Friday, March 28, 2008

Racist? Please!

I've waited about a week to bring this up, and therefore I know that in today's world that makes this semi-old news, if not completely old news altogether. I'm speaking of the latest issue of Vogue, a hoity toity, nose-in-the-air sort of magazine read by twenty-something celubante wannabes. If you haven't seen the magazine, there's been some rumblings from various groups and talking heads on cable television screaming about it being racist (Cue Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton's entrance music). What? No Jessie? No Al? Good! Because this latest "controversy" - and I use that word lightly - is ridiculous, and nothing more than the desperate attempt of a few to stir the pot.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, bring up Google in your web browser and do a simple image search using the words "Lebron James" and "Giselle" and "Vogue". You'll see a basketball player - one of today's biggest stars, and a supermodel, also one of the most famous in her field of work. What are your first thoughts when you see this image? I see a very muscular basketball player, and a very fit model. He's tattooed, in an aggressive stance, and has a very powerful, very emotional expression on his face, not unlike those he makes one hundred times a game. She's, well, a model. She's beautiful, and as close to perfection as a human can be. The photograph was shot by Annie Liebowitz, a very famous, respected photographer, and was taken because the magazine features an article about how the world's best athletes and most famous models stay in shape. Lebron and Giselle are perfect specimens to enforce the article's intended purpose. I see a ripped athlete. I also see a beautiful model. What I don't see in this photograph is racism.

I read where someone said the photograph intentionally mimics King Kong, with Lebron starring as the hairy ape, and Giselle as the desperate, helpless woman in his clutches. Please cut the crap, okay? Those who see that when they look at this image are racists themselves. If you're reading this and agree that this photograph has racial undertones, you're a racist yourself. Yes, I said it.

Let me break it down for you. What we have hear is a ridiculous double standard. If Lebron had struck this exact same pose with a black model, say Tyra Banks for example, on the cover of a magazine targeted towards the African American demographic (come on, don't act like you didn't know Vogue was for snobby white women)such as Ebony, I doubt we'd be having this discussion. Why? Because if that were the case, society would say "Oh, that's just a black athlete being a black athlete," or something to that effect. You know, a multiple tattoo having, angry expression bearing, baggy shorts wearing black athlete. Fits right into the mold of what a racist believes all black men are, doesn't it? Tattoos? Check. Basketball skills? Check. Secretly wanting to take white women from white men? Check. Someone call the cops. A black man with tattoos and muscles is kidnapping a beautiful white woman. Let's say you didn't know who Lebron James was. Let's say he was instead just a regular black man. No fame, no riches. If we saw his picture on the news and heard a story of domestic violence towards his "baby mama", would we give it a second thought? I doubt it. Why? Call it par for the course. We're used to it. We as a society have been conditioned. Are those who are bothered by this image only bothered because its primary consumer is white people? I think so.

Negative images and portrayals of black people are used in movies all the time. The difference is those movies are targeted directly at black people themselves. You know what I'm talking about. Movies like Friday portray all black men as having multiple children by multiple mothers, drug habits, gun violence habits, and a lack of morals altogether. It's in direct correlation with the idea that I can make a joke about my own race, but not about yours; and I can call my dog ugly, but you better not call him ugly if you know what's good for you.

What did you want Lebron to do, cover up his tattoos? Because if that's the case, all white men being photographed should have to cover theirs as well. Wait, you mean white people have tattoos too? Yes, it's a shock, I know. Some of them actually play basketball too, and even date black women! I hope you racists were sitting down for that.

Is the Vogue cover image a negative portrayal of a black man? Maybe, but it's a stretch. It is stereotypical? No, I don't think so. Is it racist? Only to those who want it to be.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Big News Hoops Heads

Update: The live blogging for the games is canceled. I lost the motivation. Sorry.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Suffering from "clicker thumb"...

