Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What is it Like to be a Bat...sketball Player?

From the Archive: June 18, 2008

Reporters ask dumb questions. And it is especially dumb to ask athletes what something feels like. 'What does top of the world feel like, Kevin,?' she says to a newly championed Kevin Garnett.

I don't even know what this means. Does she want to know what being on top of the world feels similar to? If so, and say, for example, it feels similar to having sex and eating ice cream and being commended for a job well done, do we then have to ask what that is similar to? Either this never ends, in which case its a stupid question, or else it ends with the feeling being similar to something we're unfamiliar with, in which case it's pointless to ask, or it ends with something that we're already familiar with, in which case we're not interested. After all, the question only seems appropriate to ask because one assumes that being on top of the world is unique, a sui generis nature that none of us will ever experience, and that even many elite athletes never experience. But of course if this rare moment is unique, then we can't possibly understand what it is like by comparing it to something else, which makes it a stupid question (q.e.d.)

But the question could just mean 'can you describe the feeling of being on top of the world'. And of course he can't. What is he, a poet? Only a brilliant writer can get someone to feel things that he actually hasn't done- eating ice cream and hearing about it are two different things- and only through the gift of wordsmithing, perhaps, can an audience get a taste of the real feelings involved. And athletes, from what I gather, do autographs, not monographs.

Though maybe KG should have responded to "whats on top of the world feel like?" with "that's real fucking original. I've been getting 'how's the weather up there?' since I was 7 years old."


Micah said...

"what does feeling great feel like?"
was basically the question

inscibilis said...

a blog eh? I see you have taken yet another step away from being the next heidegger and toward being a guy who writes essays for books like Family Guy and Philosophy.

oh wait.

Soxlosophy said...

Well, inscibilis, i must say i am officially zinged. no comeback forthcoming.

Marc said...

we always say this. in fact, when i saw it happen live, i thought of you, and that you must be throwing your hands up (as I was) for Tafoya to be asking Garnett ANYTHING at that moment. Leave him alone! Nothin he says will make sense, nor will it be profound!

how can these guys enjoy the moment with a mic in their faces? well, that's a whole nother question, as it appeared Garnett kinda enjoyed it, though i'm sure he woulda been happier without doing it.

The post championshipship interview is the most awkward necessity of sports broadcasting. We're getting used to seeing it here, but i've never liked it. during a broadcast, there's little worse than watching that stuff when it's not even your team.

it would have been great if Garnett could describe all the chemical reactions occurring in his body at that moment- that woulda showed her what "top of the world", from the floor of a basketbal court, feels like.

boycott sideline reporting.

Soxlosophy said...

Marc, that's really funny.

It got me thinking. Some philosophers think that physics will never explain the "raw qualitative feel" of subjectivity, while others endorse the thesis that the mind is identical to the brain, and so the mind can be explained just as the brain can (because they are the same thing.)

I would love to see such a physicalist win a title (maybe the futurama harlem globetrotters?), and when asked what it feels like, to bring out an mri and illustrate.

great stuff!