Thursday, July 17, 2008

wereallnumberone #8: "well, there you go" -- imus is public civility enemy #1

" Nappy Headed Ho" that I wish would kick Don Imus' ass
Don Imus, an Ass

First off, eff Don Imus and all pundits of his ilk. Eff Limbaugh. Eff O'Reilly. Eff Hannity. Eff Coulter. And more importantly, eff Fox, CBS, MSNBC, and all the other major news networks for continuing to hire, market, and promote these acrimonious assholes.

Second of all, eff Howard Cosell. So much for rule number one of the "Jockocracy." Athletics intersected politics, race, and sex (as it did with Jack Johnson, Billie King, Muhammad Ali, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, and Steve Nash, etc etc) and once again proved that sport - for reasons better or worse - is our culture's panacea. Sports culturists like myself, who believe that athletic competition, when done right, utopically emblematizes what our society might be like if it were more progressive, rejoice when media stalwarts like Don Imus get their asses handed to them by athletes. Female athletes. Black female athletes at that. Oh that shit was sugar sweet.

He called them hoes because thats a derogatory slur for black women. He intended to demean their humanity, sure. And their sex. But his primary intent was to belittle them for their ethnic appearance. And his assumption was that Tennessee evidently had respectable looking black women (i.e. light skinnded, like Candace Parker, who is like Beyonce with a crossover) but Rutgers' women were dark, unattractive, and therefore thuggish lookin. Or "hardcore hoes." Which was why him getting fired was all the more fulfilling. for too long, we been like "you cant call women hoes and get away with it." And right wing pundits do. They call all people of arab descent terrorists. They even call em ragheads. Imus called Gwen Ifill a cleaning lady. He called Bill Rhoden a token hire.

And for once, I was like "you cant call ____ a _____" and major corporations shared the sentiment. That shit makes you feel good inside, dont it. Except for Viacom. Eff Viacom.
Whats really effed up is that this dumbass was calling them nappy headed when they all wear their hair in permanents. That shit be easier to comb than white girls hair. Lye is a helluva drug.

Or chemical, as it were.

Anyhow, for all my nappy heads of the highest order (or, nappy headed h.o.'s), this is for y'all. And big ups to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, State U. of New Jersey, and C. Vivian Stringer and her badassed women's basketball team. They are really taking wearing "Scarlet Letters" to a whole nuver leva.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The White Stripes and the Myth of Racism in Pro Sport

As much as I want to shake my fist in the manner of an octagenarian that was overcharged by 80 cents on his grocery bill, as much as I want to pout like those cute twins in "Big Daddy," as much as I want to fuss like that badassed black woman in the grocery store with the rollers in her hair when her kids grab yet another toy and say "I want that," I cannot do any of those things this morning without admitting first that I brought this upon myself. Its my own fault that I am so perturbed this morning.

So I will not be like the proverbial obese person blaming his weight on poor genetics midway through a third can of potted meat chased with cheez-whiz, capers, and pork rinds. I will not be like that slutty friend of yours who blames you for giving her tequila last night, when she know good and goddarn well that she was gonna let the squad run up in it even if she had been doing shots of O'Douls.

I am accepting blame and faulting myself for being red-assed today. And not in the cute way that those baboons are. That said ...
I read a report on Yahoo! Sports (which actually occasionally has good commentary though I am not a gigantic fan of Dan Wetzel, who is far too apolitical and snarky) announcing that a study was recently published on racial bias in NBA refereeing. I immediately thought that this would be an interesting and timely discussion (more on the timeliness later) and that perhaps it would spark some heated, but ultimately interesting debate on the intersection of race and sport. I knew, deep down, that players would be mum about the issue, or face suspension and fines, but hoped that analysts would give the issue some serious thought and examine the report dutifully. And even if nothing came of it, the fact that the debate was had could be a sign of times to come; a time that William Rhoden calls for in Forty Million Dollar Slaves, wherein he claims that black athletes have become ignorant of the history of embedded racism in professional sport and thus are incapable of defending themselves from the onslaught of racism when its ugly face rears time and time again. Racism exists. Period. As if the world of sport would be immune to it.

Like when European soccer fans call African players simians. Or when Fuzzy Zoeller called Tiger a watermelon-eater Or Zinedine Zidane was provoked to violence by an Italian soccer player who allegedly called him a "dirty terrorist." Or when Don Imus called Rutgers' women's basketball team "nappy headed hoes." Or when ...

But this is my fault. It is my fault that I expected better of ESPN. It is my fault that I expected better of Disney. It is my fault that I expected better of Yahoo! Sports. It is my fault that I expected better, for once in my effin life, of the American sport media.

