ELITES: Tucker savaged Brittney Griner!


These elites today: It probably isn't Joshua Needelman's fault. We'll assume he just got the assignment.

Needelman is six years out of college (Maryland, class of 2016). At present, he's a "reporting fellow" at the New York Times. The program replaced the summer internship program back in 2019.

We'll guess he was told to do it! But Needelman's report about WOW—Women of Wrestling appears on the Times' front page today.

"Female empowerment" has come a long way! His report starts off like this

NEEDELMAN (12/16/22): Where was the mud? The oil? The Jell-O?

When Jeanie Buss attended her first WOW—Women of Wrestling show, in February 2001, she expected to see scantily clad performers wrestling in slippery substances, as had been the norm on mainstream TV shows of that era.

Instead Ms. Buss, then the executive vice president of business operations for the N.B.A. team the Los Angeles Lakers, sat rapt as the indoor arena, now the Kia Forum, in Inglewood, Calif., shook with excitement. This was not mud wrestling; this was female empowerment. It felt as if the comic book heroes of Ms. Buss’s childhood had come to life, displaying strength and athleticism as they tossed each other around the ring.

Increasingly, "comic book heroes" are driving the culture in this, our declining world. Those comic book heroes are everywhere, from Hollywood right on down. 

At times, this may seem to reflect the fact that some of us, the American people, may not always be perfectly sharp. Here's what female empowerment looked like to Buss, a good and decent and highly placed person, way back in 2001:

NEEDELMAN (continuing directly): The loser of the match, as stipulated in advance, had her head shaved in the middle of the ring. Ms. Buss, sitting 10 rows back, turned in shock to the friend who had joined her.

“It was wild,” Ms. Buss recalled. “And I fell in love with it.”

If you lost the match, your head would be shaved! That was genuine female empowerment, reminiscent of the way a gang or Irish villagers attacked the Sarah Miles character in a brilliant scene portraying ugly, misogynist conduct in David Lean's poorly received 1970 epic, Ryan's Daughter.

(In truth, the lengthy film was a bit of a dud. But we'd score that deeply ugly scene as deeply memorable.)

Has we been at that wrestling match, we're not sure that its manifestations would have struck us as "female empowerment." To his credit, Needelman eventually broke the news to Times subscribers about another aspect of so-called professional wrestling:

NEEDELMAN: Professional wrestling is actually something of a misnomer. It’s a scripted, athletics-based morality play with over-the-top characters and dramatic story lines, as well as so-called “feuds” settled through choreographed “violence,” which is different from legitimate fighting competitions like boxing and mixed martial arts. It also has traditionally been dominated by men, in terms of both featured competitors and decision makers.

According to Needelman, professional wrestling is "a scripted, athletics-based morality play with over-the-top characters and dramatic story lines, as well as so-called 'feuds' settled through choreographed 'violence.' "

So, of course, is our own "cable news," as Tucker Carlson showed, for the millionth time, in an ugly display last Thursday night.

As we noted yesterday, Tucker was savaging Brittney Griner in his monologue that night. Griner had just been released from a Russian labor camp. Another American, Paul Whelan, had not been part of the deal.

Based on a single, later disowned report, Tucker said it was "obvious" that the Biden administration had chosen to leave Whelan behind. Even as Griner was flying home, here's what the cable star said:

CARLSON (12/8/22): Well, why did they make that choice? Well, you should know that Whelan is a Trump voter, and he made the mistake of saying so on social media. He's paying the price for that now. 

Brittney Griner is not. She's got very different politics. Brittney Griner despises the United States. She's been very vocal about that. This country is so repellent and immoral that two years ago she said: "I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our basketball season." She hates the country so much she doesn't want to hear its anthem. So there's that. 

That's the kind of position that gets you rewarded by Joe Biden. "Hate America? Perfect! We'll free the guy who sold weapons to drug cartels to get you out early."

Thus spake a disordered member of an elite which speaks to millions of people each night. 

(Full disclosure: Fox now seems to have disappeared the transcript of this monologue. Over the weekend and as of yesterday, the transcript was available.)

As we've noted in the past, a large portion of modern "cable news" is actually "a scripted morality play with over-the-top characters and dramatic story lines." Carlson was scripting one such over-the-top character with his ugly conduct last Thursday night. 

This particular character was being scripted as a comic book villain. But how accurate were the cable star's comic book claims?

For the record, the quote he clipped was a technically accurate quote, but how accurate was his larger characterization? Has he possibly disappeared some aspects of the actual story in service to comic book villainy?

For the record, Griner had made the statement in question in the wake of the killing of Breonna Taylor. Griner was a major star with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. 

