Did you come 83rd in your last triathlon in the “cities under 200,000 people” category? Get 2nd place at the county fair for breeding one of the best local pigs? Great! Chances are that Disney Corporation will now make an inspirational film about your wonderful life, just as it did about female chess “prodigy” Phiona Mutesi. Around the time The Queen of Katwe came out in cinemas, she was ranked a lowly 91,051st in the world.

Of course, no one will make a film about your triathlon feats or the beautiful big pig you fed to magnificent fatness. But because Mutesi is a woman (and a black person from Africa), she received a star-like media reception from journalists representing publications like usual offender Jezebel and somewhat less crazy mastheads, including The Los Angeles Times.

Mutesi’s ranking in chess has improved ever so slightly since the second half of 2016 and she’s presently the 90,895th best active player in the world. Among women, that jumps to a positively amazing 5,291st. So does that mean we get another 5,290 films about strong, independent female chess players, none of whom rank in the top 100 (China’s Hou Yifan is the best woman at 115th in the world)?

Women expect praise simply for turning up

Unless the player is from your team, would you really know much about the 200th highest-paid player in the NFL, let alone the 500th? They get next to no attention in a sport actively followed and paid for by tens of millions of fans. And they certainly don’t get a movie made about them, irrespective of whether they built themselves up from crime-ridden Detroit or faced other very significant hardships growing up.

Even if Phiona Mutesi is from Africa, I cannot see what really differentiates her from journeymen in professional sports leagues. In fact, we have more evidence in many cases that their lives are harder and more grueling than hers, particularly for those players paid only pocket money and unsure if they will make the various cuts during the NFL (or MLB or NHL) preseason. Luckily for women such as Mutesi, they can always fall on their gender, race, or ethnicity for extra (and undeserved) support, attention, and even money.

The comparison between chess and physical sports is even starker when soccer is examined. In the United Kingdom alone, tens of thousands of players, many of them poorly paid or not paid at all, put in full-time hours or more every week for a dream that will come true for only 1% of them. Even amongst that 1%, most will earn the kind of money that still requires them to get a normal job after retirement. Some of the professional and semi-professional footballers I have known in Europe should start pitching autobiographical film ideas to studios! Perhaps Phiona Mutesi could lend them some advice?

The irony of women supposedly being as good as men is that they get 10-100 times more attention for doing very little

Disney probably bought the rights for the film the moment they figured out she could actually play chess, however badly.

“Girls are always overlooked, even in chess,” said Mutesi. “But I don’t think there’s any reason why a girl cannot beat a boy. It comes from believing in yourself.”


— Phiona Mutesi talking about beating boys, whom she doesn’t usually beat, unless they’re poorly-ranked like her

For all the bizarre fanfare being lavished upon Phiona Mutesi, at least she competes in a “sport” where the results are clear. This clarity at the end of games makes her hubris more astounding still. She claimed that girls are “overlooked” in chess at the same time news publications like The Guardian were flocking to her for interviews. Yes, to the 91,051st best player in the world. I almost had to put quotation marks around “best” because literally thousands of part-time suburban chess club players were and still are far ahead of her in the rankings. Aside from the person ranked number one in the world, Magnus Carlsen, Phiona Mutesi has been given the most attention of any player in recent years. And it is thoroughly unwarranted.

We are constantly fed a media diet of “women are just as good as men,” but when a woman “achieves” something that would not even warrant the Encouragement or Participation Award for a man, dozens of sycophantic journalists and activists will be at the ready to praise her. SJWs, whether on college campuses or in the “professional” world, know that they need to inflate many women with trumped-up accolades and special advantages in order to have even 10% of their narrative accepted. Hence we find the emphasis on female-only engineering and other STEM scholarships, which often benefit the daughters of wealthier families, or profit-driven corporations being forced to have a certain number of female executives.

Lauding women who don’t deserve to be lauded is the real fake news

The number of publications calling Phiona Mutesi a “prodigy” beggars belief. Plus, The Daily Caller pointed out that Mutesi “achieved” at least one of her “expert” titles with a rating of only 1686, well below the conventional requirement of 2000. In the meantime, by late last year Mutesi was only the third best female chess player in Uganda, which is akin to being the best alpine skier in Saudi Arabia.

When “Eric the Eel,” the Equatorial Guinean swimmer at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, graced the pool with his presence, people freely admitted he was a physically poor competitor. They could admire his participation without imagining that he was actually within a hundred miles of good. And remember, this was a man who had never even practiced in a full-length pool, unlike the normal chess practice and competition environments Phiona Mutesi has had access to. Because Mutesi is a woman, there’s a rampant urge in the media and elsewhere to portray her as some sort of serious force in chess.

So if you needed your fake news fix for this week, Phiona Mutesi’s “stellar” career so far as a chess player should satisfy you.

Read More: 7 Things I’ve Learned About Life From Playing Chess


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