FanDuel - WFBC

January 27, 2010

Hope You're Not Waiting on Paul Shirley's Next ESPN Post: Shirley (previous SpoFi post) won't be blogging for ESPN anymore after expressing his . . . different take on the Haiti relief effort.

posted by yerfatma to basketball at 10:29 AM - 29 comments

It doesn't say much for the education he got at Iowa State for him to believe that Haitians are the sole cause of their own troubles. They've suffered under crippling foreign debt for centuries, some of which led the country to be deforested to pay it off. Nicholas Kristof said that parts are so barren they resemble a "moonscape."

posted by rcade at 10:50 AM on January 27

Before the reader reaches for his or her blood pressure medication, he should allow me to explain. I don't mean in any way that the Haitians deserved their collective fate....Imagine that I'm a caveman. Imagine that I've chosen to build my house out of balsa wood, and that I'm building it next to a roaring river because I've decided it will make harvesting fish that much easier. Then, imagine that my hut is destroyed by a flood.

Imagining what would happen next is easier than imagining me carrying a caveman's club. If I were lucky enough to survive the roaring waters that took my hut, my tribesmen would say, "Building next to the river was pretty dumb, wasn't it?." Or, if I weren't so lucky, they'd say, "At least we don't have to worry about that moron anymore."

I can understand him expressing his opinion about the situation in Haiti but his opinion was a little too strong for ESPN.

posted by BornIcon at 10:53 AM on January 27

Uhhhhh ... I realize this was a blog, but doesn't this get a looksee by anyone before it gets posted? After all, it does carry the ESPN moniker.

posted by jjzucal at 11:02 AM on January 27

The money going to Haiti is so that people won't starve to death and die. Obviously, Shirley would rather they learn a difficult lesson about how unwise it is to live in a very poor country. His post reflects a complete lack of humanity, that we as humans are all in this together. Asshole.

posted by bperk at 11:09 AM on January 27

Did he use that same poor analogy when New Orleans was flooded?

Sorry, I am a bit confused though. Did he originally publish that on a sports blog? He's entitled to his opinion, but it isn't sports-related so why would he be writing about this on a sports blog?

posted by scully at 11:16 AM on January 27

Sorry, I am a bit confused though. Did he originally publish that on a sports blog? He's entitled to his opinion, but it isn't sports-related so why would he be writing about this on a sports blog?

I think the sports angle here is that the guy was a former contributor to ESPN . Only tangentially sports-related, but no more so than posting about NASCAR. (I kid.)

In terms of the content, I feel that this is just reactionary (as in a reaction to what he perceives as the unthinking outpouring of sympathy and support) and not particularly logical, and was likely intended to be contrarian and to stir the pot. His underlying premise that unconditional giving is a bad idea is really not particularly well-supported in any event; most of the giving is I am aware of has been done through the Red Cross and other organizations with a specific mission to mitigate the aftereffects of this event and help heal people, feed people, clothe people, etc. so as to deal with a humanitarian crisis in a very immediate way. Perhaps there is a time for reasoned debate about whether and how reconstruction funds should be disbursed to address long-term rdevelopment, but passing by a person dying on the side of the road and saying "I'll get you to the hospital only if you promise to clean up your life and prove to me you can do it" is inhumane at best and evil at worst.

posted by holden at 11:30 AM on January 27

Imagine that I'm a caveman

I already am.

posted by JJ at 12:05 PM on January 27

Oh, and someone ought to make it so owly can't see that shit. That might just tip him over the edge.

posted by JJ at 12:06 PM on January 27

Damn, that's disappointing. I thought I recognized the name when I read the quotes this morning.

posted by dusted at 01:37 PM on January 27

Oh, and someone ought to make it so owly can't see that shit. That might just tip him over the edge.

Meh, I'm used to hearing these kind of opinions. Has someone reminded him that Haiti donated to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort?

This kind of thing disturbs me more.

posted by owlhouse at 03:46 PM on January 27

What the hell are Scientologists doing there? If all tectonic events are after-effects of Xenu's great battles, seems like he'd be moving in the other direction.

posted by yerfatma at 04:40 PM on January 27

Well, he's an idiot for writing it, yes, but more importantly his opinion is just terribly considered. Clearly a case of head-way-too-far-up-own-ass syndrome.

Like people were interested in hearing what Paul Shirley thought about Haitian socio-economic history. But this is just what he thinks about it. He really doesn't have a clue. He's soap-boxing.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:46 PM on January 27

We prefer "Rectal-Cranial Inversion". Won't you think of the children?

posted by yerfatma at 07:19 PM on January 27

What the hell are Scientologists doing there?

Anyone willing to help in the Haiti aftermath shouldn't be turned away, no matter how ridiculous they are.

posted by BornIcon at 11:16 AM on January 28

Volunteer organizations in Haiti have asked people not to come "just to help," but instead send donations so that the groups with established channels for bringing in supplies and relief could do their work. Some volunteers were showing up without the means of supporting themselves and ended up consuming resources that should've gone to Haitians.

posted by rcade at 12:29 PM on January 28

Anyone willing to help in the Haiti aftermath shouldn't be turned away, no matter how ridiculous they are.

