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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

Reality Check
by Steve Sailer, December 12, 2018

The end of the year always brings a plethora of “Best of…” rankings in the press, which, to be honest, tend to be prefab junk journalism by writers trying to get ahead so they can take some time off around Christmas.

I’ll have to admit that over the years I’ve perpetrated a few such lists. But I have consumed far more. The truth is that I’m a fan of other people’s rankings, whether annual or perpetual, subjective or objective, single or group.

But unlike most, I usually don’t care all that much who is No. 1. Instead, I find rankings a fun source of examples for learning more about how the world works, a useful compromise between isolated anecdotes, which could well be unrepresentative man-bites-dog singularities, and opaque Big Data analyses intended to leave readers reliant upon trusting the researcher’s math.

There is much prejudice among social scientists, however, against calling attention to examples. For instance, economist Tyler Cowen highlighted on his Marginal Revolution blog a new academic paper, “Wage Discrimination in the NBA: Evidence Using Free Agent Signings,” that asserts that racial discrimination by white basketball fans is largely why, when they adjust for performance:

Black players receive on average 20.5% less than their counterparts, all else equal.

The authors don’t make available their rankings and don’t cite any examples of underpaid and overpaid NBA players, so it’s difficult to perform reality checks to see what they are doing right or wrong. Why not list your estimates of the best and worst bargains in the NBA? Wouldn’t that be interesting to readers?

Read the whole thing there.

 
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  1. Dr. X says:

    Powerful black womyn from Wakanda invented everything of value… and if you don’t agree, we’ll send you to a reeducation camp or a gulag.

    Sincerely,

    The Party

  2. Anon[114] • Disclaimer says:

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Wilt-Chamberlain-argument

    Interesting that the most influential ‘right’ thinker was Jewish(Nozick) while the most influential ‘left’ thinker was a wasp(Rawls).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rawls

  3. Do they make available even the most absurd explanation of how NBA fans have any real influence over contracts? That’s like arguing cows have power over the price of cheese.

  4. Pat Shuff says:

    “We are told that the plural of anecdote is not data, but, if you look at enough examples, it turns out that the plural of anecdata is information.”

    Wisht I’d sed dat.

  5. Anon[114] • Disclaimer says:

    Black players receive on average 20.5% less than their counterparts, all else equal.

    Even if true(though probably not), isn’t it a kind of socialism and affirmative action for the less advantaged?

    After all, the dynamics of ‘justice’ changes according to the field and endeavor.

    In academics, blacks are disadvantaged and require special boost.

    In athletics, whites are disadvantaged and need a boost.
    If anything, it seems NBA and NFL haven’t done ‘enough’ for diversity.

    Group advantage or disadvantage is relative to the nature of the competition. Blacks are advantaged in some, disadvantaged in others. Whites are too.

    The problem is that blacks are judged comprehensively.
    As a holy ‘victim group’, they are seen as victims even in areas where they dominate.

    If anything, in the name of ‘fairness’, the question in regards to NFL and NBA should be “What can be done to make them more ‘inclusive’ and ‘diverse’?” After all, we are told Diversity Is Our Strength.

    So, if there is indeed an added economic incentive to attract more whites to the NBA, it should be seen as an act of ‘justice’. NBA is an area in which whites are woefully underrepresented.
    Now, favoring whites in a field in which they dominate would be ‘unfair’ and redundant. That is why academia makes a special effort to attract less advantaged blacks with special incentives.
    Well then, why would it be wrong in sports to attract less advantaged whites and non-blacks IF INDEED Diversity is so important?
    But we are to pretend that blacks are the victims even in areas they totally dominate.

    Of course, some PC-tards will argue that ,while black success in sports is fair and meritocratic — blacks are naturally better — , black failure in academics is due to ‘racism’ and discrimination resulting from history.
    But, if blacks are so traumatized by history, why are they so charged up for sports but not for books? If one is so dispirited by legacy of oppression and can’t even pick up a book, where does he get the energy to box with thugs, dribble the ball for hrs on end, and tackle 300 lb mofos in football?

    Also, if indeed blacks are better at sports, doesn’t it prove the fact of racial differences and objective race-ism?

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
    , @Autochthon
  6. Yeah but what about statistics demonstrating the solo effect, musicians separating from their bands to become superstars. Simon breaks away from Garfunkel and has decades more fame and oodles more money as a result. Where is Garfunkel now? A perhaps less striking example was the breakup of Genesis since Gabriel and Collins both were successful solo artists. I believe Gabriel more so. His career petered out long before Simon’s though. Sting leaving the Police extended his career by decades as well. Of course these guys have bands but can hire and fire them without affecting their own careers much.

