Thursday, February 08, 2007


Yesterday I knocked on the door of the squash court I had reserved and began to tell the two men inside that their time was up. As I spoke, I realized that the two men were Senator Carl Levin and Representative Sander Levin, delegates from my home state of Michigan. It was too late to stop, and both of the men graciously began to leave the court. Somehow I gathered enough wit to tell them they could finish their game. Since they only had two points left, they finished quickly; both thanked me for allowing them to complete their game as they left the court.
I realize that the actual implications of this individual incident are few, especially because the incident transpired between well-to-do white people, but it's reassuring to think that people in America are not kidding when it comes to equality. Although a membership at my gym costs about $90 a month, anyone can join and anyone can kick off US Congressmen when their time is up. We have to remember what an accomplishment that is.


Blogger Josh the Hippie Killer said...

In your post, you say that you offered to let the congressmen finish their game after you realized who they were. Would you have made the same offer if the people on the court were not famous/powerful?

You also say that after you told them to get off of the court -then realized who they were- that "it was too late to stop." Does this mean you wouldn't have asked the players to get off of the court had you, at first, realized who they were?

If so, there's not much equality in that.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

Not so fast, Josh. The point is that these people would have respected the rules of the gym, had I asked them to do so. It's not about my reaction to their status. And I would let anyone finish their game, if they asked politely, as the Levin brothers did.
When I wrote this post, I knew I would get some sort of smarmy remark along these lines, which is why I acknowledged its lack of importance. Just relax, brother. I'm just enjoying life in a liberal democracy.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Josh the Hippie Killer said...

I understand the point of your post: that 2 humble Michigan congressmen respect the rules of their upscale gym, so as to avoid a fight with a crazed 20-something man wearing a 'Free Saddam' t-shirt.

One question still looms: What did you mean by "it was too late to stop"? If you had realized who these men were in the beginning, would you have stopped before you asked them to get off of the court?

I am simply pointing out the irony that in a blog post titled "Equality," a man's higher social status made you seemingly alter (or at least, rethink) your actions.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

If I had noticed who it was before I opened the door, I might have stopped, but it would have been my insecurity, not their belief in their own right to play as long as they wish, that would have stopped me. What you're not getting here is that the important aspect of this encounter was their deference to me, not my attitude towards them.
There's irony here, but it's not in my account of this incident. Rather, it's in the way you continue to demonstrate your blundering inability to comprehend social dynamics while believing that you're upstaging me. Is that all?

2:00 PM  
Blogger Josh the Hippie Killer said...

First, maybe you wouldn’t be such a prick if you drank your 5th cup of coffee for the day.

Second, I understood your point from the second I read this pointless post. For my thoughts on it, please read the first sentence of my previous comment.

Now… you are not equal to these men (for even more reasons than your insecure actions suggest). Let’s hypothesize for a moment that these men did not want to leave the court, and someone from the gym staff eventually had to ask them to leave. If the congressmen were adamant about staying because… I don’t know… they had very little free time, or they were discussing very important business, then there is a good chance they would have been permitted to stay. Or at least a much greater chance than you or I would have, had they been waiting to use our court. That equals not equal.

They didn’t leave because they had to. They didn’t leave because they are held to the same rules as you. They didn’t leave because you guys are equal. The reason why they left is because they were nice and didn’t care enough to stay (not because you guys are equal).

2:32 PM  
Blogger The Sheriff said...

Perhaps they were simply attempting to promote the illusion of equality then? a virtuality of equality?

7:06 PM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

I don't think I ever said that we were equal, so you can burn that straw man all night, and I'm sure you will. The point is this: I asked them to vacate the court and they began to do so. Does that make us equal? No. Does that mean that they either felt compelled to leave out of courtesy or because they would have incurred some reputational cost if they hadn't? It does. Does that say something about the country we live in? I think so. Am I willing to devote any more time to convincing you? No, because you're involved in some sort of point-scoring scheme. Is that weird and lame? Definitely.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

I think the real point of this thread is that in the future, no matter who it is, one should ask how much time they have left in their game first before telling them their time's up.

10:41 PM  
Blogger kushakov said...

Isn't it at least sort of novel that the Levin brothers attend the same gym as Austin? I should think we might purport to use this knowledge to our advantage.

10:49 PM  
Blogger kushakov said...

Scantron, you may have deleted your post quickly, but not quickly enough. I read it, approved of it, and miss it already.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

I decided against bloviating*, Kushakov, but thanks for the support. First my project was to construct an argument without throwing my egalitarian positions in, then to simply pare that down to a witticism. Such exercises are required every now and then, I think.

*Today a professor admitted to a group of students that he did not know the word "bloviate" until today. Only two people in the group did. Was it a remnant from the days of SAT prep? Or is it not a fairly common, or at least not totally unknown, word?

12:13 AM  
Blogger Scantron said...

By the way Kushakov I saw Margaret D earlier this week, and while I know that many people I know are in NYC right now (including our Hippie Killer, hats off to him), I feel that she and young Tony especially deserve your care and affection. Fine people both, and please say hello to them for me when you can.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Josh the Hippie Killer said...


Silly me to infer that you had suggested what you and the Levin brother we’re equal. Gosh, how’d I ever come up with that idea? Wait a second… what was the title of your blog post again? And what did you say was "reassuring" (I’ll get to that later)?

As for “point-scoring,” tell me honestly that you didn’t carefully read over every comment in our blogument to make sure that you never directly said that you and the Levin bros were equal. Tell me! TELL ME, YOU HYPOCRITE!!! (Oh crap, I’m yelling at the computer screen again…)

It was fairly obvious what you we’re getting at in your original post, and now you’ve clarified your idea to concede that maybe the Levins left out of courtesy or to spare some [minimal] reputation cost. Let’s not forget what you wrote in your original post: “it's reassuring to think that people in America are not kidding when it comes to equality.” What did you mean by that?

I’m done commenting on this post. And Austin, bloviate me.

PS. Can’t wait for you to visit this weekend!!!

8:32 AM  
Blogger kushakov said...

Austin, if you are truly man enough to visit my fair city this weekend, vastly apple-shaped as it is, then for sooth! - come join me for a brief libationary experience. Contact me via the telly-phone.

10:58 AM  

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