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Philip Roth (4) vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff; Jim Thorpe advances

For yesterday’s battle (Jim Thorpe vs. John Oliver), I’ll have to go with Thorpe. We got a couple arguments in Oliver’s favor—we’d get to hear him say “Whot?”, and he’s English—but for Thorpe we heard a lot more, including his uniqueness as greatest athlete of all time, and that we could save money on the helmet if that were required. We also got the following bad reason: “the chance to hear him say, ‘I’ve been asked to advise those of you who are following this talk on social media, whatever that means, to use “octothorpe talktothorpe.”‘” Even that bad reason ain’t so bad, also it’s got 3 levels of quotation nesting, which counts for something right there. What iced it for Thorpe was this comment from Tom: “Seeing as he could do everything better than everyone else, just by giving it a go, he would surely give an incredible seminar.”

And for our next contest, it’s the Bard of Newark vs. a man who’s only in this contest because it was hard for me to think of 8 people whose name ended in f, whose entire fame comes from the decades-old phrase, “Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff.” So whaddya want: riffs on Anne Frank and suburban rabbis, or some classic 80s beats? I dunno. I think Roth would be much more entertaining when question time comes along, but he can’t scratch.

Does anyone know these people? Do they exist or are they spooks?

The full bracket is here, and here are the rules:

We’re trying to pick ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.

I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!


  1. Isaac says:

    Given how often Uncle Phil threw DJ Jazzy Jeff out of the house, it seems like he should win here.

  2. jrc says:

    From what I hear, Roth was only like the 14th coolest Jew at Weequahic High School (which, by my math, makes him about the 28th coolest kid there). And we all know DJ Jazzy Jeff was the second coolest kid at Bel-Air Academy. Seems pretty cut and dry.

  3. Jonathan (another one) says:

    Roth never won the Nobel Prize. DJ Jazzy Jeff won two Grammys. The seminar would be a good consolation prize.

    In addition, The Counterlife > I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson.

  4. ojm says:

    > …whose entire fame comes from the decades-old phrase

    Jazzy Jeff has actually continued to do pretty cool stuff since then!

    > Does anyone know these people? Do they exist or are they spooks?

    I don’t know him personally, but my brother does…and he seems like a pretty cool host at least:

  5. Terry says:

    I’ve heard that Roth’s books are rather autobiographical in their themes and ideas. So does he really have much else to tell us?

    • oncodoc says:

      All writers’ works are autobiographical. The writers’ heart is the main ingredient in their achievements, and their hearts are formed by the experience of their lives. I recall Nabakov (last name ending in Cyrillic equivalent to ‘f’) saying that he couldn’t imagine a more autobiographical book than Gulliver’s Travels.
      Upvote for Roth, or say goodbye to Columbus.

  6. Ethan Bolker says:

    If you invite Roth you can frame the talk with “Hello, Columbia … Goodbye Columbia”.

  7. Dzhaughn says:

    Since he has been dead for more than a few days, Roth scores extremely high on “coolness.” I’d go with him just to avoid the scratching, I just question the seeding.

  8. Dalton says:

    A Philadelphia legend versus some dude from New Jersey who is NOT Bruce Springsteen?! No contest. I’ll take one DJ Jazzy Jeff. Whiz, widdout.

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