CSotD: When the One Great Scorer comes

Sunil Agarwal mocks a saying I take seriously, but I’m willing to laugh at the empty cans and bottles that are evidence of the thing this poor fellow loves to do.

Yes, indeed, you do have to channel your interest in some sort of positive direction and, no, I’m not sure a love of drinking will get you anywhere but the unemployment line.

I’d note, BTW, that Sam Malone, the bar owner in Cheers, was a recovering alcoholic, and I seem to recall a suggestion that drinking had brought a premature end to his career in Major League Baseball. It was an interesting redeeming asterisk to bring to a TV show in which the other characters’ main activity was drinking beer.

I do believe in the saying, however, and used to talk to kids about the principle, a fallacy of which features in today’s Vintage Juliet Jones Sundays (KFS) from 1966:

Stan Drake’s artwork is, as usual, superb, but the writing is by Elliot Caplin, and the strip appears to be a one-off between storylines, though I suppose we’ll see next week if Earl follows up with his sister’s dubious dreams.

I can’t blame her. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but had no role models and was led to believe that writers write novels and that anything else is hack work and a sign of failure. I only took on newspaper freelancing as a sideline until I discovered how much I enjoyed it, by which time I’d realized I wasn’t going to make it as a novelist anyway.

Fortunately, I didn’t invest in much more than time, a few books on the subject and a subscription to Writer’s Digest; I landed a fellowship to the one writing conference I attended.

Debbie Delmonico has become more deeply invested in a dream she seems unlikely to achieve, but, then drama schools require dreamers or who will play the supporting roles for the one or two students who will make it?

When I was editing kids, I knew most of them would not become journalists, but I hoped they’d become better organized, logical and articulate writers in whatever careers they did pursue, and my experience of semiliterate corporate memos suggests it was a noble goal.

But when I spoke to whole classrooms, I’d suggest a practical example, saying that loving a sport and even being good at it wasn’t likely to lead to a pro career. But what if you were also an older brother or sister who had to watch younger siblings, and discovered that you really enjoying making up games for them?

Kids didn’t have trouble envisioning a coaching career from that scenario, nor did they have trouble realizing that, while you can’t likely become a professional trout fisher, you might run a sporting goods store that specialized in fishing tackle.

I tried not to discourage them by discussing, as Non Sequitur (AMS) recently did, how deep a career hole can stretch, but wotthehell, that drama coach in Juliet Jones sounds like he’s making a pretty good living.

And an honest ethics prof might be happy teaching. Today’s headline is from Grantland Rice’s couplet, “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game!” 

It’s generally applied to sportsmanship, but it applies as well to how you treat yourself, and finding a way to do what you enjoy and are good at is pretty close to the top of the list, the real trick being able to actually apply it and not simply talk about doing it some day.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Mike Smith — KFS)

(Kevin Kallaugher)

Speaking of Grantland Rice, Smith and Kallaugher both address the question of who won and who lost, with Smith — before the deal was made — suggesting how it warps the game and Kallaugher — in retrospect — regretting that it can’t be put aside more often in the name of the common good.

The debt limit agreement having now been signed into law, the media is full of analyses of who “won” and who “lost,” and the arguments are as passionate and pointless as all those quarrels in the wake of any sporting event over what plays they should have called instead and what infractions the referees missed and who cheated and who wasn’t trying hard enough.

While we continue to argue over whether that’s a dragon or a gecko in Kal’s cartoon, and who’s doing what about climate change, even assuming there is such a thing.

I just saw a social media posting about how old discarded solar panels will be an environmental disaster, which is true if all you do is discard them, so it’s good to know the petroleum industry is active in educating everyone on why we shouldn’t bother to try, besides, y’know, the way wind farms kill whales (which of course they don’t).

And you thought the folks at the Tobacco Institute were all out of work!

Mind you, there’s also an element of hopelessness from the other side of the debate, and Pat Hudson jokes about the main cause of climate change, which is true enough but, as he suggests, not something so easily solved.

“If God were a computer, undoubtedly he’d blow up the world, which would be the answer.” — Phil Ochs

Without human values as a buffer, Artificial Intelligence is already playing God and thereby doing harm.

Chris Britt (Creators) posted a cartoon in favor of kindness, charity and tolerance, but Facebook’s algorithms tagged it as hate speech and warned him not to repeat such things.

As Man Overboard suggests, it’s easy enough to land in Facebook Jail without ever interacting with a human being, and the first rule of Facebook Jail is you don’t raise questions about Facebook Jail.

That may or may not be a joke, but it is becoming obvious that AI and algorithms don’t process humor well or sarcasm at all, and, as in the cartoon, you won’t likely get to appeal to a human.

Which raises problems for political cartoonists but much greater problems, the BBC reports, for distant correspondents attempting to report on war crimes, whose graphic descriptions can be disappeared by AI almost as soon as they are posted.

There is, it turns out, a point at which how you are able to play the game is an indicator of whether we’re all going to win or lose.

3 thoughts on “CSotD: When the One Great Scorer comes

  1. Alas, the elephant denies that the dragon is even real. And the MSM treats the donkey’s “The dragon is real and we should probably try to slay it” as being equally valid with the elephant’s denial that there even is a dragon, and if one did, perchance, exist, it’s small and natural and not really a threat and LOOK OVER THERE! TRANS PEOPLE!”

    1. The debt limit deal did quite a bit to address climate. It eliminates one of the biggest challenges to grid electrification by reforming the permitting process from fifteen+ years of sequential agency reviews to two years so that we can get transmission lines built, also requires a study of where we would prioritize building them

  2. I absolutely do not understand climate change deniers. OF COURSE, climate change is real, and has been for billions of years!

Comments are closed.