Monday Highlights

Well, we made it to the East coast, i.e., Jersey. Today we were doing a college tour for my youngest.

  1. I don’t get cable, but apparently there is a “reality” show about Ducks … (two remarks on that here and here). Seems to me the situation is basically as follows,  the left purports to want to enter into “conversations about race/gender/marriage”, but they really don’t. If you really want to “have a conversation” when the other side speaks their mind, you reply, you engage in conversation, you …, uhm, talk. But no. What the left does is try to shut you down and fire you. That’s not engaging in conversation, that’s naked coercion. Persuasion by force and coercion (a) doesn’t work and (b) is highly unethical. So in the absence of people like Mr Schraub and the left leading (or at least entering) the hew and cry to reverse the suspension, those on the left are left with that unfortunate choice of asking themselves, “am I stupid or evil.” (the assumption here being that attempts at persuasion by coercion is evil). The first link makes an interesting point, you can’t refuse to sell a cake based on your beliefs, but you can be fired saying what you believe, hmm.
  2. Faith and commerce.
  3. Cinema.
  4. A really bad whoops moment noted.
  5. Theotokos and Nativity.
  6. Situation and being awake.
  7. Obesity. I’ve seem some remarks about obesity and whether or not it should be treated as a disease and why we so often blame the obese for their condition. I think the salient insight on why we tend to blame the obese for their condition in the US is that those of us who are not oveweight realize how easy it would be to eat to much and not exercise. The non-obese have to work at it to stay thin, their feeling is that those who are not thin just didn’t do their due diligence and got where they were.
  8. What the administration is setting aside.
  9. A book noted.
  10. Of war and human nature.

27 Responses to Monday Highlights

  1. Re: #1, “the left” is not a person. It doesn’t “want” anything, including to enter into some sort of conversation on race, etc. Individual left-leaning individuals may want this, but it’s not always helpful to speak of what “the left” wants as if it’s a monolithic bloc. Robertson was fired by an individual. There was probably a committee involved, but somebody had the ultimate say in whether he was gone. I suspect that individual’s motive wasn’t so much to “persuade” or “coerce” Robertson as it was to distance A&E from Robertson and his comments out of a fear of financial repercussions. I can imagine this individual saying to Robertson, “You can believe what you want; it’s a free country. I happen to think what you believe is vile, but that’s neither here nor there. What matters is that lots of A&E viewers and advertisers are also going to think your comments are vile, and if we don’t do anything they’re going to conclude we’re okay with what you said. So…you’re out.” Of course, this just shifts the blame from A&E (who is just looking out for its profits) to the nebulous set of viewers and advertisers who would, in theory, “punish” A&E if it just ignored Robertson’s comments. Another question is whether these profit-related fears are actually justified. If A&E had done nothing except issue a statement voicing its disagreement with and disapproval of Robertson’s comments, but not suspended him, would it actually have suffered any financial consequences? The world may never know.

    Re: #7: I’m willing to cede that there’s something “medical” going on that causes gross obesity. For most of my life I didn’t exercise and ate pretty much whatever I wanted whenever I was hungry. My body tends to not carry a lot of muscle mass, so I have no “excuse” for a high BMI. My BMI in my mid 30s was in the “overweight” (but not obese) category. I was maybe 20 pounds over the high end of “normal”. For whatever reason my total slackitude didn’t result in me blowing up to 350 lb and having to buy two seats when I fly. I attribute it to whatever is wrong with the people who do actually weigh 350 lb not being wrong with me. So, yay genetic lottery.

  2. I don’t get cable, but apparently there is a “reality” show about Ducks …

    There’s a reality show about a family of men with absurd facial hair who struck it rich inventing some type of duck call. As a result they live in upscale mansions and have wives that are almost models but their tastes run strongly in the direction of Southern white trash. So the entertainment is that this is a show about clowns, in particular the theme is lower class clowns who are ‘crashing’ the world of upper class society. This is an old comedic theme, the Marx Brothers did it, so did the three stooges, of course there’s the Beverly Hillbillies. And it works in reverse, Green Acres, for example.

