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The Bill Brown Reader: An Opinion on Rodman . . .

WHERE DENNIS RODMAN ECLIPSES MADONNA -- indeed, where Dennis Rodman eclipses just about everyone these days, but especially the specialists in revolution -- is in his awareness that his sexually-charged efforts to become a fully de-domesticated man is an instance of

class struggle.

NOTHING BUT A MERE WORKER (a salaried slave) in the eyes of some of his coaches and all of the economic powers behind the NBA, Dennis Rodman refuses to be reduced to a thing, to a commodity, to a quantity of labor power to be bought and sold. And this refusal isn't so much a matter of money as it is a matter of working conditions at the point of production, so to speak. "The bottom line is, this league wants to control its players," Rodman writes. "They want to restrict players from doing things that are natural and human to do. They don't want anybody insulting the people who buy the tickets -- the wealthy corporate types, because they're the only ones who can afford to go anymore." More than that, the NBA doesn't want players thinking and acting for themselves while they are on the court, even if it means that good teams lose important basketball games. In this regard,

the NBA is just like every other capitalist enterprise, whether it is privately or bureaucratically owned.

TOWARDS THE END OF HIS BOOK -- in a story that might easily be overlooked, for it concerns the mechanics of the game of basketball -- Rodman recalls the playoffs in which the San Antonio Spurs (Rodman's putative "owners" and "managers" at the time) played the defending champion Houston Rockets. "We lost the first two games -- at home, even -- because the defense we were running was ridiculous," Rodman writes. "Do you want to know who changed the defense for the next two games, after we got to Houston? I did. I saw what we were doing wrong, and I set out to change it. I finally got [Spurs' coach] Bob Hill to see it my way, and it worked. David [Robinson] played Hakeem [Olajuwon] straight up. Hakeem got what he was going to get anyway, but we stopped everyone else. That's the whole key to stopping [the Rockets]: give Hakeem what he wants and clamp down on everybody else.

It's not that hard to figure out."

SHORTLY AFTER THIS SERIES, which the Spurs lost to the Rockets, the Spurs traded Rodman to the Chicago Bulls for next to nothing.

WHAT PANSEXUALIST AND TYPOGRAPHICAL ARTIST Dennis Rodman has got in his multi-colored head is socialist basketball, a basketball team that is managed and coached by its own members. Who knows better how to do something than the people who can actually get it done? Bob Hill and the San Antonio Spurs' organization couldn't tolerate even the semblance of such a team, so they got rid of Rodman and have been a third-rate team ever since. But Chuck Daly and the Detroit Pistons and Phil Jackson and the Chicago Bulls know the value of socialist production (perhaps precisely because they themselves are employed by enterprises based in the industrial Midwest), and so have made a home for

the greatest rebounder and all-around defensive player the NBA has ever seen.

AFTER ALL, IT IS IN THE INDUSTRIAL MIDWEST that the working classes -- the producers of automobile pistons and the crews of the slaughterhouses -- have known for generations that there is a profound discontinuity between the way a productive enterprise is supposed to function and the way it actually does function, and that, if attempted according to management's organizational plan and nothing else,

the enterprise will not run at all.

IT IS IN THE FACTORIES OF THE INDUSTRIAL Midwest that socialism is actually at work, for it is in these factories that collectivities of workers are allowed to band together and manage at least some of their own work, precisely because it is the only way their bosses can get the job done and make some money. The connection between Dennis Rodman's de-domestication and the on-going struggle in America to propagate and move closer towards socialism is so obvious it just jumps out at you.

But can you catch the rebound, bro?

* This article is the biggest load of crap I've read in some time, reports Gabriel Thy. The Project reluctantly awards the essay a single star rating for presenting an easy target in helping the SWORG address a few of the vital issues raised by the Delacorte writer in a less pockmarked context (which can be read by clicking the links within the text).

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