FanDuel - WFBC

June 25, 2012

Tony Parker Sues Nightclub Over Posse Fight: San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker is suing a SoHo nightclub in New York City for $20 million after a shard of glass penetrated "99 percent" of his left eye during a June 14 bottle-throwing brawl between the entourages of musicians Chris Brown and Drake. "I almost lost my eye," Parker said. The suit alleges the owners of the W.i.P. club were reckless for allowing both groups in the club at the same time "despite known tension between the two."

posted by rcade to basketball at 12:58 PM - 56 comments

The old get-caught-in-a-pop-star-fight injury.

posted by tron7 at 01:07 PM on June 25

So I had to look up what the beef was all about and it's pretty dumb. The article is a little old but how did that lead to a physical fight?

posted by tron7 at 01:15 PM on June 25

And as everyone knows, you can't allow people who dislike each other into the same physical space without being legally responsible for all of their actions.

posted by Rock Steady at 01:16 PM on June 25

Parker alleges in the suit that the club owners "were reckless, careless and negligent in permitting Drake's entourage and Brown's entourage to be in the club at the same time despite known tension between the two."
No kidding, Rock Steady. What's weird is Tony Parker isn't hurting for money, and neither are Chris Brown and Drake, so the "sue whomever has deep pockets" approach to litigation doesn't even make any sense here- I wouldn't be surprised if the nightclub is the poorest entity in all this.

This ought to be- and probably will be- thrown out the first time a judge sees it.

posted by hincandenza at 01:56 PM on June 25

you can't allow people who dislike each other into the same physical space without being legally responsible for all of their actions.


Absolutely, as established by the now-famous Deadeye McGoo v. Skeeters Saloon, wherein the once great McGoo, a big game hunter and Indian killer, lost his left eye during a fight between the Hatfields and McCoys at the negligent Skeeters. Skeeters had allowed members of both hillbilly clans and their respective entourages to attend an old-timey karaoke night at the saloon, wherein a fight broke out when the aforementioned McCoys mercilessly mocked a group of 13 Hatfield women who had crowded the stage to sing "Love ShacK."

Trust me, I'm a lawyer.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:02 PM on June 25

Too dangerous for the establishment to allow both parties to stay, not dangerous enough for Tony Parker to leave.

posted by tron7 at 02:09 PM on June 25

I don't think a club has to know about every rumor of beef that celebs have. However, they do have an obligation to do what they can to keep their patrons safe. It wasn't only rich folks injured in this, regular people were hurt, too.

posted by bperk at 03:29 PM on June 25

and it's pretty dumb

When is the last time a rapper was associated with anything intelligent?

posted by cixelsyd at 03:29 PM on June 25

I'm sure there's more recent form, but it can't go back further than 2000. There's MC Lars too. Etc. Oh and Del has a sequel to Deltron 3030 in the works that's paired with a new Dogfish Head offering. So there's that.

posted by yerfatma at 03:37 PM on June 25

When is the last time a rapper was associated with anything intelligent?

Lupe Fiasco!

posted by NoMich at 04:00 PM on June 25

When is the last time a rapper was associated with anything intelligent?

Jay-Z was born in a housing project in Brooklyn. He now is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country, worth half a billion dollars and is married to Beyonce Knowles. I'd call the guy bloody brilliant.

posted by dfleming at 05:37 PM on June 25

+1 to dfleming

posted by NoMich at 06:10 PM on June 25

Wait, why is he brilliant? Disregarding that I think his music is shit, and the only good thing about him like so many other rappers is their ability to pick someone else's good song, sample it, and then drone incoherently about their "gritty real life" on top.

Honestly, this is something that has always irked me: becoming rich doesn't mean someone is brilliant; being opportunistic and lucky doesn't make someone brilliant.

Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian leveraged sex tapes into reality TV shows and merchandising deals; that doesn't make them "brilliant" in any sense of the word.

50 Cent and William Shatner did endorsement deals with companies that grew rapidly, netting them tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options; this doesn't make them "brilliant", since plenty of people did the same thing for companies that folded and netted them absolutely nothing.

Jay-Z and Sean Combs and Russell Simmons built media juggernauts over the seemingly bottomless wallet of disaffected suburban teens buying their music. Jay-Z might even be a decent rapper, enough to stand out and be successful that way- but that doesn't make them "brilliant", and heck it surely doesn't make them "savvy businessmen". See, once the money firehose turns on a person, you barely have to stick out your ladle to get even more wealthy. That these particular people were among the lucky few to get super rich is literally a fluke: we don't say people who bought the winning lottery ticket were "brilliant", they were just the "real life resolution of a probability cloud".

