Ritland Daily Ramble #16

Quote of the day
There is a certain logic to events that pushes you along a certain path. You go along the path that feels the most true, and most according to the principles that are guiding you, and that’s the way the decisions are made.
– Michael Nesmith

Emphasis, Solidarity, and Pro-Life/Pro-Choice Dialog
Both sides of the abortion debate are, to varying degrees, very bad at getting their point across. In this article I suggest ways pro-life and pro-choice people can better dialog with each other. I also argue, via Cathleen Kaveny and Frederica Mathewes-Green, that the pro-life movement needs to shift their emphasis from attempting to overturn Roe v. Wade to solidarity with all people, especially the weakest among us.

I wrote this article yesterday not realizing that today is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Prophecy is one of my many talents.

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The last word on Richard Sherman
Seth Stevenson, in his brilliant article for Slate, gets to the bottom of the Richard Sherman controversy even better than I did:

  1. When, after winning the game, Sherman made the choke sign in his losing opponent’s face, then called another losing opponent “sorry” and “mediocre,” he was being a dick.
  2. Even though Sherman grew up underprivileged and beat the odds and now gives back with worthy charitable endeavors, he was still being a dick.
  3. The fact that Sherman is very smart and attended Stanford and approaches his job in a scholarly manner doesn’t mean he wasn’t being a dick.
  4. Whether or not Sherman’s behavior was calculated and self-aware and media-savvy and akin to the monologue of a pro wrestling heel, it was still dickish.
  5. Many athletes play violent, hard-fought, emotional games and still manage to refrain from taunting their vanquished foes and giving dickish interviews.
  6. It is possible to be an entertaining, eccentric, and even boastful interviewee without being a dick.
  7. It turns out that Sherman and Crabtree have history—Sherman’s brother alleges that Crabtree tried to fight the Seahawks player at a charity event. Most of Sherman’s defenders haven’t bothered to mention the existing personal feud. But to be clear: While the prior beef adds some context, those two wrongs don’t make what Sherman did right—or, more precisely, not dickish.
  8. Talking smack in the lead-up to a contest, or in the middle of it, is permissible. It falls into the hallowed tradition of gamesmanship. Dancing on graves after the battle has been won is dickish.
  9. And this is the most delicate of these notions but needs to be addressed: Whatever archetypes may be conjured by the specter of white people tsk-tsking a black man who loudly brags alongside a blond woman, those uncomfortable overtones don’t change the fact that, in this case, in that moment, the man was being a dick.

Well, that pretty much ends that argument.

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Picture of the day


Winter is beautiful.

Erik Ritland is a journalist and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North and writes frequent Daily Rambles. Ramblin’ On catalogs his writings on culture, music (including his own projects), sports, religion, and many other topics. You can reach him via email here.

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About Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a journalist (http://www.ramblingon.net) and musician (http://www.erikritland.com) from Minnesota. Rambling On, his blog and podcast, has been releasing seriously fun content about sports, music, culture, and more since 2012. He has written and recorded almost 10 albums of unique rock n' roll/alternative rock/Americana since 2002.

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