10 September 2014

Quick Hits

1) I don't care that Apple thinks people still want a 16th century technology. Watches are stupid. Keeping track of time that closely is rarely important. If something needs to be done "soon", get it done as fast as you can. And don't worry about the time limits with precision.

2) Something that's come up often, and somehow managed to make it onto my social media feed: People who complain about white people getting killed by cops (or by minorities) somehow being ignored (by the media, or other people in their social circles).

The problem here is we're talking about two different things:
a Individual people getting killed. Which is bad. A problem (sometimes police violence, or crime). That kind of problem deserves attention and is terrible.
b People who are systematically oppressed, with a matchstick moment like an unarmed person from that community of people being killed (by police or whomever).
White people aren't oppressed (at least not in that way involving police brutality and racial profiling, etc). Crime against white people also isn't ignored by police or media. When there are protests surrounding a particular killing or beating of a minority victim, this isn't just to make a statement about the actual killing. It is to draw attention to the overall setup that helped lead to that killing. Large numbers of people are totally unaware of the deployment of SWAT teams into the Hispanic or African-American part of town, or the futility of stop and frisk searches as little more than racial discrimination under the supposed rubric of guns or drugs (which are almost never found). If the SWAT team is hitting a middle class white family, that gets attention, or if the police started frisking everyone in "your" neighborhood. And so on.

One of the consequences of all of this is that police and the citizens they police begin an adversarial relationship rather than a cooperative one. This all makes it much more likely that the tactics described above might be used, and that brutality and violence would occur, and thus shootings of unarmed citizens would be much more frequent. And much more likely to be ignored by the public at large, or passed over as supposedly "justified".

So. Yeah. If someone posts that kind of thing, you're going to get an angry note.

3) The NFL. I intend, as usual, to basically ignore football as a sport and watch as little of it as possible. I believe I watched a game last year involving 8-10 inches of snow on the field (Lions-Eagles). Because that was funny. But because football is a vastly popular media topic, it is impossible to ignore football in general as a topic. And what seems like the situation is that the NFL, if it wants to remain relevant in 15-20 years, probably needs to replace its commissioner as soon as possible. Because Goodell is basically running all the PR issues straight into the dirt rather than floating over them as problems. It confronts almost none of its major issues. Sexism -most teams are involved in long-standing fights over cheerleader treatment, pay, etc, and a variety of criminal charges involving domestic abuse and its players occur per year. No doubt it is not the only such league that has these, but its responses attract more attention, because they are often woefully inadequate. PEDs. Basically the league is ignoring these because faster and stronger players are more exciting (the NBA effectively does as well, and I don't particularly care that much about PEDs ethically). Concussions and brain trauma research, the league has tried to bury this, and took years to get around to addressing it at all. And so on. Football doesn't need to become a less violent sport to survive in relevance in America. But it does need to attend to these as issues. Parents (of both sexes), will see the risks of football as increasingly harsh environments (on and off the field) for placing their children into the sport and depriving it of vital talent and skilled play, a serious long-term risk to the health of the sport. And meanwhile women are a large and growing source of disposable income, and could be a large and growing fan base for professional sports. It should not take a violent video being leaked to disturb the conscience of league authorities relating to the off-field violence of one of its players and declare that it takes these concerns of how its players conduct themselves privately with a measure of seriousness.
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