And now there’s what blots out the sun.
It’s hard to see where the joy will come from, as the Warriors lance through the league, exquisite like a Scandinavian city, everything just so, the starters with towels over their heads by the fourth quarter, pointing out women in the crowd to each other, laughing, up twenty-two, Ian Clark breaking a sweat, Oracle buzzingly sated, overfed, while a courtside teen in a crisp blue and gold no. 30 whose dad ground-floored Uber, who will never know pain, won’t even know not getting into Stanford, pecks out a text to a friend: im bored.
The Warriors are a gift no one deserves to a city that deserves only itself. Rather, they’re moving to the city that only deserves itself as quickly as possible. They are currently still slumming it with the undesirables in Oakland, ashamed of the company of bartenders and social workers and schoolteachers they’re keeping, to the point Joe Lacob probably apologizes about it to his luxury box guests: sorry it’s such a schlep to get down here. San Francisco was once a great, ragged, genuinely strange American city and now it’s overstuffed with khaki-hearted bridge salesmen who think a noble technocracy will enfranchise the women they don’t hire and the poor folks whose neighborhoods they gentrify.
You won’t be able to hate the Warriors, or your hate will be grim and resigned and insufficient. A Marxist can post up outside a CEO summit and cuss out every bespoke-suited haircut who emerges from the hotel lobby; he can graffiti a Chase billboard; but he can’t give capitalism itself a piece of his mind. So he grumbles and mutters and publishes at Jacobin, but he can never fully express his contempt for the system he lives under. You can hate Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. The doom they plant in you, the gloomy sense of inevitability they stand in for? That’s something your hate isn’t long enough to wrap around.
Beauty is both subjective and for some reason very important to us. Hitler and the Nazi regime were obsessed with the refinement of a specific aesthetic: bold iconography, Classical design, idealized human forms. Even Hitler’s anti-semitism was couched partially in his sense of what was and wasn’t beautiful. He threw abstract and impressionist artists—many of whom, not coincidentally, were Jews—in jail and sent them away to camps, burned their paintings and smashed their sculptures. Hitler liked a simple, handsome landscape or portrait, nothing transgressive. Quelle surprise a fascist imbecile who put sugar in his wine had boring taste.
This history of soccer is a long and combative argument about beauty. Managers at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have been fired for winning matches with insufficient panache. José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are more like the heads of clashing political ideologies than whiteboard tacticians. The Dutch national team, as the recently deceased visionary Johan Cruyff would periodically remind them whenever they played five at the back or two holding midfielders, play attacking soccer or forfeit claim on their Dutchness at a metaphysical level. Spaniards look down on the English for relying on the counterattack and the English believe the Spaniards are point-missing snobs for their fixation on possession and short, pretty passes. Brazil haven’t had a free-flowing, needlessly flashy team in years. It’s been framed as an identity crisis.
The Warriors will be beautiful. Nearly everyone they have is long and quick, nearly everyone can pass. They’ll take teams apart, choreograph them: swing, close, swing, close, swing, shot. They’ll run others off the court with sheer force of talent. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant don’t need an offense when they’re hot. They’ll be powerful and precise and perfectly spaced. They’ll be Christopher Nolan’s camera, Nigel Godrich’s production, Damien Hirst’s installations. Luxuriously, meticulously, sighingly beautiful.
Nothing much happens when a squirrel runs under a car and gets killed. The rodent skitters down a telephone pole, into the street, the front tire shatters its bones and its viscera bursts onto the pavement, and it expires. The sound it makes is the absence of a shriek. The back tire clips a flattened corpse. There’s no story there. A violent event begins and ends in the space of a few seconds.
Stretch that bleak meaninglessness out over eight months. For a spell, the squirrel seems it might—nope. Add forced ambient arguing about how fast the car is going, the tread pattern on its tires, and the exact point at which the squirrel’s guts break through its skin. Maybe the squirrel, its lungs crushed and its esophagus hanging out of its slackened jaw like a tubular tongue, gives one fitful, vital spasm just before it croaks. The car is blasting Bruno Mars.
Anyway, Warriors over Cavs in six.