    ‘Reality shows’ are not any different except that they try to create the illusion that they are presenting non-fiction rather than fiction. This, of course, is done by finding some people who vaguely resemble the sit-com you’re really trying to make and letting editing and some staging do the rest. For example, it’s been reported that the ‘clownish’ elements of the Duck Dynasty crew have been played up by producers inserting more ‘bleeps’ than there are actual swears in their conversation.

    So here’s the thing, if you’re job is being a clown, you’re going to get fired if you start acting like something other than a clown. There is no ‘conversation’ to have here. The actor who plays the clown has nothing of value to contribute to a discussion about ‘marriage’. For example:

    It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” Robertson told GQ. “That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

    Is this really a ‘discussion’? Certainly I would hope ‘your side’ could mount a better argument against homosexuality than one which seems to be premised on the words ‘woman’ and ‘vagina’ being interchangeable.

    What the left does is try to shut you down and fire you.

    Who is shut down here? Who is fired? And who is ‘the left’ here? You have a TV network that fired an actor who started acting like a real person and put their fictional show in jeopardy. Last I checked you can be fired ‘at will’ in the US unless you have a labor contract that says otherwise and actors are fired and hired very erratically. Easy come easy go. Mr. Robertson has to decide for himself whether he wants to be a clown or a real person. That’s not anything ‘the left’ has to feel guilty about.

  3. The non-obese have to work at it to stay thin, their feeling is that those who are not thin just didn’t do their due diligence and got where they were.

    Is this really true? My impression is that most non-obese people don’t work really hard at staying thin, they just are thin. I wouldn’t question the assertion that highly fit people work have to work hard at staying fit, but fit and thin (or non-obese) are not the same thing.

    Now from what I have read (and granted you may have broader knowledge here than I do), a lot of obesity sounds a lot like a disease. Either genes you inherit directly or that are turned on during early development (often in the womb), make literally turn off mental switches that say ‘stop eating’ and slow the metabolism so what is eaten takes longer to burn off. These traits were very helpful in our past when famine was common so it made sense for our brains to be designed to gorge ourselves whenever a rare feast presented itself, it also made sense for our brains to seek out sugar like it was crack, and it also made sense for our bodies to burn off calories as slowly as possible. But when presented with an enviroment of cheap and endless foods, these benefits turn into bugs very quickly.

    Other traits are designed to be not helpful when it comes to this. For example, our perceptions are biased by ‘anchoring’. If 64 ounces is a ‘large’ drink, you’ll feel cheated by a mere 24 ounce cup. Yet in Europe you may find a 12 ounce ‘large’ coffee just right when you’re seeing everyone else is getting the same size or smaller. Yet to counter that collective action is required to revolt against the ‘supersize’ meme. (Bloomberg, IMO, was on the right path and both liberals and conservatives who mocked his idea on soda sizes didn’t really bother to see just how much it made sense).

  4. buddyglass

    Re: #1, “the left” is not a person. It doesn’t “want” anything, including to enter into some sort of conversation on race, etc. …

    Mark plays a bit of a game with rhetoric like this, a game I don’t think he is aware of playing. And it’s a rather ironic game since Marxist types really honed it to an art form.

    The way the game works is to deny individuality and assign all responsibility to fuzzy ideologies. For example, consider a young black man in the 1970’s who robs a corner grocery and shoots the owner. This is a story about institutional racism and classism that put the store owner in a position where he had the means to buy what he wanted for himself and his family but denied that position to the black man. Notice how in that narrative the actual individual quirks of the actors are ignored. The fact that the store owner might have been a very good man, one who opposed racism from decades before it became fashionable, who stuck by the community while other whites fleed to the suburbs ceases to matter. Likewise the choices of the robber’s life also cease to matter. They are reduced to broad historical ‘forces’, their individual biographies can be ignored in the same way a military historian can ignore the individual biographies of thousands of soldiers who make up the battles of WWI or II.

