Houston, you have a problem

The reprimand of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey by team owner Tilman Fertitta, followed by the equally chicken-hearted deletion of an ‘offending’ pro-Hong Kong protest tweet by Morey himself, represents a saddening new cravenness for citizens and a corporate entity in the United States. Even the idea of sporting idols kowtowing to a communist country in days gone by would have been not merely career-ending but franchise-obliterating. The Celtics of the 1960s didn’t play fair-minded even-Stevens with the Viet Cong. Joe DiMaggio didn’t voice his respect for Chinese feelings on Korea in 1950. But here we are. Why?

Because China is now wealthy? Well, there are many wealthy countries in the world whose governments are, from time to time, arrayed against protesters. As a rule, the wealthier the country the more ostentatiously bold the critics. That can’t be the reason. Is it because of some vestige of guilt – preemptively expiated in this case by, of all things, a basketball team – about the bigoted treatment of ‘Chinamen’ in the past? The goodies and the baddies in the China-Hong Kong crisis are the same, racially, so this can’t be right either.

No, the culture-conditioned amorality of the time and the piggish greed of contemporary corporations colluded to make the un-American activities of Fertitta and Morey close to inevitable. They did not recognise right from wrong and, apparently, wouldn’t be inclined to favour the principled former if it meant offending the pecunious latter. What Beijing is good at is igniting the spark – on streets or social media – and then waiting for hand-wringing oafs to immolate themselves in a grovel-fueled auto-da-fé. As Paul Keating famously said (and an adviser to the China Development Bank should know): “Always back the horse named self-interest. It’ll be the only one trying.” Which is not entirely true. Have a quid on the old stager, Moral Relativism, as well. By Whatevs out of Who Can Say, a short-priced favourite on any modern track.

Elsewhere: The ABC’s China correspondent says troublemakers “encouraged by government-owned media have made it a sport to target and troll foreign brands into submission …” Imagine that.

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12 Responses to Houston, you have a problem

  1. Nob

    Jack Lang said it two generations before Keating and I doubt Lang originated the saying either.

    Anyway, regardless of which side he’s on, we live in a culture that is more enamoured with banning or otherwise suppressing Wrongthink speech than at any time since 1984 was published.

    The MSM seems curiously conflicted on the HK protests, always giving much more time to Extinction Rebellion’s vacuous frolics.

  2. tombell

    what bout the Ruskies?

  3. Herodotus

    Good to see C.L.’s talents put to use as guest author.

  4. bespoke

    Tuff times for business, SJW or make money.

  5. Iampeter

    The reprimand of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey by team owner Tilman Fertitta, followed by the equally chicken-hearted deletion of an ‘offending’ pro-Hong Kong protest tweet by Morey himself, represents a saddening new cravenness for citizens and a corporate entity in the United States.

    Quite a pile on happening to private enterprise.
    But who can blame them when the President himself surrenders on China and the Hong Kong protests so easily.
    Or tweets congratulations to their dictator on the 70th anniversary of the communist dictatorship.
    Or says things like, Xi is a good man in a “tough job.”

    So I agree there’s a new level of cravenness, it’s just not from corporations…

  6. max

    “Beggars can’t be choosers”
    “There’s No Political Freedom Without Economic Freedom”

  7. Players of the NBA,

    Please stand for March of the Volunteers.

  8. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    What Nob said above. Compare the ABC’s program ‘Fast Forward’ to what can be said in cultural comment today. Reality has caught up with satire and often you can’t tell the difference any more. We have a population being educated not to think in a culture busy apologising for itself. A better pride based on the genuine achievements of the open and free societies of the West might help to stem the rot. Start in the schools and universities.

  9. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    Morrison Government doesn’t have the guts

    Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun October 10, 2019

    When will Morrison government ministers get the guts to tell the truth to green fanatics? Their cowardice is making us less safe and more stupid. Take the government’s fear of telling the truth about nuclear power. On Tuesday our Chief of Navy admitted that the 12 new submarines we’re getting France to build for $50 billion might eventually include ones driven by nuclear power.

    Vice-Admiral Michael Noonan said “at this point in time, I believe that they will be conventional submarines”, driven by diesel engines.

    But that could change “bearing in mind that by the time we deliver No 12 it will be 2055.”

    See the madness here? We won’t have the last of these 12 submarines for another 36 years.

  10. John A

    Morey’s response in standard Southern dialect should have been “Go to hell, you SOB”.

    The actual response tells me that the Houston Rockets will probably fail on launch, and the owner will lose money. Is that what he really wanted?

  11. duncanm

    That didn’t work – try at 3:57

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