  7. @miss marple

    One commenter asserted, plausibly, that a Police reunion tour was finally put together on the basis of:

    Sting 60%
    Summers 20%
    Copeland 20%

    My vague impression is that rock bands tend to start off on the basis of equal shares for each musician, but then the singer and guitarist start thinking about how they deserve more.

  8. Barnard says:

    Wouldn’t the NBA salary cap also impact whether or not players are considered underpaid? The rookie salary scale is also set by the league. The phrase all else equal gives it away. There are a limited number of roster spots and cap dollars available for each team each year. Two situations are never equal.

  9. peterike says:

    that asserts that racial discrimination by white basketball fans is largely why,

    Well yeah, sure, last time I bought a ticket to a basketball game, I was given a team roster with little empty boxes next to each player, and I was told to divide my ticket cost across the players. Sure enough, I gave most of it to the one white guy on the team. I mean, that’s how it works, right?

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
  10. peterike says:
    @Steve Sailer

    that a Police reunion tour was finally put together on the basis of:

    Sting 60%
    Summers 20%
    Copeland 20%

    I think you just invented a fun parlor game. How would you divvy up the money for classic rock bands. The Beatles? Led Zeppelin? The Who? Interesting and fun arguments ensue!

    Beatles
    Lennon – 40%
    McCartney – 40%
    Harrison – 10%
    Starr – 10%

    Led Zeppelin
    Page – 30%
    Plant – 40%
    Bonham – 25%
    Jones – 5%

    The Who
    Townsend – 30%
    Daltry – 15%
    Moon – 30%
    Entwistle – 25%

    PS – Sorry if I end up totally hijacking the thread.

  11. Trevor H. says:
    @miss marple

    As it happens, the Washington Post is currently running a big piece about a female flutist with the BSO who is suing because she makes less than a (male) star oboeist with the same orchestra.

    None of the many variables in play matter one whit to the flutist or to the author of the piece, except for the fact that she’s a woman. It’s likely that she’ll win her suit because Sexism.

    The article (being in the WP) is of course full of fashionable Fake News on the topic.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  12. @Anon

    There you go again, trying to use logic on leftism!

    • Replies: @Lurker
  13. ic1000 says:

    > LeBron James is famous for being underpaid relative to his contribution. [From 2011 to 2017, when] his teams won three championships, LeBron averaged $20 million per year… Michael Jordan, the most comparable player to LeBron, was paid $33 million way back in 1998.

    So if we assume that Jordan’s 1998 compensation was “fair,” and that the two players are “equivalent,” then Lebron agreed to be underpaid by about $28 million per year in 2014 dollars.

    The paper cited by Tyler Cowen concludes that “Black players receive on average 20.5% less than their [white?] counterparts.”

    How much would that 20.5% figure decline if highest-paid black player Lebron’s selfless sacrifice is factored out? That’d be an easy calculation for the researchers to make.

    Edit: maybe not so simple. The fraction of Lebron’s foregone pay that went to other black players would have to be added back to the “black” side of the ledger, right?

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas
  14. Bugg says:

    How do the “overpaid NBA white players” guys account for African-American Carmelo Anthony? for this season, he was paid roughly $27 million by the Atlanta Hawks to go away, and another $8 million by the Houston Rockets, who cut him after 10 games.

    When you make the mistake of happening upon NBA games while channel surfing, there appear to be many empty seats spare Lakers and Warriors games. Nobody with a brain pays any attention to the NBA until roughly the 2nd round of the playoffs. ESPN/ABC has invested a lot of money and broadcast attention to the NBA, and they are losing money and subscribers in the process. I know the counterpoint is that NBA teams are very valuable properties, but it looks like a very bad business model.

  15. PER and salary data are readily available. Anyone here with an hour or two to spare wanna do the math?

  16. KunioKun says:

    I think the NSF should make it mandatory that all research be completely open in that code and data must be available and referenced in the paper. Further, it must be easily usable such that a person could download it and follow a simple set of provided instructions to reproduce the results. This would make it harder to get away with fraudulent work.

    Here is a good explanation why a big chunk of research is not reproducible:

    If you don’t want to watch the whole thing make sure you watch the first 4 minutes.

    It would be nice to see what percentage of research work that is boosted by journalists ends up being wrong.

  17. Tiny Duck says:

    Many readers of this blog deny that race is the motivation for many white voters. This proves you worng. NBA games are expensive, so most of the fans in the seats are white. Black fans are on the couch watching the games on tv. Because whites control everything they tend to favor the inferior white players to the detriment of the superior Black players.

    This is why white men NEED to be pushed out of institutional power. Only when People of Color and women are running things will we have a just and equitable society.

    • Troll: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Unladen Swallow
  18. Jack D says:

    Black players receive on average 20.5% less than their counterparts, all else equal.

