This evening while I was eating dinner and watching, as is my custom, Thursday Night Football, I noticed that the television next to football was showing Game 3 of the WNBA championship. I must admit that while there was a great deal of enthusiasm about the back and forth of a football game that was compelling until the fourth quarter, so much so that I was concerned that the contingent that was rooting for both teams would come to some sort of contretemps, which is a weekly concern given the amount of drinking and loudness of the fans involved, no one seemed to be paying attention to the WNBA game that was going on, even though it was a potentially decisive game for a championship. To be sure, for much of the game, the Connecticut Sun had the game pretty much in hand over the Las Vegas Aces, who had previously held a 2-0 advantage in the series, but it is at least theoretically possible that given the game was on some prized televisions, it was expected to draw eyes and an audience, and it appeared as if I was the only person who gave the miserable game any attention, and that only negative.
One of the things which particularly irked me about the game was seeing who chose to advertise on the games. One of the trials of watching any sort of programming nowadays, even sports programming, is having to listen to commercials that lie even more than usual about the quality of their terrible entertainment like She-Hulk or The Rings Of Power, which use the lying positive reviews of hack reviewers to lure in unsuspecting people who might think that there is some truth in the praise being said about them and who are not hardened enough against such propaganda. Similarly, I pondered the assumption that is often made that more people would go and attend WNBA games if people simply knew about them. This seems mistaken to me, because anyone who has ever watched such games or the lowlight compilations that proliferate online can recognize that the quality of the WNBA is considerably below the best games played on the professional, semi-professional, college, or even high school level. Even the two best teams in the WNBA regularly turn out wasted possessions of airballs and terrible defense and even more terrible attempts at hook shots and jumpers that reminded me of my own play in the sport.
In general, though I am not the target audience of bad sports leagues or woke cable television offerings, the general principle is that the people who make bad entertainment do not care if someone is hate-watching what they produce or enjoying it, all they care about is having eyeballs, because there is the assumption that as long as people are watching they are being exposed to and possibly influenced by the message, and the message of such entertainment is far more important than the narrative or competitive quality of what is being provided in such cases. The message is that women play sports as well as men, when the highest performing women rank considerably low even when compared to teenage boys, much less men their own age, to the point where pro women’s basketballers would likely find themselves overmatched by even middle school boys’ teams, much less other pros, and where the considerably talented U.S. Women’s team, one of the best in the world, found itself badly beat by an under-fifteen group of boys from Dallas. Watching such sports need not lead to appreciation, it can also lead to contempt.
There is considerable value in representation. A great many of us enjoy doing things that we are not objectively great at simply because it brings us enjoyment, and we enjoy doing these activities not only individually but also in groups of similarly skilled people. It is all the better that a great many people engage in activities that are done professionally by only a few of the best, who are paid for their skill in entertaining the masses who could do what they do, but not nearly as well. It can also be enjoyable to see people like us do things, not least because it gives us the understanding that if someone like us can do something, so can we. It is not hard to see why this sort of message is so commonly pushed out, but it is a great shame that this message is often pushed out so dishonestly. Reality is important to appreciate, not least because while any old Mary Sue can succeed in a privileged space where the writers conspire to make her smarter and stronger and more clever than more powerful men, the real world is not nearly so kind, and it is that world and not the fake world of entertainment where most of us reside. But you would never know that from what is being pushed on us by those who do not care if they get our approval, only our attention, so that they can sell their dreck to advertisers for the top dollar.