I listen to my fair share of podcasts while I work, and there’s one particular network I’d like to take a minute to gush about. Over the past four-plus years, I’m pretty sure I’ve spent more time with the folks at Maximum Fun than I have with any other person, andI don’t live alone. If you’ve ever enjoyed something I’ve made, chances are I was listening to MaxFun while I made it.
To celebrate MaxFun Appreciation Week, I’ve compiled a list of the shows I listen to regularly (look, I can’t listen to every show - they keep adding new ones and there are only so many hours in a day) along with a short description and a recommended episode. So give MaxFun a listen - they’re a good bunch over there.
“Never ask permission to do what it is you want to do. Just make the stuff that you think is the best you can do, and hope that it resonates with people. And when they come back and ask you to do something, say yes.”—John Hodgman
“I don’t know if I’m changed, but I have more awareness of my surroundings and other people around me. I think I’m a better man because of it.”—Vikings Special Teams coach Mike Priefer, after returning from a two-week suspension for repeatedly harassing his team’s punter for supporting gay rights. In what might be the shittiest “apology” I’ve ever read.
The kind folks at New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word of Mouth invited me on their Bad Impressions show to talk about how clothing can help make a bad impression. I tried not to be too intolerant, but did speak out against muscle shirts. Specifically, I said that generally speaking, I don’t want to be able to look sideways into a man’s shirt.
Don’t miss Nick Offerman in conversation with Jesse Thorn on Sunday, September 14th. Nick & Jesse will be discussing Nick’s upcoming book Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living. Each ticket will receive a paperback copy of Nick’s book.
Seat assignments begin at 6:00PM, Doors open for drinks at 7:00PM, Showtime at 8:30PM.
Hey FOX - Michael Sam is Gay. You can say it out loud.
I watched the 49ers drub the Cowboys today, which was a great pleasure for me, a lifelong Niners fan. There was one off note, though.
About a third of the way in, Joe Buck, the FOX play-by-play man, took a moment to acknowledge Michael Sam, standing on the sidelines of his first regular season NFL game.
Now, Michael Sam is openly gay. In fact, he’s one of the first openly gay players in American pro sports, and the first openly gay NFL player ever. So this was a pretty momentous day, even if Sam wasn’t suited up (he’s on the practice squad, so he wasn’t eligible to play).
But Buck, in a twenty or thirty second cutaway, did not mention Sam’s role in sports history, or his courage or anything that even came remotely close to describing why anyone should care about a rookie on the practice squad. Instead, he simply rattled off a few college and pre-season stats and a bit of his transaction history. The chyron underneath Sam didn’t read “NFL’s First Gay Player.” It read “SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year.”
Seriously: they cut away to Michael Sam and discussed him for thirty seconds without even a single glancing allusion to him being important or special. The closest thing to an explanation for the cutaway was Buck highlighting the fact that (like every other player in the NFL) he was a star in college. I got the feeling that if Jackie Robinson was making his debut in 2014, the FOX broadcast team would tell us all about his bus ride in from Montreal.
The fact is: Michael Sam is a gay NFL player. That is what makes him important. He is a brave pioneer and a hero. Because he’s gay, and out, and in the NFL. That’s why he was the subject of a cut-away when he wasn’t even eligible to play in the game. They certainly didn’t cut away to any straight guys on the practice squad.
So why pretend otherwise? Why pretend that he’s just another football player? Why is the whole gosh-darned league doing that, repeatedly, every time a journalist asks them about it?
Because if you pretend he’s just another football player, you pretend that the fact that he’s gay isn’t important. You exonerate the league, you exonerate yourself, you exonerate everyone involved.
"He’s just another football player" essentially means "we were cool with it all along. Those silly gays were afraid of nothing."
It’s like claiming you don’t see color. Even if you somehow become perfectly personally bias-free, the system is problematic. Improving, thanks to people like Michael Sam, but problematic.
To be clear: I don’t think Buck or FOX did this out of malice. I have no reason to believe he’s anything other than the decent guy he seems to be on-air. He even mentioned “having a chance to shake hands” with Sam before the game, which is something, I guess. I certainly would love to shake hands with Michael Sam. But it doesn’t have to be malicious. Absence of malice is not the right defense here.
Look: you have to believe there was a meeting about this. It didn’t happen by accident. Nothing this complicated and non-game-action-related in an NFL broadcast happens by accident.” A producer said: “Michael Sam is too big of a story to ignore. We’ll cut away to him. But this is about football, not politics, so just talk numbers.”
The truth is: the Michael Sam story isn’t about stats. Sure, he’s a great football player, or he wouldn’t be in the NFL… but the Michael Sam story is simple.
Michael Sam is gay and out and he plays in the NFL.
I’ll repeat, in case you missed it.
Michael Sam is gay and out and he plays in the NFL.
So next time, maybe they’ll have the courage to say it out loud. Even if it bothers the bigots.
“It’s an abstract and largely oppressive designation, mostly applied to whichever rappers best manage to uphold a certain loosely defined conservative leaning set of cultural and aesthetic values while simultaneously telegraphing their intelligence and/or morality to listeners who are insecure about their own intelligence and/or morality.”—Noz defines “lyrical rapper.”
“Quality is better than quantity. One home run is better than two doubles.”—Steve Jobs, who was a nerd who did not understand baseball, a sport in which two doubles is almost invariably better than a home run.