NBA Playoffs Preview: Dallas Mavericks

Hot Cross - A New Set of Lungs (2001)

We all felt a little racist for like five minutes last weekend.

While the response to our ridiculous playoff previews series has been near-unanimously positive (someone even dared to call it "strangely moving!"), an attentive reader wrote and obliquely accused us of racism for "overcoding" what is -- let's face it -- a sport dominated by African-American players by discussing it in the context of a dead genre of music dominated by white guys.

Naturally, we sat on the lawn and workshopped it forever while Anasarca played in the background and we wondered what the guys from boysetsfire. would think, do, say, and so forth... just like we learned how to do at More Than Music Fest.

It seemed like a lot might hinge on what the word "overcoding" even meant and although I went to grad school at a landlocked land grant school I've heard others call "Deleuze country," whatever I once knew about Deleuze and Guattari has since been replaced by... oh, let's call it "less theoretical knowledge," leaving only a substrate-level wish one day to be the kind of person who reads A Thousand Plateaus on the train on the way home from my marketing director job and thinks "my god: now HERE's a social media strategy!" when he reaches that one chapter in which Professor Challenger lectures for eighty pages to an empty room about social media strategy.

So naturally I turned where anybody would turn to find a definition of "overcoding": to one of the first relevant Google Search results:
"Overcoding is defined in A Thousand Plateaus as the expression of the capitalist axiomatic, resulting in “phenomena of centering, unification, totalization, integration, hierarchization and finalization.” But far from being just a linguistic phenomenon, overcoding works through the built environment, which must be conceived as inseparable from its many language machines (billboards, speakers, televisions, computers, etc.). The desire to formulate collective enunciations through participation in deterritorializing flows is an attempt to speak another kind of language, and more than a language. It’s here that Guattari rejoins Deleuze: in the engagement with experimental literatures and their geopolitical deliriums, expressed in the books they wrote together. In their assemblage, resistance to the sociological problem of cybernetic behavior-patterning rejoins the deeper philosophical problem of resistance to cognitive science paradigms, or what Jean-Pierre Dupuy has called “the mechanization of the mind,” emerging from cybernetics and information theory – and present in the linguistic structuralism of Levi-Strauss and his followers (including Lacan). However, Guattari in particular would always insist that semiotics extends beyond language, to embrace all signifying systems, whether visual, affective, gestural, volumetric, musical, etc. Thus his call for the creation of truly complex machines, simultaneously aesthetic and logical, pathic and rhizomatic: paradoxical vehicles of an embodied attempt to escape the overcode."
Got it???

I realize that I totally used the "Got it???"-following a-big-quoted-block-of-text joke in my preview of the Atlanta Hawks. You know where else I used it? In some of my first grad school seminar papers on Deleuze or Lacan. Only later did I learn that Real Theory Research "exfoliates" long unintelligible quotes by appending long semi-intelligible explications. Sometimes it even uses basketball references, as John McGowan's pretty great book on Hannah Arendt does when it compares politics in Arendt's thought to a game of pick up basketball. And don't think for even a moment that I'm above one day posting some quasi-learned thing about that bit of McGowan's book -- after, of course, I write another post on Scorecasting and loss aversion (e.g. never).

Is this still a basketball blog by the way? I can't even tell. Anyway: if I learned one thing at grad school it's that Deleuze is very important. If I learned two things, the other's to dislike memoir (I forget why; the answer's in one of the theory books I donated last year.) All the more telling, then, that this entire playoff preview comparison verges on memoir-ish!

So... are you ready?

1. My first years in the land grant grad program corresponded with the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 NBA seasons... otherwise known as the first two seasons Miami had a realistic chance to win the title. Negative Dunkalectics devotees will recall that I'm semi-begrudgingly still a Miami Heat fan since I grew up in south Florida and so when the Heat made the finals in 2006, I rooted for them alone about 1200 miles from Miami when they played... the Dallas Mavericks. I had no feelings either way for the Mavs until they won the first two games of the Finals and the city of Dallas then started planning a victory parade.

