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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Why Does Fantasy Have So Many British Accents?

Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
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Your letters:


Why do all the characters in Game of Thrones have British accents? The story doesn’t take place in Britain. George R.R. Martin is American. Please advise.


There are a couple of reasons. First of all, the two biggest fantasy series of all time (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter) were written by British people. Also, medieval England is the template for a LOT of fantasy series, Game of Thrones included. The settings and tone are derived straight from the legend of King Arthur: Kings and wizards and maidens and horses and wine goblets and swords and bigass battles and all that shit. There’s so much Britishness in fantasy that I think actors just instinctively go British and no one questions it. Also, actors are vain and dumb people who will leap at ANY chance to do a British or Irish accent, even when it isn’t warranted.

But there’s another reason, and that is that the hardest thing about fantasy is the suspension of disbelief. You are already facing an uphill battle to make your story about dragons and mad princes and Elrod, Son Of Atheon Of The House Of Periwynkle not sound utterly fucking ridiculous. So one way to make it all seem more real is to give all the actors British accents and imbue them with a kind of Shakespearean authority. That helps tie your fantasy to an actual time in human history. Also, it makes everything sound much more serious and proper, and therefore credible. If you gave Gandalf a Queens accent, it would sound fucking stupid. “Yo Frodo, stick out your fuckin’ hand and check out dis ring I just baked. Dere’s fuckin’ ORC LETTUHS on it!”


That said, we should move past BIG ACCENT and its stranglehold on nerd culture. There’s no need to perpetuate the idea that fantasy HAS to have British accents, when it clearly doesn’t. There are all sorts of alternative, elegant accents out there to use, and there’s nothing about British folk that is inherently classier than other folk. Those people brush their teeth with mayo. I’ve had enough of them pretending to be the world’s aristocracy.


I recently went down to NYC this weekend with my girlfriend. And this might have been just me, but I could not find a public bathroom or at least one worthy of pooping in, to save my life. So outside of the small hours in the Airbnb, my digestive track was loading up. I started to wonder if there was any existing ranking on which cities are worst to poop in. Despite my lack of experience, I’m putting LA at the top, urban sprawl of stuck-up restaurants and shops.

No, I think New York has L.A. beat. It’s an ironclad law of New York that if you assume there’s a convenient service nearby—a toilet, your bank’s ATM, a diner—you will find yourself in the center of an alternate urban netherworld where that service is actually three miles away. It’s uncanny. Everything in NYC should be a block away, and yet!

I was once near Penn Station and had to take a shit, but I didn’t want to use the Penn Station bathroom (anyone who’s been there knows why). So I walked around in search of a hotel bathroom to use, because hotel bathrooms are the most reliable emergency toilets. But NYC hotels are so used to derelicts using the shitter that a lot of their bathrooms require a room key to get in. I must have walked 10,000 steps inside the Hotel Pennsylvania before finally admitting defeat and paying for a slice of pizza so I could shit in a pizza joint. I’m a grown man and I still have ENORMOUS angst about walking into an establishment just to shit, and having everyone there realize my motives. I have a waking nightmare where some TGI Friday’s manager apprehends me just as I’m about to reach the bathroom door, and then I shit my pants, and then he has me sent to prison. That could happen one day! I don’t put it past people.


Outside of New York, I’d beware of any city where the downtown shuts down roughly around 5:30 p.m. and the city turns into the set of I Am Legend. If you’re in downtown Hartford and you think you’re in a bustling area where the nightlife offers a range of shitting options, I have a nasty surprise for you.


Let’s say I’m driving down the highway and a guy on a motorcycle pulls up to me and throws a grenade into my car. In a bout of quick thinking, I manage to toss the grenade out in time but it tragically lands in a school bus full of children and explodes. Who’s to blame here? Just the motorcyclist? Both of us? I feel like I’d be held liable for not sacrificing myself for the children.


Worst Atom Egoyan movie ever. Anyway, yes you’d get hosed. In fact, in your haste, you probably wouldn’t get the plate number of the motorcycle that tried to kill you. So the grenade tosser would get away clean, and you’d be left on the hook for 36 counts of manslaughter, plus civil suit damages. Not really fair. They should account for hand-eye coordination in any case of grenade deflection. I’m not an MLB third baseman. If you toss a grenade at me, I’m definitely not gonna have the wherewithal to scan for a proper disposal site. I’m freaking out and throwing it at a puppy. I AM THE REAL VICTIM HERE. The legal system is super mean about this kind of stuff.


On a whim, you and LeBron James decide to swap brains. The procedure goes swimmingly. With your brain in LeBron’s body, how good are you at basketball? How good is LeBron with his brain in your body? What happens to each of your basketball careers?


