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Funbag

Eric Adams Is Unfortunately A Comic Genius

Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Haute Living

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about folding clothes, fruit flavor combinations, Steve Harvey, and more.

Your letters:

John:

Why does New York keep electing weirdo mayors?

I’ll leave it to Roth to explain to you the strange blend of rich liberal angst and sordid municipal corruption that results in New York City electing a true shit head as mayor every single time. All I know is that, right now, Eric Adams is the preeminent comic mind in America.

That tweet isn’t a one-off. Adams says completely random shit like this ALL THE TIME. It’s incredible. I just watched SNL open up with a Ukrainian choir because Lorne Michaels loves making empty gestures before getting back to running his chuckleshop with an iron fist. Meanwhile, Eric Adams is 15 blocks over, probably fisting a grease dumpster and telling reporters, “You see this grease? We got a lot of greasy people in our streets that we gotta take out,” before he walks another block and eats an ice cream cone from the bottom up. You can’t duplicate this kind of comic genius. This is a very special, awful man. I find his mayorality an incredible treat already. Will he make New Yorkers’ lives any better? No. Of course not. He’s a fucking moron. But he’s got material, people. You have to respect that. Our politicians are now funnier than our comedians.

Buddy:

A friend recently told me he reads NFL mock drafts from pick 32 to pick 1. I understand reading a regular list using this countdown method, but reading a draft in this manner is baffling to me. Please weigh in. Thank you!

The way I read mock drafts is I scroll down to my team and read only that one. I don’t care what the other teams do. Sometimes I check for college players I’ve heard of while scrolling down, quarterbacks especially. I also hover over the projected top pick, especially since there’s no consensus No. 1 is year’s talent pool. Otherwise, there’s no way I read an entire mock draft in any order.

And I’m pro-mock drafts, mind you. Mock drafts are fun, and they even have occasional utility. Some of them are even based on actual background information. Read enough mock drafts and your favorite team gets mocked with either one guy or a small handful of them over and over. Then you can get all psyched up to draft one of those guys, or you can shit your pants. I tend toward the former, despite the latter being justified in nearly every instance. Also, my team is potentially in the mix to draft a quarterback this spring, so it behooves me to eyebang these drafts even closer. I now have a thing for Matt Corral, even though I personally only watched him play one half of football during his career. No matter. Corral or bust for me.

As for Buddy’s … buddy … I don’t fault him for reading mocks backward. He treats it like a countdown, which I suppose adds a dash of suspense where none was particularly warranted. But the NFL offseason is when fans are entitled to get really fucking weird. I’m the kind of guy who sees a mock trade in a mock draft and will become greatly titillated by the prospect. I’ve already mentally trade-machined so many different deals for Kirk Cousins that I sometimes forget he’s still on my team. Alas.

Steven:

How much time do you think Mark Zuckerberg spends in a VR headset every day?

Five minutes, and here’s how Zuck spends those fine minutes: He walks into a Meta lab to test out the newest feature his team has come up with. He straps on the headset for a few minutes and looks around the room like a blind person. He goes, “This is so cool!” to great fanfare. Then he walks out. And then, half an hour later, he has a lackey sends his team a long email outlining everything wrong with what he just tested.

Andy:

Will the NFL ever expand/relocate to a foreign country?

The Ginger Hammer continually uses the prospect of putting a team in London or Mexico as a cheap leverage ploy for domestic teams still angling for a new stadium back home. It’s never actually happening. I’ve wanted an NFL team in London for a while now, but the current slate of abroad games essentially does that job for me. I get up on a random autumn Sunday, I make my breakfast and coffee, I turn on the TV at 9:00 a.m. and HEY PRESTO! The Jaguars are playing the Falcons, and I have moving wallpaper at my disposal until the real games kick off four hours later. Just the treat I require.

Same goes for the NFL. Relocating a franchise outside of North America is a logistical, competitive, and bureaucratic pain in the ass. As for Mexico, that country is already Cowboys and, oddly, Steelers territory. Jerry Jones will never let them have a team. And Canada already told the Bills to piss off. Having a regular slate of international games instead is an easy compromise. It also mimics successful ventures by international soccer leagues that stage games here in the U.S. to increase their brand awareness. That’s why the NFL is expanding the abroad games into Germany this coming season, and why Tottenham is rumored to want a future Super Bowl, and why it wouldn’t be a shock for the NFL to stage future games in even more far-flung locales. That way, they can get a foothold in those countries without having to formally commit to them. Without FAILING. These guys don’t like failing. Makes them look soft.

