A Philosopher's Blog

Lebron James

Posted in Philosophy, Sports/Athletics by Michael LaBossiere on July 10, 2010
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in...
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While I haven’t been interested in basketball since I played (badly) as a kid, I inadvertently learned way too much about Lebron James. This was, of course, due to the recent obsession in the media about where he would sell his ball handling services.

Along with the rest of the world I learned that he would be going to Miami and leaving Cleveland.  When I went to school in Ohio, Cleveland was known as the place where the river burned, “the mistake on/by the lake”, and “Columbus’ idiot brother.” This made me wonder what James was doing there, but I’m fairly sure that large stacks of cash were involved. In any case, his departure has made me a little sad for the folks in Cleveland-after all, they are no longer the home of the King, but back to just being a city which had a flammable river.

Speaking of mistakes, the media obsession over James seems to fall into that category. Sure, he is a great player and he gets paid vast sums of money to do what he does (and does it very well). However, what he does should be put in  perspective: he runs and jumps around on a court with a rubber ball. This hardly seems to be something worthy of such massive media coverage-at least outside of media devoted to sports. It does make sense for ESPN to cover this “story”, but for the “real” news channels to devote so much time to the “story” shows that the media folks either have way too much time to fill or that they really have no real sense of what should be considered news.

I do admit that he does play with great skill. As a vastly inferior athlete (at my best I was only all conference in college and never went pro) I respect his abilities. I also do agree that impressive athletic performances can be newsworthy. For example, if someone sets a new record for the marathon, then that is something I would consider worth covering, preferably in a short segment stating the record and perhaps a clip of the finish. However, the news coverage of James has not been of an amazing athletic performance but rather an obsession about where he would go. Hardly the stuff of real news.

Then again, perhaps it is news. After all, as millions of people are unemployed, one man is able to demand and receive a fortune to run and jump around on a court. This says a great deal about our culture and our values.

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22 Responses

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  1. freddiek said, on July 10, 2010 at 8:46 am

    From where I sit, the news has been as much or more about Cleveland than it has been about James. What has Cleveland lost? Will their economy fail? Will fans commit suicide? Or plot to kill James? What has LeBron done to Cleveland? Should he have been classier when announcing his decision??!!? (I didn’t hear that he said, “I’m outta here. F*** these losers.”That would’ve been news.) Is he a turncoat to Cleveland? The inequities between the salaries of the common man and those of sports celebrities is old news(Roethlisberger) and shouldn’t catch any attention here. I haven’t heard too much about it.If his ginormous salary amount has psychological or social consequences for James or those around him,there might be a trite story in it comparing him to Wall Street execs or oil barons of yore or some-such.
    The news is free to flog its story. The fans are free to bitch and moan. James is free to go where he pleases seeking a chance to win a championship. These teams either build teams around their championship-caliber stars or those stars rightfully go elsewhere. James has been at Cleveland for too long with no prospects of reaching the pinnacle. Now he’s going somewhere else before he gets too old to jump. If he can’t win a championship there, that’ll be news.

    • kernunos said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      Cleveland’s economy is pretty much already a failure.

  2. magus71 said, on July 10, 2010 at 9:38 am

  3. freddiek said, on July 10, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I don’t disagree ‘in general’ with the commentator in the above clip. I hope he’s been ranting about the apathetic public and media manipulation for ‘lo these many years because this is ‘not’ a problem that popped up recently.I hope he sees the irony in lamenting the woeful financial positions of our states while simultaneously criticizing the governor of Ohio for taking a little time and getting down on bended knees to keep a significant source of revenue in Ohio. And the commentator should try not to mix his scare tactics. “Religion is the opiate of the masses”was a Marx line. The commentator risks alienating some (let’s say the more ‘history-aware’ members of his audience)with his unfortunate use of part of the Marx “opiate of the masses” statement. If ‘this obsession with petty issues of little or no significance” is the opiate of the masses, then religion must be a “petty issue of little or no signiicance”. I mean, c’mon, how many things can be THE opiate of the masses” simultaneously?

    This is where the media shows one of its dark sides: all those aspects of “the news” that generate necessary revenue to keep the 24 hr news cycle alive. Is there a business out there that doesn’t look to its bottom line when fashioning its business model?

    Can anyone on here remember the Cronkite era? Back when the 24/7 cycle was just some mogul’s innovative wet dream and the news sphere was much more limited? Were the slobbering wolves at celebrities’ doors dominating the news then?

    • magus71 said, on July 11, 2010 at 1:00 am

      Religion is no longer the opitae of the masses, if it ever was. Many,many more people watch TV than go to church.

      My primary problem with celebrity is that people think that somehows the famous person’s abilities transcend the “job” that makes them famous.

      Oprah endorsed Obama, so Obama gained something like a 20% increase in female votes. Matt Damon shoots his mouth off, and every drooling channel surfer is nodding his head in agreement.