If you put my brain into LeBron’s body, I know exactly what would happen. First of all, I would spend every waking second dunking, and practice nothing else. I bet it would feel amazing. Secondly, I would ruin LeBron’s career. As much of a physical marvel as he is, every NBA fanboy knows that LeBron is also an astonishingly intelligent player with nearly unprecedented court vision. That’s a big part of what makes him HIM.

So if you take that away and give him my brain, what would happen is that it would look like LeBron playing drunk out there. And then everyone (and Skip Bayless) would be like, “Has LeBron lost it?” and then I would start freaking out that I had ruined his career, and then I’d worry about everyone finding out that I went to Dr. Armitage’s house and STOLE LeBron’s body for my own selfish ends. I don’t know that I’d even make it through the season without having a mental breakdown.


There’s also a mental drain to playing 100 games a year that I am in no way prepared for. What if guys elbow me? That would hurt, man. It takes training to cope with that kind of physicality. LeBron can still feel pain, you know. And what if guys talk nasty shit to me on the court? I’m not ready for that. It’s not like Twitter. I can’t mute Draymond if he’s in my face.

As for the other side of it, I assume LeBron would react to being in my body like the end of The Fly…

God, that’s still so freaky. I don’t like thinking about it. For real though, imagine being the greatest athlete in the world and waking up in my body. I got stretch marks on both my love handles, man. That would really throw LeBron off. You may as well send him to prison.



What is the coolest way to hold a bottle when you’re drinking? Obviously anything from a bottle tastes better, despite the joys of killing a can and disdainfully crumpling and hurling it aside. But what grip on a bottle ensures I can maintain my effortlessly manly facade? Do I go for the just below the bottle mouth grip? Hold it between the neck and the shoulder? Or hold the barrel?


Get a koozie. I know beer koozies are usually for Kid Rock fans and boat owners, but they serve their purpose really well. You can grab that fucker by the barrel and never have to worry about your meaty hand warming the beer up to 5,000 degrees in half a minute. And your hand never gets wet from the bottle sweat! I am all about beer koozies. My white trash inner child cherishes them. You could even get a Yeti rambler, because apparently every white person on Earth now must carry a Yeti product on them.

If I don’t have a koozie on me, I usually hold the bottle with three fingers around the barrel, and then slip the pinky under the bottom for extra support. It’s the anti-teacup hold. That beer is secure. You could throw a tight spiral with it. I also like to mix it up and let the bottle dangle from between my index and middle finger if I’m, like, waiting for the john or something. Then I convert to the standard grip when I need to sip. “What’s that? Oh nothing, just me holding my beer in the most casual possible way. ‘SUP.”


By the way, I don’t agree with Michael on the taste of bottled beer. I think bottled beer gets warm and skunks easily. I’ll take a can any day over a bottle. I especially love fancy canned beer. I’m always like, “Oooh, this one’s brewed with watermelon! Sounds refreshing!” Tell me that popping a can of beer isn’t the greatest sound in the world. NO ONE DENIES THIS.


If I shot on my own net and sunk a 3-pointer, would it be 3 points for my opponent?


No, because you’re technically shooting backwards. But it should be worth three. Also, they should make these obstacles permanent on the court:


You thought hand man would be the toughest part of that gauntlet, and then they hit you with the sky dancers. DIABOLICAL.


What is the best sporting event to take a date? When I was in college it was a big deal to take a girl to a football game but now that I’m an adult, it seems like a baseball game is probably the best sporting event to take a date. There’s plenty of time to talk (if that’s still a thing), cheaper tickets than football or basketball, booze, and an easy way to find out if someone is one of those weird foodies that won’t eat lukewarm nachos like a champ. What’s your take?


Probably minor league baseball. Minor League baseball is cheap, and the games are quicker, and you can bail early to go buy cookies at a tent outside the stadium. Also, it makes you look super creative and fun. “He took me to a Biloxi Oilbirds game!” Always fun to hit that sweet spot between looking imaginative and being a skinflint.

Otherwise, I would never take a date to a major sporting event. It’s such an expensive proposition. I’m only ponying up if I know I can A) Get drunk and B) Unleash the deranged fanboy within. You don’t want your first date to witness you suck down a dozen silver bullets and then cry out HEY REF GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU SHIT-EATING APE. That might leave a bad impression. Better to take her to a movie and save the game for your BROS instead.


The other thing about taking a date to a sporting event is that other fans can be assholes. It’s not worth the risk of taking a girl to a football game and end up with six mouthbreathers sitting right behind you and giving a running commentary on her boobs. Then you gotta be like, “Hey boys, you mind cooling it?” And then they end up throwing a grenade at you, and then you end up instinctively throwing the grenade into the lower bowl and having it land on a child.



