My Name is Earl, Caitlin Clark, and Dad Envy

 

In the third season of the crude but rather heartwarming comedy My Name is Earl, there was an episode that helps to explain the hatred directed at Caitlin Clark. In the show there are two half-sisters, one is lily white and named Joy, the other looks like a light-skinned African-American lady named Liberty.

Joy’s father had an affair with a black woman and made Liberty. Liberty resented Joy for having a dad and they soon became vicious enemies in a way that only girls can be vicious enemies.

Through wacky comedy plot lines, they end up in a pro-wrestling ring fighting each other. Joy was supposed to go down but instead, she fought Liberty for real and the pair traded escalating insults and blows. Because the internet is the source of all information. I found the transcript in about five minutes and it reads pretty funny.

Joy

 

Liberty

[Liberty dialogue]

Damn, girl,
you hit me for real!

[Joy dialogue]
And you messed up my eyelashes.

[ Screams  in the crowd]

[Liberty dialogue]
What the hell
is wrong with you?

[Joy dialogue]
I’m makin’ sure you don’t get rich and famous.

[Joy dialogue]
This is for slashing
my tires!

[ Screaming ]

[ Groans ]

[Liberty dialogue]
That’s for trashin’
my credit ratin’!

[ Moans, Screams ]

[Joy dialogue]
And this is for makin’ out
with our math teacher when
you knew he had a crush on me.

Ow!
[ Panting, Gasps ]

[ Earl Narrating ]
Strange as it seems,

this was
the longest these women
had ever talked to each other.

And it was probably healthy
they were airin’ out
their grievances.

[Joy’s dialogue]
And that was for payin’
my prom date to stab me.

[ Earl Narrating ]
But as painful as Joy’s
prom stabbin’ had been,

Liberty had a much
deeper pain to share.

[Liberty dialogue]
This is for gettin’ to grow up
with my daddy.

This is for wearin’ that
“Daddy’s Little Girl” T-shirt
all the time.

And this is for
every birthday he missed!
Get up!

And this is
for every holiday!

And this is for knowin’
that the only girl that got
to kiss him good night…

was his precious
little blonde-haired Joy!

[ Earl Narrating ]
Joy suddenly realized that
even though they were sisters,

Joy was the only one
who got to have a dad.

[ Narrating ] After the bout,
Joy and Liberty spent time
together nursin’ their wounds.

They even worked on some
you couldn’t see.

[Libery dialogue]
Thanks.

[Joy dialogue]
I had no idea.

[Liberty dialogue]
Well, how could you know?

You know, I used
to always imagine Dad
bein’ there with you…

and how happy your house
was with the whole family
together on holidays,

and every day, really.

I guess that’s why I always
took it out on you.

*******

The show ends with the two half-sisters making up and the song “It’s a Family Affair” playing as the credits roll. Cheesy but satisfying, as pretty-good American TV should be.

When I die I suggest scientists study my corpus callosum because I can connect things with other things in a weird way. The scientists should also study the parts of my brain related to memory —while I am still not sure when Father’s Day is, after reading Jacob Christner’s post about Caitlin Clark I immediately recalled this episode.

My abnormal but fascinating neurology aside, it isn’t just Caitlin Clark’s race that bothers the ladies of the WNBA. It’s dad envy. It also doesn’t help that Caitlin Clark is an embodiment of middle-class whiteness. She grew up in a safe, middle-class environment and her father was a practicing Catholic, a responsible husband and father. If Caitlin Clark had not been gifted with a great athletic ability, she would have likely lived a nice stable middle-class life. That makes her not merely a racial outsider but a cultural outsider.

The reason culture stings so much more than race is that culture is not an innate characteristic that can be discounted. Caitlin comes from a culture of stable and supportive families that many ladies in the WNBA don’t have but secretly yearn for. But they can’t admit it, not even to themselves. So instead they pull dirty fouls and name-calling.

