Update: This article was originally published for the Houston Chronicle on June 10, 2015.
Be like Mike. The original and greatest mimetic. You can also be like Michael Jordan. Nobody ever said Be like Magic or Be like Malone. It was always about Jordan. Here’s the problem with mimetic techniques. Beneath the feel-good aspirational comparison is a whole lot of hollowness, an empty void where actual value and quality should be, masked by a marketing-friendly image.
Be like Silicon Valley. In the past few days, I’ve witnessed this debate pick up again, about Houston’s constant struggle to compare itself to Silicon Valley. There’s constant desire to frame our challenges and problems in terms of “why aren’t we more like SV?” And, after some thought, all I can ask is “Why?” Why do we settle for mimetics when there’s plenty of quality and talent to stand on its own? You can’t want to be unique AND want to be like Silicon Valley. There’s no having the cake and eating it too.
Update: This article was originally published for the Houston Chronicle on May 18, 2015. The Rockets ended up falling to the Warriors next round, still sad face.
“We’ve got to hold on, to what we’ve got. It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love. We’ll give it a shot.
“Oh we’ve got to hold on, ready or not. You live for the fight when its all that you’ve got. Whoa, we’re halfway there, whoa, livin’ on a prayer. Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear, whoa, livin’ on a prayer.”
Update: This story was originally published in the Houston Chronicle on April 10, 2015. Harden did not win MVP, sad face.
True story- Microsoft Word has Beyoncé in its spell check database to make sure that we plebeians get the accent mark right. When spell check has got your back, you know you’ve made it big. Incidentally, Beyoncé has a poignant line in “Drunk in Love” – We woke up in the kitchen, saying ‘How the hell did this shit happen?’ MVP voters, don’t let that be you. Don’t wake up in the kitchen with Steph Curry thinking how you let James Harden’s 2014-2015 pass you by, unrewarded.
Playoffs? You talking about playoffs?
While the rest of the basketball world marvels at Anthony Davis’s unprecedentedly monster season, some anonymous commenters decided to spit hot takes with a tired, unsubstantiated trope: “Let’s see him do it when it counts. He’s never been to the playoffs.” And I thought to myself, “That’s nonsense. When’s the last time someone’s said that and been fully vindicated?”
Those were the halcyon days. Back when the shooting guard spot was manned by legends of the game like Kobe, Manu, Wade, and Ray Allen. Back when Ginobili had a full head of hair (no, I’m serious). And then there was T-Mac.
Update: This article was originally written during the beginning of the NBA season for the Houston Chron. Since then, James Harden has played like a world-beating MVP and the Rockets are still on a roll.
Houston, we have a defense.
Not many people saw this start coming. The Rockets are 7-1, and while people may be quick to dismiss it as the result of a relatively easy schedule thus far, isn’t part of being a great team wiping the floor with lesser opponents? If this keeps up, I’ll be happy to eat crow after decrying Daryl Morey’s offseason.
Update: This article was originally written for the Houston Chron before the start of the NFL season. Watt plays offense too now and has scored more touchdowns than LeSean McCoy, Andre Johnson, etc. Please JJ don’t hurt em.
The NFL is the American, everyman gladiator sport. Especially in football, we like to hold our athletes to idealized blue-collar demigod versions of themselves. We gladly shine the pedestals for these upholders of the quintessential American virtues – grit, endurance, and civic virtue.