Tag Archives: football

“White Liberal Dude Privilege Syndrome”

Yup, bet this is a really hard time for YOU, bro

Yup, bet this is a really hard time for YOU, bro

My favorite thing I’ve read this week is the apology letter from David Roberts at Grist after he referred to a former Anthony Weiner intern as a “hobag” on Twitter. Read the whole thing, please, but highlights:

“This is the key first step in a bout of White Dude Privilege Syndrome, especially the specific variant of White Liberal Dude Privilege Syndrome (WLDPS). Very few bouts begin with deliberate sexism or racism or heteronormativity. We are not thinking sexist thoughts! Our intentions are pure! We love women! Some of our best friends are black! We are good people, dammit!”

“The first step in WLDPS therapy is for the sufferer to acknowledge that it does not matter what was or was not in his head, or what he “really” meant. Part of privilege is the deep conviction that one is the absolute authority on one’s own mental states and thus the dictator of one’s own meanings — no one can tell you what they are, what you think, who you are, man. You don’t know me! We privileged dudes have trouble accepting that language is a social phenomenon, a social act, and meaning is created collectively, in the spaces between and among people. When you use language that is freighted with social meaning, you are responsible for that meaning, even if you did not “intend” it.”

Man, it’s so fucking smart. When we talk about privilege, we are often referring to the very tangible–wealth, stuff–or the slightly less tangible–sense of security, education. What Roberts is pointing out is that the underlying girders of privilege are not external, but rather deeply personal, “the conviction that one is the absolute authority on one’s own mental states and thus the dictator’s of one’s own meanings.”

I'm sure this is a really tough time, Bob

I’m sure this is a really tough time, Bob

What do we mean by that? Take the case of currently beleaguered mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner. Filner’s been accused by nine women of sexual harassment and is clearly struggling with the discrepancy between how he viewed his actions (“behavior that would have been tolerated in the past”) and how they are perceived by others (inappropriate, illegal, gross.) See Stephen Colbert’s excellent “Oppressed White Male Alert.”

Similarly, Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper is trying to recover from an ugly incident in which, agitated, he yelled at a Kenny Chesney concert, “I will jump that fence and fight every n***** here, bro” [Note: Cooper is white]. His response to the appalled and upset reactions of his fans and teammates suggest that, like Filner, he’s having trouble reconciling what he knows about himself and how his actions are being received. “I’m hoping we can rally around this and my teammates will be behind me and I’ll get through this,” he said. “This is not the type of person I want to be portrayed as. This isn’t the type of person I am. I’m extremely sorry,” he added. He does not consider himself to be racist and this may be the first time in his life where his internal monologue about who Riley Cooper is is being questioned by the public. He found the edge of his privilege, and it is apparently at a gate outside a Kenny Chesney show.

As Roberts said, “When you use language that is freighted with social meaning, you are responsible for that meaning, even if you did not ‘intend’ it.”

Related Post: Do I have privilege? You bet.

Related Post: There is a hierarchy of feminist privilege

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Filed under Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

Sunday Scraps 100

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1. GAYS: In the 2010 census, one county in the US reported 0 gay people. None. Zilch. Nada. Explore Franklin County with CNN and find out if the census is true. Hint: Doubtful.

2. SCOTUS: A little late to the game on this one, but Courtney Milan’s concise play-by-play of the Prop 8 Supreme Court case is the first time I actually think I know what’s going on. Sample truncated piece of dialogue: COOPER: But these people were injured. They didn’t want gay people to marry, and now look! Gays. Lesbians. Able to marry at will. It’s very injurious. They’re injured just thinking about it.

3. FEMINISM: I dare you not to cry at this amazing obituary of feminist revolutionary Shulasmith Firestone. Written by the incomparable Susan Faludi, it’s just… a lot. Sniff.

