Charlie Sykes is a good guy. He means well. He’s sincere and cares deeply about civility. In case you’re new to planet earth that means I’m about to say something mean about old Chuck.
Of the various center right podcasters running around in the wild woods of the web he stands apart with an uncanny ability to not only be wrong, but to be wrong in the most unbearably annoying way imaginable. Because most of the time Charlie is right. Not just center right but correct right. But every now and then he gets something so remarkably and unbelievably wrong that its emotionally shocking. This of course is the way of human nature. To err is human blah blah blah…
But when other casters, radio personalities, etc get it wrong well that just feels normal. Everybody makes mistakes, as I’ve already admitted. But when Charlie gets it wrong…oh man. It’s not that he’s arrogant. The opposite actually.
That’s why its so annoying when he’s wrong. His Norman Rockwell “Aw shucks” attitude creates this horrible sanctimonious force field. But today I’m going to man up and push through that force field. Because what Mr. Sykes got wrong was just too important.
I am writing of course about the NFL’s new roughing the passer rule and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Without a doubt there is nothing in contemporary American culture more important than the proper hermeneutics of annoying sports rules and superhero films. Charlie addressed these issues on September 25th 2018 during “The Daily Standard Podcast.”
To be fair Charlie wasn’t really the origin of the fallacious comments I’m going to address. It was actually his know it all guest, Greg with an unnecessary g Easterbrook, the Tuesday Morning Quarterback. But CHARLIE is responsible for the content on his show. He should have stopped Gregggg mid lie!
Disclaimer: this post is mostly tongue in cheek, especially the stuff about Charlie being super nice. He once smothered an owl just to hear its last hoot. I know this because according to Michael Avenatti the owl survived and is going to be testifying before congress that The Weekly Standard is a haven for owl smotherers.
In any case back to the rabbit trails. Charlie asked Greg$ if he could explain the new roughing the passer rule to him. Because Charlie is a crybaby Packers fan and its not good enough that they have the greatest QB to ever play the game, they’re so privileged that they need to understand penalties accurately as well.
It’s bad enough that I had to suffer through Cheesehead whine. But Greg@ didn’t even get the answer right. This is exactly what the TMQ said:
“I don’t think anybody can explain what the new rule is now.”
This is simply a lie. The new rule is very easy to explain. But more on that in a moment. He continued:
“Clay Matthews was flagged for what seemed to everybody who had every played football a perfectly clean legal hit. In the same game Aaron Rodgers the Packers quarterback was picked up and body slammed to the ground and there was no flag.”
Firstly, nothing Clay Matthews does is clean. That guy is gross. This is heresy to Packers nation but Matthews should’ve played his entire career for Minnesota. He looks like a Viking. He should’ve been cast as Thor in the MCU instead of that pretty boy from Australia.
Secondly, yes it did look like a completely legal sack. And almost every year, until this one, it would’ve been seen as such.
Thirdly, no Aaron Rodgers was not picked up and body slammed. He was tackled and in the process of being tackled spun around into the ground. It was a violent tackle, almost all of them are. But it wasn’t inconsistent on the part of the officials to not call it.
During the live broadcast Dean Blandino correctly explained why Matthews was flagged. The new rule is that the tackler cannot place his entire weight on top of the QB. Which is exactly what Matthews did. Rodgers’ tackler did not do that.
But the TMQ wants you to think that the Rodgers tackle violated the older version of the rule, as if the older version was any more rational. The new one might be called the “please get off of me” penalty. The old one was “please don’t pick me up and slam me into the ground.”
Either way its a stupid rule. These guys aren’t playing Tennis. They’re playing Gridiron Football. In this game if you have the ball you get tackled. Don’t like it, then don’t play.
So Charlie and Greg# aren’t wrong that the penalty makes no sense. They are wrong that no one understands it. The NFL has been calling this very consistently during the fledgling 18/19 season. Later that same day the refs during the Cowboys Seahawks game managed to turn a dominating three and out into a miraculous extension (of a drive that ended in no points) by making this exact same call. Russell Wilson was tackled in the process of making a throw. He wasn’t man handled. He wasn’t slammed. But the tackler made the mistake of placing his weight on top of Wilson.
During the broadcast Fox brought on Mike Pereira, the Alan Dershowitz of NFL rules, to explain the call. Pereira is never wrong. He’s the guy the atomic clock crew calls when they make a mistake. He gave the exact same explanation as Blandino.
Everyone seems to agree that the rule is very stupid. But the refs are calling it correctly. And that’s the problem. Like the infamous Tuck Rule the problem isn’t with the refs, it’s with stupid rules.
Now that that’s settled we can move on to Thanos.
For whatever reason in the same episode Charlie asked the TMQ what he thought about “Avengers: Infinity War.” Greg’s problem was that Thanos, the villain, is a disciple of Thomas Malthus.
This is like complaining that the Joker in The Dark Knight was a nihilist. Or that any film to ever feature Hitler was wrong to depict him as a Nazi.
And what’s worse is that TMQ tried to use it to indict Hollywood as being anti science. Malthus has been debunked for a long time. But Thanos is the villain of this film! He’s the bad guy. The stuff he does isn’t good, it’s bad. If Thanos does something kids, you should do the opposite. In other words Thanos (which means death) is an indictment of Thomas Malthus and any system that tries to plan its way out of complicated problems.
Basically “Infinity War” was a Hayekian morality tale. This story was fundamentally conservative. But Heckle and Jeckle here couldn’t see that.
All jokes aside their conclusion is completely moronic and both Charlie and Gregg embarrassed themselves during this segment. It’s unequivocal that Thanos’ population purge is evil. And it’s evil not because Thomas Malthus was factually incorrect. It’s evil because any solution to a population problem that involves mass slaughter of innocents is by definition immoral.
This is what I call a failed attempt at Culture Warring. One side tries to make the other look stupid and manages to make themselves look evil by accident. The implication of what TMQ said is that if only Malthus had been right then Thanos wouldn’t have been evil. NO! For anyone reading this who is unsure of whether or not it would be okay to kill half the universe if the “science says” it will solve all the problems of society, rest assured this is not the right solution.
This was a sad day for conservative reason and logic. Shame on you Chuck.