Heck, even Bill Gates wasn't so much "brilliant" for Windows as he was lucky, ruthless, and lucky (yes, I meant to type it twice). The QDOS deal goes down slightly differently, and you'll never hear of that guy. And truth be told, Bill Gates is brilliant, and a wicked programmer from the old school- but his insane wealth was a factor largely of luck and timing, and once the MS stranglehold on the early PC market existed, it became a license to print money for a good two decades. Lucky, fortuitous, quasi-legal to hear his detractors, but the wealth? Not so much "brilliant" as "the real life resolution of a probability cloud", because someone was going to sell the OS for the first mass-market PCs to succeed. I mean, allegedly Apple made better computers and better products, yet only recently had the success you'd expect: I guess that means Steve Jobs was the opposite of brilliant, that he could take a best-in-class product and yield a few percentage points of market share for two decades? Jesus, that guy was a fucking moron! :)

I think you get my drift: Jay-Z is not brilliant. He was lucky, and opportunistic, but these aren't the same as being Mozart, Beethoven, da Vinci, Einstein, etc- those guys were brilliant. Rich people? Rich people are mostly just lucky.

posted by hincandenza at 06:35 PM on June 25

Mozart and Beethoven are the best-known composers of their era. By your logic, someone had to be the best-known composers of their era, so they're not brilliant either.

posted by Etrigan at 06:44 PM on June 25

He was lucky, and opportunistic, but these aren't the same as being Mozart, Beethoven, da Vinci, Einstein, etc

That's a fantastic way to say that "brilliance" is whatever you think it already is. Congratulations on your tautology.

posted by yerfatma at 06:51 PM on June 25

then drone incoherently about their "gritty real life" on top

If you think Jay-Z drones incoherently, then you probably just don't like hip hop. That's okay, but it does discount your views somewhat on his brilliance or lack thereof. That's like someone who doesn't like classical music deciding that Beethoven was more boring than brilliant.

posted by bperk at 06:52 PM on June 25

I don't know where to start, Hincandenza. I'm not a big fan of hip hop or Jay-Z in particular, but the premise that he went from the projects to a net worth of $450 million simply by turning on a "money firehose" makes me wonder why every other successful person hasn't done it, since it's so easy.

There are plenty of celebrities who made vast wealth quickly and lost it all in business. Curt Schilling said his $50 million fortune from baseball is gone. Mark Brunell of the Jaguars lost his NFL fortune investing in businesses that failed and he's a drug sales rep now.

Jay-Z founded Rocawear clothing in 1999 and sold it eight years later for $204 million. He's engaged in a half-dozen other business ventures in different areas, most of them apparently growing, and his personal fortune continues to explode. Three years ago his net worth was estimated at $150 million. He tripled that in three years.

Whether that's brilliance or some other superlative, it's a lot more than luck.

posted by rcade at 08:02 PM on June 25

Somewhere Big L is rolling in his rickety coffin.

posted by phaedon at 08:12 PM on June 25

Etrigan: Mozart and Beethoven are the best-known composers of their era. By your logic, someone had to be the best-known composers of their era, so they're not brilliant either.
yerfatma: That's a fantastic way to say that "brilliance" is whatever you think it already is. Congratulations on your tautology.
Um... what are you guys talking about?

Sure, in a sense it's true that they were lucky to have their genetic gifts and a fertile environment in which to use them- same as, say, Shaquille O'Neal being the physical freak that he was, or any pitcher who can throw a baseball 95mph+ without having their elbow explode like a firecracker. So yes, of course I agree in that sense that all brilliant people are "lucky" to be that smart/gifted. So that's lucky, yes- but you wouldn't say Shaquille O'Neal wasn't tall. Tall is something intrinsic in who he is, just as "brilliant" is something intrinsic in Mozart etc. It is not something intrinsic to being "wealthy".

You guys are misunderstanding my point: getting rich doesn't mark you "brilliant". Successful, fortunate, determined, cutthroat, lucky, "some other superlative", etc, sure- but not brilliant. The term is overused, and since the person who posted that also posted as "evidence" of brilliance "Marrying Beyonce", it's... pretty specious as an argument that Jay-Z is "brilliant".

You can go ahead and make a case that his hip-hop lyricism is brilliant- I won't even argue that, although every Saturday at my local bar the bartender runs through a lot of Jay-Z on the stereo, and it drives me batty. But there's a difference between "this guy is one of the most brilliant hip-hop lyricists of his generation" and "this guy is rich and he married Beyonce, because he was rich- he must be brilliant".

