Chances are that if you are reading this you already know me. But if you are a stranger and you are looking for left-of-center political opinions, rambling, senseless rants, and coverage of the Atlanta Braves that can only be described as severely manic-depressive...Welcome!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Race & Hollywood

From day to day there is no telling what is going to pique my interest enough to fire up the ‘ol word processor. The recent dustup between directors Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood has inspired me somewhat.

I want to begin by saying that I believe Hollywood, and American culture in general owes a great deal of gratitude to Spike Lee. Lee is a brilliant storyteller and a masterful filmmaker whose takes on life from the African-American perspective was completely missing from, and sorely needed in American cinema before his arrival. The ripple effect goes beyond his own films as he has inspired a new generation of directors to join him in exploring the previously untold yarns of black America.

That being said Lee can hardly be considered a visionary or innovator. A study of his filmography shows that almost all of his movies are rigidly structured and formulaic. His films portray young, African-Americans striving to survive in a society controlled by a white America which at its best is ignorant and indifferent to their struggles and at its worst conniving and even murderous. People from other cultures and backgrounds merely serve as scenery as we follow or intrepid hero’s struggle against broadly-drawn and stereotypical villains who are almost always white.

What I am saying is that Spike Lee is a one trick pony. He is an artist who is gifted in his ability to disseminate the African-American experience into the culture at large, but has shown that he has a tin ear to the life experiences and perspectives of anyone whose skin color differs from his.

All of this makes his criticisms of Clint Eastwood both predictable and bizarre. That Eastwood’s films (particularly his WWII epics) do not reflect The African-American perspective is true, but my question is why do they need to? Anyone with a basic understanding of American history can tell you that while segregated from their white compatriots, African-American soldiers were present, served gallantly, and had an enormous impact in many decisive battles during the war. Their experiences are valid, and their stories need to be told. But to shoehorn in storylines about black soldiers simply to satisfy a more multi-cultural society than the one being portrayed would result in a jilted and clumsy narrative that would bring down the whole project around it.

Lee’s comments become even stranger when you consider that one of the films is about Japanese soldiers. I don’t think that there were any African-Americans serving in the Imperial Japanese Army, but if there were I would agree that theirs would be a story worth telling! It is to Eastwood’s credit that he has the ability to step out of his own skin and tell a story from the perspective of a different culture (and language). Something that Lee is either unwilling or unable to attempt.

It would be virtually impossible to tell the stories of African-American soldiers in WWII without making the film about segregation. While it is a worthy subject, racial segregation was not the only thing going on during that period. There are many stories stemming from that era all worthy of being told. To follow Lee's way of thinking is to say that they are not.

In his criticisms Lee has shown that he is no better than the filmmakers who came before him. Myopic in their craft they ignored the stories and contributions of those who were different then they were, building walls that required someone like Spike Lee to tear them down. Now new walls are going up with Lee as a bricklayer, necessitating the arrival of a new filmmaker toting a sledgehammer.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

'Bout frickin time

Once again I find myself penning one of those “sorry I haven’t done this in a while” blog posts. When restarting a blog there is always a dilemma; what should I lead off with? So much has happened in the past few months I simply don’t know what to choose: Battles with students and school bureaucracy? An increasingly desperate job hunt? Deaths in the family? Trips both to home and the West Coast? The kickball season that isn’t? Or just the mundane day-to-day observations of a man living in the pothole capitol of America. I thought I would share something that happened to me today…enjoy.

I haven’t been reading much lately. Which isn’t true of course, I do quite a bit of reading actually from student assignments to inane postings on Fark and to the Sunday New York Times right down to the two magazines I actually have delivered to le masion. (The Nation and Entertainment Weekly, try wrapping your head around that combo!) What I mean to say is that I haven’t been reading many books, an exercise in intellectual slackitude that has left me feeling somewhat bland and, coming from a college-educated family, guilty.

So armed with the $100 Borders gift certificate I received for my birthday a few months back I pointed the kimchee-powered love machine into the wilds of suburbia in search of literary fulfillment. I spent three hours of a sunny Sunday afternoon perusing the shelves picking up biographies, alternative histories, short story collections, and novels by authors I had forgotten I had enjoyed. I found it amazing that such a left-leaning, god-denying, socialist such as myself did not own a copy of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, this was something I was determined to correct.

At the end of all this I had amassed two armloads full of dead trees and Happiness. (one of the titles I picked up) The total would well surpass the gift card that was now burning a hole in my wallet but I didn’t care, I was not just purchasing books, I was purchasing fulfillment. So finally my turn came and the lady behind the counter rang up my selections. I plunked down my Borders card and she looked at me as if I had just sprouted a second head.

I was at fucking Barnes & Noble!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A warm feeling in your heart

Don't you just love it when douchenozzle, family values, Jesus loves you because you hate everyone else, conservatives are outed as the hypocrites they are?

One question or bottom?

/This picture was the 8'th one in on a GIS, I had to go with it.

//Craig's seat is up in '08. On behalf of liberals everywhere I would like
to say; Please run for re-election senator. Please, please, prety please?


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Na na na naahh... na na naahh, hey hey hey goodbye!!

