Daily Archives: July 29, 2014

Keith Olbermann in rare form, on sexism in sports. John Oliver nails nuclear weapon security. And Gladwell’s latest book was just OK

Keith Olbermann is a man who just can never stand prosperity.

Several times in his career the broadcaster has been in great spots, able to reach millions of people. And each time, he’s proven he absolutely cannot play well with others, and has gotten fired.

Now he’s got a half-hour show on ESPN that very few people watch, and the rage and brilliance that many of us used to love on MSNBC (some of his “Special Comments” were incredibly powerful) now pretty much gets ignored by TV viewers.

Every once in a while, he still hits one out of the park, though. The other night Olbermann was outraged, as many were, that Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice was suspended by the NFL for just two games for beating his wife unconscious in Atlantic City last spring.

Here’s Olbermann with a blistering, beautiful takedown of Rice, the NFL, and sexism in sports:

**Next up, the great and consistently brilliant “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver took on the absurdity of America, the one superpower left, still owning more than 4,000 nuclear weapons, then looked at how piss-poor our security of said weapons are.

So funny, but also a little scary:


**Finally, another mini-book review. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three of Malcolm Gladwell’s enormously-successful books: “The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” and “Outliers.” I hadn’t read anything like the stories Gladwell told, and his analysis of seemingly-banal topics like why so many top hockey players are born in January, or how an unlikely lawyer rose to head one of New York’s top firms, were really interesting and taught me a lot about how the world works.

So I was pumped to read “David and Goliath,” his new book that came out a few months ago. I just finished it, and it was … OK. Not great. Not groundbreaking. Maybe I’ve just gotten too used to the Gladwell formula, but I sort of saw where he was going with a lot of his stories of underdogs overcoming huge odds.

I did really like some of the tales, like the billionaire software guy (Ranek Vanidive) taking over as coach of his daughter’s grade-school basketball team and turning them into winners just by pressing the entire game, and the last section of the book, about the man who pushed very hard for California’s “three strikes and you’re out” crime law and the unintended consequences it had, was riveting.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but I thought “David and Goliath” was the weakest of Gladwell’s books.