What’s The Difference Between LeBron James and Chief Justice John Roberts?
So here’s a fun conversation-starter you can try out on your friends at the next tailgate party, wine and cheese soiree or in one of those chat-room things, or whatever you hipsters call it these days: What’s the difference between LeBron James winning the NBA championship and Chief Justice John Roberts upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act?
The answer is that at the Supreme Court, it is not common to see people paint their faces, chant “Bader-Ginsberg Sucks!” and hold up large cardboard cut-outs of the letter “D” next to their buddy with a cardboard cut-out of a picket fence.
Beyond that there is not much difference.
That’s because, for most of us, the way we experience sports and the way we experience politics are pretty much the same. We pick sides. We hope for particular outcomes. We often let our emotions become more important than our rationality. We argue with those who have different inclinations. We gloat when we win. We sulk and call people names when we lose.
“It’s constitutional. Bitches.” tweeted DNC official and former White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard after JRob and the four liberal SCOTUS justices swatted Mitch McConnell’s and Reince Preibus’ weak ass republican shit into the fifth row.
“TAKE THAT MOTHER******S!!” was the end-zone dance/tweet from Greg Greene, media outreach director for the DNC. Expect a fine and suspension from the commissioner Mr. Greene.
Meanwhile supporters of the effort to strike down the ACA, like Sarah Palin fought back with their own rhyming fervor: “Obama lies; Freedom dies” she tweeted.
Some cyber hooligan hacked Chief Justice Roberts’ Wikipedia page, calling him “Chief Traitor.” The perpetrator then reportedly went and egged his house.
A talk radio host named Michael Savage said Roberts’ epilepsy medication must have altered his mental state. Good stuff Mike.
Often, politics and sports cause us to say things that, like the examples above, are harsh, thoughtless or poorly-planned. In our exuberance or despair, we might say some things that we should not have said. I once told my best friend Tony Winkler, a Lakers fan, that he was no longer welcome at my house and we were no longer friends. Furthermore, I said, purple and yellow are stupid colors and there are no freaking lakes in L.A. Did I really mean that? It’s hard to say. I was young and the Lakers had just knocked the Jazz out of the playoffs. And Tony was kind of a dick.
In most cases the outcomes that we are so passionate about, actually have little or no impact on how we live our lives. We may think that an election, a ruling, or a game will change everything, but then we get up the next day and go to work just like we did the day before. Some people are still poor. Some kids still can’t read. Opening day is always just a few months away.
What really matters to us and what gets us so worked up over a Supreme Court ruling or a basketball game is the satisfaction we get when our side wins and the pain and humiliation we feel when our side loses.
Michael Moore has been fighting for “healthcare reform” as long and hard as anyone. He put down his giant #1 foam finger and took a break from singing “We Are The Champions” long enough to write on The Huffington Post about what this unprecedented moment meant to him after so many years of hard work and dedication:
“…what it IS is a huge step in the right direction. And today’s court decision cements that. The right-wing knows this and they are probably unraveling in some not-so-pretty ways right now. And that’s why today is a great day.”
That’s why. Not because the law helps people or saves lives, but because the other side can suck it.
Thanks Michael. That explains why the reactions from the winners in the ACA ruling sound about the same as a victorious Miami Heat fan and the losers’ reactions sound like something I once expressed to my old friend Tony.
What Google Goggles Just Might Show Us:How Much We Don’t Need Technology
Google is making headlines lately with an online video that demonstrates their latest innovation, the Google Goggles. (http://www.realcleartechnology.com/video/2012/04/05/google_glasses_-_a_virtual_tour.html)
This remarkable device/accoutrement promises mankind the ability to do something that for years (or at least since about 2005) seemed like far-fetched crazy-talk: walk around New York City without constantly looking down at your iPhone to see who’s texting you.
Imagine if you will, you’re walking through mid-town and you spot Tracy Morgan cruising by in a Lamborghini. You’ve just got to text your buddy Mike and tell him. But it’s 36 degrees outside and a little windy. Take your gloves off and your hands might get cold. What do you do?
Or how often has this happened to you? You’re walking to a movie and suddenly you forget if it starts at 10:40 or 10:30. First and most importantly, don’t panic. Get it together, dude. Just check it on your iPhone. But wait. You need both hands for the Fandango app. What about your latte? You can’t just set it down on the sidewalk. What if it spills? That s—- cost $4.75.
Worry no more. Google, the company that revolutionized the way you find out what Khloe Kardashian did today, is bringing that same spirit of innovation and American know-how to the way you find a dry-cleaner… or at least how awesome you look doing it.
There is little doubt millions of people will purchase Google Goggles as soon as they are available (according to Google this will happen sometime next year, which if this were Apple would be just enough warning for people to start lining up). There is also little doubt that the device will be pretty damn cool. I mean think about it, you can view and control images with, essentially no hard display component. That is without a doubt, remarkably cool.
But ultimately, that will be the lasting impact of this device: cool. Cool in a non-smartphone/non-personal computer/non-internal combustion engine sort of way. Non-transformatively cool.
Some are predicting that cyber-eyewear will change the world. Augmented reality they call it. But it’s hard for me to see how it will change anything. We won’t be getting access to new information or communicating through new channels, which means it’s not much different than the smartphones we have now. We just get to wear these smartphones.
Even if it is “the next big thing” and these devices become as ubiquitous as today’s smartphones, there is nothing that makes this technology more special or more transformative than flip phones or Bluetooth ear pieces when they first came out. When it comes right down to it, despite their coolness, Google Goggles are just a different kind of smartphone.
The irony is that the device looks like something right out of a “futuristic” movie, but in today’s real-life version of that movie, the technology doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the table. It’s like the Jetsons’ robot maid or David Hasselhoff’s talking car – they seemed like amazing ideas back then, but now that we can make things like that a reality, it’s pretty clear we’re getting along just fine without them.
If anything changes, it may just be that we find ourselves looking up a little more. And who knows, we might just discover that the pre-augmented world was worth paying a little more attention to all along. Or at least maybe we’ll discover that finding a dry-cleaner was never really that complicated in the first place.
From what I hear, people used to do it all the time.