Do you see the distinction I'm making? I hate the conflation of Wealthy = Brilliant, because it's part of the Just World Fallacy, that suggests every rich person must have or be something special to be that way- when in reality, most people who are rich are just lucky, and to some extent possibly hyper-driven/determined. The highest paid actors in Hollywood are not necessarily the best actors, and there's a lot of luck to just getting the right break in the right movie at the right time.

rcade: I'm not a big fan of hip hop or Jay-Z in particular, but the premise that he went from the projects to a net worth of $450 million simply by turning on a "money firehose" makes me wonder why every other successful person hasn't done it, since it's so easy.
Someone won the $650M powerball a while back; they must be brilliant or everyone would do it, since it's so easy.

You also misunderstand my "money firehose" metaphor: it's that once you become rich enough, opportunities to become richer start popping up. They don't ask me to sponsor Vitamin Water or Priceline, because I'm not already famous. That I might make an order of magnitude more money from luck and stock options in doing so is the "money firehose". Once Jay-Z became a well-known rapper, that opens opportunities that can generate more money- such as being the face/front of a clothing line that a consumerist culture will gobble up. So please, detail what it was about Rocawear that evidences the "brilliance" of its owner? Some cutting edge new fabric that "brilliant" organic chemist Jay-Z labored for years in a laboratory perfecting? A new method of mass-production patented by Jay-Z that led to incredible gains in market efficiency, leading to a huge profit margin that enabled Jay-Z to beat out the competition? Or... wait, it's not something as silly as "he became a famous rapper, and people wanted to wear his clothing as much as they did Air Jordans, because bling/celebrity/status/stupidity"?

It is what it is, but it's not "brilliant". God damn, it's not brilliant

Does this start to make sense now? People can be rich without being brilliant, and people can be brilliant without being rich, and some people are both, and some people are neither. The point I'm hammering home is that we shouldn't say "Jay-Z is brilliant- my proof of this is that guy is rich and married Beyonce". You can use "some other superlative", but how about not using "brilliant"? Please just don't use brilliant to describe people who got rich- especially those who got rich leveraging popular culture- without some other supporting evidence besides their wealth itself. That's your tautology, really: wealthy people are brilliant, and my proof is they are wealthy.

rcade: There are plenty of celebrities who made vast wealth quickly and lost it all in business. Curt Schilling said his $50 million fortune from baseball is gone. Mark Brunell of the Jaguars lost his NFL fortune investing in businesses that failed and he's a drug sales rep now.

Jay-Z founded Rocawear clothing in 1999 and sold it eight years later for $204 million. He's engaged in a half-dozen other business ventures in different areas, most of them apparently growing, and his personal fortune continues to explode. Three years ago his net worth was estimated at $150 million. He tripled that in three years.

You prove my point. Curt Schilling and Mark Brunell were probably borderline congenitally retarded, obviously, since they lost their money. If "brilliance" is the growth of money, then the loss of money must mean someone is a complete imbecile. No smart person ever lost money- and all people with lots of money are brilliant.

Unless... unless... hold it just a tick... what if there was a large element of luck involved, where the confluence of celebrity culture meant that the Jay-Z clothing line became the "hip" thing to wear, but 20 other entertainers had a clothing line that didn't do much of anything?

Y'all should go read up on "just world fallacy":

So, he conducted another study where he had two men solve puzzles. At the end, one of them was randomly awarded a large sum of money. The observers were told the reward was completely random.

Still, when asked later to evaluate the two men, people said the one who got the award was smarter, more talented, better at solving puzzles and more productive.

posted by hincandenza at 08:50 PM on June 25

posted by yerfatma at 09:11 PM on June 25

Just say you don't like rap or Jay-Z or whatever. You're holding the bar impossibly high and moving it as you see fit. It's the same nonsense others were doing in the LeBron thread. Your own examples undermine your Wall of Sound: Einstein was famously a patent clerk and an unknown. A couple of missed breaks and he never gets discovered. If he was born a hundred years earlier or later, maybe he never matters. We're all victims and beneficiaries of our circumstances. Why that should be ok for some and not for others is beyond me.

If you want to define "brilliance" as only applicable to a handful of figures in history, it becomes meaningless. The Hall of Fame isn't worth talking about if it's just Babe Ruth. And how do we handle brilliance like John Nash or Bobby Fischer, where the brilliance seemed more a curse and wasted in the bargain? Was Satchel Paige not a brilliant pitcher because he didn't get the chance to pitch in the majors until he was 50?

I don't think we're the fallacious thinkers here. But I've been known to suck before.

posted by yerfatma at 09:15 PM on June 25

Someone won the $650M powerball a while back; they must be brilliant or everyone would do it, since it's so easy.

