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If You’re Seeing This, It’s Too Late: Enhancing the Curtain of Distraction

Mere minutes ago, one of this year’s MacArthur Grants was locked up by one Matthew Pulver. To secure a patent in America, you either have to invent something wholly new, or radically change whatever exists; Arizona State University created the now-infamous “Curtain of Distraction”, and Pulver created three new proposals to take their antics from collegiate absurdity to professional hindrances. In summary, the three proposals were as follows: the whole arena goes quiet, only to reveal one heroic student suffering from an ipecac-induced dry-heave; the entire arena inhales helium and belts sex noises of choice; and finally, one too good to be paraphrased – “For tonight’s game, the section in view of the foul shooter is reserved for only people with glass eyes. Before the shot, everyone simultaneously removes their glass eye and places a magnifying glass up to the cavity, enlarging the fleshy hole such that each one can be seen by the shooter. Everyone in the arena then goes suddenly quiet, and the glass eye people whisper in unison, ‘We’re watching you.’” If you didn’t understand my first sentence, now you do.

 (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Does the insanity end here? Of course not. Free-throw shooting has become such an important part of basketball games at all levels that home fans should shift the advantage in their favor by any means necessary. If you’re facing a DeAndre Jordan, these won’t be necessary. But for the opposition’s Steve Nash, here are a few more ways to up the thread count of your own personal Curtain of Distraction.


Break the Fourth Wall (Curtain?)

Opponents are now accustomed to seeing a big reveal in which the distraction lies behind the curtain. But with free-throw shots being all about rhythm, do the unexpected. Instead of successfully pulling back the blinds to expose a handful of idiotic gestures, pull the curtain down on you. Breaking the curtain will elicit laughter – after all, who would expect this to happen on purpose? – and disrupt their rhythm.


The Trial Defense

In Franz Kafka’s The Trialthe law exists behind a series of infinite gates. Why not whip up a few more curtains? Keep their peripherals focused on trying to see when exactly the final curtain is drawn. The trick is, there is no final curtain. Ad infinitum, ad nauseam.


Condemn Their Actions Via Leftist Letters

The correspondence between philosopher Slavoj Žižek and a jailed member of the band Pussy Riot became an astoundingly intricate discussion of the ills of capitalism and all its trimmings. Why not bombard the student-athlete with some words they’ve sure to have picked up, and force them to think Do I really wish to be a part of this system?, leading to a missed free-throw on purpose.

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