    So here Robertson wasn’t fired by an executive at A&E (or group of executives). He was fired by ‘the left’. But what makes A&E the ‘left’? it’s a TV network that specializes in mostly fictional dramas (Walking Dead, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc.). Well you see the ‘left’ is simply the mainstream media….unless you’re talking about Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, anything on TV, in books, in print, or on the Internet that you don’t like is a product of ‘the left’.

    Now where this gets really interesting is that the narrative destroys any attempt to refute it with evidence. For example, ‘the left’ has hardly been very supportive of Robertson’s firing. In fact, it’s been rather divided. For example, here’s an Atlantic article that raises the same points Mark does (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/12/the-genuine-conflict-being-ignored-in-the-i-duck-dynasty-i-debate/282587/ ). Isn’t the Atlantic ‘the left’ being part of the Main Stream Media complex?

    Slate.com ran two articles about it. One was an interesting analysis of sin (http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2013/12/23/duck_dynasty_gq_interview_is_phil_robertson_right_about_what_the_bible_says.html) Another was a defense of the firing but it was addressing the objections raised by *liberals*! (http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2013/12/20/phil_robertson_duck_dynasty_and_the_two_americas.html).

    So how is it that ‘the left’ must be responsible for firing Robertson when many on the left either objected to his being fired or were at least not at all that enthused about it? Well it goes back to the game of removing individual responsibility from actual actors and recasting specific events as the result of ‘historical forces’. Consider the mock Marxist analysis of the 1970’s robbery above. The Marxist making it could easily admit that the store owner was a ‘good liberal’ who opposed racism, contributed to all sorts of empowerment efforts. He could also accept that various policies had been enacted to try to address inequality, racism, and classism. Yet he would say this was spitting into the wind. The ‘story’ of the two great forces clashing is what made the event. Perhaps the robber was not among the most sympathetic of ‘victims’ of the system and the owner was not the most evil of it’s ‘villians’. But that’s like talking about D-Day noting GI Bob Jones was a son of a bitch while German private Hans Jorge, whom he killed was a good and kind man. May very well be true but that isn’t very relevant for the historian trying to understand what the D-Day invasion was about or what the conflict was between the Axis and the Allies.

    What’s problematic about this narrative type of argument is that it’s far too seductive. Primarily because it can’t be refuted. Toss up a dozen liberals who say Robertson shouldn’t be fired, would it matter? Per Mark’s analysis ‘the left’ still fired him. Toss up two dozen or ten dozen and it wouldn’t change. Since ‘the story’ fits, it always trumps all evidence to the contrary. ‘The story’ here being cultural liberalism using it’s influence to fire anyone who expresses a different point of view. Likewise the ‘story’ of the poor black person oppressed by ‘the system’ fits the incident of the 1970’s robbery. That ‘fitting’ though trumps all evidence to the contrary. The ‘left’ is automatically responsible for anything bad that happens that sounds like it could fit a narrative of liberals blindly stomping over people who aren’t culturally liberal. Likewise whites are automatically guilty of any crime that could fit the economic narrative of race and class based exploitation.

    In other words, the analysis suffers from an inability to ever be falisfied. And as Karl Popper pointed out, a theory that cannot be falisfied should probably be rejected on those grounds alone.

  5. Boonton,

    So here’s the thing, if you’re job is being a clown, you’re going to get fired if you start acting like something other than a clown.

    He was not on the set when he said these things. Apparently you believe that an actor must play the same role on the set as off, and if off the set (if in a comic role) he says or does something not comical it should cost him his job. I don’t believe you truly with to defend that position.

    That’s not anything ‘the left’ has to feel guilty about.