That's a ridiculous counterexample. A lottery winner is an example of absolute luck. No one would call someone brilliant for doing that.

But if business executives can be brilliant, what metric for brilliance is better than the amount of wealth they create? Steve Jobs was called brilliant all the time and most of his success was achieved through the same thing you scoff at with Jay-Z: marketing.

You prove my point. Curt Schilling and Mark Brunell were probably borderline congenitally retarded, obviously, since they lost their money.

Or they weren't good at running their businesses, and being a multimillionaire entrepreneur requires skill like any other pursuit.

The simplest explanation for why Jay-Z is so successful in so many businesses is that he's really good at it, not that he keeps getting lucky over and over. He's a guy who had to start his own record company because major labels turned him down. Nothing was handed to him.

posted by rcade at 09:26 PM on June 25

And then there's Tony Parker and the nightclub fight...

posted by roberts at 09:47 PM on June 25

I hate to say it, yerfatma, but yeah I do think you're being a fallacious thinker. There is no more value to me to continue to defend my statements. I'd say that nicer, but I'm pretty sure your posting of that Dr. Bronner label was a direct insult to me and my writing style, and effectively you just called me crazy/schizophrenic.

rcade, you keep missing my point: I believe that all rich people are largely lucky. Jay-z is apparently regarded as a great rapper, fantastic- call him a brilliant rapper. But the parlaying of that into $450M doesn't mean he's "brilliant" or a savvy business-person; it means his celebrity from one area enabled him to start and succeed at businesses in another.

When people become wealthy, they may work hard, they may strive repeatedly, they may make "smart" decisions... but in the end it took a large component of luck to succeed. We just don't see the 100 people who did everything right, followed the same steps... and failed. The risky gamble that doesn't pay off is forgotten, while the one that does is seen as somehow a "visionary decision" by a "brilliant executive". Had Curt Schilling's attempt to start the next Blizzard paid off, we'd call him a fucking genius... but if anyone, anywhere, could actually predict ahead of time which decisions were the smart kind, they'd be richer than Midas from their unerring stock picks.

I'm not saying Jay-Z didn't work hard or have determination, but I bristle at the term "brilliant". That's it. I do think his business success is due to already being famous enough that people would buy his clothing because of the label- and what's the "brilliance" in that? Once he became worth hundreds of millions from the clothing, well- there's an old saying: "Turning $100 into $110 is hard work; turning $100 million into $110 million is inevitable".

posted by hincandenza at 10:12 PM on June 25

One can only hope Tony isn't too seriously hurt. I object strongly to litigation for the sole purpose of profit but if it's enough to jolt the morons involved a bit I'm all for it.

It's interesting to note that the brilliant "Jay-Z" first gained widespread notoriety by shanking a business partner in a crowded nightclub under cover of his crew.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:13 PM on June 25

You think all rich people are "largely lucky"? How is that anything more than the inverse of the Just World fallacy?

posted by yerfatma at 11:02 PM on June 25

Guess that makes most of us largely unlucky

posted by cixelsyd at 11:17 PM on June 25

uh, back on topic, don't pro athletes know better by now not to go to night clubs? (or strip clubs) Isn't that where 99.9% of these fights and shootings occur?

posted by insomnyuk at 12:29 AM on June 26

Yeah, but if you were youngish, had a fuckton of money, and knew there was a place you could go where ridiculously, ridiculously hot women would sit with you, grind on you, suck you off in the dim light, and then go home and fuck your brains out... how would you stay away?!?

Largely lucky isn't an inversion of the just world fallacy- the JWF is a logical fallacy where we retroactively ascribe positive and negative traits to people based on things that might as likely be luck/bad luck. Saying "Wow most people have lives that are something of a crapshoot", well that's not inverting the JWF, it's denying the Calvinist theory altogether.

If the brilliant Jay-Z had gotten a long prison sentence for stabbing his friend, he's not rich today. If the powerball bounces a tiny bit different, I'm retired and someone else is going back to their shitty job the next day. If the bullet hits a half inch to the left... if you caught the earlier bus... if... if... if. Life is largely luck, and it's important to recognize that and not put too much stock in how things played out on this version of the mortal coil.

posted by hincandenza at 01:42 AM on June 26

If Mozart and Beethoven hadn't been born into musical families, blah blah blah. Brilliance does not require an absence of luck. Most of us have needed some luck just to make it to adulthood. Furthermore, it is always a judgement call even with the greats. Tall is not the same thing because it can be accurately measured and compared to the rest of the population. I agree with you that being rich or getting rich doesn't indicate brilliance, but there is no doubt that going from the projects to a millionaire in our society is an incredibly rare feat. He managed to do it in a way it hadn't been done before him. To be the most successful rapper that has ever lived isn't exactly about luck either.

posted by bperk at 05:47 AM on June 26

Sure, in a sense it's true that they were lucky to have their genetic gifts and a fertile environment in which to use them- same as, say, Shaquille O'Neal

Oh give me an effing break. Fertile? You call a Brooklyn housing project fertile? That's rich considering the majority of people who are born into a housing project stay in a housing project.