The report, published by Justin Wolfers, from frikkin Wharton (translation, this guy is not pullin info out of anus) states that white referees make more foul calls against black players than white players, and that black referees call more fouls on white players than black ones, though not as frequently as their white counterparts. The short of it is that it appears that unintentional racial bias occurs in foul calls in the NBA.

Now look guys, I'm not jumping on Wolfers' bandwagon just yet. First of all, he didnt even review game tape, only box scores. This means that he isnt closely analyzing or contextualizing the foul calls (the fault, IMHO, with purely statistical analyses). Second of all, of course white refereees are calling more fouls on black players ... theyre the only kind of players to call fouls on!!! I mean really, would you call a foul on this guy? I mean come on. How else can you say it ... he's adorable!!! And Canadian! The ony other option of calling a foul on a white guy is what? To call a foul on 3/8 of Jason Kidd? Posthumously on Pete Maravich? To call a foul on Jack Nicholson for Anger Management?

Also, this is the guy who published the study I'm going to exercise some of my own bias ... since when did Ron Howard dye his hair blonde and become a basketball expert? There is such a thing called "ethos." He co-published the study with a Cornell graduate student. Lets hope he was a power forward for the Fighting Big Red Ithacans.

But still, regardless of the merit of the study, I am severely disappointed in Yahoo! Sports and ESPN for dismissing it without even discussing the underlying issue the article raises. That its possible racism impacts professional sport. As always, they trotted out the black ambassadors to dismiss the accusation of racism. LeBron: "Its (the study) stupid!" Kobe "I get more techs from black refs! Thats reverse racism." Charles Barkley "Its asinine." Kiki Vandeweighe "These remarks are made by people who dont understand basketball. End of Story." No offense, Kobe and LeBron, but when y'all get your GED's, I'll talk sociology of sport with you.

Wow. That was harsh. Sorry guys, that's just the indignance talking.

We all know what happens to political black athletes. Actually, we dont. Thats really scary. Has anyone seen Stephon Marbury? I'm really worried about him ... last I heard they'd frozen him like Han Solo so that his shoes wouldnt cut in on Nike sales

And with that, the issue is dead. No more discussion ... hell there wasnt even a discussion in the first place. No one sat and debated it. Scoop and Dave Zirin were evidently unavailable for comment. Harry Edwards was off somewhere being black I guess. Richard Lapchick was on vacation with Aquaman and Chris Tucker.

Also unavailable for comment, conspicuously, was Tim Duncan, who was recently ejected from a game by a white referee who was later suspended because he had a "vendetta against" Duncan. But that's not racism, I guess. He was discriminating against Duncan because of his ...umm ... really cool name for a basketball player (close seconds are Joseph Schuten, Alvin Steels, and Marcus Threesixtyslam. He's dutch-irish I think).

We also havent heard from Shaq, the "Big Aristotle." Heh, more like the Big Thrasymachus!!! Who's with me on that one? He knows what I'm talking about (points at unsuspecting dude in next office)! I'm sure he would have said, in his sleepy monotone: "Thats nonsense black refereees and white referees call fouls and sometimes dont its part of the game next question (smiles) now I'm gonna go and let the air out of Kobe's tires and shoot at cubans cuz I'm a cop. Bush for president!" ***

So I got all worked up, expecting serious debate and reflection and introspection. Instead, I got progpaganda and one-sided "news" reporting that gave Rupert Murdoch a stiffy so hard he wants ESPN made into a pill form that would replace Levitra.
And its all my fault. I do now and have always known better than to expect serious discussions of race and racism in American media.

I call that foul on myself (and I'm black, so Wolfers' theory is refuted. End of Story).

***remember, this is the guy who once said that his skills were like the pythagorean theorem, there's no answer to it. Oh and also said "I'm tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok." And without a hint of irony. God bless you you big footed bastard.

Monday, July 14, 2008

wereallnumberone #8: Crying Over Loose Juice (Seriously, Folks, Let OJ Go)

On possibly the world's #1 scapegoat for all pro athletes getting away with murder. What a poor metaphor ...

The other morning while in the gym, I heard a DJ bust a joke in which he basically stated that if any celebrity were going to have a yard sale or auction in which they sold their clothes for charity, he'd want to buy OJ's pants and underwear. Because he's certain that when the verdict was read, he probably shit gold.

