Justin Timberlake and the Decline of American Football

Nearly six years ago, Kevin Grier and Tyler Cowen wrote a piece on the now-defunct Grantland called, “what would the end of football look like?” It seemed far-fetched at the time. But it predicted a world where upper-class Americans would no longer cultivate a love of the sport, because of the increasing data about brain damage caused by football. Upwardly mobile middle-class Americans would emulate the upper class, leaving only the poorer regions of the country to care about football (Texas, Oklahoma, the SEC).

In 2018, many if not most American elites now have a visceral disgust at the idea of their children playing the game. If you won’t let your kids go near it, why celebrate it on TV? It only seems a matter of time when football is exclusively associated with the poor and the uneducated.

Mihir Desai on the trouble with optionality. The basic thesis is that when we defer making choices in the guise of giving ourselves choices, we end up accidentally making non-ideal choices. This resonated with me, in that I also went to law school partially because I was attracted by the idea that it gave me “options.” But it turns out after going to law school I ended up a lawyer, just like almost all of my peers. Not that I don’t enjoy what I do (I do now, but I didn’t always); it’s just that the optionality aspect of going to law school was a farce.

Nature article on how ecology and evolution interact on observable time scales.