Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TLL: The Grammy Awards, Jeremy Lin, Tim Thomas, and Women’s Rights

My buddy, Mark, has been helping me modulate the tone of my opinions for a while now. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This week, however, I tried to take his advice. The crossed out words indicate what I really think writers refer to as "First Draft". At least this way you know that I'm having fun playing with the cross out tool being careful in understanding and taking responsibility for my opinions. Onto the Links…


So I promised myself that this year I'd watch the Grammy's, my least favourite of the bloated awards shows that dominate the TV/ cultural landscape during this portion of the calendar. Apparently I lied. (To myself, which isn't so bad, right?) Instead, I found myself watching a nondescript Memphis – Utah NBA game featuring the ugliest uniforms I've ever seen. According to my twitter feed, Adele kicked everyone's ass, and Chris Brown, the jerk who beat up Rihanna when they were a couple, performed twice. Did I miss anything? Oh, and I did catch Taylor Swift, one of my favourites, who was very good. That's not a surprise. (And for people who insist that she can't sing. Um, neither can Bob Dylan, if you're going to judge voice that way. Fortunately, not all of us need some mythical tonal purity and a chance to cash in on someone else's success to appreciate good music (and storytelling) when we hear it. The whole vocal shitstorm with Taylor Swift strikes me as sexist, especially since she's noticeably better than she used to be. She doesn't have to be Mariah (or even Jennifer Hudson) to be great. Here's what MTV thought about the night's winners and losers. (Though I disagree on the Chris Brown "winner" label.)


Elsewhere, Tim Thomas, Stanley Cup winning goaltender for the Boston Bruins, was in the news again for his latest Facebook post. Apparently, he wants everyone to know that he "stands with the Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom." He's referring, of course, to the latest wedge issue for Republicans debate over Obama's healthcare program, in which all institutions providing health care were required to cover contraceptives. The Catholic Church (by which, I mean the papacy and bishops) don't believe in women's rights or rational thinking the use of birth control, so they officially objected, forcing Obama to compromise. There are a few issues here, but Thomas, who refused to go to the Whitehouse with his team a couple of weeks ago, and then claimed it wasn't political, is acting like a douchebag missing the point. Jim Braude thinks he's a coward, which is right on the money probably going too far. At least, that's what most people with an IQ above eighty Joe Haggerty thinks.


As for the Catholics themselves, I truly don't get it. I was raised in a devout Catholic home, was an altar boy for five years, and still love the way that so many Catholic churches involve themselves in helping the poor and providing for those in need. Even my parents don't agree with the Catholic breeding program position on birth control. In a recent poll, 98% of Catholic women have used birth control at some point and 58% of Catholics disagree with their church's position. Some commentators feel that Obama handled this in a clumsy manner. I don't think so, and neither does John Ray, a professor of Political Science in Montana. I think he gets it right when he calls it a misinterpretation of the First Amendment and an important issue for women's rights.

For all the good the Catholic Church does in the world, and they do A LOT of good, as an institution they treat women like breeders have never considered women equal to men. (TEASER: Later this week in the Scrolls post, we'll look at why that is so, and the one woman in history who understood that Roman tendency better than any other. Her name? Cleopatra.) Not that they're the only institution that thinks the purpose of women involves breeding procreation. As Dr. David Jeremiah, popular evangelical teacher, he's certainly not smart enough to be a real doctor… idiot, notes in his new book, procreation is one of the important reasons people should marry. Love is part of the equation, but only part. God put us here to breed until we overpopulate the earth and kill every other living thing be fruitful and multiply. Which is also why we should not allow gays to marry, he says, because they can't procreate. Aside from the fact his argument is hateful and completely ignorant illogical nonsense, I can't understand why so many people seem attracted to this drivel. We're smarter than this, right folks? Like, we didn't stop reading when the calendar moved past 1958, right? Sigh.


The best story of the week, for me, is the Jeremy Lin story. If you haven't heard about LInsanity yet, you will. Jeremy Lin is the point guard for the New York Knicks. Well, he's been the point guard for the past five games, during which time he's averaged 25 points a game and about 8 assists. Not a big deal normally, except that those are the first five starts in the NBA for Lin, he has a degree from Harvard (The US presidency has had more presidents from Harvard (5) then the NBA (4)), he's been sent to the D (evelopment) League four times, was released by three other NBA teams, and as of two weeks ago was sleeping on his brother's couch in New York about to be released. And did I mention the Knicks have won five games in a row in what seemed to be a lost season with their two best players sidelined. He also happens to be a devout Christian (which hasn't come into play yet, but it will) and of Taiwanese- Chinese descent, which happens to be the NBA's biggest market outside the US. Yes, the NBA headquarters have been quivering with delight for two weeks.

Sam Amick looks at how Lin got to New York. But even before he became a pro, he was tearing it up at Harvard and causing all kinds of angst, at least for Jay Caspian King. On Friday, Lin dropped 38 points on the Lakers, proving he's no fluke, according to Chris Mannix. And then Jay Caspian King took another crack at the Lin saga this past week. This is a great story, and watching the kid play the last two games, I'd agree that he's no fluke. He has a Steve Nash quality to his game, but he's more Sam Cassell, more a scorer. That will be the thing to watch, by the way. How he shoots the ball. If he continues to hit his jumper, he'll be fine.


Oh, and from the archives this week, I found this old article by Owen Gleibermen commenting specifically on American Idol's shitty fluff weak judging last year and how it affected the early cut of Pia Toscano on the show. Thematically, however, he tackles why criticism and critics are necessary, how good critics help us see things in a new light. And also, it makes me feel better about all the criticism I dish out every Tuesday. And yes, I watch American Idol. I wasn't sure what it'd be like after Simon left, and they had some problems last year, but my wife and I still enjoy it. There are so many commercials now, however, we probably wouldn't watch it without a PVR.

Feel free to post your own favourite links from the week, folks. Or let me have it if you think I'm out to lunch. Otherwise, enjoy.