    The devil is in the details – who decides who is “equal”? Usually, as with the 30% “pay gap” for women, once you REALLY account for all factors, all else is NOT equal. The way these studies work is that they account for certain superficial factors selected by the researcher such as age and education, etc. Once they have taken those into account, the research proclaims that the remainder must attributable to “racism” or “sexism” because he can’t think of any other explanation. Bullshit. Usually it just means that the researcher is (often intentionally, because they are not PC) ignoring other relevant factors – for example in the case of black players, the greater risk that they will bring bad publicity to your franchise and have to be pulled from your roster at a crucial point in the season because they have beaten or raped a woman or committed some other crime. Isn’t it worth money to an NBA franchise to have a player that has a lower risk of offending, as white players do? But I would bet you a pair of Sixers tickets that the researcher didn’t take that factor into account.

    Just think – if an NBA owner could save 20% on their payroll by having a 100% black team instead of a 75% black team (as they do already), wouldn’t they do it? That’s a lot of money to lose just to satisfy your racism.

    Finally, is it “racist” if the fans want to see at least a few white players on the court, given that the NBA is already 75% black? Isn’t it rational that the few remaining white players go for a premium because they bring “diversity” to the NBA, just as (minimally) qualified black students receive premium treatment in the Ivy League due to their limited supply?

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas
  19. I wonder if the whole study is predicated on JJ Reddick signing two consecutive lucrative one year deals with the Sixers who were in desperate need for a guard with legitimate three point range. White free agents have been rather rare, so just a few could really skew any such “study.”

    • Replies: @Barnard
  20. @Jack D

    My surmise is that most white NBA players are only in the NBA by virtue of field goal percentage and three point range. The game has changed enough in the Golden State era that shooting from beyond the arc is in higher demand due to low supply relative to the player who relies upon pure athleticism to “get to the cup” off the dribble. Athletic players who can drive to the net are nearly exclusively black and are in much higher supply relative to demand, whereas the long range specialists skew white and white-ish (Curry and Thompson) and are in lower supply.

    There’s also the case that the top players are now choosing to reduce their earned compensation in order to combine to form or maintain “Superteams” within the limits of the Salary Cap and that this is distorting the market with fewer “max” and “supermax” contracts inuring to (primarily or exclusively) black players.

  21. @ic1000

    Edit: maybe not so simple. The fraction of Lebron’s foregone pay that went to other black players would have to be added back to the “black” side of the ledger, right?

    Not necessarily if it was proportionate to the salary of players on the Cavaliers, which (by LeBron’s insistence) included a highly compensated white player Kevin Love (as well as Kyle Korver).

  22. @Steve Sailer

    My vague impression is that rock bands tend to start off on the basis of equal shares for each musician, but then the singer and guitarist start thinking about how they deserve more.

    It’s probably a function of how viable each member would be as a solo artist in his own right rather than which instrument each plays, with a natural advantage inuring to the lead vocalist (who is usually the most charismatic member of the band and gets the most exposure). Of course, the lead vocalist usually has the most leverage in that he can do a “solo project” by simply swapping out the rest of the band in favor of technically proficient session musicians and cannibalize the band’s fans.

    Sting was very successful with but perhaps moreso as a solo artist and collaborator without the other members of The Police.

    Jagger was the most successful solo member of the Stones, followed by Richards (both as a solo artist and with his X-pensive Winos). I always imagined that Richards’ solo career was made possible by the fortunate accident of singing lead on “Happy” on 1972’s Exile on Main Street. I don’t think the other lineup members could have successful solo careers, so my guess is that Jagger and Richards take the lion’s share of tour proceeds, and have effective veto control over whether and when the Stones do tour. (Who would pay to see them without Jagger and Richards? But they did just fine in the Voodoo Lounge tour with that black fella on the bass).

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  23. Buck says:

    Of course black players would be discounted. It’s basic supply and demand. The supply of quality black athletes seems to be infinite while the demand of a largely white audience is definitely finite. That’s why the NBA is trying to expand internationally with some success.

    What’s a more interesting topic to me is how this nation shifted to a largely spectator sport society from a participatory sport society. Fewer children are even participating in sports and when they do it’s only one or two. This probably has more to do with the movement to increase public school size. There are still a few adult club leagues around for team sports but more adults seem to focus on individual sports, like golf, tennis, skiing, etc.

    But lack of participation hasn’t seemed to dent people’s enthusiasm for spectating. Ironically, it seems almost the opposite. People who have never played a down of Football or a game of Horse are rabid fans, buying jerseys and pontificating on the minutiae of the games.

  24. Think I found the problem:

    Pictures from NBA player bios on the NBA’s official website and basketball-reference.com are examined to determine whether a player appears to be black or non-black.