    I’m offering you should feel guilty about not rising in his defense to not be suspended. It is my impression he offered his remarks in an interview not on the set. But setting that aside for a moment. You disagree (I’m presuming) with his statement. First of all, in the 60s and 70s there was a movement (claimed and residing on the left) that made much of individuality and allowing (and celebrating) differences of opinion on matters. Where has this gone? Second, and perhaps more importantly (because ultimately it is OK the left to abandon its defense of personal opinion that differs from the PC canon), if you really think his statements are in the wrong is this the way to persuade. What signals are you giving? Many of the things (I haven’t followed this that closely) said by Mr Robertson are likely ideas held by many millions of others. As I noted in my short statement, if you want to instruct, to have a “conversation” about seeing things differently are firings the way to persuade? Who do you think had more influence on the civil rights movement the violence of the Panthers or the words by Mr King? Why do you laud (and defend) economic violence instead of using persuasion?

  6. Boonton
    Oh, I missed remarking on this.

    And who is ‘the left’ here?

    Is it your position then that A&E exectives, programmers, and so on are not primarily Democrats? Why?

    The “left” are those who suspended Mr Robertson and those who self-identify as left-wing.

  7. Boonton,

    Certainly I would hope ‘your side’ could mount a better argument against homosexuality than one which seems to be premised on the words ‘woman’ and ‘vagina’ being interchangeable.

    Undoubtably. But it seems that the left side of the aisle is incapable of mounting an argument against his statement, instead resorting to muzzle him instead of using words.

  8. Boonton,

    Yet to counter that collective action is required to revolt against the ‘supersize’ meme. (Bloomberg, IMO, was on the right path and both liberals and conservatives who mocked his idea on soda sizes didn’t really bother to see just how much it made sense).

    Is this again another sign of your preference to use force (suspension or law) instead of words?

  9. Boonton,

    Toss up a dozen liberals who say Robertson shouldn’t be fired, would it matter?

    Please do. Please find my any evidence that a substantial minority or majority were against the suspension. Please.

    And as Karl Popper pointed out, a theory that cannot be falisfied should probably be rejected on those grounds alone.

    Which holds as well for your notion that the left opposes/opposed his suspension.

  10. Boonton,

    For example, ‘the left’ has hardly been very supportive of Robertson’s firing. In fact, it’s been rather divided.

    But you defended it.

  11. He was not on the set when he said these things. Apparently you believe that an actor must play the same role on the set as off,

    The convention of a ‘reality show’ is that it’s supposedly not staged. So clearly anything a person might do that disrupts that illusion off the set can validly be used to fire the actor.

    I’m offering you should feel guilty about not rising in his defense to not be suspended….

    Why should I or anyone bother?

    First of all, in the 60s and 70s there was a movement (claimed and residing on the left) that made much of individuality and allowing (and celebrating) differences of opinion on matters.

    Yes, so how is he denied his ability to be an individual and a very different one? Because he doesn’t have a TV show? I don’t have a TV show, neither do you.

    if you really think his statements are in the wrong is this the way to persuade. What signals are you giving?

    Who exactly is this ‘you’ you are talking too? Last I checked A&E is a private, profit seeking enterprise. Not a center for progressive social activism. Mr. Robertson is not there to advance any agenda or have a ‘conversation’. that is his only purpose and the company’s only reason to have or not have him on their show.

    Is it your position then that A&E exectives, programmers, and so on are not primarily Democrats? Why?

    All A&E executives? Why are they important? A&E, I suspect, only has a portion of its employees working on this one show. Why would the producers of, say, Cupcake Wars matter here?

    Notice how you follow the pattern of my example? “Well maybe the store owner was a good progressive liberal, but what about the average white store owner? Aren’t they on average more likely to be racist? ”

    And again implicit in your assumption is that all actions are essentially political. Let’s say the producer of this show is a raving liberal. Why would his politics trump his business?

    Please do. Please find my any evidence that a substantial minority or majority were against the suspension. Please.

    To find a majority one has to define the population. You definition seems rather elastic……basically meaning anyone and everyone who failed to take your side in this issue.