I wonder where you grew up, because I grew up for a time in a housing project...they're not the breeding grounds for success and wealth you seem to think they are. More disease, drug and spousal abuse than anything else. Most kids barely get an education, and most of the "friends" (I say friends because we were only there a while, and thus were deemed tourists) ended up drug runners or dead, and I'm 29.

Once he became worth hundreds of millions from the clothing, well- there's an old saying: "Turning $100 into $110 is hard work; turning $100 million into $110 million is inevitable".

When you start at $0, it's even harder. You seem to start the clock at when Jay-Z had money, which I assure you from my experience is not where any smart moves came in.

Plus, Jay-Z was the first, before P Diddy, 50 and the rest, to make this business model work. He now has a sustainable business model that doesn't even involve him making music if he wants to.

Both Mozart and Beethoven were born into families with a rich history of music (both their fathers were composers) and they were well-off. Why are you so able to attribute brillance to their work, when it seems to have come with some very lucky beginnings as well?

I said "bloody brilliant" to begin with, which was a little tongue in cheek, but now I'm wondering why it seems the only people that are on your "brilliant" list are old, dead, white guys. It seems to me that historically, they've been the ones in a position to be lucky.

To me, those who are brilliant are those who took the gifts they were born with and made way more out of them than anyone could've possibly imagined. You don't think that fits Jay-Z?

posted by dfleming at 07:08 AM on June 26

Well, since we seem to be arguing about a definition, let's go to the dictionary!

adjective 1. shining brightly; sparkling; glittering; lustrous: the brilliant lights of the city.

Hm, well, this is more physical properties, so we'll ignore this one.

2. distinguished; illustrious: a brilliant performance by a young pianist.

Well, anyone who follows hip hop would be hard pressed to argue that Jay-Z wasn't distinguised or illustrious.

3. having or showing great intelligence, talent, quality, etc.: a brilliant technician.

A lot of people would argue that Jay-Z is very talented, so yeah, we got that one too.

4. strong and clear in tone; vivid; bright: brilliant blues and greens; the brilliant sound of the trumpets.

I've never had a hard time understanding Jay-Z's voice, it's pretty strong and clear in tone.

5. splendid or magnificent: a brilliant social event.

This one is pretty subjective, but I'd give it to him, but if you don't want to, fine. So that's at least three out of five possible meanings, and one of those describes physical properties that have nothing to do with his abilities as a rapper or businessman.

posted by apoch at 08:40 AM on June 26

Life is largely luck, and it's important to recognize that and not put too much stock in how things played out on this version of the mortal coil.

So no one is actually brilliant, but some people are brilliantly lucky. Got it.

posted by Etrigan at 09:34 AM on June 26

Life is largely luck, and it's important to recognize that and not put too much stock in how things played out on this version of the mortal coil.

In my experience, luck is just one factor among several in why people are successful. Determination is just as important. People can have break after break handed to them and still fail. Others can start with few advantages, like Jay-Z, and triumph.

Believing that all success is driven by luck is a good rationalization for watching others pass you by.

The Wikipedia entry for Damon Dash, Jay-Z's early business partner, is weird.

posted by rcade at 10:09 AM on June 26

People can have break after break handed to them and still fail.

Ryan Leaf is a good example.

posted by grum@work at 10:31 AM on June 26

I think hal may have chosen a poor example in Jay-Z, who has, I think, displayed something of a brilliance in his specific success, but hal has a broader point and it's something I've noticed a bit more since moving here.

There is a preponderance of thinking that rich people are somehow our betters by the example of their riches. It equates to them being smarter, more hard working and there is an inherent belief in the earning of it. This is, of course, spurious. We can all think of wealthy examples of terribly untalented people who did nothing special to become wealthy. Many of them just managed to maintain someone else's wealth.

I think that there are people who cannot be denied and that the cream largely does rise to the top in most fields, but the vast majority of monetary wealth accumulation does not possess these distinctions.

