Monday, February 28, 2005

The Oscar Judges Are Racist

For all the patting on the back that white people have been doing for the advances made by blacks at the Oscars, the scent of racism is still in the air.

Evidently its ok to vote for a black person in a movie, so long as it doesn't offend the delicate sensibilities of White America.

But "You Got Served" struck out last night, and I think it's a real shame. I guess it's ok for black folks to dance on the screen, so long as its confined to the three or four minute videos on BET or one of MTV's hip hop shows.

However, The Man obviously cannot stand to let blacks dance their hearts out for 90 minutes. Maybe "You Got Served" would have squeaked by the judges who believe that Denzel and Hallie are white enough to honor had it not been for the movie's climax -- the big dance battle.

Frankly, I'm suprised that The Man even allowed that dance battle to be shown without an X rating. But it crossed a line.

That battle was "no rules."

"Straight street."

The academy wants order in its dancing -- no battles, and certainly if a dancing skirmish must errupt, it had better have rules.


If it's hypocrital to joke about playing the race card in a post following one that talks about genuine anti-semitism, then I'm the pot. Or the kettle. Or just stupid.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Bob Kraft and Israel

Bob Kraft has had difficulty winning the hearts and minds of the New England Patriot's fans, and it's becoming pretty clear why.

When Kraft bought the Pats, they were a miserable franchise. They had been to the Super Bowl once, and were humiliated by the Bears. I remember watching that game when I was 12 years old, and crying myself to sleep midway through the third quarter.

But the humiliation that the Pats players experienced in that drubbing is nothing like what was cast over the franchise after players sexually harassed a female reporter in the locker room, and their then-owner Victor Kiam called that reporter a "classic bitch."


Let's not talk about the Sullivans and their reign in New England that began when they bought the franchise in 1959. I'm not so good at match, but 1959 to 1986 is a long, long time to wait to see a team make the Super Bowl. Much less, well, you know, win it three times in four years. But we'll get to that.

Kraft has caught a lot of flack since buying the team in 1994. The Boston politicians wouldn't let him build a stadium in the city in the late 1990s, and the sports writers wrote him off as an incompetent micromanager after Bill Parcells deserted the team following their 1997 Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers.

We're going to back up for just a minute. The Sullivans bought the Patriots in 1959 and it took several decades to reach the Super Bowl. Kraft got them there in just a few years (and not so far removed from a 1-15 season).

OK, back to the present day. Bob Kraft has taken the team to four of the past nine Super Bowls. They have won three of the past four, and are now regarded as a dynasty. But some people just cannot find it within themselves to at least ignore Kraft, much less thank the man.

Some take shots because he let Bill Parcells, who won zero Super Bowls in his tenure in New England, walk away.

Some call him cheap because he let the team cut Lawyer Milloy, a local favorite and former Pro Bowler. But Kraft generally spends up to the salary cap or close to it, and the team has won two of two Super Bowls since dropping Milloy.

He's probably getting called cheap again as the team let go of Ty Law on Friday. Ty Law was a great player, but didn't play in the last 12 games of the season, and the Pats still won the Super Bowl.

And he's catching it again on a local discussion forum due to his support for a flag football league in Israel, and his statement as quoted on the board from a press report during a trip to Israel that

"You get three out of four Super Bowls by subjugating the ego for the good of the whole," he said. "In Israel, this is in the fabric of the country, to create a democracy that thrives against the odds."

As I posted on that board, Israel is a democracy that HAS thrived against the odds.

Is there any other way to describe it? Israel has been under attack since DAY 1, surrounded by enemies that vastly outnumber Israel. Israel's continued existance blows every sports cliche out of the water as far as defying odds.

While the Israeli government may not be perfect in terms of its treatment of the Palestinians, keep in mind that Americans only got a taste of what Israel has dealt with for its entire history on 9/11. If the U.S. was heavily populated by al-Qaeda members and was surrounded on all sides by terrorism supporters like the nations that surround Israel, how do YOU think we'd run out government?

I'll give you a hint. The post 9/11 reaction that has raised a lot of concern amongst civil liberties advocates would be NOTHING in comparison, given that we currently are reacting against a group tiny in size and funding comparison -- al-Qaeda and the like compared to entire states with their massive oil resources  -- that is oceans away with probably just a few cells here.

Sorry to go off on a tangent.

Bob Kraft has already given us four Super Bowls with three victories in the past four years, and built a new stadium in Mass. Given that and his other community involvement, I suggest that folks here temper their criticism of his funding a flag football league in Israel as if it's some kind of an act of treason -- which is silly to begin with given that Israel is one of our few true friends in the Middle East.

Maybe you'd be happier with the Sullivans or Victor Kiam.

I'll leave you with a few questions. Did you ever say at any time between 1959 and early 2002 the phrase "when the Patriots won the Super Bowl?" Or how about "When the Patriots won the Super Bowl three times in four years?" Or "The Patriots are a dynasty?"

No, you didn't. And I suggest that if you haven't thanked Bob Kraft yet, you do so.

Unless, of course, you can't get over the fact that you're awfully ungrateful. Or that he's Jewish.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson -- A Tribute (Sort of)

I learned that Hunter S. Thompson, one of my journalistic idols, died today, and I haven't shed one tear. If Thompson were to have objectively reviewed his own work over the past 20 years -- and given the drugs and alcohol he purported to abuse, I have little doubt he might not have recognized it as his own, he would have savaged it with the same zeal he did usually reserves for Republicans and government thugs who might seek to take away his firearms.

Hunter Thompson's work was like a revelation to me when I started reading it in college. I was taking a course load of five journalism classes, and perhaps was getting a bit burned out of doing things "by the book."

I picked up "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" and was just stunned. I can't put my finger on a sample of what I liked so much because I lent my copy of the book to a co-worker two jobs and eight years ago, but I remember being knocked out by the passion with which Thompson covered politics. He zoned in on the desperation involved, which seemed to humanize the combatants.

Unfortunately, he was going through the motions for a long, long time. I was chatting about HST with my friend Steve today, and he pointed out that Thompson literally was phoning -- or faxing -- it in for the past decade or so. Rather than getting in the middle of the action, he was more likely to be seated on the couch in his Owl Creek home, watching CNN and dashing off faxes to James Carville or whoever. Making himself part of the story was a good twist in the 70s, but now he was the whole story. And it was as interesting as you could expect a story about an alcoholic who periodically brandished his guns and vented about knowing more than anyone else about politics.

Like other paranoid addicts, he jumped at every shadow on the page, with every bit player under suspicion for being a vicious goon or member of the KGB.

And where were the women? Thompson was always boozing and drugging, but rarely seemed interested in women in his stories, except to point fingers and call them depraved whores or whatever. A little odd?

So what would Hunter Thompson have to say about Hunter Thompson if he picked up any of his own books from the past 20 years or so? He'd tear him apart, loading his literary shotgun with buckshot and spraying it at a bloated fool who had grown rich repeatedly selling the movie rights to his most popular book that was finally made into a movie with a former teen heart-throb playing the author, pimping multiple volumes of his own letters, and raking in the dollars while rambling like a drunken fool.

I don't know if Thompson composed a suicide note, or ever took a stab at his own obituary. But I'd wager that it would be something about a wasted man who wasted his talent.