May 3, 2014

Caldwell: Sterliviano as bad Molière

From the Financial Times:
The NBA’s racism drama is more about money than morals
By Christopher Caldwell 
... Anyone who listens to the nine-minute TMZ recording after having read the press accounts will be a bit confused. Offensive the audio is. But “hateful” is too strong a word, especially for those Americans who remember the late Cincinnati Reds baseball owner Marge Schott, who was censured in the 1990s for saying Adolf Hitler “was good in the beginning” but then “went too far”. This new recording, by contrast, captures a pathetic intimate quarrel between Mr Sterling and a 31-year-old woman, V Stiviano. Something is upsetting Mr Sterling very much, but it is not black people – at least not primarily. It is the Molière-esque predicament of an 80-year-old man with a young companion he cannot control.

There we go. That's who I was trying to think of along with Chaucer and comic operas: Molière. Caldwell has always been much more cultured than me. I recall a long discussion with him while he was copyediting a piece of mine in The American Spectator in 1992 over the proper pronunciation of "Nabokov."
Ms Stiviano posted photos of herself on Instagram with two black athletes many decades his junior. Some of his characterisations are racist. (“Why should you be walking publicly with black people?”) But what makes the audio bizarre is that, when race enters the conversation it is she, not he, who introduces it.

Ms Stiviano, who is of Mexican and black ancestry, says at one point: “I wish I could change the colour of my skin.” 
“You miss the issue.” 
“What’s the issue?” 
“The issue is we don’t have to broadcast everything.” 
Later Ms Stiviano asks: “What would you like me to do? Remove the skin colour out of my skin?” 
Mr Sterling replies: “Is that a for-real issue or are you making something up? . . . There’s nothing wrong with you or your skin colour. Why are you saying these things? To upset me?” 
Go listen to the audio. There is something stilted, oratorical and manipulative about almost everything Ms Stiviano says. One would not want to lean too heavily on it in a courtroom.
... It is going to be hard for the NBA to discipline Mr Sterling without establishing principles of draconian justice that will ramify inconveniently for other personalities in the league. This includes many athletes and owners now calling for Mr Sterling’s head. Last year Tony Parker, the French guard for the San Antonio Spurs, made a quenelle salute, created and popularised by the French comedian Dieudonné. The quenelle has become beloved of Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites, some of whom have been filmed making the gesture outside concentration camps, Holocaust memorials and synagogues. Is there a place for Parker in the NBA?

Parker has a black father (and a French mother), so the answer is: yes.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I mentioned this before in a few threads. Most people did not listen to the tape or read the transcript, which gives quite a different impression than the popular view being presented by the media and word of mouth. Most people seem to believe that Sterling said something to the effect of "I hate black people and don't want them at my games".

Anonymous said...

The story is at this point a played-out media spectacle.

NBA league office's harsh words are just that... a kabuki dance cleansing ritual for their public reputation. 75% owners aren't going to vote to force a sale. And should they, it would lead to drawn-out litigation for which the consensus is the league would be at long odds to prevail.

Not to mention they operate on long time scale. Sterling will be dead or downright feeble in 5-10 years, completely irrelevant, and largely forgotten.

Any prospective buyer will have to mince his words so as not to appear a grubby opportunist.

Anonymous said...

With every day that passes the public will slowly begin to reject the Cultural Marxist Media's (aka CM2 or CMM) narrative on this story.

With Trayvon Martin vs Zimmerman and Duke Rape hoax witch hunts the CM2 narrative dominated for about a week. Then the public smelled a rat.

Right now I a pray Sterling goes 100% litigious on the NBA's & CM2's asses.

I would love nothing more than to see Sterling fight this out in court. Something tells me that Sterling is more than capable of holding his own.

Are players really going to refuse to play for Sterling? I doubt it once Sterling exposes the NBA, NAACP and CM2 for being the hypocrites they are. When opinion polls show Sterling more popular than they are, they will shut up.

Thanks for mentioning Marge Schott. the lady was one crazy old coot, a major target on FM morning zoo shows here in Midwest, but most players and fans still loved her because she was a good owner and she cared about them.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else getting bored of this story? Steve, please move on to someone else.

JohnSmith said...