  25. @Dr. X

    Black women are the supreme sacred objects in the eyes of white liberals who have never actually had to live around black women.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  26. Such a discussion reaches the public only because it is impolitic to address the prior proposition: if we’re discussing collective outcomes, why should “black players” have a claim to immunity from “wage discrimination” in a sport they didn’t invent and which is supported overwhelmingly by white people and institutions founded by whites? In other words, black players benefit from a private institution- pro basketball- that was gifted to them and in which they participate of their own volition, so where is the moral claim for equity in compensation? If white fans prefer white players and are willing to bestow their personal wealth in furtherance of their preference in pursuit of a mere amusement, how do non-whites sustain a normative, collective claim? If black players don’t like it, well, bring on Wakanda-Ball!

    Let’s call this the Von Abele Filter, in honour of young Julian who is presently subject to a hatestorm for expressing a perfectly normal preference for his own kind and admiration for their achievements.

  27. When Jordan made that huge salary in 1998 that was after years of being underpaid, just like James was recently. It was because his endorsement deals paid him far more than any team could in salary. That year’s salary was atypical for Jordan’s career, he made far more from Nike, Coca-Cola, and McDonalds than from the Chicago Bulls over his whole career. This guy ignoring endorsement money is a huge flaw in that study, Jordan and James have probably earned 80-90 percent of their wealth from endorsements, thus enabling them to give their teams “discounts”.

  28. The real money for top NBA players is in endorsements.

    LBJ makes 33.3 mill in salary, 52 for endorsements.

    Curry makes 34.7, and 42 for endorsements.

    Durant 25 and 33. Etc.

    None of the players making the big endorsement $ are white.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/202939/nba-players-with-the-highest-salaries/

  29. Brobert says:

    Interesting names on that retraction leaderboard.

    1.Yoshitaka Fujii
    5.Yuhji Saitoh
    6.Yoshihiro Sato
    7.Chen-Yuan (Peter) Chen
    8.Jun Iwamoto
    10.Hua Zhong
    11.Shigeaki Kato
    13.Hyung-In Moon
    14.Naoki Mori
    16.Soon-Gi Shin
    17.Tao Liu
    19.Cheng-Wu Chen

    If I was one of those horrible person filled with setreotypes, I’d be inclined to think there is something to that idea of a widespread asian culture of cheating.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @JeremiahJohnbalaya
  30. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    James had a 7 year deal paying him 91 million dollars from Nike before he even played his first NBA game. He would have been paid rookie money from the NBA in salary that year.

  31. anon[232] • Disclaimer says:

    Is it even possible to do a paper illustrating that white players are underpaid? ?

    Do they use black agents?

    Why didn’t Mr Market fix things? Mark to market and get on with it.

  32. Abe says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    My vague impression is that rock bands tend to start off on the basis of equal shares for each musician, but then the singer and guitarist start thinking about how they deserve more.

    The tradiotinal rock band ideal- that 3-5 performers are also the creators of their own music and therefore that it in some sense their music is an authentic embodiment of their “souls” is a very white guy concept, though hat-tip to the tag-along ‘little sister’ version of this in the form of the female singer-songwriter (Joan Baez, Joni Mitechell). As beloved as this concept once was, economically it’s not very efficient, which is why in almost all other musical forms it is a more Hollywood-like affair with the producer supreme. Basically the performer is an actor who provides voice and face (charisma/sex appeal) while playing music and singing lyrics outsourced to 1 or more behind-the-scenes specialists. Maybe the performer has some rudimentary instrumental skillls as well, but is not expected to be a virtuoso at it- that is the role of the anonymous, plug-n-play backing band which is assembled on an as-needed basis for studio or live work.

    Obviously pop divas (Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake) are manufactured by committee by-products (but again, I’m being a ‘rockist’ here, as they are really the norm for what is done in the industry across all genres- country music works the same way), but so are rappers- Eminem is at the mercy of his producer Dr. Dre who comes up with beats and music (with a lot of help I assume) while Eminem writes the 2nd grade playground rhymes.

  33. @Tiny Duck

    The NBA has been at least 80 percent or more black since the late 1970’s, most white players in the NBA are not even American, but Europeans who white American fans could not care less about. All pro leagues make far more $$$ from broadcasting rights than paying customers at the events, so the demographics of ticket holders are largely irrelevant, and the ticket holders apparently still sell out games with mostly black rosters regardless.

    The only demographic change of note that NBA owners have made in the last 40 years is replacing White American players with White European players, as usual td everything you type is wrong.

    • Replies: @jon
  34. Farenheit says:

    Here’s Peter Griffin’s opinion on the matter…The truth set to song!

  35. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    The real money for top NBA players is in endorsements.

    LBJ makes 33.3 mill in salary, 52 for endorsements.

    Curry makes 34.7, and 42 for endorsements.

