June 21, 2021

The NCAA "seeks immunity from the normal operation of the antitrust laws" — and loses.

In the new Supreme Court case, NCAA v. Alston. It's unanimous. Gorsuch writes the opinion. A snippet:

From the start, American colleges and universities have had a complicated relationship with sports and money. In 1852, students from Harvard and Yale participated in what many regard as the Nation’s first intercollegiate competition—a boat race at Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. But this was no pickup match. A railroad executive sponsored the event to promote train travel to the picturesque lake..... He offered the competitors an all-expenses-paid vacation with lavish prizes—along with unlimited alcohol. The event filled the resort with “life and excitement,” N. Y. Herald, Aug. 10, 1852... and one student-athlete described the “‘junket’” as an experience “‘as unique and irreproducible as the Rhodian colossus’ ”...

Life might be no “less than a boat race,” Holmes, On Receiving the Degree of Doctor of Laws, Yale University Commencement, June 30, 1886... but it was football that really caused  college sports to take off....

Man with Alzheimer's proposed to the woman he doesn't remember is his wife, and they have a wedding.

"Peter Marshall, 56, has early onset Alzheimer’s disease....In January, her husband’s mind began declining at a faster pace. And so 20 years after their romance began, with her husband’s recent proposal, it seemed like perfect timing to renew their vows... 'It was just magical — straight out of a fairy tale... There wasn’t a dry eye, and I was over the moon... I hadn’t seen Peter that happy in a long time'" —WaPo reports:

"The Washington Post's @laurameckler spent three weeks preparing a hitpiece against me."

"In this thread, I will expose five flat-out lies, from the fabrication of a timeline to multiple smears that are easily disproven by documentary evidence." 

So begins a Twitter thread by Christopher Rufo. 

Here's the WaPo piece he's attacking: "Republicans, spurred by an unlikely figure, see political promise in targeting critical race theory." From that article: 

Critical race theory holds that racism is systemic in the United States, not just a collection of individual prejudices — an idea that feels obvious to some and offensive to others. Rufo alleged that efforts to inject awareness of systemic racism and White privilege, which grew more popular following the murder of George Floyd by police, posed a grave threat to the nation. It amounts, Rufo said, to a “cult indoctrination.”...

“We have successfully frozen their brand—'critical race theory’—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category,” Rufo wrote. “The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think 'critical race theory.’ We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”

Rufo said in an interview that he understands why his opponents often point to this tweet, but said that the approach described is “so obvious.” “If you want to see public policy outcomes you have to run a public persuasion campaign,” he said. Rufo says his own role has been to translate research into programs about race into the political arena.

Rufo, in his Twitter thread, says: "The Washington Post falsifies a direct quotation, claiming that I said it is 'so obvious' that my strategy was to 'conflate' unrelated items with CRT. I never said this and challenge the Post to produce the audio recording to support their claim—or retract it." The word "conflate" is WaPo's. It's a characterization of Rufo's idea of putting "various cultural insanities under" the CRT "brand." Whether he said "so obvious" or not, doesn't he to want to take responsibility for putting CRT at the center of the analysis of all sorts of "crazy" things we're hearing about?

"Now there’s a lot of fuss being made over it, but there wasn’t initially. The most feedback that I got was that I had gone too far and was exposing too much of myself."

"I couldn’t tell what I had created, really. The initial response I got was critical, mostly from the male singer-songwriters. It was kind of like Dylan going electric. They were afraid. Is this contagious? Do we all have to get this honest now? That’s what the boys were telling me. 'Save something of yourself, Joni. Nobody’s ever gonna cover these songs. They’re too personal.'"

From "Joni Mitchell opens up to Cameron Crowe about singing again, lost loves and 50 years of ‘Blue’" (L.A. Times). 

Much more at the link — where I was able to read without a subscription by putting my browser in "reader view." There's the backstory on Cary ("Carey") (was he really "a mean old daddy"?) and the snuggliness of her relationship with Graham Nash ("Sometimes I get sensitive or worried, and it might bother the man I was with. But not Graham. He just said, 'Come over here to the couch; you need a 15-minute cool-out.' And then we would snuggle" (very much not a mean old daddy)).