Whit:

Today, I was taking my two-year-old to PT when I suddenly had to go. I understand that if it’s quick business and you’re in public, you just take the kid into the bathroom with you. But this was a roiling storm and it was going to be loud, long and wet. Fortunately, things subsided, but: What do you do with a kid in that situation?

Oh I’ve taken lengthy public dumps with small children in tow. It’s a rite of passage for any dad. The first time I did it, I took my daughter into the stall WITH me. She was so young at the time that there really wasn’t any choice, plus there’s nothing very small children get a kick out of more than watching mommy or daddy take a big fat dump. One of our kids used to deliberately barge INTO the bathroom in our house if they knew we were shitting. It’s a real bonding moment.

Eventually, I deemed it safe enough for my kids to wait outside the bathroom stall while I did my business. This was tricky with my daughter, given that I was bringing her into a public men’s room, where she might be traumatized simply by the sight of strange and hairy men lumbering in to take a piss. Much easier to leave my sons out there and let them wait. Sometimes they’d get impatient and knock on the stall door. Sometimes they’d look UNDER the stall door to ask me what was going on. Regardless, I would poop with supreme urgency so I could exit the stall and ensure that my boys had not been abducted by the local pederast. I’m a child of the ’80s, so I was raised to assume that every stranger is a child molester. Then I had kids of my own, had to take them into public bathrooms, and spent all of my time there thinking PLEASE DON’T GET MOLESTED PLEASE DON’T GET MOLESTED.

Now that the kids are older, I can spend as much time deucing as I please. They can wait out in the lobby. They can go shoot dice in an alleyway for all I care. I don’t give a shit. Here’s a can of pepper spray, kid. I’ll be a bit.

Jeffrey:

I don’t often watch network TV, but when I do I always see one man… Steve Harvey. Do you understand his appeal and seemingly omnipresent ability?

Steve Harvey was a good standup back in the day. He’s one of the original kings of comedy, and plenty of people remember that fondly. Steve Harvey is also very good at looking exasperated, like he knew what you were gonna say and is now deeply annoyed that you went ahead and said it. That’s why Family Feud hired him to ask people, “Name one place you don’t expect to lose your keys.” Like Ellen DeGeneres, Steve’s reliable at doing the shit that TV people need to do, which means that, like Ellen, he gets paid handsomely AND gets to be a complete fucking weirdo off camera.

Harvey’s current act can wear thin, but you have to remember that he’s hosting shows that have a transient audience. You’re not SUPPOSED to consume a lot of Steve Harvey right now. He’s only there to be mildly charming when you have nothing else to watch, and he’s better at it than Jeffrey gives him credit for.

Also, as you might have guessed, Steve Harvey has a sizable black audience. Whether or not white people like me “get” his shit is completely beside the point. I learned that profiling Stephen A. a few years ago. “First Take” has such a huge, not to mention lucrative, black audience that the needs of the white demographic aren’t all that important. They’re still MILDLY important, because American whites can’t have goddamn thing not be their own. Otherwise, like Tyler Perry, Steve Harvey is one of those entertainers whose popularity and influence are huge within one community while perplexing to another. Also he wrote that one book.

Sebastian:

What would you say if I suggested a way for football to become safer was to become more aerobic? Take the edge out of players’ explosiveness by making the play clock 25 seconds and not allowing substitutions for whole series or even limited subs in between series (barring injury). The shape of a football player would change. They would have to have more endurance instead of explosion.

That sounds like a good idea except that perpetual up-tempo offenses already exist (and have since 1990, actually). Also, with Sebastian’s new rules, NFL teams would simply inject their players with more Winstrol in order for them to withstand the increased workload. You wouldn’t make the game any safer. In fact, without proper rest, you’re endangering players more than they’re used to even now.

These rules would also make football worse from a quality standpoint. Sometimes, like in the Bills-Chiefs divisional game, you watch two worn out squads overcome fatigue to give you a blockbuster ending. More often than not though, when both teams are shot, you end up getting a 9-6 AFC East slog. No thank you. This is why the chief complaint about football—too many breaks in play—is actually its strongest selling point. Everyone has a phone now, and plenty others have a DVR, so the breaks in a football game mean nothing. They’re a feature for yours truly, in fact. I can watch a play, text my friend YOU SEE THAT SHIT?! and then look up to see the next play about to begin. Perfect viewing for the attentionally deficited. I don’t want the games to go any faster. I’ll watch a Premier League game and quietly BEG for an ad break so that I can look at my phone. No such problems exist with the NFL, nos sir. I got plenty of time to indulge all of my bullshit: time that has the added benefit of gifting maximum freshness to the players as they go out and attempt to kill one another. Perfect sport. It’s March, by the way.