Here's how I would frame the issue - I would say that Jay-Z isn't brilliant because he is rich, but that he is brilliant. Now, if he wasn't rich - if his fortune was gone all we had left was the music, the fashion and his artistic legacy - would you still say he was brilliant? How important is the money in that equation?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:12 PM on June 26

I think hal may have chosen a poor example in Jay-Z

Seconded. I'm all for the idea that some dumbshits just fall ass-backward into success, and that many wealthy celebrities are only as smart as the people who are marketing them. I'm just not sure that Mr. Z is a prime example of that. Dude has built an empire from nothing, and manages it competently. Maybe Hal dismisses him because of an aversion to hip hop, or maybe he blurs the lines between Jay Z and the laundry list of more appropriate examples out there, I dont know. But choosing a poor example doesn't invalidate the underlying point.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:53 PM on June 26

I've noticed a bit more since moving here.

Can you clarify where "here" is? I don't think any of us are arguing that wealth is an inherent sign of smarts or the lack of wealth the reverse.

posted by yerfatma at 02:00 PM on June 26

Thanks to Weedy and tahoe for restating what was my essential point: I won't argue Jay-Z as a brilliant rapper (though I haven't cared for his stuff), and it's possible he really did drive the growth of his wealth more so than getting a couple of lucky strokes and hiring the right people to guide him.

Maybe instead of Jay-Z I should have picked J-Lo, as also I've heard people say "Well, she's a savvy businesswoman" when... what, she had a great ass and leveraged that into enough fame that clothing/perfume companies go to her and say "We want to start a clothing line as your signature series". Other people do the work, designs, planning, implementation- she just has to sign on the line and make a lot of money.

But like Weedy says the larger tendency in America is very much to retroactively ascribe greatness and merit to someone for being wealthy. Mozart died in a pauper's grave, but that doesn't detract from his brilliance as a musician. It does suggest that he wasn't a brilliant financial whiz, though...

posted by hincandenza at 02:21 PM on June 26

How important is the money in that equation?

I think the fact he turned nothing into something very large is a special thing; if he loses it, the way he built an empire is still amazing.

Truth be told, it wasn't hal that brought up Jay-Z; it was me, in response to the snide question of cixelsyd about the last time a rapper was associated with something intelligent...which is a far cry from brilliance to begin with. I used bloody brilliant tongue in cheek.

I completely understand that money and an extremely hot wife does not constitute brilliance. I think your point, hincandenza, on retroactively ascribing greatness applies to people who were lucky enough to be in a position to be great too, because until very recently, white males had a complete monopoly on achievement.

It usually takes people a while to find women or non-white great people and I think we need to retroactively acknowledge that most great people were given J-Lo's booty by being male, privileged and/or white.

posted by dfleming at 02:45 PM on June 26

I completely understand that money and an extremely hot wife does not constitute brilliance.

So what the fuck am I working so hard for?

Just kidding. As long as I can have money and a hot wife, I don't give a rat's ass if people think I'm brilliant

posted by tahoemoj at 03:00 PM on June 26

Can you clarify where "here" is? I don't think any of us are arguing that wealth is an inherent sign of smarts or the lack of wealth the reverse.

Here is Philadelphia. It's a beautiful, livable city in parts with an enormously obvious income gap that staggers me. The material pursuits here seem more emphasized than back home. That may not be totally fair, but it's my initial reaction at any rate.

The issue it seems to me with Jay-Z is that people here have addressed his specific brilliance or success with his ability to make money, and that is the way we are supposed to measure his success. Ergo, if he wasn't a hundred-millionaire, he would not be brilliant, or successful. I wouldn't necessarily suggest that his wealth is accidental - it seems to frame a lot of his strategy and tactics - but I would think a mind like his would be equally valuable in a number of fields. I could see him as a high-ranking military mind, or a master chef if those pursuits interested him.

I come from some privilege, and that world is full of morons as much as any other. They just have nicer cars and eat better meals and yet daily manage to moron their way to the top. Their "success" is largely a question of access rather than anything that they're specifically bringing to the table. Access to schools, mentors, investors and leaders. Some people are able to create opportunities out of thin air, but I find them to be the outliers (Jay-Z is most assuredly an outlier). In my experience, opportunities are more invitations than creations. If I had not been invited to that dinner, or known that person, I have no doubt that I would not have experienced what (moderate) success I have.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:25 PM on June 26

the snide question

A snide question it turned out to be.

Although I have wide ranging musical tastes I've never had much admiration for anything rap and confess to not knowing the players or their situations. My exposure is limited to the media reports of the seemingly never ending confrontations between crews of the (quote) artists over the most ridiculous matters, as transpired in this incident, hence my question.

