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The first ever bag arrives
Hello everybody and welcome to the first HoS Mailbag. There are no rules here, other than that, if you wish to remain anonymous, I reserve the right to give you a ridiculous name of my choosing. Oh, and be warned, I might not exactly answer your question. In a tactic I’m borrowing from my days of doing TV hits, if your question inspires a thought, I may just roll with it rather than address the specific topic. Okay, here we go…
It occurs to me that if the Woj/Shams Social Networkesque script gets off the ground, your character is going to be in it, either as a Winklevoss type villain/hater or more likely as a Rashida Jones outsider who delivers some data dump dialogue and explains things to the audience. The "Ethan Strauss" character in this scenario likely gets a money closing line like: "The real scoop was he sold his soul, one tweet at a time" or "the one story everyone sits on is the whole thing is rigged".
Let's say this scenario takes place. I will give you two options:
1. The Ethan Strauss character is called "Ethan Strauss". He is played by a workmanlike unhandsome actor. The script thinks "Ethan Strauss" might be right in his critique, but he is not particularly sympathetic and is possibly a craven grifter. This character is overshadowed by Marlon Wayans' electric performance portraying Stephen A. Smith.
2. The Ethan Strauss character is the heart and brains of the movie in a supporting role, but is not "Ethan Strauss". Zazie Beetz steals the movie playing a composite version of you mixed with a few others named Paula Sherwood. In this version of the film your point of view is more fairly portrayed, and the film is better received.
Which do you choose?
I go with Option 2 because then I just think about the product less. Michael Oher seemed really burned up about his portrayal in The Blind Side, and while I found media coverage of his lawsuit to be overly indulgent of his perspective, I assume that it’s highly aggravating to see yourself played in a way you find unflattering. Basically, I’m guarding against the Pig Vomit scenario. Bring on Zazie Beetz, playing Erin Strauss or whatever.
Raymond Ridder. What’s the deal with him? Or is it the media that covers/covered the warriors?
I can’t recall a story about a single comms director for another team. Definitely not one that included names. Certainly not one that included impressions.
Maybe it all spread from you? But you’re certainly not the only one who has brought him up in public-facing media.
It seems absurd that I, a Bucks fan in Milwaukee, could probably do a reasonable impersonation of a PR guy for a basketball team I barely follow. I want to know how this started and why Ray is seemingly the only one who gets so regularly elevated.
Raymond Ridder, the storied Golden State Warriors Senior Vice President of Communications, is by far the most prominent NBA PR man and I only have so much to do with that. Ridder is well known because he’s both a workaholic and a character with a cadence out of a 1940s movie. In truth, I don’t even know the extent of his impact because he really rolls out the red carpet for visiting media members. I do look to him as an example of how one succeeds at work through sheer commitment. One of my favorite things to do when I covered Warriors games was just to track his movements around the arena. Ridder was constantly in motion, making multiple revolutions around the stadium in a given game. It was always a good reminder that, if you want to thrive in a people based industry, be present and be everywhere.
In theory, I’m an anarcho-capitalist (basically, if one were to take state out of everything, things would work out well). What makes me different is that I believe we need the courts in cases of interpersonal acts of aggression. With that said, what amount of government is the right amount? Thank you!
I don’t have a clear answer to this, but I like that you brought it up because it’s a question that I believe should always be followed by another question: For whom?
People sometimes adopt ideologies (socialism, libertarianism, etc.) that they feel should apply to literally every country. That doesn’t make sense to me, given vast differences in scale and culture. For instance, Sultan Qaboos bin Said seemed to preside over a good run in his five decades as ruler of Oman. Does noting this make me a supporter of autocracy? Maybe, depending on outcomes in Bay Area politics, but that’s not the point. The point is that what works for a small Scandinavian nation might not be optimal for a massively populous nation in another continent. As for our country…I don’t know, man. It’s complicated.