    Durant 25 and 33. Etc.

    None of the players making the big endorsement $ are white.

    I had forgotten to mention this but you are correct. Player compensation for the top tier players is salary plus endorsements. Because endorsement revenues exceed salary for those players, they’re better able to manipulate salaries to accommodate playing situations which are favorable to them in terms of enjoyment, likelihood of championship contention, market size, etc. It’s probably the case that Durant playing in GS on the perennial contender actually offsets some or all of the loss in salary because his KD brand and sneakers are more popular with suburban white kids and supercustomers (blacks who collect sneakers like Imelda Marcos) than they’d be had he stayed with also-ran OKC.

  36. Barnard says:
    @Alec Leamas

    Kyle Korver was another name that came to mind as a white player having a long career primarily as a three point shooter. The NBA has been at or below 25% white for decades. Given the number of players competing for these roster spots and the overall low number of whites, I don’t know anyone could conduct a meaningful study on this. One thing that is certain is that there is far to much pressure on teams to win that they would intentionally overpay inferior white players in order to draw in “racist” white fans.

  37. @peterike

    The singers and lead guitarists can also find out the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. As I recall the Simon & Garfunkel saga, it was Art Garfunkel who left, intending to pursue a fabulous acting career after his appearance in Catch-22. That didn’t work out so well, and it turned out Simon & Garfunkel was a lot more popular than Art Garfunkel.

    Stanard Ridgway should have stuck with Wall of Voodoo, even though he was miles ahead musically over his bandmates. Among other reasons, Wall of Voodoo is one of the coolest names for a band ever, along with Insane Clown Posse.

    The Talking Heads could have made bazillions more money if they’d stayed together and kept on touring, like the Rolling Stones. But David Byrne said money’s not everything and even if it was he had plenty of it, and he didn’t want to sing Burning Down the House every month for the rest of his life.

  38. Lurker says:
    @Mr. Rational

    Help, we’re being oppressed by logic and common sense!

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  39. JohnnyD says:

    I have a slight quibble with this article. Guys from the Balkans aren’t just tall, they’re also some of best three point shooters in the world.

  40. Anonym says:

    Since 2014, comedian Zach Broussard has been closing out the year with an annual list where he ranks the top 1000 comedians…. 2017’s list had the most appropriate twist ever: Every single comedian featured on the list this year also happens to be a woman.

    That joke is so meta!

  41. It reminds me of that paper about batters who’s names begin with “K” are more likely to strike out. The authors conveniently ignored how two players, Harmon Killebrew and Dave Kingman dominated the sample. They also went on to make some basic statistics errors that were hard to see unless one
    went to a baseball encyclopedia and tried to reproduce the results.

  42. Goatweed says:

    White American players?

    White non-American players?

    Thunder had 3.5 White players last year, and this year play with 1.5 White non-American players.

  43. @peterike

    Creedence Clearwater Revival
    J. Fogerty — 85%
    T. Fogerty — 5%
    Cook — 5%
    Clifford — 5%

    Blue Öyster Cult
    Dharma — 30%
    Bloom — 20%
    A. Bouchard — 20%
    J. Bouchard — 15%
    Lanier — 15%

    Booker T. and the MGs
    Cropper — 25%
    Dunn — 25%
    Jackson — 25%
    Booker T. — 25%

  44. @peterike

    Black Sabbath
    Ozzy — 35%
    Iommi — 25%
    Ward — 25%
    Geezer — 15%

  45. I heard an interview with a black NBA star player who talked about “affirmative action” for White players in the NBA. The announcer interviewing him was surprised that the black guy was not at all angry about this, and in fact supported it. He figured it was necessary to keep the white fans interested, and to keep the game afloat financially.

  46. J.Ross says: • Website

    O’Brien: “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”
    Smith: “Two! One! Two! Tell me! Tell me what you want me to say!”
    O’Brien: “That’s no good, it has to be sincere. Let’s try another exercise. If I were to say that black NBA players are undercompensated –”
    Smith: [suddenly healthy and strong, getting up and leaving] “Right, you’re shouty crackers. I was willing to put up with everything else.”

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
  47. jcd1974 says:
    @peterike

    Beatles
    Lennon – 40%
    McCartney – 40%
    Harrison – 10%
    Starr – 10%

    You have underestimate the contributions of both George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Harrison’s guitar playing was essential to their initial success and really set them apart from their peers in the early years. Starr’s drumming is very underrated and underappreciated. Until Sgt Pepper their recording sessions would involve Lennon and McCartney showing up in in the studio with a bunch of new songs they had written and both Harrison and Starr were expected to fill in their parts on the spot. Keep in mind that Harrison was lead guitar and Lennon was rhythm guitar. I’d credit all four 25%.