We have large dogs; they like to eat ice cubes. After a long, humid, sultry day, I let the dogs in and gave them a couple ice cubes. They seemed to want more, so I gave them a double handful more and they chomped. Both of them ate so quickly that I believe they got doggy brain-freeze. Both of them started barking and whimpering, and one of them cough-threw-up. Should I feel guilty?


No, your intentions were good. So long as you don’t let the dogs gorge on ice again, consider it a valuable lesson learned for all of you. One time, we bought Frosty Paws for our dog as a treat. If you don’t know, Frosty Paws is ice cream for dogs and they sell with the human ice cream, which has almost certainly led to humorous mixups. Anyway, we’re all jazzed to spoil the dog with this liver-flavored Italian Ice, and 30 minutes later he had the worst doggie diarrhea I’d ever seen. Looked the same going out as it did going in. I’m never buying that shit again.

In general, the hardest thing about owning a dog is not spoiling them. The urge is always there to cuddle with them on the bed, or table feed them, or hug them until their little head pops off. But dogs crave discipline and structure and STERN TASKMASTERING, so you gotta dial it back if you’re in a spot where you’re smothering little Fido and he starts barfing yellow snot onto the rug as a result.



I’m about 6'1. If I were suddenly confined to a wheelchair could I still claim to be that tall since if I were to stretch out I’d still be that long? What about if I lost my legs? Could I claim the height I had before my disfigurement?


As far as I’m concerned, if you still have your legs, you’re still 6’1”. It’s if your legs get shorn off in a horrible boating incident that we get on ethically shakier background when it comes to your officially listed height.

But let’s be real: if I lose my legs, I’m still sticking to my original height on medical form. I’m not docking myself three feet. That would be too painful to accept, and who’s gonna correct me? Everyone would just assume I was a troop. You’re not gonna question the height of a troop, are you? Every time a troop gets his height truthered, a bald eagle sheds a single tear.



Drew, have you ever ranked mustards before? If not I’d like a list please. My wife insists yellow is the best mustard. I love her dearly but she couldn’t be more wrong here. Please help me make her see the light.


I should probably ask my wife to do these rankings because she’s half-German and Germans like to have 96 different kinds of mustard with every meal. Be careful when a German offers you mustard. Some of those mustards have enough heat to qualify as a chemical weapon. It’s no joke. You will never feel dumber than when you accidentally have your sinuses torched by a rogue mustard.

Anyway, this is how I’d rank them:

  1. Dijon. This is my default mustard and also mixes well into salad dressings since I’m not a mayo person.
  2. Coarse mustard. This is the one with seeds in it that looks like poop. Very tasty.
  3. Brown. Again, be careful with this mustard. Between spicy brown mustard and the little packets of mustard they give you with your Chinese takeout (and no one ever uses), you can really hurt yourself.
  4. Wasabi mustard
  5. Yellow.
  6. Honey mustard. I know a lot of people bitch about honey mustard, but if you get a nice kind that’s deep brown and looks more like honey than mustard, it’s usually pretty awesome. The bad honey mustard is that shit that looks and tastes like sweet Miracle Whip. That’s not legit honey mustard. That’s an abomination.


What’s the most stylish way to wear a gun out on the town? As the Last of the Blue Dog Southern Democrats I’m not about to stop carrying a pistol. I have a concealed carry permit and a lot of excellent training that dictates my pistol is a boring plastic Glock in a boring lack Kydex holster that’s either made to tuck inside my waistband where it’s well hidden, or sit on my belt at the hip making me look like a wannabe Kris Kyle Tactical Fanboy who needs to calm the fuck down when I’m not on the range.


I’m not a gun owner but I’d say you should conceal it. Wearing it on your belt is not only dorky (a la a cell phone clip), but it makes you look either like a guy who’s either A) like you said, unstable and DYING to start shooting crap, or B) Desperate to look tough and strong and penis-y.

I assume you have that gun for security, to assure YOU that if something goes down, your trusty Glock will be there to take out the zombie hordes. But I don’t think a visible gun provides security to anyone else who’s around, you know what I mean? Like, if I see a dude open carrying, I don’t think to myself, “Oh man, thank God the guy with a TRUMP THAT BITCH t-shirt is packing heat in case a riot breaks out.” I know I’m biased in that regard, but I say keep your gun concealed. That’s the humble, scrappy way of doing it. Act like you’ve shot stuff up before.


And then if you have to sit down at the movies and don’t want the gun digging into your butt, put it in the cup holder. I see no way this could backfire on you.


Please settle a work dispute: do you eat soup or do you drink soup? A coworker returned from being out the last two days sick sparked this debate. Is there a definitive choice, or do you just say that you have some soup to avoid sounding stupid?