    But you defended it.

    Yes, because there’s a very good defense of it. I’ve yet to hear why I’m obligated to not defend it?

    On his actual statements:

    Undoubtably. But it seems that the left side of the aisle is incapable of mounting an argument against his statement, instead resorting to muzzle him instead of using words.

    Leaving aside the fact that no one has muzzled him, esp. not ‘the left’ in any meaningful sense that merits our attention. I recall Phil Donohue spent nearly two decades putting KKKers, Neonazis and racists on nearly every month. Did the right appreciate his respect for such diversity of viewpoints? If anything, I think they were critical of him giving such time to ‘yahoos’ and providing a distorted view of what ‘real conservatives’ think. I think you should appreciate the fact that I respect your ‘side’ enough to save my energy for refuting their more serious arguments rather than the ones more suitable for mens’ rooms and dive bars.

    Bloomberg

    Is this again another sign of your preference to use force (suspension or law) instead of words?

    What use of force was involved? 32 ounce or more sodas were perfectly legal under his proposed policy. They just had to be served in 16 ounce containers (or an offer to refill a 16 ounce container). Anyone who wanted their super-soda could get it.

  12. It also seems strange to talk about ‘the left’ ‘muzzling’ him. How do we even know about these comments? Because GQ devoted a chunck of their magazine to interviewing him about his views on homosexuality, religion and other topics. Now normally if you used my approach we’d have to ask how GQ merits being called part of ‘the left’ but since we’re talking about your approach we should use your definition of ‘the left’ which seems to mean just about anything that has anything to do with the media that hasn’t been given a special exemption ahead of time.

    So ‘the left’ provided Mr. Robertson with a national platform for his views. A&E, in contrast, simply opted to suspend him from being a clown, a position which does nothing to facilitate spreading his views on serious issues. No doubt after he was suspended, just about every media outlet in the country was calling Robertson’s agent up trying to score an interview. If he wanted, Robertson could have had hours and hours of airtime on a host of networks you and others would quickly label ‘left’ to present his views.

    In other words, far from being muzzled, Robertson was provided by ‘the left’ the means to communicate his view to more people than would have otherwise paid him any heed and the only reason he isn’t getting even more airtime for his views is because he is opting not to take advantage of the opportunities.

    Think about it, Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson…name me one of these types who were ever ‘muzzled’ by the left? Which, if you tuned into say CNN randomly do you think you’d have a better chance of seeing getting air time, a representative from the American Family Association or Noam Chomsky?

  13. Boonton,
    Normally you defend a person for speaking his mind. You’ve in the past, defended the non-action taken against various people for saying inappropriate things. Why the change?

    So. You’re the teacher in a classroom. You are leading a discussion. You tell the class to “speak their mind”. One of the students make a statement which you find stupid and offensive. So you give him detention and send him to the principle’s office. You repeat your “feel free to speak your mind” request. Conversation is oddly stifled. Can you guess why? Do you think your point of view will be more or less persuasive when you give your views after this exchange?

  14. How does that hypothetical square at all with employing a clown for an entertainment program?

    If you show me a teacher who had, say, ‘gay marriage’ discussed as part of a current events discussion in the classroom and sent students off to detention who argued in favor or against it, then I’ll be happy to stand with you.

  15. Ohh no, an NFL punter claims he was fired because he was an advocate of SSM. Will Mark and others that make up the right wing come to defend the right of people to join the conversation or not? I’ll grant 48 hours to see.

  16. Boonton,

    Will Mark and others that make up the right wing come to defend the right of people to join the conversation or not? I’ll grant 48 hours to see.

    Personally, I don’t believe him. Do you? Did the Vikings say that was the reason for his firing? If his remarks were the actual cause of his firing … that is wrong. But I suspect that is his misunderstanding. He made the comments and got fired because he was not preforming as well as they’d like. His interpretation is the remarks were the cause of the firing.