    As for Led Zeppelin, you have underestimated John Paul Jones’ contributions to the band. Arguably he saved the band from becoming Black Sabbath II. Again, I’d credit each 25%.

    • Replies: @peterike
  48. anonomy says:

    No matter how much money they make they are always “poor Jenny from the block”, in the eyes of their people. No matter what, they are never “the man”, never part of “them”, never the man or hand behind the scenes, just “Jenny from the block”, one of them. Oprah being as wealthy as she is was never a member of any organization. If African Americans, are members of organizations, The Trilateral Commission, The Black Panthers, Muslim Brotherhood, Black Bankiers Assoc, Muslim, Free Masons, Black Community Organizations, it’s always a Zionist plot out to get them. The idea that they are mostly all communists controlled by Jewish organizations is just another Zionist Plot. It doesn’t matter that the Zionist plot had nothing to do with non-Jewish people, don’t let that get in your way, just keep rolling with the zionist plot, truth to never be told.
    The idea that most Jewish organizations support them is another Zionist plot, or the fact that they are over paid, is a Zionist plot, or that in the movie the Matrix, there were all those people fighting for Zion is a Zionist plot. The poor puppet Jennys from the block, never rich or privileged no matter how much money they make.

  49. @peterike

    I would make the following adjustments:

    The Beatles
    Lennon – 40%
    McCartney – 40%
    Harrison – 15%
    Starr – 5%

    The Who
    Townsend – 50%
    Daltry – 20%
    Moon – 15%
    Entwistle – 15%

  50. @Dr. X

    You actually get sent to the sexual reassignment chambers.

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
  51. @peterike

    How would you divvy up the money for classic rock bands. The Beatles? Led Zeppelin? The Who? Interesting and fun arguments ensue!

    Try that with the Dave Clark Five or the E Street Band, and see what you get. Big band style, everything went through the frontman, and the rest got salaries.

    Then there’s the case of the Animals. Poor Byker boy Alan Price put his name on “House of the Rising Sun” as arranger and got all the composer royalties. Eric Burdon was quite sore about that, and Chas Chandler gave up music altogether, at which he wasn’t particularly gifted anyway, to become Jimi Hendrix’s manager. He learned which side of the desk to sit on.

    Hilton Valentine reportedly went on the dole for awhile. He should have hooked up with the hotel chain instead. What a missed marketing opportunity!

  52. @Trevor H.

    Why is this in the courts instead of on the union’s negotiating table? And aren’t these people hired behind screens?

  53. @miss marple

    Simon breaks away from Garfunkel and has decades more fame and oodles more money as a result

    The pen is mightier than the vocal chords?

    Even then, has Simon written for anyone besides himself, other than “Red Rubber Ball” for the Cyrkle?

    Southside Johnny had the best voice in Asbury Park, but his career went nowhere either.

  54. @Dr. X

    Powerful black womyn from Wakanda invented everything of value…

    “Wakanda” itself is culturally appropriated from the Lakota Sioux, and others would be well-advised to stop using it, as it has religious significance:

    http://www.wisconsinmounds.com/WakandaParkMounds.html

    https://wisconsinfirstnations.org/upper-wakanda-park-mound-group/

    http://www.dunnhistory.org/history/exnatives.html

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
  55. @Lurker

    To be fair, the left DOES claim that logic is part of the oppressive patriarchal system.

  56. @peterike

    The Eagles (up till Hotel California):
    Don Henley – 25%
    Glen Frey – 25%
    Bernie Leadon – 19%
    Randy Meisner – 19%
    Don Felder – 12%

    The Beach Boys:
    Brian Wilson – 30%
    Mike Love – 20%
    Carl Wilson – 16.6%
    Dennis Wilson – 16.6%
    Al Jardine – 16.6%
    Some Sneaky Accountant in the Caymans – 0.2%

    The Doobie Brothers:
    Tom Johnston – 35%
    Patrick Simmons – 35%
    Tiran Porter – 30%
    John Hartman – – 25%
    Kieth Knudsan – 20%
    Jeff Skunk Baxter – 20%
    Michael McDonald – -65%

    The Dead:
    Jerry – 20%
    Bob – 20%
    Phil – 20%
    Mickey/Billy – 20%
    Whatever keyboard player has not yet O/D’d: 20%
    Dead Heads – 100%

    (No, don’t worry. It adds up exactly when you’re “experienced”.)

  57. Kirt says:

    Lists? Rankings? Time’s person of the year? What we’re all really waiting for is the iSteve Male of the Year.

    • Agree: vinny
  58. @Anon

    “Diverse” does not have its proper meaning to these people; they use the word as a euphemism for “Not White.”

