Jim says he has additional evidence. He shows us a video of basketball being played in China. He writes that the video features "crowd agitation,
yelling at refs, general tumult, and some basketball. Virtually none of it fits with treatises on Asian 'philosophical heritage'."
I cannot overemphasize how utterly irrelevant this observation is to the argument I was making. Again, I explicitly said I wasn't talking about
stereotypes about Asian "collectivist values." And I said nothing at all about "philosophical heritage."
So where did Jim get the idea that my theory has anything to do with these "treatises on Asian 'philosophical heritage'"? Well, in his (partial)
defense, I now see that, right below my piece's headline (which I wrote) there is a subhead (which I didn't write) that was added sometime after
I posted the piece. It says, How the New York Knick's philosophical heritage may be helping him win. I don't blame the person who wrote that as
one of many chores on a no-doubt busy day. Maybe he or she was conceiving of the word "philosophical" in such a broad way that it seemed to encompass
the "holistic" perceptual/cognitive tendencies I described. Still, Jim says he is critiquing the piece I wrote, not a subhead, and the piece
doesn't mention "philosophical" heritage at all; nor does it mention any tendencies toward harmony, cooperation, or whatever stereotypes he thinks are
being debunked by a video featuring agitation and tumult.
Then Jim shows us another video of a basketball game in which a fight breaks out. He notes, "The gratuitous aggression all came from the Chinese side."
Um, OK. But did I say anything about aggression?
And that, so far as I can tell, is the sum total of Jim's "evidence."
Jim knows a lot more about Asia than I do, and has spent many years there. And when you spend a lot of time anywhere you start noticing distinctions
that aren't apparent to outsiders. He once told me that the two most different cultures he's ever seen are Japan and China, and I don't doubt him.
Still, the fact is that the body of research I'm talking about has featured both Japanese and Chinese subjects, and certain tendencies do seem to hold
up as statistical generalizations about them. It's another question, of course, whether my conjectural theory applying these findings to basketball is
valid, but Jim never gets around to addressing that question.
My sense is that Jim has long been frustrated with various generalizations that are made about Asians and has long had, within him, a blog post about
these generalizations waiting to get out. And I think he's now written that post--a post that was in some sense formulated before I wrote my
piece, and that, not surprisingly, isn't relevant to my piece.
But let me emphasize--as I should have emphasized more with respect to my Jeremy Lin theory--that my theory about Jim is just conjecture.
Anyway, I'm glad to finally have some internecine Atlantic fighting under my belt, and I thank Jim for giving me my initiation. Now on to the next