to law enforcement agencies without a warrant.

    “Oh, I don’t care about that stuff.”

    “Like, you don’t care who they sell it to, which is literally anyone offering money for it?”

    “No, I don’t care at all. Like if you want to hack my webcam and look at me naked, whatever. I’m not that interesting, they’re not going to watch me long.”

    “That’s… that’s not quite what they’re doing, but…”

    “I mean, who really cares?”

    “So, like… would you let cops search your house without probable cause or a warrant? Like invite them in, let them toss your place for anything they might want to find?”

    [thinks hard] “I mean, yeah, as long as they’re not going to plant anything on me…”

    [Nick Young face]

  106. Overheard a coworker last week saying that military service should be required in order to become a citizen, ‘like in Starship Troopers‘.

    Satire is a tricky thing.

    oh hell yes…god, i know it’s crazy but – i wanted to say this exact thing for sooooo long…maybe not military service, but, yes – some kind of service…

    not even simply for the whole “do your part” thing – the access and exploitation of cheap labor is a cornerstone for any successful society…plus, indoctrination for whatever reason just seems to have a bad connotation associated with it – it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad……

    not sure how those countries with military service requirements do it, but, yes – something to fit for us should occur…

    1984 here i come…

  107. I’m in a relationship with the same women for just over 30 years. We never got married (too long and boring a story). Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to date or go to a bar and try to pick up a woman these days.

    Honestly, I’m pretty much terrified by the thought of it at age 60.

    Back in my day, most of the women I dated I met at work. It was easy to get to know people, what their status was, and if you got shot down it was only mildly awkward, but no big deal. Pretty much every single guy I knew dated women they met at work. Same for the women. It was done discreetly whether it was one night thing because you both had too good a time a party, a fling, or a serious relationship.

    Now, work seems like the nightmare scenario, especially if you have any power. At my last job there were all sorts of rules about dating. You had to report to human resources if you were dating someone. I almost have to laugh. It’s no wonder so many rich, powerful, attractive men get caught using call girls. They probably terrified to ask anyone they know or meet via work and business out on a date. There are probably mutual attractions that go nowhere because guys are scared shit.

  108. Larry David is tackling the “rich ugly celebrity dating in the age of consent” quandary in this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, for those of you wondering how that demographic is coping.

    That was hysterical because it showed how difficult it must be to find the right balance between being able to make a move and being terrified by the implications if it’s unwanted.

  109. It’s no wonder so many rich, powerful, attractive men get caught using call girls. They probably terrified to ask anyone they know or meet via work and business out on a date. There are probably mutual attractions that go nowhere because guys are scared shit.

    Or Occam’s Razor: because they’re lonely workaholics who sacrificed a great deal of their personal lives (and anything interesting about them) for upward mobility on a corporate ladder. I know several boomers like this — totally empty at retirement, wondering what the hell to do with their twilight years.

  110. Or Occam’s Razor: because they’re lonely workaholics who sacrificed a great deal of their personal lives (and anything interesting about them) for upward mobility on a corporate ladder. I know several boomers like this — totally empty at retirement, wondering what the hell to do with their twilight years.

    One thing I never did was sacrifice my life for the corporate ladder.

    I would say I was an amazing underachiever at all my jobs. Underachieving was my greatest achievement. ha

    I worked as hard and as accurately as I was capable of from 9:00 to 5:00. I put in the OT if there was a serious business need, but other than that I avoided extra responsibility. I turned it down when offered. Once 5:00 rolled around it was my time.

    You can argue shooting pool, playing horses, playing cards, drinking, and trying to meet women (not very successfully I might add) was not always the best use of my time, but other than the women part, not much has changed other than basketball moving up the list and having a renewed interest in my mediocre guitar playing. I added one new thing. I recently joined a meditation club. I’m enjoying that, except some of the people are “way out there”.

  111. There’s a saying that prostitutes are paid not to sleep with you, but to go away afterwards. I’m that’s part of some people’s morivation for using them.

  112. To clarify:

    In Kobe’s case, the woman had bruises on her neck, a bruise on her cheek, and her blood was found on Kobe’s shirt. This wasn’t an issue of mistaken consent, but a violent disregard for it.

  113. I would say I was an amazing underachiever at all my jobs. Underachieving was my greatest achievement. ha

    I worked as hard and as accurately as I was capable of from 9:00 to 5:00. I put in the OT if there was a serious business need, but other than that I avoided extra responsibility. I turned it down when offered. Once 5:00 rolled around it was my time.

    You can argue shooting pool, playing horses, playing cards, drinking, and trying to meet women (not very successfully I might add) was not always the best use of my time, but other than the women part, not much has changed other than basketball moving up the list and having a renewed interest in my mediocre guitar playing. I added one new thing. I recently joined a meditation club. I’m enjoying that, except some of the people are “way out there”.

    :)

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