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Friday Afternoon Confessional: Projection frustration

I confess I’ve had cynical thoughts about the country spending six billion dollars on campaigns that mostly left the country in the same situation it’s been in. One of these cynical thoughts is the excitement and despair shown as a result of the election – when things stayed the same for the most part – tells me the candidates were more successful in portraying their opponent as scary than anything. I confess a co-worker did not find it funny when I said if the Republicans want to win, they need to sharpen their cynicism toward rape victims and find larger swaths of the country to dismiss.

I confess there is another co-worker who commonly asks me for my thoughts on baseball and the Detroit Tigers. He asks apparently for the sole purpose of seeing if I agree with him and will confirm his theories. I confess this gets old because I follow baseball very closely and he does not. And despite the fact that he concedes this, when my answers surprise him he dismisses my opinion immediately. So when he told me he thought the Tigers lost the World Series because they weren’t as visibly excited as the San Francisco Giants, I told him I disagreed. I told him I think things like energy in the dugout, or apparent lack thereof, are the kinds of things fans latch onto when their team doesn’t perform well. In fact, teams handle games differently and pretending to be the kind of players they’re not isn’t going to help anybody win baseball games. I confess he remembered some stuff he needed to be doing shortly after this frank assessment. I confess I would give similar frank assessments about politics at work if I didn’t think it would affect working relationships with people I need to have good working relationships with.

I confess that even though I agree with Adam that very little is accomplished with improved accuracy of election predictions, it’s neat that Nate Silver has become so famous. I confess I think this because I’ve corresponded with him multiple times in the past when I had questions about his projection system for baseball players (which eventually gave him the idea to see if a similar model would work for politics).

I confess that while I really like Louis CK, I’m a little mystified at what seems to be the consensus of his appearance on Saturday Night Live. It’s being discussed as a triumph and I saw discussions of whether he was the best host ever. My reaction to all this was to wonder what I missed. When I watched, I saw him do a monologue that was literally right out of the tour he’s doing right now. Just about word for word. After that, there was the clever Lincoln skit and a bunch of stuff that seemed to me like a pretty typical SNL episode. That is, a chuckle here or there but mostly regret for staying up to watch. Between the SNL assessment and the overwhelmingly positive reviews of the third season of Louie, I think Louis CK can do no wrong right now in the public eye. Lest anybody fear we’re seeing the beginning of a downfall for him, I wouldn’t worry. His current standup tour is legitimately excellent.

Now I turn my attention to you, gentle reader. Do you have any guilt hangovers from anything related to the election? Have you treated co-workers in a less than cordial manner? Do you look at popular consensus and think, what am I missing? Do share.

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November 9, 2012 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional

2 Comments

  1. You clearly like your statistics. Did you ever come across the work of Kyburg?

    Comment by Guido Nius | November 10, 2012

  2. The funny thing is I really only like statistics when it comes to baseball. When the conversation turns to actual statistics and regression analysis and all those things, my mind starts to wander to other things….probably baseball, most often.

    Comment by mattintoledo | November 13, 2012


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