Idle thoughts on basketball

And not even college basketball, or the Warriors, both of which at least have the benefit if currently being interesting. I’m watching the Bulls play the Knicks, and wondering if there has ever been a superstar with as pointless a career as Carmelo Anthony. He’s undoubtedly one of the best players of his generation, and has largely been healthy, but has maybe one memorable playoff run?  Can you really think of a signature moment? His most interesting time in the biggest market in the league came when a Chinese-American kid played pretty well for three or four weeks. Even his annoying drama with the trade looked Punch and Judy compared to the media Gotterdammerung of The Decision.

This is completely pointless, of course, but I can’t think of a parallel. Until recently, he was a top-5 player, but no one has cared about any of his teams or his career. Even the jokes about the Knicks seem perfunctory.  It’s not even a “what if” career; it’s a minor shrug, a weird blip for someone who could be a first ballot immortal.

Brussels and The Price of Modernity

“Always on the run, not knowing what to do any more, being looked for everywhere, not being safe any longer and that if he waits around any longer he risks ending up next to the person in a cell.”

From the will of Ibrahim El Bakraoui, Brussels terrorist

Ripped from context, the will of one of the (still-living) murderers from Brussels could be taken from the diary or blog or hastily scribbled and terrible poetry of any mildly disaffected 21st-century youth. It is of course more direct- the brothers who carried out these attacks and their companions had reasons to feel they were being hunted, after the nearby capture of one of the Paris attackers, but the sentiment rings true, globally, and it is a reason why terrorism is the dominant issue of our time. It is the sharp end of the modern condition, one marked by alienation, disconnection, and a sense of sliding across the surface of something vast, mysterious, and implacable.

Continue reading