    Surely all of Steve’s readers know this by now.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  59. @Alec Leamas

    It’s not just charisma and popularity that makes vocalists uniquely irreplaceable: it’s that voices cannot be replicated. Sure, it is extremely difficult to compose as well as Steve Vai, to reproduce Eric Johnson’s unmistakeable tone, or the thundering flourishes of John Bonham – but with enough diligence and experimentation, it can be done to a degree that the overwhelming majority of listeners won’t know the difference. (Likewise an army of talented composers can be hired to help offset the loss of a Lennon or McCarthy, since most fans heed little and care less whether performers write their own material.)

    But it’s much more difficult to replace a voice without the audience’s being jarred. Augeri and Pineda come impressively close to replicating Perry, but they don’t quite cut the mustard. David Coverdale was passably close to Robert Plant at times. Jon Davison and Benoît David make yeomen’s efforts to mimic Jon Anderson, but there’s no mistaking them for his angelic, Lancastrian alto tenor.

    Obviously, I cite the most preternaturally talented and distinctive voices to make my point; it does become easier to replace, say, a mediocrity like David Lee Roth – as indeed it was!

  60. Sean says:

    In his Capital Piketty says something similar about the opaqueness of mathematical analysis used by modern economists.

  61. There is a trend to require that researchers include their data along with their article (hence their conclusions). It ought to be a requirement.

  62. @Brobert

    My family working in bio-medical research recently hinted at a problem of Chinese fabricating research in order to get grant money.

  63. @Autochthon

    Time was, there was no “army of talented composers” or lyricists that could be hired to offset the loss of a George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Larry Hart or Oscar Hammerstein.

  64. “We note that but one of the top 31 are men, which agrees with the general findings of a 2013 paper suggesting that men are more likely to have papers retracted for fraud.”

    Am I blind, or illiterate, or is there either a major typo or a complete contradiction in that line? “But one” means only one, which would mean that 30 out of 31 frauds were female.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  65. Anonymous[313] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    Disagree re: David Lee Roth.

    David Lee Roth is not really a rocker, he’s a vaudeville Jew born fifty years too late. He has an old line show biz, show tunes sensibility, he reminds me of no one else so much as the late Frankie Vaughan, the English Jew famous over there but over here not at all except from his one Hollywood turn in the Marilyn Monroe Elvis-style-vehicle Let’s Make Love. Combining that with the purist hard rock mentality of the Van Halens made for an interesting juxtaposition.

    Sammy Hagar is a vanilla hard rocker and Van Hagar is technically competent but not interesting like the original lineup.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  66. they won’t show their work because it’s not true. one of the first things i noticed about any HBD thing at all was when i was growing up, i noticed was how overpaid certain free agents were in football, versus other players with the same or better numbers. after a few years, i detected a pattern…

    sports leagues are a jobs program for these guys. they get over recruited, over scouted, over drafted, over paid, and treated with total kids gloves. anybody making the opposite argument, that they’re treated worse than the other players, is hilariously wrong, and knows nothing about sports. almost every team, every coach, will go far, far out of their way to accommodate them, to extreme lengths in some instances.

    the castefootball guys are right about almost all of this stuff.

    tyler cowen is one of the worst economists in the world and should be used as a contrarian indicator, like paul krugman. and i see that is how steve usually uses him.

  67. Anonymous[331] • Disclaimer says:

    George Harrison had the misfortune to be the youngest member of the band and so never got the respect he deserved from the others. He was hugely talented.

  68. @Nicholas Stix

    I suspect the sentence should read “We note that all but one…are men….” Otherwise, of course, it should read “We note that but one…is a man….”

    Remember when people who got paid to write were expected to be able o actually write well, and when an editor’s job was to ensure writers were competent, rather than to demand writers were sufficiently pursuing a globohomo agenda?

    Pepperdine Farm remembers.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
  69. @Anonymous

    David Lee Roth is not really a rocker….

    He’s not really a singer, either.

    He can shout and screech, but he cannot sing. As a front man David Lee Roth is flamboyant. As a singer, he’s horrible. Conversely, Sammy Hagar can sing, and he can sing well. He has great range, and he is able to excel on songs that Roth would have no chance of recording, never mind performing live: “Standing on Top of the World,” “Poundcake,” “Feeling,” and “Sucker in a Three Piece” are just some simple examples. Sammy Hagar’s superiour range also enabled a lot more creative downtuning. With David Lee Roth, such parts were a quarter step below standard tuning to accomodate his limited voice; with Sammy Hagar they were a half step below standard tuning – while recording 5150, Eddie Van Halen used a Steinberger with a TransTrem, allowing him to transpose tunings in the middle of a song (“Summer Nights” is a great example of this technique, with some riffs played a whole step below the standard tuning; David Lee Roth lacked the vocal talent to match those changes in the studio, never mind live). Sammy Hagar also plays guitar very well – not only did he compose a few of Eddie Van Halen’s solos, he also influenced the great guitarist’s playing: Ever notice how after 1984 Eddie Van Halen started using those massive bar chords with open strings ringing? Sammy Hagar had started doing that on “Three Lock Box.”