  17. Boonton,
    Unlike A&E (which claimed the suspension was because of the firing) Mr Kluwe (as in clue-without?) probably was not, see here and here.

    I thought you noted that professional sports like the NFL are very much performance/price driven. Do you not believe that? Often they’ll hold on to a performing player in the face of felony charges, drug abuse, and all manner of misbehavior. Yet you seem to warrant that a difference of opinion on social issues will drive a firing? Seriously?

  18. I thought you noted that professional sports like the NFL are very much performance/price driven.

    Interestingly here the distinction starts to get blurry. How much is an individual player worth? Well maybe his stats say he is 10% better than his other teammates, but what if he works with the team in such a way as to boost the entire team’s performance by 50%? Likewise from the owners point of view what if he generates lots of ticket and merchandising sales even if the team’s actual performance is poor?

    The ability to measure starts to get really hard with team sports and from there it gets super hard.

  19. Boonton,
    A&E said they were suspending for making remarks outside of “work”. The Vikings said they were releasing because average performance and to clear cap space, while the person fired made claims (the Vikings teammates were supportive of management/coaches not the player) which are unsupported allegations.

    Likewise from the owners point of view what if he generates lots of ticket and merchandising sales even if the team’s actual performance is poor?

    I’m not a long time baseball fan, as I started following it a year to so ago because my daughter out of the blue claimed to be a White Sox fan, but Paul Konerko’s performance has dropped in the past years, he’s getting older, but he is popular and likely will generate ticket sales … so he’s on the roster but will “occasionally” bat DH. Are you pretending Mr Kluwe generates a lot of ticket sales? Or is this a $20k/year bench sitter compared to Mr Bryant remark.

  20. but Paul Konerko’s performance has dropped in the past years, he’s getting older, but he is popular and likely will generate ticket sales … so he’s on the roster but will “occasionally” bat DH. Are you pretending Mr Kluwe generates a lot of ticket sales?

    Who knows, you have ticket sales, broadcast rights (worth a lot more than tickets I suspect), merchandising and more. When someone watches or buys something they don’t tell you which player is motivating their sale so it’s really hard to say X generated $Y this year. You have a complex game and time makes it even more complex. Perhaps by keeping Mr Kluwe as he ages, the team owners are signalling to the younger, better players that the team is like a family hence deserves their loyalty. That may impact both the team’s performance now, it’s ability to keep talent without overpaying for it, and keeps the fans in the game. In that case he might be generating quite a few ‘ticket sales’ even though no one is buying a ticket because they want to see him bat.

  21. Same goes for movies. Oceans Eleven made a lot of money. Can anyone say how much Juila Roberts contributed to it versus George Clooney? Were they paid fairly or was one or both overpaid? Hard to say but a bit like a sports team the over/under payment question is contained to the movie (or team). As a whole the producers didn’t pay the actors too much since the movie made much more than it cost, and if they did they would have lost money on the picture….which would be an unstable situation which is not likely to be repeated forever.

  22. Boonton,
    So the keeping/releasing of a kicker is complex. There is no indication that anything but performance/price influenced the GM’s decision. On the other hand you have a guy, who seems to have a bit of sour-grapes going on, is making unsupported allegations.

    (and I think you mean by “keeping Mr Konerko”. The point is it doesn’t need to signal to younger players “family” related issues. He has a lot of fans. In Chicago the South Side has a tougher sell to get people out to the game than the Cubs. They are rebuilding somewhat, keeping a popular familiar face from the World Series winning team makes may not be a insurmountable roster hit/spot and pay itself back in ticket sales.

    I’m losing the thread here. You’re the one arguing against income inequality right? Or are we talking about Mr Kluwe’s being let go?

    And do we design an economic system around human nature or try to design human nature around an economic system?

    We don’t do either. Mu.