Then the Dwyane Wade almost singlehandedly won the next four games, the Heat won the title, they revealed that that "15 Strong Pool" was just filled with like family notes and pictures, Alonzo Mourning drank champagne even though he's medically not allowed to, and I thought about buying a Dwyane Wade jersey while celebrating alone in the middle of nowhere. Although I didn't ever get a Dwyane Wade jersey, Antoine Walker got a ring, and the Mavericks got cursed! Recall that in the Mavericks' very next playoff appearance, they lost in six games to 8th seeded Golden State. And Baron Davis wore a fedora adorned with bullets.

In my mind the Mavs' 2007 meltdown issued directly as a kind of curse from their hubris (oh, let's just call it what it is!) in allowing the victory parade plans to be made public before they'd closed out the series. While I'm thinking about it: it's possible... just possible... that the Miami Heat cursed themselves similarly last summer. It would explain why even though I've clicked through it about three dozen times, I've still never been able to get the Heat to win the title in's NBA Playoff Simulator. I did, however, once see a Magic-Grizzlies finals, an outcome which David Stern would probably like to curse.

But it's hard to hate the Mavs and this season they've belatedly put together a pretty strong contending team. I use the word "belated" here because when watching them one does get the sense that their group of aging former stars may have missed their window to win the title, yet it's also possible that they're keeping that window open much past when it should have closed. They're a darkhorse pick to make the Finals and -- for obvious reasons -- I would love to see the Heat play them for the title again.

2. "Belated"'s also a good word to describe Hot Cross, a screamo band formed from Saetia and You and I who released records up through 2007 that sounded like they should have appeared a decade earlier. One other dimension of attending grad school in the middle of nowhere's that you get cut out of the hip music loop and so in some ways my musical tastes got stunted back in 2003 and then when I started listening to new music amidst the cornfields of another land grant school circa 2009, it was because my Wilco-and-George-Harrison-loving friends there had found some great new alt-country band or whatever. Anyway: Hot Cross was always pretty important to me for two reasons.

First, I like to write in cafes wearing noise occluding earbuds and I like how Hot Cross's loudness cancels out whatever awkward first date conversation's taking place one table over. Hot Cross was a standard go-to when I was writing my thesis and didn't want to hear, like, two bearded grad students use the phrase "kind of apocryphal" to describe whatever free jazz record Ken Burns did in fact mention, but just barely.

Secondively, because I was castaway for x years, any new Hot Cross records that came out always gave me the comforting sense that the outside world was still much the same as it was when I had left: viz., that people still cared about screamo and that my record collection was going to be worth beaucoup bucks on eBay one day. Little did I know.

Both the Mavs and Hot Cross have as their focal points lanky white dudes, so at least this post is a little less overcoded than that time last week when we tried to pretend we'd unearthed J.R. Smith's old picture.

Go Heat!

Follow @negativedunks on twitter if you'd like to read some acerbic jokes during this weekend's playoff games. And click here to read the rest of our playoff previews.

(Click here to read more Negative Dunkalectics!)


lordedge said...

The assertion that overcoding exists in this blog is undeniable, but as a man of the people, I would say that I am much more concerned with real life and reality. The issues of race are really unique especially when introducing a band like Anasarca into the discussion. Anasarca featured not only an Asian-American vocalist but an African-American drummer. Hot Cross, another mentioned band, featured a Thai bassist who often had a pedal board which would irritate his white bandmates on tour as he would also stray from the kick drum on the recordings. Intriguing addition, Josh of White (?) Cross was also not truly white for his father was Egyptian and as we have seen turmoil in Egypt in the recent past, we know how Josh can get when he doesn't get weed in every city. In addition to that addition, Josh had several -- it deleted the rest!?!

lordedge said...

duality of man, juth movement, etc, divac of faith

Kelly said...

Wanna write the Pacers guest post??

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

I'm already working on that but lordedge has given me some great ideas

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

fyi i'm pretty sure that jr smith picture was real. i saw him at the from ashes rise/witch hunt/DSB show at abc no rio

lordedge said...

Who would go to that show?
Next time the Pacers take on the Bulls (the I-65 series as it is called in Greencastle), I will definitely be up for it.
Just remember... Pacebannon.

lordedge said...

I'm really mad that this cut off my verses on Josh from Hot Cross' alteregos: Tyrese Jenkins and Hollywood Robinson.

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

uhh DSB was like the sickest live band ever

lordedge said...

Wait. Who are DSB? I don't even think I saw WH.

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

japanese punk band. they were stage diving off of chairs

Anonymous said...

torches to rome dude

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