HALFTIME!

(NOTE: I’d like a QOTSA cover of the song above. It would totally work.)

Tim:

We live in a time when a third to a half of the country is either not at all trusting of the press and/or actively hostile to it. I have two, maybe three friends that fall into this category. They say insane, and untrue, stuff about media. When I, someone who also works in media, challenge them, I get attacked mercilessly (it’s even gotten personal, with attacks on my writing quality and claims that I got facts wrong when I didn’t, but this isn’t my therapy time). My question is, how do you deal with this? I am watching smart, well-educated people with law and master’s degrees believe things that are almost an alternate reality, but if I say anything, I’m the bad guy. To be clear, these folks are conservative but not MAGA. More like Gary Johnson types. I don’t think the media is beyond reproach or criticism, of course, but what these people say isn’t legit, informed criticism. How do you, as a media member, deal with people in your offline life who are hostile to the media, whether they are liberal or conservative or whatever?

You will not believe me, but I rarely get shit for working in the media from people offline. When they find out, they’re usually more intrigued than appalled. This is because I live in a city of lawyers, so any non-lawyer is a welcome curiosity. There’s an extremely mild wow factor to working in this business that even Republicans, at least to my face, are taken by. Being as sexy as I am in person certainly helps things. I’ve only gotten shit for being a media member while I’ve been on assignment, and even then I’ve never had to deal with the brute antagonism that other reporters, particularly those on the campaign trail, have had to endure. The sons of Duck Dynasty looked at me funny when they found out I was profiling them for GQ. They ended up looking at me even funnier after that story was published.

I grew up despising the media. I hated MTV News when I was a kid. Who would anyone bother to hate on MTV News? Well, I did. I found John Norris pushy. Quite the offense by him. I hated the nightly news because it was boring. I hated CNN because they covered the OJ trial wall-to-wall for pretty much the entirety of my college career. I hated the late night shows because I was not asked to host them. I hated the print media because they were old and snobby and never liked the movies I liked. And I hated sportscasters because they didn’t mention my team often enough. I hated all that shit.

And I still do, which is my right as an American. The difference now is that the media has become so fractured, both in terms of the mediums they inhabit and the partisan lines they’ve migrated toward, that you can hate the media in so many different ways. My own media hate is now so diverse and so rich that I can cover an entire work week with it. You see that college kid pissing and moaning to The New York Times that she can’t have a civil debate about Captain Marvel with her college professors? What a loser! Here now are 800 words about what a dumb bag of shit she is.

This is why, if people complain to me about the media when they find out I’m in the media, my first reaction is usually OH GOD YES WE FUCKING SUCK. This is both true and disarming. Defuses the situation much quicker than if I put on my best Thirsty Media Ally face and vehemently defend the craft of journalism to people who made up their minds about it AGES ago.

All I’d ask of people is that they don’t just lazily hate “the media” as some amorphous, liberal Borg, but that they pick specific and worthy targets for their ire. I’m gonna know you’re a Larry The Cable Guy if you just rant and rave about “fake CNN.” I already know you mean “the Jews.” Gimme an educated torching of, like, David Brooks, and then I’ll know you have a learned hate.

David:

I was thinking about this question after watching the latest Kingsmen movie. It’s set during WW1 and one of the fights is a swordfight. This made me wonder: when did the greatest swordfighter in history live? Is it in modern times, where there’s a library of historical information/tips/training/diet? Or would someone in the past have an advantage because they were literally fighting for their lives, whereas the modern person is probably only concerned with the quality of the wine in their grotto and has never fought to the death?

I feel awful saying this, but it’s right now because of fencing being an Olympic sport. Old swordfighters didn’t sashay about with rapiers like Wesley in The Princess Bride. They were paid mercenaries who used swords Berserker style, swinging and cutting until there was nothing left to cut. None of that choreographed let’s sword-dance shit you see in old movies. All of the fighting was blunt, sloppy and lethal. I know this because I was alive in 1306. I was there. You kids wouldn’t understand.

On a related note, we were eating dinner the other night and my daughter asked the table, “Why don’t they fight wars with swords anymore? That’s so much cooler.” Well, that INSTANTLY set off my Dad Alarm. My wife was already groaning before I had even started launching into a full discourse about how guns and cannonade made it easy to kill multiple enemy combatants from a great distance, allowing relatively small European battalions to overcome massive indigenous resistance once they landed in the Americas. By the time I was finished, everyone had left the table to go look at screens. I stand by my points.

