48 minutes a slave: We progressives! Amidst all the current excitement, William Rhoden appeared on Hardball last night to discuss his new book.
Improbably enough, the book is called “Forty Million Dollar Slaves.” Chris Matthews started like this:
MATTHEWS (4/29/14): In his book, Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete, William Rhoden, who’s right here, argued that while African-Americans may have achieved wealth from the [NBA], they haven’t necessarily gained or exercised real power within it.No one is saying they’re badly off; the book title merely says they’re “slaves.” And after all, an NBA owner may make even more than a player!
And with us now is him, the author of the book, New York Times sports columnist, William Rhoden. And also, we’ve got joining us a real expert for history, the history of the civil rights movement, former U.S. congressman from Maryland Kweisi Mfume, who’s also a former president of the NAACP.
Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Congressman, we’ll get to you. I want to start with William here.
MATTHEWS: Give me your basic thrust, because we all think about NBA players as being well off. If they’ve got a 10-year career, they make $5 million, $10 million a year, they may end up saving 50 million bucks, with all the endorsement opportunities. It’s not just the payroll, it’s the endorsements.
MATTHEWS: So how are they badly off, if you will?
RHODEN: Well, nobody is saying they’re badly off. I mean, they’re making money. But you got to figure out, if—if somebody could pay fifteen players $10 million each, how much is he making, you know?
After a few feeble comments by Matthews, Rhoden continued trying to explain why LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are slaves:
MATTHEWS: It’s always about, what is it, half the money coming in the door goes to the players or something that like that?We swear we’re not making this up.
RHODEN: Right. But the point is, they are well off, relatively speaking, many better off than they would be if they’re not playing. But this is an issue of power.
I mean, you can be paid money. A lot of enslaved people actually made money, but they had no power. And they didn’t share in the revenue. It would be different if, like, they said, “OK, on the plantation, you could get 50 percent of the cotton sales.”
By now, we were plainly in Far La-La land. But under current network arrangements, Matthews wasn’t allowed to notice, except in the tiniest ways:
MATTHEWS (continuing directly): Right.Even now, does it seem like we’re discussing “slaves?” As Matthews puttered around, Rhoden explained that everybody’s on the plantation, even hockey players:
RHODEN: It still wouldn’t— The barbarism is one thing. But at least you could say, well, “OK, well, we split it 50-50.”
RHODEN: But, in this case, there is, it’s sort of like white labor—I mean, black labor, white wealth. So that’s the premise of this book.
MATTHEWS: But didn’t it used to be, before the big development of black athletes’ ability to dominate the NBA, you had white athletes making a lot less?With all those hockey players, we hope the plantation has dentists. Sadly, a white guy like Mike Trout ($144 million) may not even know where he is!
RHODEN: But everybody was making less.
MATTHEWS: But they didn’t own the teams.
RHODEN: Well, but everybody was making less. And the point is, and we talked about this—the point is—that’s the point that Kurtis Blow made. All of them are on a plantation, whether you`re talking about hockey, Major League Baseball, the NBA.
RHODEN: They’re all on a plantation. And probably a lot of white guys don’t know that they’re on a plantation until something hits them.
Might we state the obvious here? When Republicans or conservatives say things like this, we liberals are supposed to go crazy and announce how deeply offended we are. Last night, Matthews played nicely with others.
Question: Is there any quicker way to make progressives seem like world-class fools? When Matthews finally turned to Mfume, the unfortunate change in the cultural era was sadly apparent:
MATTHEWS: Congressman, do you accept this premise that we have got a labor force of—I don’t even call them labor—super talented professionals who make the money, who make the fans come to the games and watch on TV, and the guys who make money off of that—isn’t that the nature of capitalism, just to be blunt about it?Now they've even got Mfume!
MFUME: It is. It is. It is. But the nature of capitalism only moves to create opportunities when there are pressures applied. I agree totally with Bill Rhoden and I agree with Oprah also. It’s a plantation mentality...
For the record, Kweisi Mfume used to be our congressman. In the old days, we even appeared on his TV program! We regard him as a very bright, very decent person. But these are very dumb times.