First of all, this joke has three qualities that usually render a joke unfunny, and thus, unworthy of proper response:

1) It was born in and currently resides in Nebraska. Wait for it …
2) Seriously, who shits gold? Who eats gold? This guy No wait, that was his old skin. And Smokes and Pancakes. Maybe this guy ? No wait, that's not gold. Those must be made of lead. The kind you find in paint chips. And after you eat them for many years … you know its just not as funny when I have to explain it …
3) Finally, of all the metaphors to describe "expression of shock" this guy chooses "shit gold." Really. Try harder, Testicles-Which-Have-Lost-Feeling. How about "Had a Pig Nut" Or "Was as Happy as a Littuhl Guhrl" God bless expressionism. Or maybe "He was like a fat sunuhbitch on his 9th doughnut outta dozen … you know, that really is the sweet spot, you got plenty of donut in your stomach so you're nice and full, so you're beginning to chew more and thus releasing more of the flavor and enzymes and shit is collaborating in your stomach givin you itis and then you fall asleep and you know when you wake up you still got three more doughnuts and its like life is good."

Seriously, either of those could work.

But the reason I took notice was because the joke seemed revelatory. This muhfuka still hung up over OJ. Damn. That shit was like in '96. We still thought Kriss Kross and Hammer was gonna make comebacks back then (just turn your pants around and do the "Typewriter." Do it. You know you love it … and now I've lost you …). Gore was still inventing the internet and Clinton hadn't even tapped Lewinsky yet (that we know of). Poor Clinton. If he were black he woulda been in "I'll Bee Dat" by Redman ( Bush was hemmin' up Brothas ( and executing the mentally ill ( instead of turning Iraq into DisneyMesopotamia.

Not to belittle Nicole Simpson and the other dude, nor to editorialize about OJ's guilt or non-guilt (my blackness will not permit me to comment), but damn. Seriously. Get the eff over it. There have been worse transgressions in American history. There have been worse transgressions in L.A. history. There have been worse transgressions in Tulsa County, Oklahoma ( I guess folks remember it because usually brothers get locked up and get way worse than they deserve, and this one was notable because its likely he got way less than he deserved.

But rich people get 'off' all the time. Martha Stewart called up the cops was like "Oh, I got jail time? I'll be there like week after Memorial Day, kthxbyewhatvrs." And athletes skate on the regular. Ray Lewis killed like two people and didn't even have to miss the Super Bowl. And Joe Namath was drunk in public and raped Suzy Kolber's face on national TV and didn't get time ( And black folks are getting away with it more than ever, which is a sign of, if nothing else, that the Civil Rights Act is finally taking effect (I was drankin' at a fountain up front like 3 minutes ago and, when I make bail, I'll probably be out within the hour. This is Louisiana though, so, you know, iss prolly better for y'all wherever y'all are). So a rich, black, athlete getting away with it should totally not be this big a deal to someone in 2007.

But this dude is still beefin over OJ. Wow. Think of the inverse. How often you hear black comedians and DJs and pundits talking bout James Earl Ray, or whatever white government official killed Martin Luther the King? Or Medgar's killer, who got sentenced to life like 400 years after the crime was committed. His coffin is in the State Pen now, for life. And how about Tupac and Biggie's killers? C'mon, had to be white dudes ( Granted, Tupac is not dead. If Shakespeare continued to release posthumously the way Tupac has, he would have written the DaVinci Code.

What about all the white dudes who killed the blues and have never been brought to justice (yes you, Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Elvis Presley, and the insufferable Jonny Lang. Will all of you please shut … the … eff … up) Seriously. These guys massacre Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Albert King every time they open their mouths and fret their guitars.

And what about the white dude that killed The Jacksons? Michael, I think his name was. Horrible, horrible what has happened to Jermaine. He was gonna be a big star. He was as passable a vocalist as Daryl Hall and he played bass way better than John Oates (he was prolly as good as Rick James, even though he had a coiff kinda like Odell in Jackie Brown) And who knows what could have been of Tito …

All I'm saying is, injustice, like s$%t, happens. And over time, we are charged with moving forward in spite of it and working towards ridding the world of it. Or at least reducing it somewhat. So some of us don't eat meat. Others don't purchase diamonds. Others still don't use vehicles that burn gasoline and me, well, I raise money so that cats who ball for my school get money to pay for an education which many of them could not otherwise afford in this free country. So maybe that DJ should drop his day job, get a J.D., and prepare himself for the next time when a Hertz Rent-a-Car pitchman ( offs a white girl and her boyfriend (allegedly).

Cuz you know those Hertz Rent-a-Car guys. They loooove white women.