By the way, I watched The King’s Man the other weekend without having seen any of the other movies in the franchise. It was already on HBO Max, so I said why not. A wise move. Turns out all I want out of an action movie is to have Ralph Fiennes looking elegant while beating the shit out of people. My anglophilia has no limits.

Tristan:

I like to pick a song and listen to it on a continuous loop while driving. It’s never the same song on consecutive trips or even the same day. For instance, when driving to work in the morning, I would listen to ‘California Love’ ad nauseam, but change it to “Sweet Child of Mine” when driving to the store or going home later in the day. There’s a ‘playlist’ of about 20 songs I do this with. Is that really weird, or a lot more common than one would think?

I’ll listen to new songs on a continuous loop, which is standard operating procedure for a lot of people. I don’t do it nearly as often for old songs, especially ones I’ve already heard 57 million times. More often, I listen to the same rotation of playlists over and over again. So it’s not one song, but it’s still only a handful of them. Every time I play PS4 golf in the basement, I have to listen to “Side Effects” by the Chainsmokers and “Done For Me” by Charlie Puth back-to-back at some point during the proceedings. I’m not gonna bother to defend myself there. Sometimes your brain gets wired for certain listening habits. That’s one of mine.

Jed:

In candy and drinks and juice and all sorts of area of flavored food, you can find lots of two-fruit combinations: apple-cranberry, cherry-lemon, banana-strawberry. One combination I’ve never seen is grape-cherry. Why do you think that isn’t a thing?

Because grape flavor is overpowering one. It doesn’t play terribly well with others. This is the part where I’d normally rank all of the fruit duos currently available on the market to you, the consumer. But frankly, I’m already exhausted thinking about it. All I’ll say is that I tossed some blueberries into my banana smoothie a while back and, to my surprise, it actually worked. Nature never ceases to surprise.

Brian:

Hoodies: folded or hanging? WHO YA GOT? Personally, I fold. But I’ve only got about five or six. If I needed enough to keep me going a couple weeks, hanging might be more efficient. I recognize the merits of both. Discuss.

Also: can we get a whole Funbag dedicated to hoodies? Or maybe a special off-season Jamboroo? So much ground to cover.

I fold my hoodies, with two exceptions. Over the winter, I bought two Columbia hoodies with Sherpa hood lining that instantly became attached to my torso at all times. These fuckers are so thick they essentially resist proper storage. I could fold one up, but it would just explode back open the second I put it back down. So I either A) hang them on a hook, or B) drape the one I’m not wearing over a nearby chair.

In general, I despise hanging clothes. I have some nice polos I hang to keep them fresh but my willpower to keep treating them so nicely is fading. At some point, I’m gonna fold them and they’ll just be regular-ass shirts again. And even folding them is gonna be a chore I resent. At heart, I’m still 17 years old when it comes to clothing storage. When I stay in a hotel room, I leave my clothes everywhere. At home, there’s a chair in our bedroom that I always throw my everyday clothes onto: my hoodie, my shirt, my lounge pants. I also keep a pair of jeans with a belt already threaded through them on that chair in case of a fashion emergency. My wife will implore me to clean off the chair, and I dutifully oblige, and then I put all my shit back on the chair a few days later. The chair is vital.

Even when I do put my clothes away, I’m not meticulous about it. The piles in my drawer and in my closet topple over and I don’t bother righting them. Sometimes I chuck hoodies on top of one of the piles without bothering to fold them at all. That hoodie can fold itself. My wardrobe is not crisp. No one will give a rat’s ass if they see crease marks in my Justin Jefferson shirsey. If I didn’t have to fold anything, I wouldn’t. I definitely don’t iron anything. Hanging dress pants—using that little sliding rod on the bottom of a nice hanger—pisses me off. What I’m saying is that I need a butler.

Also, there won’t be an all-hoodie Funbag. I’ve covered what needs to be covered on the subject.

Email of the week!

Adrian:

When I was a kid I was told many times that I was related, through my maternal grandmother, to Grover Cleveland. Do I have any way of verifying this? Absolutely not. Will I continue to present this unverifiable claim as fact until I die? Undoubtedly. But since Grover Cleveland is known only for winning the presidency in non-consecutive terms and nothing else AND because my brain has been infected by ‘guy’ mentality I’ve been thinking he is a great example of a guy president. My question to you: who are some other guy politicians? I’m Canadian so I could tell you about Paul Martin or Ernie Eves but I figured you’d be best equipped to come up with examples of American guy politicians.

Here’s one for you: Evan Bayh. Remember that guy?