I started something this March that I hope becomes a tradition. I took off work Thursday and Friday to watch the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, figuring it made more sense to waste neither my company's time nor my clients by being at the office, but only physically, as my head would be elsewhere while I streamed all 32 first round games online live from my office. Productivity went out the window as soon as CBS did me the favor of streaming the games online a couple of years ago, and I took advantage, as I'm sure many of you probaby did as well. Not this year. Instead of wearing a suit and tie and pretending to do work-related activities I donned pajamas and a t-shirt and watched every game live from my girlfriend's couch. I wore a blister on my thumb from switching between four channels to watch multiple games simulatneously. Life was good. That is until basically all 16 games on Thursday sucked. No excitement. No upsets. No buzzer beaters. Just a single tease. Belmont had Duke on the ropes all game only to cave at the end. Who didn't see that coming? Fast-forward twenty-four hours later. Thank God for Friday. Thank you Siena. A bigger thank you to Western Kentucky. That was the best end of game scenario I've seen since Bryce Drew, son of Valparaiso Coach Homer Drew, nailed a three pointer from China at the buzzer to propel his Valparaiso team into the Sweet 16. I think that was ten years ago or so. As soon as Ty Rogers, a kid who looked more like a Western Kentucky farm boy than a Western Kentucky basketball player, hit a desperation three pointer to seal Drake's fate, one thought came to my mind: Is it just me or is it always some really awkward looking white kid hitting game-winning shots for the Cinderella team in the Tournament? Muscled, athletic black guys do it game in and game out during the regular season. But as soon as the Big Dance rolls around, you're guaranteed at least one game in which some white kid, who either looks like he should be smoking marijuana at a Dave Matthews concert or plowing fields in Idaho, becomes an instant hero with the whole country watching on national television. Maybe it's the basketball Gods way of smiling on unathletic white kids whose future no doubt includes selling Chevys at the local dealership or obtaining partner status at a prominent hometown law firm, while the more talented black athletes go on to make millions at the next level. Sure there are a few white dudes who make it, but those occurences are fewer and fewer these days. Still, if someone offered me the chance to take a game winning shot in the Dance, I'd take it. It seems like a fair consolation prize to me. I'm just saying.

A few other tourney thoughts:

You people who don't watch college basketball are really missing out. Aside from the intensity of the game play during the regular season, and especially the tournament with all its unpredictability, there are a few other things that make it so great. One of my favorites is the announcers. Dick Vitale is great on ESPN during the regular season, but the tournament calls for a mix of others, thankfully. For me, it just isn't the tournament without Jim Nantz opening each broadcast with a familiar "Hello, friends," Billy Packer's unbaised negativity towards the play of every team, Dick Enberg screaming "OHHHHH, MYYYYY!!" when that previously aforementioned white kid with the 80's headband and shaggy hair hits a ridiculous game winner from the tenth row, or Bill Raftery yelling "Onions!" or "A little kiss!" during an improbable comeback. This also reminds me that it is indeed, March.

Team to beat: North Carolina. Yes, I'm a Tar Heels homer. But if you watched all the teams play this weekend and don't agree that the Heels were BY FAR the most impressive team to take the court, you're an idiot. Eclipsing the century mark two consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament? Are you serious? It's been 18 years since a team did that (Loyola Marymount). If they're not cutting down the nets two Monday nights from now, consider it a MAJOR surprise, and an even bigger upset.

Star of the Tournament: Stephen Curry of Davidson. The kid droppped 40 on Gonzaga Friday afternoon, then proceeded to drop 30 on Georgetown Sunday afternoon (27 of which was in the second half to complete a 17 point comeback), and he's only a sophomore, though he doesn't look a day older than 16. Did I mention he dropped 30 in his first ever NCAA Tourmanent game last season? If you're keeping score at home that's a 33.3 scoring average in the tournament, and no one outside of Davidson and one other small school recruited the kid. I'd say it's a safe bet every other Division One coach in the country is wondering how they missed him. Oh, I should also mention it doesn't hurt that his mom is a total MILF. If you didn't see her, just imagine if Vanessa Williams had a slightly hotter twin sister. Yeah, like I was saying, MILF.

UCLA is overrated, as is Tennessee and Memphis. We all knew Duke was overrated all season.


A random Easter thought: Does anyone actually eat those marshmallow "Peeps" things you see at the store?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On my absence...

"Never complain; never explain." - Henry Ford II

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm...

In advance of tomorrow night's game, I feel it necessary to give a pre-game pep talk not to the team, but to fellow Heels fans. I hope you're sitting down. If not, go ahead, I'll give you a second. There, that's better. Let us begin.

We are Carolina.