In the words of the immortal ODB:

"I'm a minute away from feelin' no sympathy!!!"
---ODB, "Run Dirty Run"

wereallnumberone #7: Bum Chicka Wow ... Wow

One of the higher rated commercial series in recent years has been the Axe Body Spray. I've been revolted by both the smell of and the advertisements for Axe Bodyspray for far too long to have refrained from cyber-busting the company's ass for it. So here goes.

First of all, I realize that ambergris is often the base for many perfumes. After all, of the many uses of sperm whale excretions one could conjure, perfume would likely be the first, no? The problem is that it is a base for perfumes, not the perfume itself. On the real, a bodyspray should not smell like an animal's excretion ... much less like the excretion of a drunken vagabond who, after urinating on hair, setting it on fire, then wrapping it in donkey shite, pig bladder, and then lighting it afire in a ritual sacrifice somehow liquefied and then bottled the smell for the consumers. Of course, in the event that a bodyspray did smell like that, it would need some slick A and D to market it.

Enter Axe Body Spray.

Featuring commercials with bedheaded, be-skechered dorks who clearly draw inspiration from the "cool wells" of hot rockstars, actors and fonts of culture , we are thrust into a world where allegedly attractive women become inspired to hurl themselves onto these unsuspecting douches simply because they have doused themselves in the aforementioned malodorous fixture. Seriously, no one above an IQ of 19 or who has had sex 1.3 (see footnote) times or more in his lifetime would be so desperate as to bathe himself in the mixture of isopropyl alcohol and broken dreams that is Axe Bodyspray. And double seriously, if you are a self-respecting, intelligent, strong, independent woman who goes apes#$t when a man approaches you smelling like hyena ejaculate, then I hope Gloria Steinem shows up at your door tomorrow morning and kicks you in the cooter.

No, I dont mean that.

I hope Angela Davis totally gaps your fro in such a manner that that s$%t cant be covered up with any kinda part and you totally have to either wear a scarf for like four weeks or totally trim the entire fro to make up for it. Like this: (the "gap" is in the back by the word "fader." You aint foolin us, Erykah ...

Anyhow, between the stank juice that is Axe Bodyspray, the lames that employ its use, and the women who go ass-up for them (sounds like a Springer episode), I kinda got to wondering where else there's money to be made in the "I-cover-myself-in-odd-s%&t-and-hoes-come-flockin'" market. Here's the first ten things I thought of ...

New Axe Body Spray Fragrances:
10) Ass - comes in "Pancake" if you like white girls, "Onion" if you like sistas, and so on and so on ... you know, "Green T (and A)" and "Enchiladass."
9) Scandalwood - you'll be the talk of the town when you go out after all of the hot chicks at Berkeley. The smell? Halfway between the earthy, subtle tones of patchouli and underarm and foot stank. Bottle comes in the shape of this guy's head:
8) Poot - Sound of spray is silent, but deadly. Also leaves streaks on white clothing.
7) fromunda cheese - I just gagged and vomited at the same time. Ga-vomited. Just imagine rotten bacon.
6) Santorum - Best. Effing. Neologism. As the result of. A Google Bomb. EVER. Again, gavomiting.
5) Mrs. Dubois Peach Cobbler - Yeah, Riley. That do look like thow-up. Also available in "Pork Flavored Broccoli."
4) Paris' Draws - Vinegar with undertones of burning lumber. I'm guessing.
3) "Stankonia" - Kinda like "Poot" but aimed at the urban market. Rahzel beatboxes a bowel movement in the background of the commercial and all the hoes maul Questlove. Or Bootsy Collins. First cool Axe commercial ever. Immediately discontinued for lack of continuity. "Bom chicka wow wow" replaced by "Bom ova bag dad."
2) Down Low - Commercial features Freddie Jackson singing to Ne-Yo. Smells like "Lying to your wife by telling her you and the guys will be playing poker." Heh. More like "Poke-him."
This guy knows what I'm talking about (points out random dude in the crowd that likes UFC).
And the worst (aka best) new Axe BodySpray?
1) The Iraq War Justification - Stinks to high effin heaven, n'est-ce pas? And if experience tells us anything, 70% of all Americans will jump all the eff over it.

Aight. I'm out. I gotta go take a shower after that ... just thinkin bout how Axe smell got my mouth tasting like pennies and tofu burps.

In the words of ODB:
Oooooh baby I like it raw!!!
-- ODB, "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"

*Coitus = 1.0. I'm counting everything else, e.g. dirty sanchezes, columbian mine workers, Hotel Rwandas, and charlie chaplins as .1.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

wereallnumberone #6: we all watch it for the car wrecks anyway ...