      All of which affects the country that I live in. And yet our kids can’t find all 50 states on the map and most of them can’t find Iraq or run a mile without stopping.

      I do believe our decadence will get the best of us. Not our wealth–our decadence. See, people now associate people who have money with decadence. That’s not how America was made strong.

      Look at the garbage we’re pumping our kids with. It is absolutely programming them.

      We have truly entered a world of “men without chests” as CS Lewis described it. Young people who have intellect and natural animal instinct, but nothing to harness their actions. God is dead, and we killed him.

      “Lewis cites ancient thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle and Augustine, who believed that the purpose of education was to train children in “ordinate affections,” that is, to train them to like and dislike what they ought; to love the good and hate the bad. He says that although these values are universal, they do not develop automatically or inevitably in children (and so are not “natural” in that sense of the word), but must be inculcated through education. Those who lack them lack the specifically human element, the trunk that unites intellectual man with visceral (animal) man, and may be called “men without chests”.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Abolition_of_Man

      • freddiek said, on July 11, 2010 at 9:02 am

        ” to train children in ‘ordinate affections,’ that is, to train them to like and dislike what they ought'” Written like a man who knows what other people should think. Thank you C.S. Lewis.

        Superficially, this appears a noble idea, but on deeper consideration it’s not hard to see the weakness of that approach. Someone has to make the judgment about what “they”*# ought” “to like and dislike.” Who would that “someone” be?

        If that training involves something like let’s say slavery or apartheid, the children are going to learn to “love the good(white) and hate the bad(dark)”. In that example, I’d rather live among the “men without chests”.

        If that training involves chanting “I love mother China” a hundred times (or whatever the hell they do) each morning in a primary school in China because the government thinks that will effectively teach the kiddies to “love” the regime, well, then, I’d rather live among the “men without chests.”

        If that training involves a child watching Sesame Street, I’d encourage the child to watch Sesame Street. If that makes him a man “without a chest”—better that than a racist or a communist.

        *#malleable you minds and all

        “men without chests”
        Are they like your “spaghetti-armed metrowhatevers” :)? LeBron James “spaghetti-armed metrowhatever”!

        • kernunos said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm

          ‘If that training involves chanting “I love mother China” a hundred times (or whatever the hell they do) each morning in a primary school in China because the government thinks that will effectively teach the kiddies to “love” the regime, well, then, I’d rather live among the “men without chests.” ‘

          That is the men without chests.

          • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm

            Nope.

            Para(s). 3 and 4 [4 being the para. to which you refer] are about some “men WITH chests” (i.e. those who inculcate their young with values they may THINK are “ordinate affections” but which are at best wrong-headed and at worst downright abhorrent and destructive). You’ll have to read m*s 7/11 1:00 am piece for the full poop on that subject.

  4. magus71 said, on July 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    “Superficially, this appears a noble idea, but on deeper consideration it’s not hard to see the weakness of that approach. Someone has to make the judgment about what “they”*# ought” “to like and dislike.” Who would that “someone” be?”

    Parents would be a good start, instead of television.

    “men without chests”
    Are they like your “spaghetti-armed metrowhatevers” ? LeBron James “spaghetti-armed metrowhatever”!

    Yes, spaghetti-armed metro-sexuals are a sub-species of men without chests. They’re also called men without balls.

  5. freddiek said, on July 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    “Parents would be a good start, instead of television.” That’s pretty utopian.

    You’d probably agree that the average television program hardly ever beats up or rapes its young viewers. Headline: 8 YR OLD RAPED BY “INSIDE EDITION”! The same cannot be said of parents.All parents are not equally capable of raising capable kids. Some can’t keep from beating them to death before age 3! The talk show host’s argument and yours that our society is experiencing an ongoing degradation would support a conclusion that ‘more’ parents now than ever are– what is that term– “spaghetti-armed metro-sexuals” and likely incapable of proper child-rearing.

    Kids can’t raise themselves. So who is to decide which parents are succeeding and which are failing miserably? Would that be a role for government at the federal and local levels? Perhaps the private sector could take over, assuming we could find some way to make it profitable for them—they could auction off the end-products of their wonderful parenting to the highest bidders? Or perhaps churches would step in? I would nominate the Unitarian Church for that task.

    But wait. The churches are always part of the argument when the Social Security and Medicare questions arise.”We don’t really need government social services because the people who really need help can be helped by the community and the churches. No federal assistance necessary.” Why, pretty soon churches won’t even have building funds and maintenance funds. They’ll have to meet in mud huts like in the good old days and parishioners will have to park far away because parking lots are too costly. But I digress.

    Just curious. No chests. Do the spaghetti arms attach directly to the spines? Because I’m left with the impression that his life-form is spineless. So it’s this undefined mass with no balls and spaghetti-arms. I’m guessing here : It’s likely hairless and exudes a viscous yellow substance.