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  1. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    I applaud this essay. You are 1000% on point. I would  not have been able to watch that show. The whole premise would have upset me too much. Dad having random sex, baby left without parents together, girls being horrible. Just a profoundly unsettling premise  for me. But I believe you to be complete correct in your assessment. It’s amplified by the WNBA girls, but you see the behaviour in all manner of news – airport fights, fast food counters, school girls beating up other school girls and their mothers getting in on it, you name it black girls fight themselves and others all over the place. They are just angry all over the place. But they allow their men to abandon them and seem to raise their sons to treat their women horribly and to kill themselves.

    I know this is overwrought, but the purposeful attacks on healthy families and family formation horrifies me. Thank you for saying it out loud. 

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    If Eminem had grown up in a stable middle class family he never would have been allowed to have a hip-hop career, because the hip-hop establishment would have deemed that he hadn’t experienced the requisite hardship to “earn” it.

    Basketball is the hip-hop of sports.

    • #2
  3. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    That dialogue is more than pretty good. These days, it would be the best writing on TV.

    Excellent post, so glad your brain works as it does!

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I have two children who were at Yorktown High School with Greg Garcia, writer and producer of “My Name is Earl”. I know my daughter has kept in contact with Greg since then. We really enjoyed that show when it came out. (and when I still watched some TV.) She doesn’t let her contact with successful people fade. She used to hang with now Senator Mike Lee when they were in high school in Virginia. His dad, Rex Lee, was Solicitor-General in the Reagan Administration and she put me in the campaign effort to elect Mike as Utah Senator in 2010. Good memories raised reading your post. @henrycastaigne

    • #4
  5. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    I will not jump for Joy. 

    • #5
  6. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    If Eminem had grown up in a stable middle class family he never would have been allowed to have a hip-hop career, because the hip-hop establishment would have deemed that he hadn’t experienced the requisite hardship to “earn” it.

    Basketball is the hip-hop of sports.

    No it’s not. Many of the best players now (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Jalen Brunson to name just a few) are sons of NBA players and grew up upper middle class. Many of the players from non-athletic families are also middle class. There’s also a large portion of Europeans in the NBA.  Doncic, Porzingus and Jokic are Eastern European. That’s kinda rough but not “hood” rough.  Young players hone their game playing AAU or in training academies in Europe and getting specialized coaching and training. The days of learning how to play the game on the mean, rough and tumble blacktop courts in the “hood” are now a mythological memory. 

    • #6
  7. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    thelonious (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    If Eminem had grown up in a stable middle class family he never would have been allowed to have a hip-hop career, because the hip-hop establishment would have deemed that he hadn’t experienced the requisite hardship to “earn” it.

    Basketball is the hip-hop of sports.

    No it’s not. Many of the best players now (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Jalen Brunson to name just a few) are sons of NBA players and grew up upper middle class. Many of the players from non-athletic families are also middle class. There’s also a large portion of Europeans in the NBA. Doncic, Porzingus and Jokic are Eastern European. That’s kinda rough but not “hood” rough. Young players hone their game playing AAU or in training academies in Europe and getting specialized coaching and training. The days of learning how to play the game on the mean, rough and tumble blacktop courts in the “hood” are now a mythological memory.

    I wager something similar could be said about the current state of hip-hop. The “two turntables and a microphone” era is long gone. Computers and synthesizers and tuition for the Berklee School of Music’s Hip-Hop Production Program cost money.

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I end up wondering why the half-siblings take it out on each other, rather than those truly to blame:  their father(s) and mother(s).

    • #8
  9. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I end up wondering why the half-siblings take it out on each other, rather than those truly to blame: their father(s) and mother(s).

    Children abused rarely criticize the adults who do the abusing. The explanation is the fear of losing whatever love there may be and clinging to the hope that will be more. And the emotional bargaining that if you don’t criticize the abuser the abuse may/will stop. Rarely stops but children don’t often blame abusers. A child’s reliance on their parents’ care and concern is so fundamental that they don’t want to do anything to risk whatever they may think they have. The other kid is someone you would care about and think you had plenty of reason to be really mad at. 