I've gained a lot of perspective from the responses here, and some appreciation for Jay-Z's ascent. For many success is a birthright and very few succeed from a background such as his.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:00 PM on June 26

his ability to make money, and that is the way we are supposed to measure his success

Yeah, that's a fair point. It's a cheap shorthand and I don't think it's an indicator of much other than luck/ opportunity as you suggest, but seizing opportunities is being given short shrift here. To wit:

I should have picked J-Lo, as also I've heard people say "Well, she's a savvy businesswoman" when ... she had a great ass and leveraged that into enough fame

I don't want to fall back on "Haters going to hate", but I'm really uncomfortable with this line of thought. There are thousands of women with nice posteriors who can sing and dance some. This is like saying Derek Jeter fell into success based solely on his ability to win games. Like there was no work involved, no getting up when others were still asleep, no working harder than the next person, etc.

posted by yerfatma at 06:11 PM on June 26

Also, don't overlook Jeter's ass.

posted by tahoemoj at 07:48 PM on June 26

Well... yes, that's kind of what I'm saying. Again, this is the confirmation bias at work: if 100 people do the exact same thing to achieve a goal that basically by definition only 1 can achieve... then it kind of does come down to luck, even though we'd really, really like to write a script that retroactively finds the reason the 1 person was somehow more exceptional, more amazing, more deserving. That's not to say J-Lo has no talent- but that it's a happenstance that she, and not any one of hundreds of equally qualified people, became rich and famous.

Haven't you ever known someone who started their own business, and it failed- even though they did everything right? Don't they even say that a lot of wealthy people offer as the biggest piece of advice "keep trying", because your first few efforts will be failures? We want to believe we live in a very deterministic universe, that everything is perfectly just, fair, and deserved... but in reality, no, it's a lot more chaotic than that. This isn't to say that no one has any control over their fate- but the difference between wild success and failure or mere mediocrity is small, and often hinges on knowing something we could never know at the time.

Hollywood is littered with stories of people who turned down film roles that could have made their careers- because the film seemed like a sure loser at the time. How many actors have we never heard of because they turned down a role that would have made them a star? Even of the ones we know, there are some dumb decisions- in retrospect. Sean Connery was offered up to 15% of the worldwide receipts to play the role of Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but he turned it down because he "didn't understand the script". Had he accepted that deal, it would have been worth $400 million. Michael Madsen turned down the role of "Vincent Vega" in Pulp Fiction- despite already starring in the low budget Tarantino film "Reservoir Dogs"- and that film took the DOA career of John Travolta and put him back on the A-List. Bruce Jenner turned down the role of "Superman" in the classic 1978 film so he could appear in a Village People musical (sadly, his step-children continue to litter the entertainment sphere).

Perhaps among the most heartbreaking, Ronald Wayne sold off his 10% stake in Apple Computers- which he co-founded- for a mere $2,300 in 1976. Why? Well, because unlike the two Steves he had assets creditors could seize if the company failed, and had already had a failed business 5 years prior... and how could he possibly know that the boutique niche of computers was about to explode and change the world we live in over the next three decades? If he'd held on to that $2,300 stake (10%), it'd be worth $35 billion today.

Athletes are pretty much the only clear exception- and even there it's a bit of luck, though much less than anywhere else- because of the relentless meritocracy. Although until sabermetrics began to mature and be more embraced, you'd still have guys losing roster spots despite higher OBP/OPS, because things like wins or RBI were more traditionally embraced.

And heck, look at Jeremy Lin: no one can disregard his talent, drive, and work ethic. But if Baron Davis doesn't suffer a setback in his recovery, and if D'Antoni hadn't out of desperation given Lin a chance, mere days before the Knicks would cut him rather than guarantee his salary... well, that's an anomaly, but it shows that even sports isn't immune to a little luck.

posted by hincandenza at 07:49 PM on June 26

if 100 people do the exact same thing to achieve a goal that basically by definition only 1 can achieve...

Why do you think that only one person could have done what Jay-Z has done? Is there a hard cap on people worth half a billion dollars?

And even if you subscribe to the theory that only one person could have, why do you think that anyone had to? There are plenty of successful jazz musicians, but I don't think any has hit half a billion dollars.

The fact that luck is involved doesn't mean that only luck is involved.

posted by Etrigan at 08:07 PM on June 26

There are thousands of women with nice posteriors who can sing and dance some.

J-Lo beat out 2,000 of them to become a Fly Girl on In Living Color, one of her first breaks. She was almost a decade into her career -- prime great ass-having years, mind you -- before she started getting big movie roles.

posted by rcade at 08:21 PM on June 26

Well at this point it's obvious almost no one is bothering to actually read what I've written.

posted by hincandenza at 08:33 PM on June 26

That's one take on the crowd disagreeing with you.

posted by yerfatma at 09:08 PM on June 26

prime great ass-having years, mind you -- before she started getting big movie roles.