    A co-worker said that right now the difference in buying power between the “poor” and the “rich” is about one to two decades in a growing economy, that is the kind of stuff the wealthy buy now are available (A/C, color TV, for example) are available to the rich about a decade before everyone has access to it. So. Why is this so bad?

    Take the top NFL team and the bottom NFL team. I’m sure the top team has NOT produced 5,000 times more touchdowns or 5,000 times more yards. Nonetheless the top team probably does produce many times more value in the form of revenue than the bottom team and owners reward accordingly.

    The top team has not produced 5000 times the revenue of the bottom NFL team.

    But contrast that to, say, what CEO’s make today versus 3 decades ago. The argument that today’s CEO is smarter and better than 1980′s CEO doesn’t go down as well. In fact it seems a lot more like the experiment with the $10.

    Today’s CEO works insane hours 7 days a week with virtually no downtime. It’s a self-selecting thing. You want the money but you aren’t willing to sacrifice what is required to get that sort of job.

    You’ve defined a lie as a purposeful attempt to knowingly convince others of something you believe is false

    You’re the one that called it a noble lie, not me. Defend that statement. As I noted, I think inequality is required. It’s a good thing. If you eliminate it, your society will fail. So it is necessary. You think there is too much? Why?

  23. I think your bricklayer example was one of someone whose performance is very objective, very linear. If I can lay twice as many bricks per hour as you, it makes sense to spend twice as much for me as a worker than you and the boss probably quotes prices to customers based on how many bricks need to be laid. Most jobs are not like this….

    I’m losing the thread here. You’re the one arguing against income inequality right? Or are we talking about Mr Kluwe’s being let go?

    I’m arguing that there’s different types of inequality. Inequality that is perceived to be for ‘fair’ reasons are generally accepted but inequality that is unfair is not. Fair usually means related to performance. Mr. Kluwe’s ‘performance’ may not simply be his stats in the game itself but also how he is perceived to be helping the franchise in it’s long term mission. So (re)-building a fan base in the long run may actually be more important for the team than his actual contribution to the team’s win-loss record. That judgement might be mistaken, perhaps the team is overpaying him grossly but it’s the kind of judgement that is seen as fair.

    In contrast the monkey is smart enough to know the other monkey is not doing a better job handing the scientist pebbles. He knows his inequality is basically about shafting him. That makes him angry and ultimately for the economy (measured here by how many pebbles the monkeys hand out) counter-productive.

    A co-worker said that right now the difference in buying power between the “poor” and the “rich” is about one to two decades in a growing economy, that is the kind of stuff the wealthy buy now are available (A/C, color TV, for example) are available to the rich about a decade before everyone has access to it. So. Why is this so bad?

    If that’s the case then what’s the problem with some focus on inequality? You seem to be saying the only differences is about trivial things in the big scheme of things.

    The top team has not produced 5000 times the revenue of the bottom NFL team.

    How about 5,000 times the profit. I don’t really care if my revenue is $10.1M but my expenses are $10.09999M. I’d be better off with revenue of $100,000 and expenses of $5,000.

    Today’s CEO works insane hours 7 days a week with virtually no downtime.

    And CEO’s from the 1980’s? Did they work 3.5 days? if so that alone would only justify double the pay.

    You’re the one that called it a noble lie, not me. Defend that statement

    Whether a lie is noble or not a person trying to lie by definition cannot say “I’m going to lie to you”.

  24. Boonton,
    You’ve forgotten what you said regarding noble lie.

    But this only ‘works’ if you can show that all or most inequality is really due to ‘supermen’ doing ‘superjobs’. I think some on the right would like to push that view as a type of ‘noble lie’ to make society work but it’s not going to work as a lie, only if it’s true and I’m not sure it is.

    I don’t think that is the “noble lie” being pushed. Whey do you think it is. Do you think I’m pushing it? Why would that be the lie I push when I point out Mr Bryant isn’t earning for his team 5k more than the low end NBA player, i.e., that there is income inequality of the exact sort you deride in the NBA but you pretend (nobly?) that in the NBA that’s OK.