    Think carefully now. Are you SURE these are not simply the aliens you see making out in your wet dreams? :)

    • magus71 said, on July 12, 2010 at 3:15 am

      “That’s pretty utopian.”

      And that’s part of the reason that we’re headed where we are. It’s considered utopian that parents should teach values, not entertainment tV.

      I knew classic values would send you into a tizzy.

      • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:56 am

        No tizzy. Just reality. We’re ‘are’ “where we are”. You said it. The commentator said it. I agreed. We got here because of a complex–‘not’ simple– combination of factors (advanced transportation allowing the destruction of the nuclear family; other modern considerations that allow a child to be ‘lost’ even within the best of families; families where mom and pop both hold full-time jobs just to survive;churches more concerned with congregational growth and political power than Jesus’ teachings)

        And that, plus the problems I cited in my 7/11/9:02 post, is why I believe depending on parents to teach values is “pretty utopian”. Unless you can magically roll us back to the good old days before everything started going to Hell in a handbasket, of course.(Without disrupting progress and economic growth and destroying human rights).

    • kernunos said, on July 12, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      …and some can’t keep from killing them in their own wombs in late term abortions.

      • freddiek said, on July 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm

        Mmmm. States are permitted fairly broad leeway to limit late-term abortions, subject to considerations of preserving the life or physical or mental health of the mother. I just assume society doesn’t want a bunch of dead mothers or seriously physically or mentally debilitated mothers on its hands. I know I wouldn’t.

        http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_PLTA.pdf

        Would you prefer a/ that unqualified parents have an abortion or would you prefer that b/ they wait and torture their children to death by chaining them to radiators? or starve them to death? or rape them soon after they can walk?

        http://boards.library.trutv.com/showthread.php?t=285575

        If neither option appeals, which government entity should handle the care of the newborn? For how long? At whose cost?

  6. Anonymous said, on July 12, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I’m neither an Cavs lover or Miami. Though I do accord them was infantile from Gilbert, if James as a matter of fact did disregard him, how sorry is that. http://electricitymonitorblog.com

  7. freddiek said, on July 13, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    “Finally, one country has taken it upon itself to ban the mullet. In an effort to ‘halt the spread of unconventional styles’ and ‘fight back against the Western cultural invasion,’Iran’s Culture Ministry has released an official catalog of government approved haircuts. What else is out? Ponytails, as well as excessive spikes and gels.” TIME,7/19/2010

    No “men without chests” in Iran you betcha. There they recognize the rot at the core of American society that Jones refers to in the vid above, and they’re taking his advice. They’re using the early 21st century Bush approach of launching a preemptive strike–in this instance against those who magus would label “spaghetti-armed metrosexuals” and their carefully dried, over-moussed coiffures. In Iran, they understand that if you give’em an inch they’ll take a mile.

    • magus71 said, on July 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      Oh, you misunderstand me. I’m all for it being completely legal to be a panty-waste. I just wouldn’t recommend it.

      • freddiek said, on July 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

        Er, don’t misunderstand me. I’m didn’t say and I’m not saying you want to make spaghetti-armed metrosexuality illegal. I’m just noting that you and Alex Jones seem to be of the same mind as the leaders in Iran on the subject. :)

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on July 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      Well, the mullet ban does have a certain appeal…

      • freddiek said, on July 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

        Right. And now that sideburns and underarm hair on women and duck’s asses have virtually disappeared we don’t have to ban them. But sadly it took so much longer than it would’ve taken in Iran!

        So, I’ll suggest a few bans we should put in place in the US ASAP:

        Pocket tee shirts. Wet pocket tee shirt competitions are only half as much fun as with those conducted in t’s without pockets.

        And cowboy boots on anyone who’s not a freakin’ cowboy. God, that makes me wanna puke.

        Which, I guess brings up SUV’s driven by people who never leave the city or never actually get off-road. Why does one of magus’ “spaghetti-armed metrosexuals” need a 4WD vehicle with 16″ ground clearance and monster truck aggressive tread tires? God, they make me wanna puke again.

  8. magus71 said, on July 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

    “I’m just noting that you and Alex Jones seem to be of the same mind as the leaders in Iran on the subject.”

    Not all bad people are wrong about everything. And besides, what goes through people’s mind is seldom matched by their actions.

    But by all means. Continue to gel your mullet and maintain your pipe cleaner arms. Chicks dig.

    • freddiek said, on July 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm

      Who are these “bad people” you’re referring to? Is Alex Jones among’em? And how seldom is “seldom”? Seems like any given time a violent racist thought turns to action is too many times and “seldom” becomes a useless excuse.

      Apropos of nothing much, but whereas muscle seems to be important to you,I had 16 1/2 inch biceps (no fat) when I was a sophomore in h.s. Wanna touch?


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