You eat the soup if you’re using a spoon, and you drink it if you’re slurping right from a mug or bowl. That make sense? Please don’t ask me if I’m drinking chips when I eat them right out of the bag.


This came up in one of your WYTS articles, and I think it warrants a closer look: What is the actual worst franchise in the NFL? The Jets are putrid, but they do have a Super Bowl win, which is more than the Jaguars, Lions, or Texans have. The Lions had the only 0-16 season. Can you make a definitive ranking here?


Are we talking strictly in terms of on-field futility, or is there a character clause in there? Because I’m still firm on the idea that the Skins are the “worst” franchise in terms of both how they’re run and how they treat people. In human terms, they are the fucking bottom. Snyder deserves to have a tree fall on him.

But if you just want to go strictly by performance—the teams that have inflicted the most amount of football-related trauma to its fans—here’s how I’d rank them (please note that, with the exception of the Jets, I only considered teams that have never won a Super Bowl):

  1. Browns
  2. Lions
  3. Bills
  4. Chargers
  5. Vikings
  6. Jets
  7. Bengals
  8. Eagles
  9. Jaguars
  10. Falcons
  11. Cards
  12. Titans
  13. Texans
  14. Panthers

The Chargers are something of an anomaly here since they just left town (arguably, that makes them the worst of all). But otherwise, those seem like fair rankings, right? You could probably rearrange the top three any way you see fit and it would still work. Buffalo, Detroit, and Cleveland represent the Erie Triangle, where all hope vanishes forever.


More important, I think one of the reasons that the NFL endures in the face of all its grotesque flaws—greedy owners, concussions, shit matchups, Phil Simms calling games, etc.—is because it has far more long-suffering teams than any other sport. Half of all NFL fans are waiting for their stupid team to win a title before they die. I’m one of them. I can’t bail now, not when I’ve invested all this goddamn time and all this money on NFL Shop apparel. I’m in this for the long haul, even if they find out that merely watching football causes pancreatic cancer. I’m stuck. The failure of all these teams works in the NFL’s collective favor.

This is why the Patriots should be contracted.


If the least intelligent of the founding fathers—Washington probably—were dug up and reanimated, and given zero briefing on life in the 21st century, just told he was president again, would he be more effective than Trump? Obviously he would be a better president to the degree that doing nothing would be better than tweet-storming and signing executive orders based on Fox News reports, but would he understand where he is, what he is doing, and who he is talking to better than the current president?


Washington wasn’t dumb. He had an estimated IQ of 132 (Grant has the lowest), and he was a shrewd field commander. Give him access to proper dentistry and he’d probably triple his productivity. Obviously, he’d be in for a serious culture shock with the cars and the phones and the whole you-can’t-own-slaves business. But otherwise, I would be fine with Undead Washington as President over Trump. Shit, I’d be fine with O.J. as President over Trump. Literally anyone else would give me more peace of mind.

When Kid Rock announced that he would run for Senate (but before he reneged on it), I asked some friends if they would prefer him as President over Trump and they were like PLEASE DON’T ASK US TO MAKE THAT CHOICE. But I already knew my answer. I’d take Kid Rock. I’d take a zombie. I’d take a small child. I’d take anyone.


Except Pence.

Email of the week!


My friend and his roommate have been having a 14 year old kid on their block, “Jonathan,” come by their house every day while they’re at work to walk their dog this summer. According to my friend, Jonathan seemed like a nice enough kid and it was well worth the $20 a week they paid him to not have the dog pooping and pissing all over his kennel every day.

Well today, my friend comes home for lunch a little early and his bedroom door is open and Jonathan comes rushing out a minute after he walks in. My friend asks “What the hell are you doing in my room?” to which Jonathan sheepishly replies “Umm nothing. I think your computer might be messed up.”

My friend, naturally concerned, goes “What the fuck?! You shouldn’t be in my room at all, let alone on my computer!”

Jonathan apologizes and gets out of there as quickly as possible. My friend checks his internet history and, sure enough, Jonathan was looking at a LOT of really, really raunchy porn. What’s worse, one of the sites was a subscription-based LiveCam site that my friend thinks might explain a couple mysterious, fraudulent charges on his credit card the last couple weeks (apparently he had one of his credit cards sitting on his desk). The extended internet history was clean, so if Jonathan was using his computer to jack off for weeks now, he’d done a pretty good job of covering his tracks.

What ‘s the appropriate course of action here? Call Jonathan’s parents? Call the cops (if he was, in fact, using my friend’s credit card)? Blackmail the kid into a summer’s worth of free yardwork?

The whole situation is just gross. Fourteen year old boys are the worst.

He’s gotta go to the kid and shame him. Full teen shaming.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.