    • #9
  10. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I end up wondering why the half-siblings take it out on each other, rather than those truly to blame: the Republicans!

    FIFY

    ;-)

    • #10
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    EODmom (View Comment):
    It’s amplified by the WNBA girls, but you see the behaviour in all manner of news – airport fights, fast food counters, school girls beating up other school girls and their mothers getting in on it, you name it black girls fight themselves and others all over the place. They are just angry all over the place. But they allow their men to abandon them and seem to raise their sons to treat their women horribly and to kill themselves.

    As Adam Carolla has noted. The groups that have dads do incredibly well and the groups that don’t do poorly. We can realistically imagine Latina  or white girls behaving this badly if they didn’t have dads and are raised by Moms who didn’t have Dads. But it beggars the mind to  imagine a Latina or a white girl raised with a stable and decent dad behaving in such a violent manner. It is also difficult to imagine Asian girls behaving this way as fathers are heavily present in their cultures.  

    I think some black subcultures in America are especially degraded as they have had multiple generations of fatherlessness. Lebron James’s story is a good example of someone who grew up in a degraded culture. 

    My mother really struggled. She had me, her only child, when she was just 16 years old. She was on her own, so we lived in her mom’s great big house in Akron, Ohio. But on Christmas Day when I was 3 years old, my grandmother suddenly died of a heart attack, and everything changed. With my mom being so young and lacking any support and the skills and education necessary to get ahead, it was really hard for us.

    We lost the house. We moved around from place to place—a dozen times in three years. It was scary. It was catch as catch can, scraping to get by. My mom worked anywhere and everywhere, trying to make ends meet.

    No mention of a grandfather. Lebron’s biological father was also a criminal who never had anything to do with Lebron’s life. However, he was tall and did play high school basketball. Height and some athletic genes were about the only thing that Lebron ever got from his Dad. Yet he very rarely talks about it aside from this one emotional clip on youtube. 

    I don’t follow sports but I can recall Lebron making some silly Woke statements and kowtowing to Chinese leaders. Apparently, he is a good dad and has promoted his image as good father figure and in a quiet way has promulgated fatherhood in the black community.  In this way he is kinda like Obama who maybe made two speeches about the lack of dads in the black family between incessantly focused on leftwing racial grievances. (Admittedly his Morehouse college speech was superb.) 

    Lebron and Obama are similar in more ways than their reluctance to talk about the issue of family breakdown now that I think about it. They are both black men who suffered great psychic pain from being abandoned by their father and were promoted to the highest echelons of American society by largely white audiences. Yet they focus on black victimhood. How I wish that one of them would talk like a more agreeable Adam Carolla. 

     

    • #11
  12. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    I like your analysis, but to me it’s just the typical black racism that I’ve seen all my life.  

    The white racists I’ve met in my life have been fairly rare.  The blacks that I’ve met in my life that weren’t racists were fairly rare.  

    Black racism is so common place that most never notice it, but it is real.  

    • #12
  13. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I like your analysis, but to me it’s just the typical black racism that I’ve seen all my life.

    The white racists I’ve met in my life have been fairly rare. The blacks that I’ve met in my life that weren’t racists were fairly rare.

    Black racism is so common place that most never notice it, but it is real.

    Where’d you grow up. I have always lived in white neighborhoods and the few blacks I met have been chill. 

    • #13
  14. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I like your analysis, but to me it’s just the typical black racism that I’ve seen all my life.

    The white racists I’ve met in my life have been fairly rare. The blacks that I’ve met in my life that weren’t racists were fairly rare.

    Black racism is so common place that most never notice it, but it is real.

    Where’d you grow up. I have always lived in white neighborhoods and the few blacks I met have been chill.

    I’ve lived in a lot of places and worked in a lot of different jobs.  Black people of all stripes will say racist things about white people quite freely, but if it were reversed the white racist would be fired in a heart beat.

