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Quotes of the Week

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

[Recent post from Dogs Against Romney]

Thanks to Joel, I’ve been a regular reader of Robert Paul Wolff’s blog, The Philosopher’s Stone. Two days ago, in one of his occasional notes on the Republican presidential race, Wolff took a brief look at Mormonism, suggesting that it is no odder than any other religion. Wolff concluded by wishing that the religious aspect of Romney’s life be looked at more closely as a clue to Romney’s essence, rather than Romney’s financial dealings or penchant for strapping the family dog to the roof of the station wagon: “As the political season unfolds, I am looking forward to some searching examinations of the [religion] that constitutes the essence of Romney’s most deeply held beliefs.”

But this isn’t my quote of the week. The quote is the preceding passage, in which Wolff suggests that the focus on Romney’s work with Bain Capital and his tax status is mis-placed. After all, Wolff observes,

Who ever doubted that the super-rich get super-rich by writing favorable tax laws for themselves? What good is capitalism if it cannot even protect the 1%!

A healthy dose of reality, for sure, and a reminder that nothing about the economic policies of the Republican candidates should surprise us.

As it turns out, I had a quote of the week lined up for last week as well, but never got around to it. It was from Victoria Azarenka, the tennis player from Belarus who won the Australian Open last weekend for her first victory in a major. She has been one of the bright young stars of the women’s tour for a few years (still only 22), but also the worst offender among the corps of screamers that populates the tour.

What am I talking about? Have a look, or listen:

I was enjoying the ability to watch some of the matches live in the evenings during week two of the Open, thanks to the time difference between here and Australia. For example, two Tuesdays ago, I caught the end of the much-anticipated quarter-final between Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki. But when it came to watching Azarenka against Agnieszka Radwanska, forget it. The semi-final pairings were a disaster, with Azarenka against Clijsters in one and runner-up-for-biggest-screamer Maria Sharapova in the other against Petra Kvitova. The pity is, these were both interesting matchups, ones I would have liked to see, in principle. But no way was I going to subject myself to the screaming.

And the screamers both won! What a pity! Azarenka-Sharapova was an intriguing matchup (though Azarenka would go on to win easily), but unwatchable.

In the NYT two Wednesdays ago, just after Azarenka beat Clijsters in the quarter-finals, Ben Rothenberg wrote about the grunting. When asked, Sharapova responded, “You’ve watched me grow up, you’ve watched me play tennis. I’ve been the same over the course of my career. No one important enough has told me to change or do something different.” She makes an important point: Until the tennis authorities decide to do something about this, nothing will change.

Meanwhile, Azarenka wins the award for quote of the week:

It’s the way I am, the way I play, the way I used to play when I was a kid. As a child I was really weak, so I had to give that little extra power there. It kind of stuck with me, so that’s it.

Power? What do her shrieks have to do with power? What possible purpose do they serve other than distracting the opponent. And annoying all of us who might otherwise have an interest in supporting women’s tennis.

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