4. POLITICS: To my surprise, I came out of Jonathan Van Meter’s NYT profile of Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin feeling pretty sympathetic for Weiner. Maybe sympathetic’s not the word…

5. FOOTBALL: From Grantland, what would happen if an NFL player died on the field? 8 years ago, Al Lucas died during an Arena football game. Is that where we’re headed?

6. LOOKS: Why does it matter that the President called Kamala Harris good-looking? Amanda Hess at Slate knows why, and I couldn’t agree with her more.

Related Post: Sunday 99: Megan Mullally and Ron Swanson, Tavi Gevinson, Rolling Rock history and more

Related Post: Sunday 98: Chinese marriage market, George Saunders, Lena in Playboy and more

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Monday Scraps 95

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1. DATING: Where do “missed connections” happen? In Illinois, on the train (duh), in Indiana, at home. Wait, what?

2. AUTHORS: Ugh. Ender’s Game was kind of my favorite thing for so so long. It still is, but I hate when the authors you love turn out to be raging homophobes. Dammit.

3. EDUCATION: This amazing investigative piece by WBEZ on the South Side’s Harper High School is incredible in basically every way journalism can be incredible.

4. KNOPE: NYMag has the inside scoop behind Amy Poehler/Leslie Knope’s amazing wedding dress.

5. SPORTS: For the very first time, a woman is participating in the NFL regional tryouts. Kicker Lauren Silberman will probably not play in the NFL, but that’s still pretty f’ing cool.

6. OSCARS: I would write about Seth McFarlane’s horribly sexist jokes, but Margaret Lyons at NYMag  nailed it so hard I’d just be paraphrasing. 

Related Post: Sunday Scraps 94: Bey, Connie Britton, Jane Austen and more.

Related Post: Sunday Scraps: 93: Guns, visiting Chicago, Margaret Atwood

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Filed under Books, Chicago, Education, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Sports

Sunday Scraps 93

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1. BOOKS: The always excellent, sharp-as-a-muhfucking-tack Margaret Atwood is interviewed for The Rumpus about Oryx and Crake, the state o’ the ladies, and how to write dystopia.

2. CHICAGO: Because I live in Chicago, when travel blog Go Go Go wrote a “How to Visit Chicago” post 8 MILLION people emailed me. He is mostly right. I try to avoid fights with homeless people, which he seems to think is kind of essential, but to each their differences.

3. NERDERY: Uuunnnnhhhh, this makes me so happy. The folks at the aptly titled Overthinking It have calculated President Bartlet’s West Wing approval ratings.

4. HISTORY: If you dig little-known stories about cool historical people who you’ve never heard of doing neat shit, this BuzzFeed piece about a 13-year-old girl who played pro baseball in the 20s is for you.

5. FOOTBALL: I read somewhere that at one point a third of the NFL coaches were disciples of Bill Walsh. Dude wrote a 500 page manifesto and it happens to be on every football coach’s shelf. Who knew? ESPN has the scoop.

6. GUNS: I missed this post-Newtown, but dang… this XOJane essay by Haley Elkins knocked me over. It’s about growing up with guns and why they (some of them anyway, in the right hands) should still scare the living shit out of you. Read it now, kthxbai.

Related Post: Sunday 92: My new favorite NBA player, 30 Rock goodbyes, pictures of people sleeping

Related Post: Sunday 91: McDonald’s and books? Sci-fi gender swapping, celebrity yearbook photos

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The Best Things I Read on the Internet: Sports Edition

I like sports a lot. I like pretending to invest in my fantasy football team and then forgetting to set my line-up and accidentally starting three players on bye week and two who are nursing busted knees or ankles. I like following Chicago sports so I can nod along with the sandwich guy about Charles Tillman’s wife, and damn, I hope she has that baby before Sunday!

