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The Dipshit’s Gambit, With Rohan Nadkarni

Kyrie Irving on the bench during a Nets game, seemingly staring thoughtfully at The Distraction logo, as if trying to determine its haplogroup.
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

There are only so many ways that a story that begins with a big-brained centimillionaire chucklehead thoughtfully entering the Hebrew name of god into the search menu on a streaming video service could go. None of them are good, but some are funnier than others; all of them are, at some level or other, an insult to your intelligence. But, nearly a week after Nets point guard and anthropomorphized incense cone Kyrie Irving shared a link to an artless “documentary” called Hebrews To Negroes: Wake Up Black America, we are all still making our way to, or at least toward, the end of that story. The movie, which dwells obsessively if confusingly on The Perfidy Of The Jew, is precisely what you’d expect it to be—”the only time this movie is coherent during its interminable three-and-a-half hour running time (!!!) is when it’s being openly hateful,” Drew wrote in his rave review at SFGate—and Kyrie’s grandiose filibustering when called to account for it is also utterly par for the course, both for him and the other famous and less-famous people who have given themselves this particular type of brain disease. And because none of this is exactly new, from the hoary old antisemitic stuff to Kyrie’s signature toxic credulousness and strident dilettantism, there is only so much mystery left in it. It resolves, mostly, to how much worse this all might get—how ugly, but also how big, and for how long, and how all this righteous sewage might go on to effloresce downstream.

It all absolutely sucks, and it gives me no pleasure to report that much of the first half of this podcast, on which we were joined by Defector podcast legend and Sports Illustrated staff writer Rohan Nadkarni, was devoted to talking about all that shit. I did kind of a lot of talking in this part. Sorry!

There is always the risk, given the timing of our podcast process, that a problem that you talk about on Wednesday might have resolved itself on Thursday. That did not turn out to be the case in this instance!

Fantastic shit, dude, thank you! And also great news for those who enjoy lengthy and impassioned digressions on the limits of consistency and commitment absent anything like coherent belief or a broader structure of thought, as they can probably expect more of that in future episodes. But in this one, after about 20-odd minutes on this topic, we turned to less dispiriting matters. Which is admittedly a low bar, and general, so I will be specific: Drew, Rohan, and I talked about the NFL’s startlingly busy trade deadline, and Rohan’s debilitating case of Fan Brain where the Dolphins are concerned. Rohan also had a good story in which he personally taught Adam Schefter a lesson about the importance of never ever helping an ambitious college kid. It was, all in all, about as good a time as anyone could have discussing both the NFC North and Tua Tagovailoa’s criminally unreported success vis-a-vis “air yards.”

At this point, we were fully in the realm of Benign Stupid Stuff, and the back third of the podcast was on much steadier footing. Instead of difficult questions about enduring cultural shibboleths and the limits of value-neutral contrarianism as a belief system, or anything involving the Dolphins, we were appreciating Chad Pennington’s contributions to the culture, and discussing which types of food are best to eat directly out of the refrigerator, and trying to figure out what NFL coaches actually do for the one-thousandth time in the history of the podcast, and finally speaking the hard truths about two-in-one conditioners. The bigger problems were still out there, but finally at least out of the foreground. It is for this reason that the podcast is named The Distraction, and not The Big Problems. Well, not only for that reason, but it does get us off the hook a bit.

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