    It’s not here nor there as a matter of music, but David Lee Roth is also a pretty shitty human being. David Lee Roth is all about David Lee Roth. Even his onstage persona is all about David Lee Roth. Sammy Hagar was dead set against an album of their greatest hits with new material, as he felt it was just another way to soak fans. David Lee Roth, not so much. When Eddie Van Halen broke a guitar on stage and showered fans with debris, Sammy Hagar was outraged. It became the last straw with the alcoholic Eddie Van Halen. I doubt David Lee Roth would have cared that much, unless it would have caused someone in the front row to spill a beer on him. At the induction of Van Halen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, only Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony showed up. Eddie Van Halen was a raging alcoholic, Alex Van Halen demurred due to Eddie’s condition, and David Lee Roth didn’t show up because his performance had been cancelled. Both Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar during their remarks gave proper credit to David Lee Roth for the band’s success during its early years. Now, in your mind’s eye, imagine if tables had been turned and only David Lee Roth gave a speech: would he would have been so generous?

    I can’t argue with you about your basic premise:

    Unlike Sammy Hagar (a talented musician), David Lee Roth is a corny clown better suited to Vaudeville than serious music. Metalocalypse had him pegged with their parodies of how pathetic and ridiculous his tiresome, schlocky schtick is:

  70. peterike says:
    @jcd1974

    Harrison’s guitar playing was essential to their initial success and really set them apart from their peers in the early years. Starr’s drumming is very underrated and underappreciated. Until Sgt Pepper their recording sessions would involve Lennon and McCartney showing up in in the studio with a bunch of new songs they had written and both Harrison and Starr were expected to fill in their parts on the spot.

    You bring up a good point. That’s why this is a parlour (or bar room) game!

    When I dashed off my original post, without all that much thought, I was thinking mostly of replaceability. So I agree that if you really listen to Starr’s drumming, for example, it’s more than first meets the ear. Yet at the same time, many drummers could have replaced Ringo as both a drummer and as a personality. Compare to, say, Keith Moon, whom few could replace as a drummer and probably nobody replace as a personality.

    But you bring up a different metric for the game: contribution, rather than replaceability. For this, you need to know something about how a band worked behind the scenes. One thing’s for sure, and that is that rock albums tend to be cobbled together over time with many contributions. The slew of early versions that have been coming out on classic album re-releases shows just how much a song can change over time in the studio from its original conception (see the latest “White Album” release as one example).

    So when you said:

    As for Led Zeppelin, you have underestimated John Paul Jones’ contributions to the band. Arguably he saved the band from becoming Black Sabbath II.

    I don’t know enough about Zeppelin’s band dynamic to argue that one way or the other, but I take your word for it. But again, on the replaceability scale, I don’t think John Paul Jones would be that difficult to replace. Compare again to The Who, where John Entwistle was a major musical force in the band’s music and a bass player like few others.

    I also agree with Autochthon on the irreplaceable nature of certain voices, and how important they are to a band’s sound. Take The Doors. If you broke them down, what would Jim Morrison get? 80%? More? Even though Krieger, Densmore and Manzarek were excellent musicians, it feels like any bunch of Steely Dan session players could more or less take their place. But I have no idea who even wrote The Doors music. So it all depends on what parameters you use to judge., and how much know about a band.

    Finally, I have to do one more.

    The Roches
    Maggie – 33 1/3%
    Terre – 33 1/3%
    Suzzy – 33 1/3%

  71. @Autochthon

    “David Coverdale was passably close to Robert Plant at times.”

    Wasn’t he replacing Ian Gillan in Deep Purple (I know he did one album with Jimmy Page)?

    Coverdale actually has more of a Paul Rodgers sound. “Here I Go Again” or “Fool For Your Loving” could be vintage Free.

    (Rodgers spent three years touring with Queen as vocalist. Apparently Freddy Mercury had been a fan.)

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    , @Anonymous
  72. gregor says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Songwriting credit is a big part of it. If only one or two members write the songs they will make way more. Billy Corgan explained in an interview that the label told him to share the writing credit for sake of group harmony. But he didn’t since he really did write all the songs. He said it caused problems.

  73. @YetAnotherAnon

    Yes; I was indeed exerting to the short-lived Coverdale/Page project. Robert Plant performed “Pride & Joy” when touring with the later Page/Plant project. He did a better job than than David Coverdale – who is very talented! – had done.

  74. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    I heard it said that the only good thing about Rodgers filling in for Freddy was at least he’s not Liza Minnelli.

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