I like sports because they raise so many other issues, about entitlement and academics, about fitness, health, beauty, gender, safety, parenting, money, community and values. I also really like when people write well about sports, like these folks:

  • The Hard Life of an NFL Long Shot” – The New York Times (Charles Siebert): Following his 21-year-old nephew through the the ups and downs of a maybe, someday, hopeful NFL-er, Siebert captures some of the frenzy we see on the surface of the NFL, and some of the loneliness and struggle of the almost-made-its.
  • “The Favorite” – Grantland (Brian Phillips): Serena Williams is my favorite, and Brian Phillips’ too. He explores why (and other stuff, like race and privilege and pressure) in this excellent profile.
  • “Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer” – New York Times (John Branch): In this epic three part series, Branch examines the life and career of one of the NHL’s most notorious brawlers, and his death by accidental overdose at age 28.
  • “The Woman Who Would Save Football” – Grantland (Jane Leavy): Dr. Ann McKee is a Packers fan. She is also the woman to whom brains are sent when athletes die.
  • “A Basketball Fairytale in Middle America” – New York Times Magazine (Sam Anderson): Kevin Durant is the Oklahoma City Thunder, and in exchange, Oklahma City has devoted itself to Kevin Durant. This is a fabulous profile of a player (the youngest scoring champion in league history) and a city who levied a sales tax to build him a home.
  • “Venus and Serena Against the World” – New York Times (John Jeremiah Sullivan): I know this is my second piece about the Williamses, but I just really like them, ok? Also, it’s really good.

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Filed under Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

Sunday Scraps 85

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1. SPORTS: This Charles Siebert piece for the New York Times Magazine about the rigors and stresses of trying to make an NFL team is fascinating. How much do you want it? And how much are you willing to take to get it?

2. BOOKS: Super great Atlantic essay about author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, State of Play) and her new bookstore in Nashville. As a lover of independent bookstores, I think this is all kinds of awesome.

3. CHRIS BROWN: After violent exchange with a female comedian on Twitter, Chris Brown deleted his account. The always excellent Roxane Gay on why criticizing Brown isn’t racist, and why it also is pretty f’ing complicated.

4. ELECTION: Curious about how all those Obama for America emails with subject lines like “Hey” or “It’s officially over” played out? Businessweek has some answers.

5. PAIN: There’s an extremely rare medical condition where you feel no pain. Sounds great, right? Not unless you step on a nail, scratch yourself bloody, or break an ankle and don’t realize it. The New York Times has an examination.

6. MEDIA: The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has put together an excellent report about the representation of women on screen (especially on children and family programming) and Mother Jones has a summary of some of the most telling facts and figures.

Related Post: Sunday 84 – Letters from astronauts, the female male model, bedrooms around the world.

Related Post: Sunday 83 – Hillary Clinton’s next move, Denver public schools, Mormons on the Romney bus

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Filed under Body Image, Books, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports, Uncategorized

Sunday Scraps 77

1. GENDER: The Stranger has brilliantly skewered Rolling Stone’s annual “Women Who Rock” issue by turning the tables and throwing the dudes a bunch of ridiculous softball questions.

2. WEDDINGS: As a soon-to-be maid-of-honor, I was tickled horrified by this bride’s instructional email to her bridesmaids (Gawker).

3. FOOTBALL: Now that this ref strike is over, hear how it went from the scab side with a Time interview with replacement ref Jerry Frump.

4. POLITICS: Apparently, some foreign governments are learning about democracy through viewings of The West Wing. The Atlantic explains why this is perhaps not the most realistic model…

5. WEIGHT: Author Jennifer Weiner writes for Allure. What’s a fat mom to do when her thin daughter pulls a Mean Girl move and calls another girl fat?

6. RAHIEL: Urban Cusp founder Rahiel Tesfamariam, born in Eritrea, now an internet celeb, sums up her epic tweet series on her path to success.

Related Post: Sunday 76: fast food nation, Zadie Smith, xkcd, and Vice Magazine.

Related Post: Sunday 75: Moms-in-chief, best word ever, library tattoos

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