This is the way progressives self-immolate. Might we talk?
In effect, Mfume seemed to be talking to our own emerging equivalent of the tea party. We liberals laugh at Republican figures when they behave like this.
Politely, Matthews played along with this obvious nonsense. Like the other slaves on the plantation, he is paid millions of bucks every year to know the rules of the game.
We can’t link you to the tape: Perhaps for obvious reasons, it seems the tape wasn’t posted.
Somerby, if you're down to using this conversation between Chris Matthews and William Rhoden, then you really have noting worthwhile to say.ReplyDelete
But I'm sure your cattle will love the sweet hay about the way "progressives" ruin their own causes with all this crazy talk about race.
Wow. That's a neat one, Anon @ 12:51. Rhoden writes a book comparing multimillionaires to slaves, uses the NBA as his main example, gets it published appears on MSNBC and is treated respectfully for this crazy victimized horse crap and you say 1) Bob has nothing worthwhile to say and 2) call it "sweet hay" for how liberals "ruin their own causes with all this crazy talk about race."Delete
If that's so wrong, why don't you try and explain why? Why shouldn't we come off as a bunch of race-obsessed out-of-touch elitists?
You obviously got Bob's point. Why isn't it valid?
PS: Where's my place on the "plantation?"
Heir - oh boy are you stupid. If it walks like a duck, the proof is in te pudding.Delete
But the players are exactly like slaves. They are bought in a slave market called "the draft," and they can be traded to other plantation-like teams.Delete
There are a few minor differences. The players are paid a lot of money for doing what they like and have chosen to do. They have contracts and an association for collective bargaining, and when their contracts expire they can become free agents. And they can always quit.
Other than that, though....
Other than that, though....everyone is free. It's inane and asinine. Most people are subjected to much greater indignities working for private enterprises for a fraction of the money. Should labor markets be more fair and take the employee's perspective to a much greater degree than they do now? Absolutely! NBA should not be either the starting point or the focal point of this discussion.Delete
To the extent that the NBA players are "slaves", so are the NHL players, who are about 98% white.
Hieronymous, you go ahead and believe what Bob tells you Rhoden's book.Delete
As a matter of fact, lap up whatever he regurgitates. That will save you from all that thinking.
How does that hay taste anyway? Sweet?
Some of us cattle prefer the taste of Nevada desert scrub
brush to hay. It may be bitter but its free-dom.
Again, no one can explain why Bob is being stupid. It's just the usual inane insults. If you want to hurt my fee fees you're going to have to do better than that and I already have a pretty thick skin as it is. Things have gotten so bad that deadrat and I are pretty much on the same page. That's what bothers me.Delete
As we become a more and more enlightened society liberals are going to become ever more desperate in trying to find reasons to play the victim card in order to act morally superior.
Of course, my decidedly unesteemed allies could go for things like fair taxation, breaking up the too-big-too-fails, doing something about global warming, improve social security or pass single-payer healthcare but those are potentially winning issues so we'd better not touch them. Much better to paint multimillionaires as victims. Otherwise we might look like we're crazy.
PS: Run, Elizabeth! Run!
"Things have gotten so bad that deadrat and I are pretty much on the same page. That's what bothers me."Delete
I agree, it's terrifying!
"Again, no one can explain why Bob is being stupid."Delete
So Bob is stupid, and we have to explain why?
No, Bob is not stupid and you are welcome to just go away.Delete
deadrat is a pro at producing comments that do nothing more than state the obvious. I think the op is alluding to Bob's narrow focus on issues as something negative. Bob often pretends to accept everything in a literal sense. (others here have been inspired by this technique)Delete
I don't see any evidence that, outside of the conservative world (Bob excepted), progressives are thought of as "a bunch of race-obsessed out-of-touch elitists".
One would hope that Rhoden's book has more depth than is being suggested by Bob and Braintree, don't know, haven't read it.
Interesting fact: slaves never played basketball! Some slaves did run, some dribbled (after whippings), some shot, few scored.
don't know, haven't read itDelete
What is that, family motto?
My comment is so obvious, but you apparently failed to understand it. Go figure.