She peaked with "Out of Sight".

posted by grum@work at 09:40 PM on June 26

I know nothing of Jay-Z. Across the street from the high school I attended was a drug store called J-Z's Pharmacy. Since I was graduated in 1958, the name had nothing to do with the rapper; the owner was a guy named Joe Zimmerman. I'm 71 years old, and if it was written after 1960, I don't generally care much. Whether or not someone who makes a great deal of money should be considered brilliant depends on a lot of things. There are a number of the so-called drug lords who have made a lot of money by being smart and ruthless enough to survive. Are they brilliant? In the arts and entertainment business, one must have either talent or good looks to excel. There are few cases where having one or both of those attributes leads to great success, and these would involve an element of luck. One has to add hard work to talent to make any success last for the long term. Again, this may reflect very well on the person involved, but is it brilliance?

I used to work with some very, very smart people. Not to blow my own horn, but all of us to some degree were hard-working, creative people who solved some very difficult engineering problems. Often, when a solution proved elusive, one of us would have a flash of insight that would lead to the right path. In the moment that this happened, it could be considered brilliant because the insight was the product of education, study, solid reasoning, and as often as not, a random association of the problem with another event. Just the ability to make such an association was in itself brilliant.

Were all of us at my work place to be considered brilliant? I think not. Most of us came up with the good ideas on a once-in-a-while basis. The few who frequently and consistently came up with the great ideas were the ones whom I would consider brilliant people. The rest of us were good enough to contribute, but our biggest use was to put the ideas of the brilliant guys into execution.

This then comes down to my own definition of what makes a brilliant person. There's talent, hard work, ruthlessness - yes even for the law abiding - and the ability to use all of one's attributes to their highest level. Is Jay-Z brilliant? Without knowing a lot more about him, I could not make that assessment. Is he successful? That's quite obvious, but it's not really a qualification for brilliance.

dfleming, you might have had a flash of brilliance with your assessment of Jay-Z as "bloody brilliant". It prompted quite an interesting discussion.

posted by Howard_T at 09:44 PM on June 26

if 100 people do the exact same thing to achieve a goal that basically by definition only 1 can achieve... then it kind of does come down to luck

Assuming they all do it equally well, then yes. But they don't.

The issue I am having with your posts (and yes I read them all) is that it seems like you are saying that success comes down solely to luck. It doesn't. You can keep arguing that it's a logical fallacy to assume that anything we do matters in success, but I guess it's just your bad luck that I am not going to believe you.

posted by apoch at 10:07 PM on June 26

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...

"She's been known, like Helen of Troy, to cause trouble," Jaroslawicz said of Rihanna. Nothing like a bit of defamation.

Parker, who was at the W.i.P. with Brown ... Given the history of incidents involving hip-hop and rap artists, how could the possibility of trouble not have entered the mind? If there was "known tension" with Brown and Drake, wouldn't one have thought deeper about being with Chris? Or did he suddenly realize that when the piece of glass entered his eye?

This is one case where I would love for a judge to say, "You're a grown-up; accept the results of your actions," then proceed to throw out the lawsuit.

BTW, if the piece of glass did penetrate "99 percent" of his eye, it should already be destroyed.

posted by jjzucal at 11:42 PM on June 26

if 100 people do the exact same thing to achieve a goal that basically by definition only 1 can achieve... then it kind of does come down to luck

It depends on the person. When it comes to J-Lo, it's way too conservative. Thousands and thousands of people could do what J-Lo does. She's a mediocre singer at best. Go to any high school and you'll find better voices. That doesn't mean she didn't work hard, or isn't talented, it just means the luck played a huge role in her career.

I think that's the case more times than not in the entertainment world (acting, singing, etc.). That's one reason I prefer sports. You can either hit a curveball, or you can't, and if you can't, eventually we'll find out.

(Of course, luck plays a part everywhere. Maybe Jeter had a hitch in his swing that a coach fixed years ago that no one else saw.)

That's why while I was rooting against LeBron, I won't lose any sleep over him winning a championship. He deserved it. He earned it. But if Tebow had continued winning it would have driven me nuts. He was a terrible quarterback by any measure last year except wins, and eventually the well ran dry, as it should have.

posted by justgary at 01:48 PM on June 27

JLo got a successful music career because she started dating Diddy. I don't know if I would call that lucky.

posted by bperk at 03:46 PM on June 27

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