    • #14
  15. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Chris O (View Comment):

    That dialogue is more than pretty good. These days, it would be the best writing on TV.

    Excellent post, so glad your brain works as it does!

    No kidding, man. I am impressed as can be that the show’s writers had the guts to put this on the screen. Good for them.

    And thanks for the post, Henry.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I like your analysis, but to me it’s just the typical black racism that I’ve seen all my life.

    The white racists I’ve met in my life have been fairly rare. The blacks that I’ve met in my life that weren’t racists were fairly rare.

    Black racism is so common place that most never notice it, but it is real.

    Where’d you grow up. I have always lived in white neighborhoods and the few blacks I met have been chill.

    But do you know what they say when you’re not around?

    • #16
  17. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I like your analysis, but to me it’s just the typical black racism that I’ve seen all my life.

    The white racists I’ve met in my life have been fairly rare. The blacks that I’ve met in my life that weren’t racists were fairly rare.

    Black racism is so common place that most never notice it, but it is real.

    Where’d you grow up. I have always lived in white neighborhoods and the few blacks I met have been chill.

    But do you know what they say when you’re not around?

    I think regular blacks have more important things to do than spend their time fussing about white people. I have noticed that regular folks are very different than how they are on T.V.

     

    • #17
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    philo (View Comment):

    I will not jump for Joy.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Earl was a fantastic show.

    Titus was another one that made tremendous laughs out of disfunction.

     

    • #18
  19. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    While I think the actions of many in the WNBA are execrable, I do think it is understandable (if not forgivable). First, the whole idea of a woman’s professional basketball sports team is a hard sell in a market that for decades has been dominated by men’s basketball. One assumes that the NBA had to satisfy 90% of the people that were going to watch. So they started out with maybe 10% of the potential market and have been fighting to get more market share ever since. Their demands for equal pay were laughable given the market realities. Then comes along Caitlin Clark and all of a sudden the market seems to expand. I say “seems” because it is unclear whether Caitlin represents a permanent marketplace change. And, certainly, the conduct of the WNBA toward her seems to assure that it won’t.

    Second, the lesbianism is problematic for the WNBA. Again, it’s a marketplace factor. One of the greatest ironies is that the trans phenomena has basically stopped broader societal acceptance of homosexuality. As poorly behaved as some NBA players are, their sins are those of testosterone raging alpha males, bedding heterosexual women. Notwithstanding Dennis Rodman’s provocative conduct, the NBA represents a very traditional view of men’s sport. 

    Third, and associated with the lesbianism, is the envy that I believe attends homosexuality whenever operating in a context where “crowd approval” is directly rewarding heterosexuality vs homosexuality. The reason I have come to believe that there is a strong genetic component to homosexuality (i.e. immutability) is that historically it would never have been a popular choice. As a child in the 1950s-1960s there was a great stigma attached, and punishment for homosexual practices. No one would “choose” that. I do think that tolerance to persons with immutable characteristics is just and assuring their humans rights are acknowledged is essential. (How this plays out in marriage is more complex, particularly in a heretofore unexamined mixture of church and state.) But behaviorally there has always been an issue about how a heterosexual man or woman is regarded when operating within a dominant homosexual context. I do think there is an envy that is particularly manifested in circumstances where homosexuals have a grievance against the larger society aggravated by celebrating a heterosexual in their midst. 

    • #19
  20. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Henry Castaigne: it isn’t just Caitlin Clark’s race that bothers the ladies of the WNBA. It’s dad envy. It also doesn’t help that Caitlin Clark is an embodiment of middle-class whiteness. She grew up in a safe, middle-class environment and her father was a practicing Catholic, a responsible husband and father. If Caitlin Clark had not been gifted with a great athletic ability, she would have likely lived a nice stable middle-class life. That makes her not merely a racial outsider but a cultural outsider.

