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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

What Impoverished High-School Football Players Teach Us About The Virtues Of Capitalism: Nothing, Unless You Are A Lunatic Who Writes For Forbes

Illustration for article titled What Impoverished High-School Football Players Teach Us About The Virtues Of Capitalism: Nothing, Unless You Are A Lunatic Who Writes For emForbes/em

So I attended a Preview Screening, for free, of the Academy Oscar® Award-winning Documentary-movie Undefeated, in my capacity as a "Film Critic." Later, and not in the theater, because that's rude, while I was Internetting for fact-checking information in re the 2009 Manassas Tigers High School football team, I hit an opinion essay on the Forbes site by John Tammy of the Forbes Staff, who, according to his author-info area, covers "the intersection of economics and politics."


According to Tammy's analysis, the movie Undefeated contains an "underlying economic message" that explains the Greatness of Capitalism and, like, how "Trickle-Down" Economics is good, Anti-Trust Regulations are bad and for whiny weaklings, and Obama is a Bad Person.

Sir, this movie is about doing well at Football, and how learning to play as part of a Team can be good for you as a person.


Tammy also throws Sport in among his subjects when you look at his Archive, but I think he basically just reverse-engineers anything he wants into reinforcement of Profound Statements such as "life is economics," which is the kind of crap you say when you just wanna reduce anything into your BATSHIT CRAZY EDITORIAL about Economics and how the movie Undefeated "unwittingly" provides "clarity in certain areas," Koo-koo ka-choo. Also, TONS OF SPOILERS, Jesus Christ, can't anybody write about a fucking movie without spoilering it? This guy blows the most gigantic thing that happens in the movie, a thing that is utterly mind-blowing, and I'm not doing that, man, so you can go read his opinion essay but don't say I didn't SPOILER ALERT you.

I mean, I agree with this guy about Undefeated being a fascinating movie, but that's about it. Undefeated is a heartbreaking, inspiring movie about Bill Courtney, a volunteer high school football coach who does everything in his power to get the disadvantaged youths in his high school football program to keep showing up. He gets a tutor for one kid to get his grades up so he can pass the college entry test; he goes to one kid's house to talk him into coming to practice after he has a meltdown with another teammate. He spends countless hours preaching to his players that the way to achievement in Life, to a sustainable way Up and Out of Poverty can be by applying yourself to tasks with the idea that you must put away your ego to be part of a bigger thing, the Team.

He spends less time with his own children. He is fat and looks like he's gonna have a heart attack any minute.

Tammy connects the idea in the film that "it's not where you start, it's where you finish," to homeless-dude-at-the-bus-stop/AM-radio-talk-show-caller stuff like:

As most readers know, anti-trust is used today by businesses afraid of competition that use ties to federal bureaucrats in the Justice Department to ensure that positive business combinations are deemed anti-competitive so that they don't occur. It's also the case that if a business ever becomes too successful, as in if a business earns gargantuan profits by virtue of giving customers what they want, that anti-trust watchdogs, encouraged by businesses unable to compete, enter the marketplace to try and achieve a breakup of said commercial behemoth.


This is a movie about a bunch of poor kids in a traditionally loser football program, man. You are projecting Crazy Talk about your dislike of Federal Anti-Trust Regulations! Monopolies are bad, man, play the Parker Brothers Monopoly game and watch what happens, the economically disadvantaged are driven into penury, many of them are put out of existence, and it turns into a fucking Dictatorship every time. That's winning, in a GAME, it's not real! It shouldn't be!

Undefeated ably reveals the folly of this kind of federal action. Indeed, a constant theme within the documentary is that it's not where you start in life, but where you finish. Though the Manassas High team had historically found itself winless, and though its players almost to a man had entered the world at the bottom, by Coach Courtney's final season the Manassas Tigers were [SPOILER REDACTED, DUDE SERIOUSLY].


The coach lives with his wife and kids in a nice suburban McMansion-y home, yet he coaches poor children. This is a proof of the validity of the "Trickle-Down" Economics theory:

Perhaps most economically heartening within Undefeated was the certain reminder that the "trickle-down effect" in terms of wealth is alive and well. Though lefty economists of Paul Krugman's ilk will drool otherwise, the simple reality is that the trickle-down effect is as a true as the sun setting in the west.


Paul Krugman?!? The "Home Market Effect" guy? He won a fucking Nobel Prize! What the fuck have you done? Why you gotta take a shot at him? Look man, "Trickle-Down" economics is "Supply-Side Economics," which is bullshit invented by Rich Guys who want to pay less taxes, and have their Corporations pay zero taxes, because they are not People. Well, they used to not be People. Anyway, "Trickle-Down" is aptly described by John Kenneth Galbraith, an Economist, who, I will admit, was a known Canadian-American:

Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy-what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.


See, "Trickle-Down" is basically, "let me have my fill of feed, and then you kids can pick through my leavings, urp!" The practice of "Trickle-Down" is not Charity, where you Give, out of your own pocket, and time, and energy. Charity is what is being exercised by coach Courtney and his fellow coaches and supporters of the Tigers football program. They are Blood, Sweat, and Tears-level giving, and that is a Virtue, not a fucking Economic Theory. How dare you, sir. And another thing, this is not "Trickle-Down" either.


That's Charity! The strip joint did not hire the children to clean up the parking lot or anything, they gave (OK, tried to give) the team some dough for their snack bar, so they could raise their own money. It wasn't an investment, it was meant as a Gift, for the betterment of the children.

What about The Bad News Bears? And not the shitty Billy Bob Thornton remake, I'm talking the O.G. Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal one where people do all kinds of Charitable shit because they learn the True Meaning of Sport, but even though that film is from 1976, I'm not gonna spoiler it. I just think you don't understand that sometimes Sport is about Giving, and not expecting anything back in your Bank Account, Forbes-breath.



for those seeking deeper—even economic—meaning, Undefeated will deliver there too in reminding those who care of the folly of anti-trust, the ineffectiveness of wealth redistribution, the certainty that wealth earned ultimately benefits us all, and the essential truth that success is a choice.


OK, so the family in that based-on-a-true-story movie The Blind Side who redistributed their Time and Energy and Love and Wealth to help out Michael Oher, that was ineffective wealth redistribution? That's not "Trickle-Down" either, man. Why, in this specific instance it's Christian Charity, and you are in favor of it, except you got it twisted in your Thesis Statement, and you didn't realize it means Redistributing Wealth, you Pinko.

Joe Macleod has a job and he makes a Salary, plus he hustles some stuff on the side. It is the American Way. He has a 410(k) that he thinks he is "managing" when he goes on the Web site and moves around the little sliders on the pie-chart that represents the percentages of crumbs from his paycheck that go into the bigger crumbs which amount to his Fund Allocations, or performs the "Rebalancing" action, and beyond the Ownership of 1 (one) share of Apple Computer (AAPL) and 1 (one) share of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) his brother bought him once for Xmas, and also-beyond reading all the Fine Print trying to figure out how many of his Funds in his 401(k) are still in these goddamn Mortgage-Backed Securities (so he can get out of 'em), that's about it for any of his activities in the world of Finance, so he does't look at Forbes too much, in print or on their dot-com, and he readily admits his Financial Brain is flabby and/or underdeveloped for reading stuff about The Economy. But he knows when somebody is Trickling-Down on him.

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