And the rapper Ice Cube can write a song like "Cave Bitch" and still make kids movies for Disney.

carol said...

He sounds like a sharp old guy. He didn't get where he by being as stupid as the media that hound him.

Michael said...

Even had Sterling went on a tirade, spewing forth every racial slur and epithet, it should've have exactly zero effect on society. If discriminatory comments are really so important, obviously, people have got a long way to go. I mean there's real suffering going on around the world, such as Christians being butchered in Syria by al Qaeda rebels, yet all people in this country seem to do is bitch and moan about what some old billionaire said in a "private" conversation. Judging from the absurd amount of press coverage this story has generated, you'd think Sterling was caught whipping black people or something.

Let's talk about this thing called discrimination for a second. Discrimination is the act of discerning between different things, usually for the purpose of making a choice. We all discriminate in our daily lives, from what we eat to what we wear, what we believe to who we choose to associate with. I reiterate: everyone discriminates. If you choose to eat chocolate rather than vanilla, does that automatically entail dislike for vanilla? One can like something while simultaneously either not liking something else or liking something else more. Which brings us to the false dilemma: either you must affirm all races, sexes and orientations or else you're a bigot. The PC-Marxist MSM would like nothing more than to tell us what we're allowed to say, think and do. By brainwashing people into believing that discrimination is inherently wrong, which it's not, what they're really trying to do is create the illusion that bigotry and hatred exist wherever they decide it does, or anytime someone on their side of the political spectrum decides they're offended by something. Oppose same-sex "marriage"? You're a homophobe. Run a private business that employs too many white people? You're a bigot. And so forth. In this way, they ensure that they're always the "victims" and white Christians are the oppressors.

The NBA is comprised primarily of black athletes, yet notice you never hear the MSM or activist groups complaining about how unfair this is towards whites and other minorities. Jay-Z shows up at NBA games wearing a Five Percent Nation emblem, which symbolizes that he believes that whites are inferior, lesser beings. Do you hear any outrage?

Something tells me that the majority of PC morons wouldn't want to walk through a black ghetto late at night.

countenance said...

The website of the CBS affiliate in L.A. did a poll, and last I checked, 74% said that the punishment against Sterling was too harsh. Now, that doesn't mean that everyone in that 74% thinks like me, that there should be no punishment because there was no transgression, but it's a very good sign that people are mentally fighting back against the cathedral.

Anonymous said...

A lot things bother me about this business. There are all of these leftists rubbing their hands together with glee. All of a sudden they are in favour of freedom of association when it comes to the league somehow banning Sterling, but Sterling apparently does not have a parallell right to choose who gets to rent from him in his rental business. I suppose if the leftists were confronted about this inconsistency they would say that ideological discrimination is ok but racial discrimination is not.... in which case I'd ask them if it were ok to rent to the segment of the population that believes that people have a right to discriminate in favour of self-avowed "racists" (never mind the race of the racists) especially "racists" who believe that white gentiles should have the same freedom to associate as everyone else. Since this is pure ideological discrimination it should be ok with them.

Then again there's the other side of the coin. Sterling is a Jew who inadvertently revealed mainstream Jewish thinking about blacks, which is far more racist than wasp thinking. Jews definitely don't want this cat getting out of the bag hence the efforts to paint Sterling as a "southerner".

Big Bill said...

This is starting to sound like the Trayvon situation in which the networks edited the audio. They made it sound like George volunteered that Trayvon was black, when in fact George was asked if Trayvon was black.

IIRC, George sued them for their crooked editing.

You would think they learned their lesson, but as the Brits say, "any stick will do to beat the dog."

Anonymous said...

Right now I a pray Sterling goes 100% litigious on the NBA's & CM2's asses.

After about a week trying to ignore this story, I now hope he sues everybody involved including some newsies and NBA types for defamation, or whatever. Everybody in this story deserves each other. I hope they all lose. And I really don't need to know about it.

Big Bill said...

Many esteemed people made Marg Schott-ish comments.

In 1936, the world press, academics and leaders were kvelling over the economic transformation that Hitler pulled off.

One guy (Galbraith?) said that if Hitler had died in 1936 he would have gone down in history as a hero.

Veracitor said...

