This will be a stale visual by next Saturday’s TWiP, so here it is now:

More seriously on the sports front, the current expanded major league baseball playoff format is providing a grand example of why the Burkean disposition against innovation (sorry Lucretia!) is sensible. The teams that got first-round byes because of their winning records (such as the Dodgers with 111 wins) have fallen ignominiously in the second round. So we now have a second-place team playing a third place team to represent the National League in the World Series. The five-day layoff for the top teams arguably hurts their chances, because it is just a long enough layoff to lose a bit from the tiny edges that are crucial to high level sports performance. We already have the spectacle of teams (especially in the NFL and NBA) deliberately tanking games late in the season to get higher draft pick position. Will some baseball manager in the future think it preferable to keep his team sharp by finishing second and getting a wild card spot instead of first place and a bye?

Or maybe it’s just Dave Roberts. In any case, I say Down with Next Season’s Rule Changes!

Some stats:

If baseball keeps innovating itself out of an audience, we can always shift over to sports that don’t essentially change, whatever the new fashion may be. Like the USA Mullet Championship, currently in the final voting round (hopefully done with more ballot security than that associated with Fat Bear in Alaska, or Fat Head from Delaware). Here are a few of the awesome finalists:

P.S. Since John no longer provides in-depth news coverage of the premier beauty pageants (he says they no longer exist, but the current Miss USA competition just wrapped a couple weeks ago, so he must have installed some kind of Cotton Mather content filter on his browser or something), I think Power Line readers should launch a petition demanding that John start covering the Mullet Championship. As someone who is “folically challenged,” I am obviously not qualified.

 The New York Times brings us important breaking news from its “Me, Too” desk about the 14th Century:

In recent decades, the suggestion that Chaucer had been accused of rape helped inspire a rich vein of feminist criticism looking at sex, power and consent in stories like “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” and “The Miller’s Tale,” which contain depictions of sexual assault (or what to modern readers appears like it).

But this week, two scholars stunned the world of Chaucer studies with previously unknown documents that they say show that the “raptus” document was not in fact related to an accusation of rape against Chaucer at all.

The new documents, the two scholars say, establish that the one that surfaced in the 1870s had been misinterpreted. Instead of stemming from a rape case, they argue, the document had been filed as part of a labor case, in which another man charged Chaumpaigne with leaving his household to work in Chaucer’s before her term of labor was over.

Glad we have gotten to the bottom of this crucial controversy. Though it does seem like the Marxist “exploitation of labor” angle is still available for the literary canon haters.

“The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!” Well, not nearly that exciting, but close: the new MacArthur “Genius” Award Winners are here! And they have, according to Inside Higher Ed, “deep ties to academia.” Who could have anticipated that? Let’s see what this roster of somebodies who are all now $800,000 richer includes:

  • Sociologist Jennifer Carlson, an associate professor in the School of Sociology and the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona School of Sociology, for uncovering the motivations, assumptions and social forces that drive gun ownership and shape gun culture in the United States.
  • Musician, scholar and artist/activist Martha Gonzalez, an associate professor in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies and director of the Humanities Institute at Scripps College, for strengthening cross-border ties and advancing participatory methods of artistic knowledge production in the service of social justice.
  • Reproductive justice and human rights advocate Loretta J. Ross, an associate professor in the Program of the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College, for shaping a visionary paradigm linking social justice, human rights and reproductive justice.
  • Writer Kiese Laymon, the Libbie Shearn Moody Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rice University, for bearing witness to the myriad forms of violence that mark the Black experience in formally inventive fiction and nonfiction.

You get the theme.

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