    In contrast the monkey is smart enough to know the other monkey is not doing a better job handing the scientist pebbles. He knows his inequality is basically about shafting him. That makes him angry and ultimately for the economy (measured here by how many pebbles the monkeys hand out) counter-productive.

    Yet he wouldn’t be angry if he didn’t see the other monkey. Envy is the basis of his outrage.

    Inequality that is perceived to be for ‘fair’ reasons are generally accepted but inequality that is unfair is not.

    Yes. And in part I’ve argued that high CEO pay is fair, because working 7 day’s a week, 16 or more hours a day in a high stress job with a lot of responsibility is … well, a job that should pay well. There’s not a long line of people willing to take that work on.

    If that’s the case then what’s the problem with some focus on inequality?

    Because inequality is necessary and it isn’t a big problem. So … why not focus on green men living on mars instead? Makes about as much sense.

    Mr. Kluwe’s ‘performance’ may not simply be his stats in the game itself but also how he is perceived to be helping the franchise in it’s long term mission.

    Mr Kluwe (NFL kicker) was let go by the GM. The allegation so of bigotry seem unsubstantiated. Mr Konerko (baseball) was retained for a low salary and a small role in what is likely his last year because he is very popular with the fans. What is the problem?

    As far as NFL, one team posted a loss in 2012. The rest profits which don’t vary by 3 orders of magnitude (as you expected I suspect).

    if so that alone would only justify double the pay.

    You make more than double in buying power of almost everything than you did 20 years ago. How can you justify that? You’re not working twice the hours.

  25. Yet he wouldn’t be angry if he didn’t see the other monkey. Envy is the basis of his outrage

    Not very helpful, if unfairness is what makes the monkey angry then hiding it from him simply deceives him. If you see me drive by in your car, you’re going to be very angry I stole it from you. If I make sure you don’t see me driving your car, you won’t get angry, that hardly demonstrates you have no problem with your car being stolen.

    There is a way to test whether envy is really, see if a 3rd observer monkey prefers an unfair scientist or a fair one. If it’s really just about envy, an observer monkey shouldn’t care. After all he’s not getting any type of reward either way so why should he care if some other monkey gets stiffed?

    Experiments, though, do not demonstrate this. The babies and puppets is one example but there’s plenty others that show not only do we dislike unfairness, we will actually be willing to incur costs to our well-beign to counter or punish it. For envy we wouldn’t care if we weren’t the ones being treated unfairly. In fact, envy might lead us to favor the unfair person since in an unfair world we have a shot at achieving an unfair gain. I wouldn’t be surprised if the envious favor, say, Tony Soprano provided he isn’t ripping them off.

    Yes. And in part I’ve argued that high CEO pay is fair, because working 7 day’s a week, 16 or more hours a day in a high stress job with a lot of responsibility is

    Which is a red herring. CEO’s had more responsibility and more hours to work 20 years ago too. And inequality among CEO’s has grown as well. I’m sure some CEO’s work harder than others.

    As far as NFL, one team posted a loss in 2012. The rest profits which don’t vary by 3 orders of magnitude (as you expected I suspect).

    Market value might be a better metric, http://www.forbes.com/nfl-valuations/list/ has an interesting list. operating income ranges from $20M to nearly a quarter billion. Value (if you wanted to buy a team) seems to vary between 825M to $2.3B. Perhaps it’s potential. If you could go from the least valuable to most valauable team, that would be worth spending nearly a billion and a half dollars. But you don’t have to spend that much since you can get the best players for just 5000 times the lowest base pay. But who are these best players and what is the best combination of them? That’s a question a team owner would have to figure out for themselves.

  26. You make more than double in buying power of almost everything than you did 20 years ago. How can you justify that? You’re not working twice the hours.

    Pretty simple, productivity. An our of labor in the 2014 economy makes twice as much GDP as an hour in the 1984 economy.

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