God Help Me, I'm Rooting For The Warriors Now

Illustration for article titled God Help Me, I'm Rooting For The Warriors Now
Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP Photo)

The bleak doom of all good things in this terrible psycho-capitalist hell-society we have made is to be processed and metabolized into an inert clot of blind, gray, mindless nano-goo by precisely the kind of antiseptic, hyper-rational, ahuman actuarial math on display here:


What is this? It is bad and stupid and ugly; it animates and expresses not contempt—that’s a feeling, it’s too human—but algorithmic indifference, blank-eyed and total, to the very idea of a game, a sport, the concept of frivolity, any of the humane non-economic reasons to have those things or participate in them or watch them; it makes sense only through the lens of the dead-ender absolutism that gave us the Process and Uber and Walmart and Amazon, the sick, pandemic, and terminally cancerous idea that the value of a thing is what’s left after the annihilation of every consideration beyond the simplest competitive binary.

So, sometimes this:

And sometimes this:

But then sometimes the ball will bounce in, sometimes after a foul, and then you are scoring such-and-such number of points-per-possession, and over a long enough timeframe this will propagate out to leads and even wins. Not every time, but often enough to satisfy a cost and benefit calculation, the only consideration the algorithm can comprehend. It’s how basketball will be played by sleek and dead machines after we’re done programming them to replace us. The premise is that the effort of human beings working together to elevate each other—to exceed their fixed individual abilities, to surpass the bare odds of a bad shot bouncing in—is a wasteful inefficiency. The premise is that not just human error but human effort intrudes upon the math of a business process once upon a time dreamed up only and entirely for nothing more than the transcendent joy of human beings playing together. I hate it so fucking much.

The Houston Rockets lost last night; more, they got fucking trashed, they got flattened and danced on; they lost by 41 points. Good. What the Rockets get right is this: Over a long enough timeframe, that awful math, the barren and airless logic of machines, will bear out—maybe not in the 2018 NBA playoffs, but eventually. The only human thing to do is to tell it to go fuck itself, anyway.