OpEdNews Op Eds

On Being A Sore Winner

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 5/5/14

Become a Fan
  (6 fans)

Before dinner last night, my husband thought the asparagus I was preparing to grill were too wet, that the baste wouldn't stick. I doubted it, but I dried them off. He then proceeded to add explanations and persuasions to his case for dryness.

"Sometimes I think you're a sore winner," I told him. It's not enough that I do it your way. You need me to say you were right too."

"Why stop halfway?" He laughed, and so did I.

I am a person of many aphorisms (which they say is a characteristic of autodidacts; proverbs are mnemonics). Of all that I use, my favorite is that epigram of Voltaire's which is generally translated into English this way: "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

It's not that I don't have high standards, or like to be right. Believe me, I know more than a few people who would be willing to testify to my relentlessness in that regard. It's just that I want to take satisfaction along the ever-upward path to never-attained perfection. If every milestone is merely a sign of incompletion, life lacks spice.


Donald Sterling protest outside Staples Center in Los Angeles last week.
(image by Wikipedia)

click here: Donald Sterling protest outside Staples Center in Los Angeles last week." alt="From click here: Donald Sterling protest outside Staples Center in Los Angeles last week." width="300">

I've been thinking about this with respect to the National Basketball Association and Donald Sterling. I don't follow sports except when a new racism flare-up erupts into the media (as in this past November's Miami Dolphins brouhaha)--although that happens often enough these days that I'm beginning to get the team names straight. These moments draw my attention because questions of racial justice get raised and debated in all sorts of places they aren't often heard. The culture at large gets involved, a good thing in a society that sometimes has the temerity to bill itself as "post-racial."

For my fellow Martians, here's the scoop: Sterling, a vastly wealthy attorney and real-estate developer, owns the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. He has a long track-record of ethical transgressions, including massive fines for discrimination in housing. He also has a multiracial girlfriend who recorded a remarkably racist conversation between them, then leaked it to the media. Sterling talked about the players on his team in the way a plantation owner might talk about sharecroppers. This set off a firestorm of response, including a condemnation from President Obama. Within a few days, Adam Silver, the new NBA commissioner, announced that Sterling was banned from the league for life; he was also fined $2.5 million, the maximum allowable. The Los Angeles NAACP withdrew the award they were about to bestow on Sterling; UCLA rejected a $3 million gift from the zillionaire.

There were loud and somewhat amazed cheers from many corners of the Zeitgeist. I suppose many expected the NBA commissioner to appoint a task force to slowly look into the matter while as much schmutz as possible was swept under the commodious rug of professional sports. It was the swift clarity of Silver's response that delighted those who wished to see Sterling punished, including myself.

From a number of my fellow progressives, there were cautionary notes that racism is not over, that indeed, punishing Sterling does nothing to address the structural racism of ownership and leadership in professional sports (just look at the numbers from fivethirtyeight.com) or any other social institution. This is absolutely correct. "The Daily Show" hit it on the head in several April 28th segments. In his famous statement that "The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color-line," W.E.B. Dubois unfortunately failed to anticipate the degree to which it would fester and spread in the 21st.

But still--the perfect being the enemy of the good--I want to be able to give at least two wholehearted cheers for the bit of justice meted to an egregious racist who felt not the slightest shame at his own idiocy. In Rolling Stone recently, Jeff Goodell argues that we should regard President Obama's delay on the XL Pipeline in the same way, and he may be right. (May he be right!)

Every once in a while, it's a good idea to pause and lift our glasses to small victories, to stop halfway on the road we hope will lead to big ones, accepting that we've won something good--if not perfect. I don't know about you, but the temptation to be a sore winner is very much a part of my makeup, and whether it's in the kitchen, the sports arena, or the Congress, I am determined to resist.

Here's that triumph of musical syncretism, Ray Charles singing "You Win Again."

 

http://arlenegoldbard.com/blog/

Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, social activist, and consultant who works for justice, compassion and honor in every sphere, from the interpersonal to the transnational. She is known for her provocative, independent voice and her ability to (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Aesthetics & Sustainability

Go Come Back: Culture Is A Bridge and a Fortress

Call to Creative Action

Climate Change & The Human Quandary

Have Skin in The Game Or Don't Talk About Not Doing What You Love

Ferguson: Generations and Expectations

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

How very wonderful! I love it! An optimist on th... by Shirley Braverman on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 4:20:11 PM