Below, you see, headline included, a fuller report of what Griner had said. The report was written by Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic:

Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner will not be on court for National Anthem this season

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner does not believe the National Anthem should be played before WNBA games and will not be on the floor if it is.

Griner made her comments during a teleconference Monday, two days after the Mercury's opening game at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Players were not on the floor for the anthem during that game, honoring the late Breonna Taylor, other victims of police brutality and Black Lives Matter.

"I honestly feel we should not play the National Anthem during our season," said Griner, one of the top players in the WNBA and second in 2019 most valuable player voting. "I think we should take that much of a stand. 

"I don't mean that in any disrespect to our country. My dad was in Vietnam and a law officer for 30 years. I wanted to be a cop before basketball. I do have pride for my country."

Carlson forgot to mention several things Griner had said. He was too busy creating a comic book villain, as millions of people watched and were possibly being misled.

We're going to guess that Carlson's statement—his statement about Griner despising the United States and finding it repellent—may not be perfectly accurate. That was comic book, pro wrestling stuff. Our culture is full of such product.

We'll have to admit that this makes us think of the greatest film of all time—Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975).

An international elite recently selected Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles as history's greatest film. We have never seen the film, but as we noted at the start of the week, its storyline is said to go like this:

The film examines a widowed mother's regimented schedule of cooking, cleaning, mothering, and running errands over three days. The woman...earns money by having sex with a different client each afternoon before her son arrives home from school. Like her other activities, Jeanne's sex work is part of the mundane routine she performs daily by rote.

After a visit by a client on the second day, Jeanne's orderly behavior begins to subtly unravel. She overcooks potatoes while preparing dinner, then wanders around the house carrying the potato pot; she forgets to cover the porcelain in which she keeps her money, misses a button on her house coat, and drops a newly washed fork. The alterations to Jeanne's routine continue until her client arrives on the third day. They have orgasmic sex, she dresses herself, and then impulsively stabs him to death with a pair of scissors. She then sits quietly at her dining room table.

We've never seen the film. Nor have we been able to find an explanation of what makes the film so great. 

We've seen it suggested that the film brilliantly captures the existing state of European feminist thought as of 1975. We wonder if the vision of that era's Euro elite may perhaps have been built around a comic book characterization of female possibilities in Europe as of that particular date.

These elites today! One elite may possibly love that ancient Eurovision. Another elite has Women of Wrestling atop today's front page!

For ourselves, we think Griner may have shown imperfect political judgment in the stance she adopted concerning the national anthem, not unlike the well-intentioned Colin Kaepernick before her. It seems to us that some other type of gesture might have produced a broader range of converts.

That said, Kaepernick and Griner were brilliant young professional athletes, not seasoned political players. By way of contrast, Carlson is part of a disordered elite which struts and frets upon a stage. Also, the New York Times has Buss and WOW and a vision of female empowerment atop today's front page.

Our ruling:

Everywhere President Roosevelt looked, he saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." Everywhere we look today, even including MSNBC, we see gangs of overpaid elites whose statements you shouldn't assume to be fully accurate and whose sometimes slightly peculiar assessments you possibly shouldn't quite trust.


  1. "This was not mud wrestling; this was female empowerment."

    Lol. Thank you, dear Bob, for documenting this microscopical portion of the recent liberal idiocy.

    ...but still, may we remind you, dear Bob: the nuclear codes!
    Remember how were extremely concerned about the nuclear codes a few years ago? Are you concerned today, considering, y'know, the advanced dementia... the mafioso background... all that shit?..

    You are not, dear Bob, are you? And why is that?

    1. Hey douche bag, do you have your Donald Trump collector’s cards yet?

    2. Worried about nuclear codes? Stop bombing Ukraine.

  2. "We've never seen the film. Nor have we been able to find an explanation of what makes the film so great. "

    This is all you need to know in order to ignore everything Somerby says about this film. He has no basis for an opinion about it and anything he says is bunk, aimed at other purposes besides discussing the move in any reasonable way.

    1. Why does Somerby claim to have been unable to find an explanation of what makes the film so great, when he himself quoted several such explanations here back when he first started talking about it? This is a lie. Somerby may have found such explanations unconvincing or unsatisfying, but they WERE explanations and they did suggest why the critics or reviewers liked the film. I would consider this a lie on Somerby's part -- that he could find no such explanation. And how on earth could he evaluate the explanation if he has never seen the film?

      This is not how a reasonable person processes information. I think this statement alone invalidates most of the rest of what Somerby says on any topic. It shows he is not playing fair.

  3. Bob's take on things is starting to seem like Newt Gingrich's take on things: Not made in good faith, so there is no reason to discuss it.