So as you settle in to watch Saturday night's game, whether in Seattle or Shanghai, Wake County or West Jefferson, Los Angeles or New York City, keep in mind that still now, as ever, we are in this thing together; we're bound across the miles between us by that which outsiders simply cannot comprehend: a deep, profound, fiery, intense, spitting hatred of all things dook. And yes, dook is the proper spelling. They're not even worthy of capitalization.

Start now, this morning, and begin preparing yourself for victory. Begin to focus. Rearrange your schedule if you must, but resolve to get to your chosen game venue in plenty of time. Drink fluids - lots of them. And start building your outrage:

Think about ratface and how it's all about him.

Think about how the soulless son-of-a-bitch had a "center of leadership and ethics" named after him. Think about how the administration is actually proud of this fact.

Think about Paulus' off-arm push off on every drive to the basket. Think about how dook Vitale and Mike Patrick will sing his praises to the highest heavens.

Think about Gerald Henderson and the fouls they won't call on him, no matter how many purposeful elbows he throws and noses he breaks. Think about how he'll be allowed to assault Hansbrough, and how he won't be made to pay for it by the referees. Think about how vulgar ratface's outburts are any time something doesn't go his way, yet the officials will never "T" him up for them.

Think about how dook will be allowed to slap, bump, and flop on ever defensive possession.

Think about how dook wil be allowed to slap, bump, and dive on every offensive possession.

Tihnk about how Demarcus Nelson will go flying across the court to "save" a loose ball that's thirty-five feet away, that he has no chance to get to. Think about how hard, and with what primal enthusiasm, his teammates will subsequently embrace him.

Think about how the students will greet the Carolina starters with "Hi __________, you suck!" - and not only does ratface or the university condone this classless act, they actually encourage it, as do dookie V and his suck-up Dan Patrick.

Think about how ratface has a team full of McDonald's All-Americans, yet the annoucers will make such a big deal out of how well is doing this year with a team of lesser talented individuals, as if the cupboard is bare.

Think about the bloody Montross game.

Think about the bloody Hansbrough game.

Think about Jerry Stackhouse's baseline wrap-around dunk in 1995.

Think about Dahntay Jones' uncalled, three-stictch-producing face scrape on the great Raymond Felton in 2003. Think bout how, following that incident, dook scrub Andre Buckner PUSHED OUR COACH WITH TWO HANDS, ON TELEVISION, IN FRONT OF MILLIONS OF VIEWERS, and not only did he not receive a technical foul and ejection from the game, but was PRAISED afterwards by ratface for being a "peacemaker." (Leadership and ethics my @*(&#%(*^#@$ ass!)

Think about Wojo. Think about his pansy ass slapping the floor at "Coack K Court."

And think about Chris Collins. Mother. @*(&#&!$. Chris. Collins.

Think about Dockery face-shoving Tyler his freshman year in the game's final seconds, yet nothing was done.

Think about Tyler coolly hitting a huge three pointer in that same game when the dookies were making a run..

More than anything, begin this fine morning and start remembering how much you hate dook. Get yourself into a gnarled, throbbing, full-rolling boil of hate. Tell your dookie co-workers to eat $&#%^ and die. Sit some place dark for a while if you can, to organize your tangled hatred into a single coherent mantra. Let it guide you. Let the hate permeate every cell in your Carolina blue soul until you are one giant biomass of I hate dook.

It should feel good. No, it should feel great.

And on Saturday night, take that to the game/bar/living room, yell like you mean it, and get ready to win.

Because it's "the game", and we are Carolina.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who are you?

I'm not sure where this could go today. This so-called life I've been leading has been quite the roller coaster ride these past few weeks. Emotions from both ends of the spectrum and all points in between have made an appearance or two on a daily basis. I've gone from being happy, blissful, and ecstatic to angry, irate, and enraged, then back again. I've felt infinite sadness, melancholy, morose. I've even felt numb and void of emotion at times. But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. That's life, and these are just a few of the emotions that come with it. We all experience these at some point, possibly even a mix of several simultaneously. What I've discerned when I'm in the middle of experiencing a fit of emotion - be it rage, sadness, happiness, whatever - is that how you react and how you allow them to influence you is what makes you who you are. So who is Patrick? I thought you'd never ask. I'm a lover. Because no matter the emotion, I still love. I still treasure the emotion that is love and all that it stands for, and I give it freely to those around me without ulterior motivation. Especially to her. Most especially to her.

I wish I had time to write more today but my schedule has chosen to disagree. Next lesson in a day or two...