Recently in Pop Culture Category
This happened in the ancient past, oh, say two or three weeks ago, and I am late posting on it, but I am just catching up on some things that I have put aside to blog on. I accept your forgiveness :-)
I have to admit it ... I am somewhat of a sports fan. Part of my cultural upbringing, I guess. I was a baseball fanatic when I was a kid. I regularly memorized every statistic there was to know. Sandy Koufax was and still is "my hero". One of my fondest memories is going to a Dodgers game with my father one summer night to see them play the SF Giants. Juan Marachal was pitching for the Giants and Sandy for the Dodgers. What excitement. Those were the days.
While my interest in baseball has greatly waned, I still watch the playoffs and the World Series. Basketball is now the only sport that I pay any close attention too. But I like to watch other major sports events on TV, particularly when championship series are being played. Therefore over the last month I watched a bunch of the World Cup matches. I enjoyed watching the matches, the spectacle, the skill of the players, and the overall strangeness (to me) of the sport, which I hardly ever see. I was in Paris on business in 1998 during the time of World Cup was played there and recall a general mood of excitement and the great interest of the locals.
I know that they are just games, and that they are all too human, but when an athlete, particularly one whose skill I admire does something that is so seemingly out of character and appalling as what Zidane did with his vicious head-butt to the Italian player, I am disappointed and saddened. Likewise when Kobe Bryant was revealed having acted as such a louse, to put it mildly, I was genuinely depressed at having been exposed to a truth that reveals the illusion of people who are among the best at what they do acting in such horrible ways.
There are so many ways that life can disappoint us.
From the modern miracle that is YouTube, I just had to share this!
I remember seeing William Shatner performing Mr. Tambourine Man on the Mike Douglas Show back in my early teens and even then I was agog and aghast at the sheer recklessness, if that is the word (so many come to mind) of that performance. Alas that video has not (yet, we can hope) shown up on YouTube.
In lieu of that gaping lacunae in our cultural archives, this all time classic is offered for your viewing pleasure … if you can take it!. (Sorry to my dial-up friends if there is a problem viewing it.)
Out here in Marine-land for the weekend and I saw a young man wearing a t-shirt with a Marines logo that read: "Pain is the body's way of ridding itself of weakness"
Blew my mind.
The Beatles released Let It Be, the last of their thirteen albums, 36 years ago.
I love reading, love the news and I have a long, but fading relationship with newspapers. Increasingly I get my news on-line, but I still like holding a paper in my hands.
In Michael Kinsley's column in the Washington Post Black and White and Dead All Over he writes:
Once, I would drive across town if necessary. Today, I open the front door and if the paper isn't within about 10 feet I retreat to my computer and read it online. Only six months ago, that figure was 20 feet. Extrapolating, they will have to bring it to me in bed by the end of the year and read it to me out loud by the second quarter of 2007.
I don't know about the "reading it out loud" part, but this is close to my experience and feelings. In the old days when it the New York Times wasn't easily available, I would make the effort to seek it out, and reading the LA Times has been a life long habit bordering on a deep seeded need. But with inconsistent delivery and questionable editorial policies, among other things, I recently have seriously considered cancelling my subscription.
Reading on-line and listening to audio books (which I did for the first time last month) are not the same "quality" experiences from a tactile/sensory standpoint, but I think that things obviously and increasingly trending away from our participating with information in those ways. The newspapers have much to fear from the internet if they don't respond creatively, and I think we will look back in five years to see a drastically different landscape. Some of it is scary to think about because further media consolidation is bound to take place.
While the pneumatic plastic pop princess has always provoked uncomfortable feelings in me I didn't know that for some, particularly members of the target market, the feelings run a bit deeper. From the Sunday Times of London:
Barbie, that plastic icon of girlhood fantasy play, is routinely tortured by children, research has found.
The methods of mutilation are varied and creative, ranging from scalping to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving, according to academics from the University of Bath.
The findings were revealed as part of an in-depth look by psychologists and management academics into the role of brands among 7 to 11-year-old schoolchildren.
The researchers had not intended to focus on Barbie, but they were taken aback by the rejection, hatred and violence she provoked when they asked the children about their feelings for the doll.
Violence and torture against Barbie were repeatedly reported across age, school and gender. No other toy or brand name provoked such a negative response.