ESPN’s The Trifecta

Sarah Spain, Kate Fagan and Jane McManus cohost a weekend show on ESPN radio, The Trifecta. I am not sure it’s the first regularly scheduled national ESPN radio without a male host. But it’s certainly one of the first.

There’s plenty of straight up sports talk on the show. But there are also digressions into social issues, for lack of a better term, that aren’t unique on the network (see Bomani Jones and LeBatard), but are nevertheless refreshing. Yesterday, the threesome discussed an article about Ross on Friends which asserted that the show’s constant mockery of Ross’ intelligence and career in science were emblematic of a larger anti-intellectualism that has come to suffuse American culture. It’s a somewhat overheated thesis, but the Trifecta’s discussion of the article, critical thinking, social media and anti-intellectualism were really smart and thoughtful.

Spain, in particular, obviously did some homework in preparation for this segment. She provided a nice quote from Isaac Asimov, cited Richard Hofstadter’s 1964 classic, “Anti-intellectualism in American Life” and, rather than merely bashing social media, tried to think seriously about how the air we breathe in the current information environment might undermine more thoughtful discussion.

Very impressive.

Speaking of, the threesome touched on HB2 and again, and were especially incisive in demolishing the ridiculous justifications for passing the law. Spain noted, among other things, that in the 17 states and hundreds of municipalities that have passed ordinances and laws comparable to the Charlotte law that HB2 targeted, there have been zero incidents of the type that prompted the fearmongers and ignoramuses in Raleigh to claim that they needed to mandate broad discrimination in the name of public “safety.” Spain and her compatriots made the further point that while there is zero evidence that sexual predators have used these types of laws to perpetrate crimes, there is a real and serious violence problem that targets transgender individuals themselves. Indeed, there is more than a passing resemblance between the horseshit and cowardly justifications for passing HB2 and the idiotic arguments in favor of Voter ID laws based on the essentially non-existent problem of in-person voter fraud, insofar as both serve to further marginalize victims of bias and contempt,by turning them into imaginary threats to the social order.

And special shoutout to Spain for calling out former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee for his especially ignorant and “idiotic” claim that if these laws had existed in his day, he’d have dressed up like a female to go into women’s bathrooms. Good one, Mike. Congratulations on outing yourself as a would-be sexual predator.

Here the “best of” podcast of yesterday’s show. Reference to HB2 begins at about the 40 minute mark.

Here’s the Asimov quote:

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’



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