Patterico's Pontifications


Another Ridiculous Headline Previewing a Weak Analysis

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:34 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Here is how some (yes, you guessed it) academic chose to commemorate in today’s Washington Post the 25th anniversary of O.J. Simpson’s wild ride down the 405 Freeway:

OJ Headline

At first I determined that the headline (which I saw on Twitter) was so dumb that I wouldn’t read the accompanying essay, but I remembered what I wrote about George Skelton last week with respect to opinion writers not writing their own headlines, so I decided to give it a go. I was not impressed with the argument of the author, a Media Studies Professor at Quinnipiac University named Phillip Lamarr Cunningham. Here is the gist of it, so that you don’t have to waste your time reading it yourself:

To suggest that Simpson overshadowed a decade’s worth of goodwill toward black athletes would be an overstatement. But Simpson, arguably a major source of this goodwill, certainly made clear the conditions white Americans put on their goodwill, even as the nation’s greatest black athletes continued to thrill and amaze.

Those crazy white folks: rescinding their approbation and respect just because you go and do a silly old thing like slaughter your ex-wife and her co-worker.

Prof. Cunningham’s thesis just gets more murky from there. He travels through the history of white America’s disapproval of “militant” black athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos, before contrasting them with former Heisman Trophy winner Simpson, the first NFL running back to run for 2,000 yards in a single regular season. He complains that Simpson’s commercial appeal “did not lift up other black athletes in the 1970s and early 1980s,” having apparently never heard of Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Reggie Jackson, or Walter Payton, and being completely unaware of the famous Mean Joe Greene Coca-Cola commercial, which in my recollection played about 22 times per televised game for the next seven years.

Prof. Cunningham admits that by the end of the 1980s there were plenty of black athletes who served as effective pitch men to white America, naming Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson, and, of course, Michael Jordan. But he complains that these athletes, Jordan especially, had to avoid political topics in order to thrive:

It’s not clear whether Jordan really said “Republicans wear sneakers, too” as a rationale for not supporting Gantt. But we do know that Jordan, like Simpson, was disinclined to fight overt battles against racism.

Hard to believe that white America wasn’t keen on having multi-millionaire jocks recite the catechism of oppression that is formulated and promulgated by the leftist academia/media alliance so dominant in our modern culture. But nevermind that. Prof. Cunningham declares that the day O.J. became the prime suspect in the murder was a watershed for the black athlete:

The chase not only disrupted the NBA Finals — it also unsettled the comfort white Americans had developed for black athletes. For years, black athletes, and Simpson in particular, were held up as signs of the progress made toward bridging America’s racial divide. That night, however, he served as a stark reminder of how conditional that comfort was.

Again, killing two people in cold blood is sadly going to lower your Q rating. But I was around in 1994, and among the most popular athletes of that era, I recall the following: Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Kirby Puckett, Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr., Michael Johnson, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and of course, the king of them all, Michael Jordan. By the end of the decade, the only challenge to Jordan’s throne would come from a young golfer named Tiger Woods. So much for the idea that the arrest of Simpson made businesses reluctant to use black athletes as spokespeople.

Prof. Cunningham’s summation is that “[t]he means by which Simpson won over America,” which he earlier described as presenting a friendly apolitical demeanor, “are antiquated, especially in an era in which black athletes such as Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James not only have embraced social justice but also have convinced their leagues and sponsors to do so as well (to an extent).” It’s telling that Prof. Cunningham lauds one player who hasn’t been on the field for three seasons due in part to what a large segment of the public believes is shallow grandstanding, and another player who has downscaled his commercial endorsements in order to concentrate on more traditional business interests.

But hey, as usual this is somehow the fault of white society and our failure to fully embrace the complexity of the black athlete. It’s as if social justice academics are just halfheartedly going through the motions these days.


