Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Guest Post by Butter Harrison

Recently, I stumbled into a relationship with a woman who is a football fan. You can imagine how this would be troubling to me. I know nothing about football. In fact, I have it on good authority that even some of the name contributors to this blog know very little about the ins and outs of the sport. How can I compete in a market like that?
Apparently, the Super Bowl is coming up. This is a big deal in football—it is sort of the football equivalent of the World Cup. It is a bigger deal for my girlfriend, S., who is a big Colts fan. I mean huge. Her facebook religious affiliation refers to Peyton Manning. She wears a Colts jersey in Boston (she is not popular). I have gotten weeping phone calls from her when the Colts lose. She gets bedroom eyes when they win.
So the fact that they are competing in the Super Bowl is a huge deal. She explained that a victory for the Colts will mean fifteen minutes of sex (about thirteen more than I can handle), and a defeat will mean four hours of tears, so I should be prepared for either event (I have a tissue box next to my bed).
When she mentioned it, I realized that I, too, have an important event coming up. Please don’t mock me. I am a huge fan of the Academy Awards. Please stop mocking me.
Like any football fan, I often feel that the wrong people win. I often throw food at my TV, and I will admit that when I saw certain nominations I was so depressed I didn’t go to class all day.
The problem, though, is that the Academy Awards are not really analogous to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is one event, one long, endless event, while there are so many chances for good and bad victories during the Academy Awards. It’s a little bit more like the World Series. Best Picture is Game Seven.
Then again, my favorite team (Children of Men) is playing in Game Three (Best Adapted Screenplay) but for Game Seven, it feels like only the Red Sox and the Indians are playing—I vary between being angry and being indifferent.
There is a feeling going around among fans of the Academy Awards that the Oscar tends to be awarded retroactively to whomever deserved the Oscar last year. Nobody thinks that Return of the King was the Best Picture; people were mostly impressed by Peter Jackson’s work so far. If The Departed wins this year, we’ll know why.
In that sense, the Academy Awards process is less like the actual gaming of a sport and closer to the draft process. When a great team (Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón) does poorly despite its obvious greatness, it means when the team drafts new players they get first pick. Right after Lost in Translation’s Bill Murray lost Best Actor to Sean Penn (has any man ever better embodied the New York Yankees?), Murray, a free agent, had his pick of teams. He ultimately did a season with Jim Jarmusch and then opened a car dealership.
Despite these obvious flaws in the system, I swear to God I will cry for four hours if Borat wins any awards.

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Guest Post by Sheriden Defresne

My girlfriend, B., is raising twins. They’re not mine. Don’t worry; I’m actually not involved.
She is a nanny for an extremely hippie couple. They dumpster-dive. The only music the twins (Zach and Ariah, I swear) will listen to, other than “The Wheels on the Bus”, is Pete Seeger. Yeah, like that.
The parents, though, have a mean sort of landed gentry streak through them. This was best exemplified when, recently, they commented that they would not allow their sons to play sports. This infuriated B. It got me worried about the day that she and I raise kids, and they want to play sports. I will be severely fucked.
Even in the simplest ways, I will be absolutely no good to a kid trying to learn sports. Imagine light music playing over a comical montage where the kid tosses me a Wiffle ball and it bounces between my legs. I get tangled up in a soccer goal. I keep yelling “Home run!” during basketball games.
And how will my kid even know sports? If one were to spend time with me, the closest to sports he or she would get would be the cheerleader on Heroes (“See, Sheriden, Jr., save her, save the world.”). I admit to not entirely knowing what squash is. Is it like football? Or is it the one like tennis? I also have no competitive spirit. A child raised by me would likely just as soon defect to the other team if his or her object of affection is playing defense.
Then again, that might be where B. comes in. She grew up playing softball, and today is fanatical about certain sports. She has on several occasions accosted name contributors to this blog, explaining how they were wrong and she is right. In every sports-related way, she complements me. Maybe that’s how you know she’s The One.
The above is tangential, as I am guilty of lying by omission. The reason this couple does not want their sons to play sports is because they do not want their sons to interact with “Those sorts of people.” I must admit; thinking of the Duke case, and thinking of Kobe Bryant, and thinking of the Dallas Cowboys, and thinking of Magic Johnson, and thinking of Sammy Sosa, and thinking of the guys who beat me up in middle school, this seems like a reasonable sentiment.
Then again, it would not be unreasonable to consider myself a person who lives exactly opposite athletes. So why don’t we examine my chosen path?
I write. Like William S. Burroughs wrote. Like Ernest Hemingway wrote. Like the Marquis de Sade wrote. Like Sylvia Plath wrote. Like Marcel Proust wrote. This is not great company. And that’s even assuming that my hypothetical children associate with other writers. More likely, they will spend all their time alone and end up committing suicide. And that’s assuming they’re good at writing. They could just sort of be like John Irving, and end up sucking their way through their middle ages.
It’s fair to say that it is up to one’s parents to raise one right in spite of the assholes one will meet in one’s chosen field. Well, parent. I will probably be watching TV.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

ESPN really dislikes black people

Maybe it's just Or, more precisely, Page 2, that festering wasteland ever since Paul Lukas started his blog, Jason Whitlock got canned and Bill Simmons developed a gigantic crush on Bill Simmons. Page 2 hires black people to write for them but only if they can prove that they're functionally illiterate. From The Year In Lists:

Bomani Jones chose to write about the best James Brown songs. A noble endeavor, and his number 1 song is a spectacular choice: "The Payback", from the album of the same name. But then things go downhill - "Check this lyric. "Don't do me no dern favors/I don't know karate, but I know ka-razor/yes he do!" Nope, James wasn't the one to mess with."

Which would be nice. If it was the right lyric. Except that JB says, "I don't know karate, but I know ka-razy. Which actually makes sense. And is funny. And is an awesome line. And is not what Bomani Jones thinks the line is.

But Bomani, bless his heart, is only one half of this shit sandwich. Scrolling down we find a list by the always-lucid Scoop Jackson. No, not the Democratic Congressman who thought the Vietnam War was a pretty neat idea. The writer, of whom Whitlock once remarked, ""the publishing of [Jackson's] fake ghetto posturing is an insult to black intelligence."

Read his list. Go on, I'll wait. Notice a pattern. Yes, if you couldn't tell, Scoop Jackson is black. Black to the core. Black to the depths of his soul, which is also black, but not in the way that you mean it when you're describing a moustache-twirling villain. Black like Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King and 50 Cent. And almost to an item, his list describes all the black things he likes. Because he's black, if you forgot. I have nothing against Barack Obama. I like Barack Obama, I may very well vote for him, but to call him the writer of the year, for yet another "uplifting" tome by a politician with big ambitions which will be forgotten in 6 months? A bit of a stretch. But then again, Scoop Jackson is black. So don't forget it. hates black people because this is the sort of black person they hire. Clowns. I don't blame the writers - they do what they do. I blame those who hire them, who foist them on the public, and who make money out of their shucking and jiving. You're telling me these are the two most qualified black writers that ESPN could find.......

Actually, now that I think about it, what Bill Simmons does is pretty much the white person equivalent of shucking and jiving ("Yes massah, Rocky IV sho' was good, and mah woman done distracted me from 'dat TV jus' when it be gettin' good.") so I guess this is a theme they've explored across races. I stand corrected. But it's still "kah-razy", you illiterate fuck.