I am not aware of that quote being a family motto. If a family did choose such a quote as their motto, it is likely meant as something humorous. Interestingly, you don't know seem to know about a subject unless you have read about it.Delete
(your blind eye to being mocked is soooo adorable)
You haven't read Rhoden's book either.
No one failed to understand your recent comment (or any of your comments), primarily because you either repeat what others have already written or state the blindingly obvious.
Go figure? Did you want me to calculate something? Your discontent at being misunderstood is epically amusing.
How can I become a slave like this?ReplyDelete
How tall are you?Delete
Why the relentless focus on the negative when there is plenty of good news about our troubled white male adults?ReplyDelete
"Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell ... was recently invited to join the teaching staff at Liberty as a distinguished visiting professor in government."
McDonnell's wife solicited handouts in order to keep up with the social circles they found themselves in. That is pathetic and wrong (illegal) but it doesn't negate the experience McDonnell himself had in office as governor, and it doesn't mean he has nothing of value to teach students about government.Delete
This illustrates Somerby's point about the liberal yearning for punishment. Should McDonnell's life be ruined, should he and his wife be hounded out of any participation in any occupation? How much should they be made to suffer for mistakes that arise from understandable and shared human longings -- to be accepted socially, to have nice things, to be part of an upper class most people aspire to? When does self-righteousness become a recognized sin itself?
Plus it is the Jesse Helms School of Government.Delete
"McDonnell needed that job. And he was the best qualified.
And they didn't have to give it to a minority, because of religious freedom. That's really fair. Bob Sombery implies it is, because he was sad to see McDonnell indicted."
Alex Catellanos brought you this message. And he cleaned Rachel Maddow's clock on the 77 cent lie.
Not quite what Bundy said, but as BOB often suggests, it was what he we might infer he implied. Close enough for DinC.ReplyDelete
Bob's totally right here, but this is admittedly shooting fish in a barrel.ReplyDelete
Who admitted anything? I thought Sterling settled out of court with no admissions of wrongdoing and the disproportionate feds withdrew from Rancho Bundydo before any fish, cattle, or wimmen were shot.Delete
Hopefully, the Sterling and Bundy stories will go away now so that we can go back to talking about black kids.ReplyDelete
I don't know. The Bundy story had aborted (or at least dead) calves, a bunch of armed guys in gang clothes loitering around on government provided property instead of having work to do, threats to women, free or reduced price lunch. It was pretty good.ReplyDelete
Good grief, Rhoden sounds like a complete fool. I have no idea how a person could think and write such nonsense.ReplyDelete
OMB (Bungling in Good Faith With BOB)ReplyDelete
Eyes on the Parts: Just for counting purposes, this is Part 5 of "obvious pseudo-discussion than the current pseudo-discussion, the enthralling pseudo-discussion about the weird, incoherent and pitiful things Donald Sterling apparently said."
Can we talk? Its mere posting proves BOB's point in Part 1: "Donald Sterling, even better than Bundy!"
That said, we recommend Part 4, although that's hardly an endorsement. We like it for the introduction of a new element in our Musings & Discourse: "the pseudo-liberal/progressive press corps now springing up in our midst."
So, if Magic Johnson buys the Clippers, will that immediately make him a slaveowner?ReplyDelete
Hell, he might even get used to being called "Massah" Johnson.
Ya never know.
Guys, I see that Somerby has not-so-cleverly turned the discussion in his blog from a racist NBA owner to whether NBA players are "slaves."ReplyDelete
This is why there will never be any serious discussion of race on TDH.
Are you implying that the Matthews' segment with Rhodan was a serious discussion of race?Delete
What Anonymous at 5:40 just said. To visit this site is to visit a train wreck.ReplyDelete
And btw, it's not silly to raise questions about trade unions and athletes' unions vis-a-vis institutions like slavery and indentured servitude. (There are, in fact, historical connections -- you can go back to Medieval guilds, too, if you like.) Too bad bob never tries to improve the discourse by exploring things such historical matters rather than despising others' attempts at doing so.
bob is one big "I am not this or this or this" and never an "I am this." (Oh, I forgot: for a few years he taught black children, and he, and he only, cares about them.) As a result, readers and commenters can project just about anything on to him. But to what end? What is gained?
