Friday, October 16, 2009

Two Good Points

Jon Chait on the stupidty of virtually all awards, from the Oscar to the Nobel:
Our mania for awards stems from a desire to sift through a chaotic world and impose linearity and a singular winner. Nearly everybody can agree that The Godfather is a better film than Earnest Goes to Camp. But if you’re deciding between Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz,you’re merely trying to quantify a simple matter of taste. Declaring one great work of art superior to others is like having an official ranking for best ice cream flavor.
Oddly enough, my own distrust of awards stems from an event that Chait singles out: Gino Toretta's 1992 Heisman award, weeks before he was pantsed by Alabama in the national championship game. That was followed by other travesties, like Pulp Fiction losing to Forrest Gump for best picture, and then Charles Woodson beating out Peyton Manning in the most pernicious example of ESPN's extraordinary influence ever. I've never believed in an award since.

And here's Eugene Robinson on Rush Limbaugh being bounced from the prospective Rams ownership group:
The NFL hates controversy, because controversy -- of the non-sporting kind -- is bad for business. It's one thing for fans to debate a questionable pass interference call; it's quite another for sports-talk hosts and their callers to argue about whether the league endorses tendentious and stereotypical views about African Americans. Whatever NFL owners may think about politics or race, they don't broadcast their opinions nationwide every day the way Limbaugh does.
I couldn't agree more. It's not about politics, but rather marketing. Companies like the NFL that aim for the widest possible market are temperamentally conservative in a way that Limbaugh is really radical.

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