Curt Schilling Too Dumb For ESPN

by Brendan Beery

There’s a big stink wafting about over the suspension of Curt Schilling for tweeting an asinine comparison between Muslims and Nazis. I am all for Nazi comparisons when they’re appropriate, and I find the knee-jerk rejection of any such comparison to be mindless. But this one was a real doozy.

ESPN suspended Curt Schilling – apparently from covering the Little League World Series. (Really? ESPN covers that? I’d love to see a psychological profile of the viewership.) We can debate all day long whether Schilling’s tweet was offensive enough to warrant a suspension, but if I were speaking for ESPN, I’d say that he was suspended less for being insensitive than for being so obtuse.

Here is Schilling’s tweet:

schillingThis is the kind of graphic that must be very popular among the many whose ideations are equal parts animus and ignorance. The mindlessness is staggering.

If we are to deem the two statistical observations logically related, or if we are to conclude that one result somehow predicts another, the underlying principle must be this: If a small percentage of any population is radical, then the whole population will become radicalized – or at least become complicit in the radicals’ agenda.

We’ve left out just a few of what scientists might call variables. When one seeks to find whether one thing causes another, one must control for variables. For example, I just drank a cup of coffee. By this afternoon, I will probably be fatter than I already am. So coffee causes weight gain, right? Yes, unless you control for the bagel I just ate that was plastered with a delectable Einstein Brothers “smear,” in which case, no.

The graphic tweeted (likely retweeted) by Schilling is almost as dumb as assuming that a fatass drinking coffee proves that coffee causes fatassery. Whoever compiled this intellectual trainwreck only overlooked the charismatic leader; the history of Germany’s humiliation leading into World War II; the ubiquitous quality of German nationalism in the 1930’s; the impact of the Great Depression and the influence of wealthy industrialists; the entire dynamic of 20th-Century European international politics; and the fact that Germany was and is a geographical locus (we call it a country), not a vastly dispersed global religion. Other than that, the comparison is spot-on.

Since Schilling chose to associate himself with this tripe, it’s fair to call this Schilling’s logic. By Schilling’s logic, we should have bumper stickers that say things like this:

IT’S SAID THAT ONLY 25% OF AMERICANS ARE RADICAL EVANGELICALS.

IN 1940, ONLY 7% OF GERMANS WERE NAZIS. HOW’D THAT GO?

***

IT’S SAID THAT ONLY 15% OF AMERICANS ARE IRRETRIEVABLY VAPID BIRTHERS.

IN 1940, ONLY 7% OF GERMANS WERE NAZIS. HOW’D THAT GO?

***

IT’S SAID THAT ONLY 4-8% OF AMERICANS ARE GAY.

IN 1940, ONLY 7% OF GERMANS WERE NAZIS. HOW’D THAT GO?

It seems rather unlikely that the whole USA will be consumed with homosexual yearnings just because Germany succumbed to Nazism circa 1940.  Happily, it seems equally unlikely that the whole USA will find itself awash in banal biblical literalism or rabid birhterism.  That’s because the dynamics of modern American life — you know, variables — are a tad removed from the political, philosophical, economic, social, and cultural prevailing winds in a country on a different continent from a different century.

But all of this was not self-evident to Curt Schilling.  That makes him too dumb for TV — even for ESPN.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Curt Schilling Too Dumb For ESPN

  1. Yes – statistics should be left to the scientists who know tacitly, after years of utilizing them, their relevance and purpose. Shilling for right wing hate groups certainly does not belong in sportscasting. When Mark Twain put statistics above “damn lies” in the taxonomy of lies, he was speaking of the ignorant misuse of them. Though I balked at all of the statistics classes I had to take during my education, and somehow did will in them still without knowing what I was doing, I am now so grateful that I know how to evaluate statistical claims that pervade the media and even now require perhaps another addition to the list: lies, damn lies, statistics, Republican Statistics.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s