What about Alexandre Dumas, père? In The Three Musketeers, d'Artagnan takes up with Constance Bonacieux to the consternation of her aged husband. A fine mixture of hilarity and nastiness ensues.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't the NBA already fined Sterling $2.5mm and banned him for life? I haven't listened to the audio but it seems like V (or whatever her name is) set him up.

stari_momak said...

"Ms Stiviano, who is of Mexican and black ancestry, says at one point: “I wish I could change the colour of my skin.”

Well yes -- pictures of Veronica Gonzalez (I think it is) from her Roosevelt yearbook have surfaced. Indeed she looks black and hispanic. Fourteen years later she looks like a part Spanish Filipina , thanks to bleaching and a (good?) cutter.

stari_momak said...

"Right now I a pray Sterling goes 100% litigious on the NBA's & CM2's asses."

I think that's a sure bet, the dude has Chutzpah for sure. A WASP would retire to the den with a tumbler of scotch and a revolver. Tokowitz will litigate this to the bitter end.

Anonymous said...

Most people did not listen to the tape or read the transcript, which gives quite a different impression than the popular view being presented by the media and word of mouth.

This is a lot like the British 'racist' woman on the tram incident. If you listen to it right through there is nothing actually racist there at all. Its a shame she didnt tough it out to the end, with a reasonable lawyer the prosecution would have been destroyed. Several times online and IRL Ive asked people to tell me exactly what she said was racist. Which word, which phrase. Not had an answer yet.

Anonymous said...

Ms V Stiviano (24) is said to be 31 year old Maria Perez.

Its a funny old world.

DCThrowback said...

Steve, please stop publishing troll comments telling you they've had enough of this story.

As far as I am concerned, every post for the next 3 months should be on this story - one that I think that not even the great Tom Wolfe couldn't come up with. You're doing the Lord's work.

Anonymous said...

"Parker has a black father (and a French mother), so the answer is: yes."

The black French footballer Nicolas Anelka was sacked by his English club after being fined for the same gesture. The club was under pressure from the sponsors.

Anonymous said...


And the irony is Dumas was a black man with lots of conquests, and left a few hundred illegitimate children.

Anonymous said...

"""""""It is going to be hard for the NBA to discipline Mr Sterling without establishing principles of draconian justice that will ramify inconveniently for other personalities in the league."""""""

Wait, he actually wrote this with a straight face?


What's been established as precedent is that It's perfectly okay to railroad someone out of their own private property over flimsy evidence which may have been illegally obtained; how exactly does that fit the meaning of justice?

If people can arbitrarily justify doing that, then writing the warrant at will for whatever desired thought crime is a walk in the park. Since thought crimes are arbitrarily based, not on traditional objective standards of justice, but on current situations at the subjective will of the offended, it will always vary from situation to situation depending on the perp and the victim of the thought crime.

Whether someone makes a salute that few Gentiles know anything about wont make a dent of difference either, especially if its an acceptable person. After all, everyone knows that blacks can't harbor hateful opinions and thus can't be arrested for a thought crime.

Thus no thought crime was ever committed. No crime, no foul.

Now, if it were to be Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty making that salute, well then....that's about 3 NYT front page stories, 1 indepth article on the Robertson family's background and history, 2 major boycotts vs the show, and about 7-10days or 3 major news cycles (rough estimate).

And of course the "spontaneous" social media backlash supporting the boycotts.

Reg Cæsar said...

A potential Jerry West-backcourt-buzzer shot Sterling might attempt:

"I didn't want her hanging around black men and picking up their homophobia-- they supported Prop 8, didn't they?"

As Richard Pryor and Tracey Morgan learned, pink trumps black every time.

Anonymous said...

As Maria Vanessa Perez her initials would be MVP think of how much merchandise she could sell.

Jefferson said...

I saw a high school yearbook picture of Donald Sterling's mistress and her facial features looked Blacker before all of the plastic surgery on her face.

Now she looks more racially ambiguous. I wonder if she did all of that plastic surgery to purposely look less Black. Plus she chose Donald Sterling as a lover who himself is the extreme opposite of Black and I am starting to think she is not one of those Sistas who believe "Black Is Beautiful".

Anonymous said...

How quickly Maria Perez became yesterday's news