"An artist whose work was withdrawn from a gift shop at London’s Royal Academy of Arts after she was accused of transphobia has said she could pursue legal action if she is not given an apology."

"The academy said that it would no longer stock works by De Wahls and thanked campaigners for bringing to its attention 'an item in the RA shop by an artist representing transphobic views.' On the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, De Wahls said: 'They frantically tried to call me the day they realised that was a really bad PR decision. They contacted me the day after they posted it on social media. There was no point to that conversation... I don’t know what they were looking for..... I might [pursue a legal remedy]. But, to be honest with you, right now, I have the feeling that there is a hope within that institution, which is mind-boggling to me, that this just will go away... my inbox and the feedback I’ve been getting from the general public is quite the opposite. This isn’t going away. This is a conversation that needs to happen, it needs to happen in public. They will have to talk eventually."

From "'Cancelled' artist Jess De Wahls could sue unless Royal Academy apologises" (London Times).

Here's what she wrote that led to that campaign against her — from her blog, back in 2019 : "I have no issue with somebody who feels more comfortable expressing themselves as if they are the other sex (or in whatever way they please for that matter). However, I cannot accept people’s unsubstantiated assertions that they are in fact the opposite sex to when they were born and deserve to be extended the same rights as if they were born as such." 

Her art trades in feminism: She makes "textile pieces... involving women, ovaries and flowers." I see she had a show called "Big Swinging Ovaries." She came up with an image — embroidered — of fallopian tubes giving the finger. That info is in the London Times column, "Anatomy of a cancellation by the culture Stasi/The Royal Academy’s decision to ban an artist’s work over her views should be a test case for anti-discrimination laws." That column also has this: 

"Throughout most of the ’60s and ’70s, [Brigid Berlin] dragged her Polaroid 360 and a bulky cassette recorder everywhere, though she once said, 'No picture ever mattered, it was the clicking and pulling out that I loved.'"

"Running out of film, she insisted, was worse than running out of speed. Warhol became equally addicted to documentation and, though his pictures became more well known, hers are arguably as revelatory, often the product of double exposures and lighting both flat and vivid, and featuring such friends as Lou Reed, Roy Lichtenstein, Dennis Hopper and Cy Twombly.... Her recordings — there are more than 1,000 hours of tape... — range from the mundane (chatter about her near-constant doctors’ appointments) to the historic (Rauschenberg ranting at the Cedar Tavern). The original cassettes, with Berlin’s typed and handwritten labels affixed to each plastic case, are stored in a black flip-top handled case in her walk-in closet. 'Brigid wanted to melt them down and turn them into a sort of audio John Chamberlain piece.... but I convinced her that was insane.' It was her 1970 recording of the Velvet Underground, scratchy background noises and all, that was remastered into the band’s first live album, 'Live at Max’s Kansas City.'"

From "Brigid Berlin, Andy Warhol’s Most Enduring Friend/Berlin, who died last year, was a great artist in her own right, and her New York apartment, which is being sold, is a window into a bygone era in the city’s history" (NYT). Worth clicking for cool photographs of the idiosyncratic apartment.

Years ago, John Chamberlain was a reference everyone understood. He was a sculptor best known for welding together parts of banged up automobiles. In the 1960s, "modern art" was a hot topic and his name came up a lot. I doubt if younger people know or care about him.

As for "Live at Max’s Kansas City," I've still got my half-century old copy of the thing. How about you? From the 1972 Rolling Stone review

June 20, 2021

5:21 a.m.


"We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate... "

"We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.”  

Wrote Henry David Thoreau. I'm quoting that now, because of that post earlier today about a telegram and because it seems to relate to our current predicament living on the internet.

