Thursday, September 21, 2006

In keeping with the trend over the past ten minutes of not exactly Bears-related posts, but, you know, SPORTS!, um, here's one of many articles written recently full of hand-wringing about the possibility of Johan Santan winning the MVP. The funny thing is that they argue about whether or not a pitcher can win an MVP award like the MVP is some sort of actual thing that exists outside of the realm of things that a bunch of sportswriters just made up anyway. This is called reification. So they started having MVP votes and then they decided they were giving them to too many pitchers and then later that since they'd stopped giving MVP votes to pitchers they invented the Cy Young award so there would be an award for pitchers. But these were all actions carried about by people, and now they've hardened into these kind of abstract realities that people seem to believe exist outside their own collective power. Most of the arguments go along the lines of: MVP is this thing, and this is what I believe about that thing. I have yet to see anyone propose that they get together and just decide through some sort of a, like, vote thing, whether the MVP award can go to a pitcher. This type of thing happens all the time in sports, not just with awards and things, but with any type of rule. For instance, when you get sportswriters arguing about a certain call, say that weird call on Polamalu's interception during the AFC championship game last year, they start to talk about it as if there is this thing out there that is an "interception" and what we need to do is somehow get at that thing and really understand what an interception is, instead of the reality, which is that an interception is whatever the people who make the rules have decided that it is, because all of the rules are completely made up. Football isn't real, it's just a bunch of made up rules that people have agreed to follow. If people don't like the way a rule is implemented, what they need to do is get together and focus on the actual rule and how it could be changed or whatever. All of this thinking that what they're doing is chasing after something that exists outside of their own decisions only serves to make the process absurd. This is also like, to use one of my favorite examples, what happens in slam poetry, which is that: people invented this thing called slam poetry which involves giving poems a score and performing them in competition with each other according to certain rules, because it's kind of fun, even though the idea of poems competing is sort of dumb, but after a while slam poetry becomes this thing and the people participating in it lose sight of the fact that they just invented this system of rules and judging purely for the sake of having rules and judghing and suddenly you get all of these slam poems about "fuck the judges! fuck the scores! I don't need the score to tell me if my poems are good!" Well, sure, no you don't. But really it's like you just invited these people to give your poems and arbitrary score and now you're saying that you don't care about their score, and isn't that kind of stupid? The funniest thing, though, is that the slam poems about "fuck the scores!" always get huge responses from the audiences, and, best of all, tend to get high scores from the judges, who're like, "Yeah! Right on! These scores can't tell you what's good! Here's a ten!"

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