Sherwood - Long time, first time. Your subscribers need to fund a Latvia trip to interview this legend. To Warriors fans before Steph, his perspective on the insanity of Oracle (and pre Oracle) days and what he’s doing now would be fascinating. Mix in a Jurassic Park reference for good measure.
It will be one of your least read articles but for some of us would be must read and appreciated.
I’ll do it if 20K gets raised towards this venture. Who knows how much Andris and I will throw away at the “club.”
Hope you and the family are well. One of your international (British) fans checking in to see if you’d paid much attention to the Rubiales story. Since his ill-advised kiss of Jenni Hermoso at the World Cup, he seems to be putting your famed ‘don’t apologise double down’ theory into practice and it’s not going too well! In my opinion, apologising immediately for the error might have given him half a chance, rather than blindly insisting that it was consensual, despite this being denied by Hermoso. But perhaps he would have been banned regardless, whether he disguised his obnoxious behaviour and played the game or not.
I wonder if the (slightly scary) reality is that once you mess up and the online cavalry assembles, you’re simply left with no good options. Anyway, you’re the takesman, and I’d be interested to see your opinions on this story and other European topics in future. Thanks for all the content down the years, and take care.
I see that Luis Rubiales just resigned as Spain’s soccer chief. He had quite a run, what with grabbing his nuts while standing next to the nation’s queen, presiding over women’s World Cup victory, and inappropriately kissing a player in celebration. This is before we even get into his blustery defense his antics. On his own, in one summer, Rubiales generated more international news stories about the nation of Spain than the country produced all decade prior. I’m not making a point here other than to say that Rubiales, a man I’d never heard of until this summer, is an uncommonly prolific controversy magnet.
Look, DADD (Don’t Apologize Double Down) remains a good strategy, but “Double Down” is the part you really shouldn’t freestyle unless you’re a pro. The point of Doubling Down is to attack your attackers, casting game theoretical doubt in the minds of others who might want to join in on killing Caesar. If you’ve no easy counter punching lanes, I’d advise, in most scenarios, simply refusing to apologize with no flourishes. But the point of DADD overall is to remember that you can invent your own PR to a certain extent and need not glumly accede to the framing of people who wish to destroy you.
What’s the song at the beginning of your podcast?
It’s La Plage by Colo Colo. And I thank Jade Hoye for finding it.
Without betraying anyone’s confidence, what are some of the things that you privately hear from colleagues in media institutions that they can’t or won’t share publicly?
Same goes for league personnel
In private, people will just bluntly talk about how stupid a player is. Or call him a pussy. Basically, in private conversations among media and team staffers sound a bit like in public conversations on 1990s sports talk radio.
Novak…quietly a top 20
Men’s Athlete all time any sport.
He is better at tennis than curry is at basketball.
He trolls. He has a big personality. How come he’s not a bigger deal?
He’s Serbian, not American. Also, more people play and are interested in basketball than tennis. On a side note, big Eastern Euro personalities such as Djokovic and Ovechkin are fun for our media until they enter into no go zones, which can happen because they have different guardrails. But that’s a different topic for a different day.
What podcast would you most like to appear on? You've personally mentioned listening to the Commentary Magazine podcast and they've had on guest commentators nearly every day this summer. I think you'd be great on one of those days when sports and politics intermingle.
Oh wow, the things people remember! I find Commentary to be a good resource around election time in part because they’re in an odd political liminal zone of Jewish Urban Moderate Conservative. Even if I don’t always agree with their outlook, especially on foreign policy, I like getting their somewhat detached perspective. Would I appear if asked? I’ll go on record as saying I’ll do any podcast that former HoS guest Steve Kornacki does.
As for what podcast I’d most like to appear on…it’s gotta be Red Scare right? I don’t know the ladies personally, and don’t know what the pretext would be, but that call is obvious to me.
Okay, that’s it for the first Mailbag. Thank you for your questions. This is the awkward outro.
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