In case you're wondering about Princess Adelaide, she does look interesting:

ADDED: A reader questions whether I have the right Princess Adelaide. There's also this Princess Adelaide, a granddaughter of King George III. She was born in 1833, and was portrayed like this in 1846:

Age and photography rendered her less cute:

5:12 a.m.


"It was Yang’s answers on homelessness and mental health at the final debate that finally settled it for me."

"Every other candidate spoke of homelessness as a disaster for the homeless. Yang discussed it as a quality of life problem for everyone else. 'Yes, mentally ill people have rights, but you know who else have rights?' he asked. 'We do: the people and families of the city.' For Yang, I suspect, a successful mayoralty would mean restoring Michael Bloomberg’s New York, an extremely safe, pleasant place for tourists and well-off families like mine, but one where many poorer people were financially squeezed and strictly policed. Even if Yang could, as a political novice, stand up to the N.Y.P.D., he’d have little reason to, since his remit would be safety at almost any cost."  

Writes Michelle Goldberg in "Eric Adams Is Awful. I’m Putting Him on My Ballot" (NYT).

The passage I've quoted gets very strong pushback in the comments at the NYT. I'll just quote one:

The big piece of evidence Michelle Goldberg uses against Yang is an answer to the homeless crisis that I happen to agree with, and I'm a liberal Democrat. Of course, the homeless need to have workable options of where to go. But progressives are just wrong to defend the rights of the "unhoused" against anybody who would dare challenge their apparent belief that they can set up camp on any square of sidewalk that they declare to be their own. I can't be the only non-conservative person in America who would like to stop the trashing of our public spaces. I mean, is that really the worst you can say about Andrew Yang? Seriously?

Me, at sunrise.

Video by Meade:

"Think of Pearl Street in Boulder, with its winding paths, large trees, public art, live music and abundant outdoor cafes."

"That’s the kind of exciting destination that could help bring back [Madison's] State Street — and go beyond what it has been. Instead of a river of concrete for buses to rumble down, State Street could be a walkable park for people, who would be prioritized over vehicles. The mayor last week brushed off support among Downtown business owners for taking buses off State Street, calling them desperate and willing to try anything. That might be true, given how devastating the pandemic, weak economy, protests against police, smashed windows and looting were for store owners last year. But just as likely is that business owners have a better sense for what will work than the mayor. Rhodes-Conway also cited changing retail trends, with more people shopping online. But why is that a reason to run buses down State Street?... The mayor wonders aloud if keeping buses off State is an attempt to keep poor people away.... The mayor isn’t about to bring back regular vehicle traffic to State, she said. So in that sense, she does support a pedestrian mall the entire length of State Street — as long as it’s centered around buses. That vision is stale and unexciting compared to the popular and long-standing idea of creating a grand promenade and park."

From "Don't pit fast buses versus a State Street promenade — Madison can have both," an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal).

I've lived in Boulder as well as Madison, and I love Pearl Street and have long wished that State Street could be like Pearl Street, especially since State Street is already halfway there, closed to almost all traffic... other than these giant buses that must barrel down the street, disrupting the playful, peaceful mood. 

But it should be conceded that State Street is a very different place from Pearl Street. State Street has the University of Wisconsin at one end and the State Capitol at the other. Pearl Street is a few blocks away from campus (the University of Colorado), and there's nothing like a state capitol anywhere in the city. So there are far more intersecting interests connected to State Street. 

Pearl Street is a nice little enclave over there, a place for visitors and city residents to shop and eat and fool around. There are some people who prefer a funkier downtown, and State Street is absolutely, centrally downtown.

"Who cares about a parenting memoirist’s removal from a law-school teaching roster?"