Legal Headlines

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:26 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

The Hill: Thomas urges Supreme Court to reverse ‘demonstrably erroneous decisions’

Daily Mail: Lawyers: Files sent by Alex Jones contained child porn

New York Post: Cuomo expected to sign bill approving driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants


Reynolds Wrap Summer Job Opportunity

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 4:20 pm

[Link from DRJ]

2019 Chief Grilling Officer:

Calling all pit masters, grilling fanatics, and barbeque rib fans… Reynolds Wrap® once again has the dream job for you, just in time for summer!


Reynolds Wrap® is looking for its next Chief Grilling Officer! New for 2019, Reynolds Wrap® is on a mission to identify the best BBQ ribs in America and we want you to lead the way.

As CGO, you won’t need a comfy corner office because for two weeks in August, you’ll be busy tasting and savoring BBQ ribs from some of the top BBQ rib cities in the country. Along the way, you’ll share tips, grilling techniques and photos on the Reynolds Kitchens® website and social channels, so grilling enthusiasts at home can make drool-worthy BBQ ribs on their own. You’ll also receive a $10,000 stipend along with pre-paid travel and lodging for you and a (very lucky) guest!

If you don’t mind being paid to taste test some of the most delicious BBQ ribs across the country, posting envy-inducing pictures of your food and falling asleep every night dreaming about your next rack of ribs, then you could have what it takes to be the next Reynolds Wrap® Chief Grilling Officer.

Application details at the link. Applications will close on Wednesday, June 19 at 12 AM CT.


Quotable Pete Buttigieg

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 3:29 pm

[From DRJ]

Axios InterviewPete Buttigieg says it’s “almost certain” we’ve had gay presidents:

“Axios on HBO:” “You believe that we’ve had a gay commander-in-chief?”

Pete Buttigieg: “I mean, statistically, it’s almost certain.”

“Axios on HBO:” “In your reading of history, do you believe you know who they were?”

Pete Buttigieg: “My gaydar even doesn’t work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that’s the case.”


One View on the Ivy League

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:18 pm

[Link from DRJ]

Foundation for Economic Education: Ivy League Schools Today Put Politics First and Achievement Last

With college application season in full swing, many applicants are hopeful that getting into the nation’s highest-ranked universities means acquiring skills and knowledge meant for the best and the brightest. They would be wrong. As affirmative action court cases and skyrocketing tuition rates reveal, today’s Ivy League institutions have strayed from their sacred mission, putting their own personal biases ahead of the advancement of their students.

As a Valedictorian with a perfect SAT score, I was accepted to several Ivy League schools. After careful consideration, I turned them down in favor of my state school, which saved me over two-hundred grand. Today, as a medical student and researcher, I have no regrets.


Harvard Rescinds Acceptance of Parkland Survivor Kyle Kashuv Due to Racist Writings at Age 16

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Kyle Kashuv is one of the Parkland shooting survivors. Unlike many of the survivors, he remained against gun control. According to Ben Shapiro, Kashuv’s academic qualifications were extraordinarily impressive:

Kashuv was ranked second in his class, with a weighted GPA of 5.345 and an unweighted GPA of 3.9; he scored a 1550 on his SATs.

He applied to Harvard and was accepted. Then some folks upset about his acceptance found things he wrote in a group study chat at age 16, with the n-word all over them.

Now Kashuv’s acceptance has been rescinded.

Ben Shapiro says:

This is, to put it mildly, gutless. There are ex-convicts who, quite properly, have been admitted to Harvard — they earned forgiveness. There are current students who undoubtedly have said things privately that would shock the conscience. There are likely administrators who have said things when they were 16 years old that embarrass them now. Is the new standard that if you said something on a private message board when you were 16 years old that we should deny you the possibility of a degree at a top college, so long as those who join you on that message board decide to out you?

It appears it is the new standard.

Sorry, Kyle, but Harvard utterly rejects any form of bigotry and discrimination, except of course against Asians. Then it’s totally cool. If at age 16 Kashuv had mocked Asians as overly studious and hardworking, Harvard admissions officials would have swooned.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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