Sounds like people are projecting a bunch of garbage onto him. He was a philosophy major. If you've ever met one, you will recognize that examining all sides of ideas, thinking critically and not being a true believer are part of that approach, along with valuing logic and using mind experiments and analogies to reason.Delete
To what end? Helping people think differently, which is what teachers do.
Uh, @7:01, I have met a few philosophers, as have many commenters here, I suspect. (I am a college professor. My son is working on a Philosophy Ph.D.) I don't like pulling rank, but try this, avoiding the ad hominem.Delete
I would also urge 7:01 to go to the MSNBC web site, click on the entire inteview between Matthews and Rhoden and judge for yourself if Mr. Examine At All Sides has represented it fairly and given the complete picture of what Rhoden was saying, or only the parts he could use for his own agenda.Delete
What ad hominem?Delete
Maybe ad auctoritatem is the more apt fallacy to cite here. So bob majored in philosophy in college a million years ago: that makes him an authority? Even if it did, so what? The argument is what matters, not the supposed authority of its source. I actually kinda like the way the way many commenters here aspire to serious intellectual argument -- which is maybe one reason I am really tired of the way bob misleads them into thinking that's what he's offering. Some of his more sincere commenters like to cite his authority -- and to doubt the authority of commenters who disagree with him. Well, if you're going to play the authority game, please don't assume that all who disagree with bob lack "authority" -- that's all I was saying, in an attempt to draw attention to the fallacy itself.ReplyDelete
I don't think anyone has offered Somerby as any kind of authority.Delete
Read Comp Fail. He's often referred to as an education expert by his supporters.
"We progressives!" Who "we," white man?ReplyDelete
Bob's many readers (to judge by who comments here) who think that he presents them with a fair take on "progressive" or "liberal" views might read this, for instance:
= a typical liberal/progressive lament about the inanity of Maureen Dowd. Not that bob has focused on her much in recent months -- has he caught on at last? -- but at least a warning to those who come to bob thinking they'll learn about liberal/progressive thinking, whether of journalists or their readers. (No serious liberal/progressive in their right mind thinks of Matthews as a serious source of anything, either, except in bob's fantasies.)
You just don't get it. Millions of less than serious liberal/progressives get their news from television. To those people, and they're the ones who decide elections, Chris Matthews is one of the most visible representatives of the liberal perspective, that's how he's marketed by a multi-billion dollar media company and has been for years, that's why he is held up as an elder statesman and even mentor of sorts by other high-profile liberals. Think beyond that tiny serious liberal/progressive circle. If the best defense one can offer up for Matthews is that he's a fraud thus he's insignificant, then why the sensitivity when he gets criticized?Delete
I think you need to think beyond the tiny mind of Somerby. He's the only person on earth that blows Matthews up to some sort of spokesperson for all "we liberals" in order to write another rant.Delete
according to your logic, O'Reilly's show is marketed by Rupert Murdock as "the no-spin zone", so therefore he must be the modern Diogenes, and that since Fox Cable News is marketed as "we report, your decide", it is an unbiased news source.
"Now they even got Mfume!" LOLReplyDelete
By the way, Rachel Maddow is all over the botched Oklahoma execution.ReplyDelete
Wonder if Somerby will say anything about that, and if he does, will it be how she's being so mean to the Oklahoma governor.
We're wondering if or when BOB will have the nerve to cover and call her interview with Kareem Abdul Jabbar a clown car exercise.Delete
Unhinged "progressives." What ever happened to liberals?ReplyDelete
Here's my take on liberal v. progressive. A liberal wants to improve things but is settled into the status quo -- don't rock the boat too much. A progressive wants to improve things but is more willing to rock the boat -- though not to the point of revolution (unless, maybe, it's absolutely necessary -- but that maybe is kept pretty far out there, at more than arm's length).ReplyDelete
The joys of camping! What a great adventure in nature that is an excellent choice for a vacation with your family or by yourself. You should learn as much as you can about camping before you head out.ReplyDelete
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