"The answer is, in part, because this story manages to touch on seemingly every single cultural flashpoint of the past few years. Chua’s critics see a story about #MeToo—because of her husband, but also because Chua supported the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, even after he was accused of sexual assault. Meanwhile, Chua’s defenders see a morality tale about liberal cancel culture. 'What they’ve done to you is SOP'—standard operating procedure—'for conservative allies but chills me to the bone nonetheless,' a supporter tweeted at her, earlier this month. Megyn Kelly weighed in, tweeting, 'Make no mistake: this is retribution for her support of Brett Kavanaugh, & it is disgusting.' Chua’s allies have also suggested that anti-Asian bias is involved. 'The woke academy reserves a special vitriol for minority faculty who don’t toe the line politically,' Niall Ferguson, a historian, tweeted. Chua and her husband aren’t politically conservative—she says that [her husband Jed] Rubenfeld has historically been 'very left-leaning,' whereas she is a 'solid independent'—but they are provocateurs."

From "What Is Going On at Yale Law School?/The prestigious institution has tied itself in knots over a dispute involving one of its most popular—and controversial—professors, Amy Chua" (The New Yorker).

There's not much new in this article. It's bringing New Yorker readers up to speed on something I've already blogged about a few times, as you can see by clicking the "Amy Chua" tag. It was new to me that — as Chua tells it —Chua's daughter Lulu pushed her to go big:

“She’s, like, ‘You have to fight the narrative,’ so I just did something shocking,” Chua said. She wrote an open letter saying that she’d been falsely accused and described a Zoom call with the Yale Law dean in which she’d been treated “degradingly, like a criminal.”... “I sent it to my entire faculty, and I tweeted it,” Chua said. “Ever since then, it’s been kind of an escalating nightmare.”

If you choose to do "something shocking," aren't you seeking "an escalating nightmare"? I guess the something shocking is what she aimed at others and the escalating nightmare is what she found happening to her. Let me rephrase that: the something shocking what she now says she did and the escalating nightmare is her description, to be published in The New Yorker, of how her life feels to her now. 

And it worked. She's got a big New Yorker story about her. Look at that headline — parse it — and look a the nice photo of her perched on a glossy, empty desk. This is good press.

Who breaks up with you by telegram?

I'm reading "50 Reasons to Love Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’/The singer-songwriter questioned everything on her fourth album. Twenty-five musicians speak about the LP’s enduring power on its 50th anniversary" (NYT), and there's this, from Graham Nash:

Obviously there are a couple of songs on the record that I recognize, from when she would write them in the house, that involved me. “My Old Man,” “River.” She finished the album after we parted, but for many months I saw her there writing this stuff. It was a fascinating process to see, I must confess. It’s as if she tore her skin off and just released all her nerves into music. I was repairing the house in Laurel Canyon, I was actually laying the kitchen floor when I got a telegram from Joan saying that our affair was over, officially. And she put it in a very interesting way. She said, “If you squeeze sand in your hand, it will run through your fingers.” I thought, got it. And that was it.

When was the age of telegraphy? I'm 70 years old, and I've never sent or received a telegram. I remember telegrams only as a way of communicating that someone had died. Maybe there's some poetry in using a telegram to convey the information that the relationship has died.

"Mr. Midgette, his hair painted and powdered silver-white and his face covered with pale makeup, passed himself off as Warhol at several colleges with Warhol’s blessing..."

"... fielding questions after showings of Warhol films.... Mr. Midgette pulled off his impersonation at a time when Warhol’s reputation had begun to spread beyond New York City but when, to most of America, he was still more of a vague concept than a recognizable personality.... 'The one thing I knew about Andy was, you could answer any question any way you liked and it would be fine,' he said... 'It might not have been the same thing he would say, but it would make as much sense... It made me realize how, in life, people just presume a lot of things.... Just because you’ve met Andy twice, does it mean you remember exactly how he looked, and how he would look under different circumstances? If you’re being told it’s Andy and everyone else is accepting it, you’ll go along with that. It shows you how people just aren’t very curious about what’s in front of them.'"

From "Allen Midgette, an Ersatz Andy Warhol, Dies at 82/In a prank, or perhaps a piece of performance art, Mr. Midgette pretended to be the famed artist on a lecture tour in 1967" (NYT).

Andy Warhol said, "He was better than I am.... He was what the people expected. They liked him better than they would have me."

When are you such a thing that a fake you would be more you than you? We have one solid answer: Andy Warhol.