Sunday football followed by 60 Minutes is an American tradition and one that my family has enjoyed together time and time again over the years. In today’s world, many people (myself included) are so focused on self-improvement and general optimization that anything not oriented towards some sort of productivity can feel like a waste of time. I believe it is important to overcome this negative consequence of the otherwise positive growth mindset by recognizing the true value of down time, especially spent with the people you love and care about. Sometimes the things we like to do with these people can be as ordinary and unproductive as a Sunday on the couch with a solid spread of food on the table and football on the television, and that is totally fine. Better than fine, to me, that is great.
In honor of the tradition, a quick point on football and a quicker one on 60 Minutes.
This past week, 49ers radio analyst Tim Ryan was suspended a week from work for describing how good Lamar Jackson is at faking the handoff as follows:
“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing,”
I do not view this as an offensive thing to say at all. It seems to me to be a factual statement. Richard Sherman and Dee Ford on the 49ers as well as many others have since come to Tim’s defense, but it is a shame to me that I and many others who now know Tim Ryan know him only as the guy who got suspended for saying a thing that some people said was racist.
This was a good example of what Obama aptly dubbed the “woke call out culture” on social media resulting in an organization taking punitive measures against someone to avoid being associated with whatever accusation the call out culture is calling out.
Unfortunately, the media cycle on the subject did not end there. Yesterday, Lamar wore long white sleeves and a white glove with his white jersey and so naturally Yahoo! (one of the top 5 most popular websites in the US along with Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon as of 2017) had on its homepage an article about whether Lamar did this as a “dig at [the] ‘dark skin’ controversy”, without any substantiative evidence. In fact, asked after the game why he wore the sleeves and why he took them off at half, Lamar basically said, because it was cold, and then because he got warm. This to me highlights the silliness of the whole thing.
I do hope the popular news sites get better or the better news sites get popular but I am skeptical that either will happen in the near term because the ones on top are profit-driven entities with strong network effects.
On the subject of better news, 60 Minutes was worth a watch last night. It featured George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School who is working on, among other things, reversing aging. Research on anti-aging strategies and efforts to extend the human healthspan represent one of the most fascinating areas of work currently ongoing from my perspective. I was introduced to this science by Laura Deming who is doing some inspiring work through The Longevity Fund and AGE1 out in San Francisco. I will post more extensively on this subject in the future.