zenpundit.com » sports

Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

I do so hate it when people speak foreign

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — the Pakistani politician Imran Khan and Alec Station’s Mike Scheuer think (somewhat) alike ]
.

I do so hate it when people speak foreign, and am happy when bilinguals tweet the relevant quotes in regular language:

**

Imran Khan, who is being quoted from this interview as saying “George Washington was a terrorist for the English & freedom fighter for Americans” is a Pakistani cricketer (captain of the team that won the 1992 World Cup, and credited with 3807 runs batting and 362 wickets bowling in Test matches) turned politician (founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party which governs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly the North West Frontier Province) — and philanthropist (founder of a cancer hospital, and more).

Comparisons, they say, are odious — and you may well think it odious to compare Osama bin Laden with George Washington.

What, though, if the comparison is between Imran Khan and Michael Scheuer, who in the runup to 9/11 was the chief of Alec Station (ie the CIA’s Bin Laden Issue Station). In his first book, Through our Enemies’ Eyes, published anonymously in 2002, Scheuer wrote:

I think we in the United States can best come to grips with this phenomena by realizing that bin Laden’s philosophy and actions have embodied many of the same sentiments that permeate the underpinnings of concepts on which the United States itself is established. This can be illustrated, I think, with reference to the writings or actions of such seminal figures in our history as John Brown, John Bunyan, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Paine.

and:

Bin Laden’s character, religious certainty, moral absolutism, military ferocity, integrity, and all-or-nothing goals are not much different from those of individuals whom we in the United States have long identified and honored as religious, political, or military heroes, men such as John Brown, John Bunyan, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Paine. I do not argue that these are exact analogies, but only that they are analogies that seemed pertinent as I researched bin Laden.

and again, specifically:

A final analogy I found useful in thinking about Osama bin Laden in a context pertinent … Professor John L. Esposito drew me to this analogy in his fine book The Islamic Threat. Myth or Reality?, as did the editors of the respected Pakistani newspaper Nawa-i-Wakt. In his book, Esposito warned that when Americans automatically identify Islamist individuals and groups as terrorists, they forget the “heroes of the American Revolution were rebels and terrorists for the British Crown,” while the editors of Nawa-i-Waqt lamented that “it is unfortunate that the United States, which obtained its independence through a [revolutionary] movement is calling Muslim freedom fighters [a] terrorist organization.”

Like him or not as he currently presents himself and his opinions, Scheuer was plausibly the person best situated to explain bin Laden to an American audience back in 2002 — and today’s Imran Khan and yesterday’s Michael Scheuer seem to have a major analogy for assessing & explaining bin Laden in common…

On analogical mountains — & pitons that portend enlightenment

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — carrying French mountaineering coals to a mountaineering Frenchman ]
.

As imagination can reach farther than spacecraft, so analogical mountains are at a higher elevation — indeed, a higher octave — than physical ones:

Tablet DQ rurp mt analogue


René Daumal
‘s brilliant novel Mount Analogue was uncompleted, and fittingly so, at his death — the peak of the book’s arduous ascent being by necessity wordless.

Thete’s nothing non-Eucidean or metaphysical about Chouinard‘s RURP, however — it’s a piton so small that if you dare hang your life on it, you might well expect to achieve enlightenment. I was given mine as a keepsake by a hitchhiker on his way to try the lower slopes of Everest, while I was taking the hippie route through Turkey and Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in the early seventies. And yes, I confess I use it for exclusively analogical mountaineering.

**

This DoubleQuote is for my long-time boss and friend Victor d’Allant, who tweeted today:

Salut!

The pearl and diamond of fightless fighting

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Sun Tzu meets Willie Pep ]
.

SPEC pearl diamong sun tzu pep

**

Sun Tzu‘s fightless victory is like the Platonic pearl, ideal, perfectly spherical. Pep‘s blowless round is like a cut diamond, multifaceted — some claim the tale is true, some that he fabricated the tale years later, some that it was a boast he made before the fight — one version suggests Pep told St. Paul sports writer Don Riley, who was covering the fight for Minnesota radio station WMIN:

Pick a round, I’ll throw punches, but I’ll never hit him. Check the scorecards after, and see if the judges fall for it.

Who knows? A good tale frays into a thousand fugal strands in the Ocean of Story.

**

The curiosity:

The more facets a diamond built to approximate a sphere has, the closer it comes to the Platonic sphere.. Quite what the analogy with narrative variants would be, currently escapes me.

Sunday surprise: nunchucks and katana

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — weaponry in advertising and robotics — just some light weekend viewing ]
.

You may have seen these already — they go nicely together, I think, though I might be hard pressed to say why.

and:

**

Further reading:

  • The Bruce Lee Ping Pong Video. Cool, But Not Real
  • Samurai Robot Challenges Human Sword Master
  • Whose mind hath the finer blade?

    Monday, October 12th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — robert frost, the poet, or yogi berra, the player? ]
    .

    SPEC Frost Yogi

    **

    Also of interest, Frost‘s comment, quoted on the Classic Poetry Pages:

    One stanza of ‘The Road Not Taken’ was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn’t bear not to finish it. I wasn’t thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn’t go the other. He was hard on himself that way.

    As that page shows, I’m certainly not the first to note the overlap between Robert Frost and Yogi Berra — but it caught my attention today as I was reading a comment on Scott Aikin and Robert Talisse‘s On Some Yogisms:

    And “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” was his joking way of giving directions to his NJ home. You could get there by going either way once you reached the fork he was referring to; both roads led to his house eventually.

    That gives a literal context to Berra’s flight of fancy — and yeah, some roads are looped, it’s true — but without the wit, there’s be no wisdom.

    **

    Witty Wittgenstein, as apparently quoted by Ray Monk and in the Aikin and Talisse piece:

    A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.


    Switch to our mobile site