    Absolutely, and the common sports factor being basketball, the sport that is the most attuned to urban black culture. Females are prominent in several other sports, soccer, lacrosse, softball but the environment where participation begins is very different. Urban black family(fatherless) culture and feminism are bigger factors than race. Black professional athletes in sports other than professional basketball appear different from what we see in professional basketball of both sexes.

    • #20
  21. Joe Boyle Member
    Joe Boyle
    @JoeBoyle

    Rodin (View Comment):

    While I think the actions of many in the WNBA are execrable, I do think it is understandable (if not forgivable). First, the whole idea of a woman’s professional basketball sports team is a hard sell in a market that for decades has been dominated by men’s basketball. One assumes that the NBA had to satisfy 90% of the people that were going to watch. So they started out with maybe 10% of the potential market and have been fighting to get more market share ever since. Their demands for equal pay were laughable given the market realities. Then comes along Caitlin Clark and all of a sudden the market seems to expand. I say “seems” because it is unclear whether Caitlin represents a permanent marketplace change. And, certainly, the conduct of the WNBA toward her seems to assure that it won’t.

    Second, the lesbianism is problematic for the WNBA. Again, it’s a marketplace factor. One of the greatest ironies is that the trans phenomena has basically stopped broader societal acceptance of homosexuality. As poorly behaved as some NBA players are, their sins are those of testosterone raging alpha males, bedding heterosexual women. Notwithstanding Dennis Rodman’s provocative conduct, the NBA represents a very traditional view of men’s sport.

    Third, and associated with the lesbianism, is the envy that I believe attends homosexuality whenever operating in a context where “crowd approval” is directly rewarding heterosexuality vs homosexuality. The reason I have come to believe that there is a strong genetic component to homosexuality (i.e. immutability) is that historically it would never have been a popular choice. As a child in the 1950s-1960s there was a great stigma attached, and punishment for homosexual practices. No one would “choose” that. I do think that tolerance to persons with immutable characteristics is just and assuring their humans rights are acknowledged is essential. (How this plays out in marriage is more complex, particularly in a heretofore unexamined mixture of church and state.) But behaviorally there has always been an issue about how a heterosexual man or woman is regarded when operating within a dominant homosexual context. I do think there is an envy that is particularly manifested in circumstances where homosexuals have a grievance against the larger society aggravated by celebrating a heterosexual in their midst.

     

    • #21
  22. Joe Boyle Member
    Joe Boyle
    @JoeBoyle

    A little more blunt. We’ve been playing our black lesbian butt off for years. Nobody noticed, nobody cared. Along comes this heterosexual white (rhymes w/witch) and all of a sudden private planes and sold out larger arenas. Not fair

     

    • #22
  23. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Joe Boyle (View Comment):

    A little more blunt. We’ve been playing our black lesbian butt off for years. Nobody noticed, nobody cared. Along comes this heterosexual white (rhymes w/witch) and all of a sudden private planes and sold out larger arenas. Not fair

     

    It reveals. That’s what Trump does.

    • #23
  24. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Honestly, basketball is really, really boring.  Women’s basketball is less than that.

    • #24
  25. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Joe Boyle (View Comment):

    A little more blunt. We’ve been playing our black lesbian butt off for years. Nobody noticed, nobody cared. Along comes this heterosexual white (rhymes w/witch) and all of a sudden private planes and sold out larger arenas. Not fair

    It reveals. That’s what Trump does.

    Never-Trumpism is quite similar to that actually. Trump isn’t in the elites club so he shouldn’t be allowed to run. Doesn’t matter that he did a pretty good job in his first term and the constitution was upheld and minorities were making fun or so on.

    Trump wasn’t in the club so he isn’t allowed to play. A fascinating observation that I would not have come up with on my own. Thank you.

    May I also suggest that women are a bit more prone to infighting than men. Obviously some men are incredibly petty and jealous and some women are absolutely chill and all about the team but on average, female jealousy is a bit more problematic.

     

    • #25
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