  4. "Everywhere President Roosevelt looked, he saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished."

    Roosevelt said this in the depths of the great depression. We are not in a depression today, not even a recession. One-third of the Republican party is in thrall to Trump, which is a major problem, but we are not starving, as Somerby implies with this poorly selected quote of FDR. It is a joke to equate of last century's major tragedy with the appearance of a wrestling article in the NY Times. If there is anyone who doesn't know that both women's and MEN's wrestling are staged performances, it is because they have been living with their heads in the sand. No one doesn't know this. But it is part of pop culture, not anything to do with politics. And the graduation date of the reporter who wrote the article has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

    So, Somerby has wasted everyone's time here once again. He is writing drivel whose only purpose is to crap on the left by implying that "elites" (whatever he means by that) are somehow ruining something or other (wrestling?) and Griner was wrong for expressing her opinions as she did, and that makes all liberals scum -- same message as Carlson throws up every day on his show.

  5. Clearly, what has set Somerby off is the suggestion that women are empowered, even by something as stupid as staged professional wrestling shows. If Somerby heard that Dolly Parton empowered female country singers, he would write about how horrible she is, and how elitists consider her worth being in some Hall of Fame (along with Meatloaf or someone who would cast doubt on the entire enterprise) and isn't it silly that women should think they can sing, and did you know that Griner is a horrible person?

    Somerby's attempt at essay-writing has become a stream-of-consciousness garbled mess with no coherent points other than to dump on people (without explanation) and use negative adjectives while telling all that Carlson and the NY Times are equally bad, even though only Carlson tells lies.

  6. Britney Griner? What kind of great American is she? She didn't even support the violent attempted overthrow of the U.S. Capitol, just because black peoples votes counted in the 2020 Presidential election.

  7. “Increasingly, "comic book heroes" are driving the culture in this, our declining world. “

    A while back, Somerby spent at least a week praising the Ken Burns documentary about country music. Somerby called country music the “music of Trump country” and implied that liberals were contemptuous of it and that they should try to understand the “others” and the things they like. Such as country music.

    Wrestling’s fans are made up heavily of right wingers. Remember the long association Trump had with pro-wrestling?

    But here, Somerby seems to denigrate it.

    And lots of right wingers love all that comic book stuff.

    1. From the time Bob Dylan and the Bryds went to Nashville it’s been clear Country Music is not just for liberals. Liberals may like vintage country now more than conservatives., professional wrestling
      has always been viewed by all serious people as silly, regardless of party. Sure, Trump likes it. Do you have your
      collector’s cards yet?

    2. Rather than paying my light bill, I plan to spend $99 for a chance to contemplate Trump as a comic book superhero.

  8. “Griner may have shown imperfect political judgment in the stance she adopted “

    Maybe Rosa Parks showed imperfect “political” judgment when she defiantly sat at the front of the bus. After all, it did piss off the “others.”

  9. There’s no wrestling story on the front page of my online NYTimes today.

  10. Not everybody is Rosa Parks.
    But a lot of people don’t like the
    National Anthem. If Grinder was
    protesting excessive force on
    black people by police, the most
    productive and respectful thing to
    do is engage her in a discussion of
    that topic, one that is commercially
    exploited by both sides of the media,
    including obviously garbage people
    like Tucker Carlson.

  11. Kurt Eichenwald says:

    "Yes, they are NFTs, but unlike others of these digital art pieces, the people foolish enough to purchase a Trump Trading Card don’t actually own the things they paid for, at least not in the traditional sense. If any buyer decides to sell their Trump card in a secondary market, they don’t get all the proceeds. The fine print reveals that 10% of every secondary market sales goes right back to Trump and his fellow grifters. For more details, buyers are told to click the link to terms and conditions. Buyers have to confirm they read the terms and conditions but…the terms and conditions are nowhere to be found.

  12. Russia’s national anthem is very beautiful.

  13. "We're going to guess that Carlson's statement—his statement about Griner despising the United States and finding it repellent—may not be perfectly accurate."

    It's a statement knowingly offered to deceive. In other words, A LIE.

  14. “Griner may have shown imperfect political judgment in the stance she adopted “

    Griner and Kaepernick may have been making a political statement, although I think that could be debatable.

    I do think that neither felt the need to triangulate their actions with the electoral prospects of the Democratic or Republican parties.

    1. If they disregarded the electoral effects of their action, they made a severe error.

    2. Like Musk is doing, right?

  15. Back in the Paleolithic era, when I was underaged driving my underaged boyfriend around in his father’s straight-off-the-Gestapo-assemblyline huge Mercedes, you could trust someone or another.

    That’s changed.

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