There is a danger in speaking in absolutes.

posted by yerfatma at 01:38 PM on January 28

Or not speaking at all.

posted by BornIcon at 02:43 PM on January 28

Anyone willing to help in the Haiti aftermath shouldn't be turned away, no matter how ridiculous they are.

Two of the biggest problems in emergency relief situations are coordination and logistics. Leave it to the professionals - rescue, medical, shipping or whatever. Too many 'volunteers' can get in the way.

I would also estimate that 75-80 per cent of 'emergency volunteers', mostly from the smaller religious-based aid groups, are doing jobs that a local high school student would be able to do.

Rcades's right - the best approach is to donate what cash you can to an appropriate relief organisation.

posted by owlhouse at 02:46 PM on January 28

I don't disagree but if someone is more than willing to help in any way, including donating whatever dollar amount that they can, that's a blessing in itself.

John Travolta is a licensed pilot and flew a plane-load of supplies to aid the people of Haiti, I wouldn't classify that as getting in the way which is where my quote came from...the 'ministers' from the church of Scientology is another story.

posted by BornIcon at 02:58 PM on January 28

Or not speaking at all.

You might want to revisit that, especially if you're going to keep dropping the Deep Thoughts on us.

if someone is more than willing to help in any way

See rcade's comment above. It's the exact same thing you said before.

flew a plane-load of supplies to aid the people of Haiti, I wouldn't classify that as getting in the way

Really? Did he have a place to land? What planes had to wait a little extra while he was using the strip? Who was on the ground to receive and distribute the stuff?

Maybe he has a complete logistical team on staff to take care of this sort of thing like the hero he plays in movies. Or maybe he likes publicity and thinks he's a great guy.

posted by yerfatma at 03:21 PM on January 28

Travolta is licensed to fly 707s and is the only private citizen in the U.S. to own and operate his own. He brought in six tons of ready-to-eat military food and medical supplies, but there's some controversy because he jumped ahead of many other flights. There's a backlog of 800 flights seeking permission to land in Port-au-Prince, which only can handle 130 a day.

posted by rcade at 05:45 PM on January 28

You might want to revisit that, especially if you're going to keep dropping the Deep Thoughts on us.

Said Mr. Miyagi who dropped this little nugget, "There is a danger in speaking in absolutes" ...is that from a fortune cookie or Fists of Legend?

Really? Did he have a place to land? What planes had to wait a little extra while he was using the strip? Who was on the ground to receive and distribute the stuff?

Rcade explained the facts behind the controversy involving John Travolta but what other actor do you know that is a licensed pilot who flew to Haiti to personally deliver supplies to these unfortunate people?

'We have the ability to actually make a difference to the situation and I just can't see not using this plane to help,' Travolta said

Seems to me as if he was just trying to help the best he could.

posted by BornIcon at 09:47 AM on January 29

The people who are mad at him are probably other religious nuts who hate scientology. I wish I had the ability to help like John did. God Bless him. He always seems like a very geniune person out to do the best he can to help people.

posted by Debo270 at 10:18 AM on January 29

Seems to me as if he was just trying to help the best he could.

If that's all he was trying to do, he could've fit a lot more relief supplies on that plane if he left the Scientologists home. They are active in Haiti to help their church, not just to help people. The same can be said of other proselyting religions, but let's not pretend this isn't a sales pitch wrapped around a water bottle.

posted by rcade at 11:22 AM on January 29

The same can be said of other proselyting religions, but let's not pretend this isn't a sales pitch wrapped around a water bottle.

Valid, but if my choice was food, water, and listening to a crazy american I dont understand or NO food and NO water, I will take the crazy american all day. While this may not be the time to be pushing any religion on these people, and aid is welcome. If you can take it your self, All the better. I am sure Travolta was cleared to land and didnt cause that much of a problem. 200 planes are going in and out of there a day. Bet he was barely noticed. Thanks for using your Money to help out.

posted by Debo270 at 11:39 AM on January 29

Rcade explained the facts behind the controversy involving John Travolta but what other actor do you know that is a licensed pilot who flew to Haiti to personally deliver supplies to these unfortunate people?

Please. That's not even close to a point. If there were another story it'd have the same issue. How does the fact he's the only person change things?

posted by yerfatma at 01:18 PM on January 29

There is a danger in speaking in absolutes" ...is that from a fortune cookie or Fists of Legend?

I can't help it if you're not able to follow a fairly simple remark. Maybe this link can help. Don't worry, it's short. I'll even sum it up for you:

Niebuhr used these statements to illustrate his argument that man is not capable of defining an absolute truth. "Whenever he asserts such a truth categorically, he is assuming a power which lies beyond him."

The problem is you keep assuming everyone is exactly as bright as you.

posted by yerfatma at 01:22 PM on January 29

Considering the membership costs involved, it seems it would be tough for Scientology to take hold in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

posted by bender at 01:26 PM on January 29

If that's all he was trying to do, he could've fit a lot more relief supplies on that plane if he left the Scientologists home... let's not pretend this isn't a sales pitch wrapped around a water bottle.

You're correct. If he would've left behind those so-called 'ministers' of Scientology, they would've had more room on the plane for supplies. I'm not in disagreement with you about that. I personally see no problem with the delivery of the supplies that he did drop off though but if Travolta does in fact have any ulterior motives, then that would be a problem.

posted by BornIcon at 06:51 AM on January 30

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