Unlikely Inspiration

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As a fantasy football "manager," I end up checking on news about the bad teams that happen to have some of my good players. In the process, I occasionally get perverse entertainment from reading local sportswriters unload on poor teams after months of having to witness -- and write about -- futility on a regular basis.

So it was that learned last week about "Bengal Moments" and the following humorously-put question about the improving Detroit Lions:

[T]he Bills need this victory desperately. It might be their best shot to avoid the second 0-16 season in NFL history. The Lions were bad enough to make 0-16 happen once. Are they good enough to help make 0-16 happen again?
The answer was, "no," fortunately for the Buffalo Bills, who have had more than their share of close losses this season.

But within the article about the Detroit Lions was something worth remembering for the tough times that go along with getting back on track, and other difficult endeavors. Michael Rosenberg opens his column for the Detroit Free Press with the following:
The Lions are the best darn 2-6 team in the NFL. I don't mean that as an insult. It's true. The Lions are like most teams that are learning how to win -- the improvement comes before the victories.
"The improvement comes before the victories." I find this quote instructive on a personal level, as well as relevant in terms of the fledgling intellectual movement of which I am a part. Regarding the latter, I'll hand the ball off to Amit Ghate, who has some insightful things to say about the importance of good personnel decisions, as well as the long-term benefits of learning even unpleasant information.

-- CAV


Blair said...

Hi Gus,
I had to laugh, otherwise I'll start crying. I'm about to admit publicly I've been a Bengals fan since their inception. The only thing consistent with them is that they've never failed to disappoint me, or tens of thousands of others, every year.

Gus Van Horn said...


In their defense, they did take only 20 years to get to a Super Bowl. (It took my team,the Saints, something like 40.)

But, yeah. I know what you mean, and I've lived out the Kevin Bacon reference from that article a little myself, too.

At a certain point, you do have to turn to humor.


Gus Van Horn said...

A commenter named in one of the Thrutch posts asks whether my linking to those posts is an endorsement of the contents.

Philosophically, yes. In terms of moral evaluation, not exactly in every case, as I have not wallowed in quite as much of the excrement referred to there.

However, I have seen enough to be extremely disappointed in the individual who asked this question, and to want nothing else to do with him. Furthermore, I wonder whether the question is motivated by actual concern for my opinion or by the desire to be seen as having my sanction.

On the off chance that this person is really worth addressing, I will say this: Actions have consequences, and my great disappointment is one of them. But my opinion of you should be the least of your worries.

Walter said...

Thank you for standing with Thrutch. As a young movement, Objectivists must reject those who are disruptive. Quality over quantity.

Yet, having read what Shea and Rory wrote, I still think the posts by Diana and Biddle were worse. Compared to Rory and Shea, those two use much more polished obfuscation and context-dropping to pull the unsuspecting to the same end-result. Where the kiddies will be laughed at, the adults did the real damage.

I believe the condemnation must not stop at the two insignificant kiddies.

Tenure said...

Your friend's condescension aside: could you talk about/to us on the level of adults and say what exactly you find so awful that either of us did/said? Particularly what Shea said that's so awful, that isn't w.r.t Diana and Paul? I can understand if I am in a different class, maybe, but I don't think Shea has said much of anything that hasn't been repeated/pre-empted on Noodlefood.

Gus Van Horn said...

For one of very the reasons I declined to use Shea's name here, I will not discuss that matter.

I assume that by "friend" you are referring to Walter. I don't know him, and to assume that I agree with what he said simply because I posted his comment would be mistaken, at best.

Tenure said...

I take it by that that you do not want to publicly engage in the same kind of business as certain other people have.

Well then: thank you. I appreciate that. Would it be possible for you to email me with a brief indication of what you think he has said that is so much worse than what Diana said?

Gus Van Horn said...

While it is true that I have no appetite to engage in public discussions of the sort you mention, I have other reasons for not wanting to discuss what I learned that caused me to pronounce such a moral judgment -- in public or in private with someone I have never met.