Prediction: The worst people are about to start invoking 'mental health'

July 30, 2021

Most of the conversation around Simone Biles’s decision to pull out of Olympic gymnastics competitions has been equal parts supportive and deferential to her stated reasons, at least in my circles. It’s not difficult to recognize that competing in these particular events without full confidence is far more dangerous than, say, trying to play basketball at the highest levels with an extreme aversion to shooting the ball.

However, I’ve come across a few people with different takes, which largely boil down to “she could have done something rather than pull out of the team competition completely, right?” or, in the case of the culture warriors making bad-faith arguments about how Biles’s choices reflect poorly on America more broadly, “she’s weak.”

ESPN's Playmakers: Flawed, but still resonant today

July 19, 2021

may not be remembered as a great television show, particularly when assessed by today’s standards, but the 2003 drama about a fictional pro football team that aired on ESPN(!) has many of the hallmarks of modern prestige TV and holds its own alongside other classic melodramas. Others have ably recapped the show in broad strokes, but I have yet to read any analysis of the character Leon Taylor, and how he was, subtly, as wild as all the other emotional wrecks and arrested development cases on the Cougars.