Don't let the clubhouse door hit you on the way out fatass! I hear there's an opening for a prima donna pitcher who can't get little leaguers out in the Mexican league. Ole!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why I'm not slashing my wrists over Michael Vick

Atlanta sports fans can be forgiven if they come off as a rather pessimistic and jaded lot. After all no group of multi-sport enthusiasts anywhere have endured as many false starts, broken promises, and generally dismal play than those for whom 404 is not an internet error message. Even our one moment in the sun, the Braves 1995 World Series championship, occurred in a year when virtually nobody watched baseball. Thus resulting in an endless string of exasperating conversations convincing people that yes, the Atlanta Braves actually did win a World Series.

Now as we stand ready to induct yet another athlete into the Pascual "Perimeter" Perez/Jeff George train wreck hall of fame, people begin to ask the inevitable question...when did it all go wrong? The answer, as it turns out, day 1.

Michael Vick is a one-in-a generation kind of talent, a natural athlete who could dominate any sport he chooses to play. That's the good news. The bad news; everybody knows it, including Vick. It is almost the natural order of things that people who know their potential almost never live up to it.

Think about it. Those who dominate any field be it sports, business, or politics are never the ones who were destined for greatness, those people invariably become disappointments. It's always those who seemingly come out of nowhere that end up running the table. Why? Because these people do not have the burden of expectations. They have no monkey on their back to use a tired, old metaphor. If they succeed, that's great. If they don't, oh well. And that gives them the freedom to reach the top of whatever field they are in.

Michael Vick had the opposite problem. Going back to his high school days everybody knew that he was destined for the NFL. His domination of the college football world as a Hokie simply put an exclamation point on his future. And when he was drafted #1 by the Falcons, it seemed that the sky was the limit.

But the Falcons play in a domed stadium and one cannot see the sky from anywhere on the field of play, so it seems the ceiling for Vick was actually much lower. It began with Dan Reeves who was determined to take all that raw talent and mold Vick into a quarterback. Something Vick thought he had already learned. The two clashed violently and when the Falcons failed to make the playoffs after two years Reeves was forced to walk the plank with Vick holding the sword at his back

Enter the players coach, Jim Mora. Mora wasn't about to mold anybody into anything, he was determined to let Vick be Vick. Left to his own devices Vick became the top rushing quarterback of all time. However this was a problem as quarterbacks aren't supposed to run the ball unless something has gone terribly wrong.

The fact that Vick ran so much was a sign that either A: He didn't have anybody to throw to, or B: He couldn't throw the ball very well, a serious issue for a quarterback. The fact that Vick got away with it as often as he did is simply a testimony to his talent. But the bottom line is that you cannot have half your offensive plays be quarterback draws and succeed in the NFL. Mora eventually figured that out and responded by crafting a more traditional offense. Vick revolted and fought bitterly over the change in tactics and it spilled over onto the field. Vick was clearly mailing it in and the results showed. Push came to shove, literally, and Mora was shown the door cementing Vick's rep. as a coach killer.

Even with his sporadically spectacular play on the field, it was clear that football was a secondary concern. it was merely a paycheck, a nice paycheck, but a paycheck nonetheless. Then came the cavalcade of off-the-field problems that were always really there, they were just conveniently ignored. There was the posse and all the problems that came with them. Ron Mexico, the finger incident, the "water" bottle, and finally we arrived at dogfighting.

We all saw this coming. The dogfighting itself was a surprise, but the fact that Vick would eventually self-destruct was not. Falcons fans knew from early on that there was to be no banner raising in the Georgia Dome anytime soon. Last draft day I along with many of my compatriots were just waiting for the news report to shock those on ESPN "In a surprising move the Atlanta Falcons, with their number 8 pick selected quarterback Brady Quinn. The question now, what does this mean for Michael Vick?"

Alas it was not to be. But no matter what happens do not feel sorry for Michael Vick. He will most likely get a slap on the wrist from the court and will then do a series of public service ads for the ASPCA and Kennel Club. Even if he never takes another snap Vick has more than enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life.

And it may be that Vick will once again become a success in the NFL. Perhaps even hoisting a Lombardi trophy or two. But he will never be great, he will never be as good as he could have been.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I love this video

The money shot comes with about 1:37 to go.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Peter Moylan for Prime Minister!

There is an enormously bright spot in the Braves bullpen these days and that light is coming from down under. I'm speaking of course of Peter Moylan.

From Attadale in Western Australia Moylan has just been lights out out of the pen this season helping to overcome the overwhelming black hole of suckage that is Bob Wichmann (My previous offer still stands)So far he has pitched in 48 games and has amassed a 1.94 ERA. In road games that number goes down to an almost microscopic 0.59

Moylan got the save tonight in the 7-3 win over the Mets in the opener of this crucial series. And with the addition of Dotel from the AAA Kansas City Royals I am feeling much more upbeat about the bravos pen these days.
Peter Moylan, I'll go a-waltzing matilda down by the billabong with you anytime mate. This ones for you.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Best. Classified. Ad. Evar!!!

From the Herald of Randolph, VT.

"Do you wake up in the morning getting high? Do you think you can make a career out of getting high? Do you work well while high? Do you have higher aspirations for getting high? Are you looking for a higher salary? If so, come get high with Chimney Savers, 728-3900. Call the office for higher employment to reach new heights."


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

If you see this man

There is probably some rule around here about calling for the murder of another human being, and far be it from me to break blogging etiquette. Nevertheless if you see this man; Braves "closer" Bob Wickman and you accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, or your finger has a mild spasam whilst sitting on a trigger of some sort...well. I can't promise you payment or any sort of tit-for-tat exchange, Let's just say I will be greatful and we'll leave it at thet.

What does a hitman go for these days anyway?