Mauricia Grant

Nikki Giovanni

I don’t get NASCAR. But my students dig it, and I’m cool with that. Actually, I’m growing to like it. -- Nikki Giovanni, from a lecture at the University of Arizona, February 23, 2006

At the apex of one’s high regard for himself/herself and for fellow human beings, or what Mazlov calls “self-actualization,” we are our most innovative, most able to collaborate with people of different backgrounds to solve the problems we all have in common, and most of all, we possess morality. Until we reach that point, we allow prejudices to hinder our ability to seek solutions to the common problems of humanity and fail to actualize our creative capacities -- ultimately limiting our emotional health, physical safety, and financial success. Self-actualization on a wide-scale is paramount if the project of multiculturalism is to ultimately succeed in America.

As I sit to write this morning, two black women are inspiring conflicting feelings about the outcome of the project of multiculturalism. And I bet that after hearing about the case of Mauricia Grant, Nikki Giovanni might take her praise for NASCAR back, faint though it may have been.

Virginia Tech Professor Nikki Giovanni is one of my favorite poets and scholars. She is astute, humorous, inspirational, clever, and her writing and pedagogy reflect a paradoxical truth about cross-culturalism that should be a mantra for anyone interested in social justice -- We all want simple things in life, yet understanding one another’s wants may be the most difficult undertaking of all.

Giovanni, once a militant, revolutionary poet whose involvement in the Black Arts Movement marked her as an artist both at the vanguard of black modernist poetry and the civil rights movement, is now a professor at Virginia Tech University, a predominately white institution in the decidedly rural Virginia town of Lynchburg. And though her students’ heroes include “George Bush, Dale Earnhardt, and Triple H,” and favorite poets include “George Strait, Hank Williams, and Donald Rumsfeld,” she enjoys teaching them about poetry and literature immensely. And she even claims to learn as much from them as they do from her. Why? Because she understands that though their worldviews and cultural affinities are different, their desires to appreciate art and be entertained and fulfilled by it are quite similar. The media they choose -- and the artists they appreciate -- are simply different from the ones that inspire her. She can appreciate the fact that all human beings possess desire, though we desire different things, ultimately. Because Giovanni gets this fundamental tenet of human life, she has become one of the most effective and important human rights advocates of our time.

On the surface, Mauricia Grant represents the kind of diversity and lack of prejudice that we are always inspired by when it occurs in corporate America. Surely, a black woman probably seems out of place on a NASCAR track. However, Grant pursued her desire to work in the white male-dominated industry of NASCAR as a certification expert, loved her work, and was rated positively in her reviews perennially. So it would probably come as a surprise to many that she was terminated in 2007 for “conduct unbecoming of a NASCAR official,” and for using “street language,” when she had never so much had been warned or reprimanded previously. But to Grant, the writing, much like an errant NASCAR driver, was on the wall. Only the fallout from her case would be more destructive, fierier, and take much more than the customary warning lap to clear up the debris.

Grant is suing NASCAR for $250 million, citing wrongful termination and a history of sexual harassment and racial discrimination during her tenure with them. Much more than sour grapes, Grant alleges that she has filed complaints over the years on several occasions when co-workers and supervisors sexually harassed her, made ignorant racist comments in her presence, and occasionally, intersected the two. Her nickname was “Nappy Headed Mo.” Her supervisors exposed themselves in front of her. And when she denied their sexual advances, they alleged she was gay. She was assigned to work more hours in the sun because, unlike her white co-workers, she wouldn’t sunburn. And on and on. Until she complained and was eventually terminated.

This story has exposed the underbelly of the sport that so many of Giovanni’s students love. What this story has shown us is that NASCAR administrators are plagued by a lack of the self-actualization that we must possess to advance human life as we know it. NASCAR, in this instance, has certainly not done anything to gain market share among women, people of color, and pursuers of social justice with their disdainful treatment and institutionalized racism and sexism inherent in their dealings with Grant. Evidently, NASCAR believes that it can advance the sport and increase market share by drawing in more fans from diverse backgrounds the same way the PGA has with Tiger Woods (who was called a watermelon and fried chicken eater by a fellow PGA member, and a commentator recently called for fellow players to “lynch” him). The same way that the WTA has with the Williams sisters (who are consistently labeled as aloof and unfocused by sport media, who are remarkably unwilling to address the racially provoked boos of spiteful fans every time they win at Wimbledon). The same way that the media continues to sanction the vitriol of Don Imus, who continues to assault civil sensibility on air without any retribution.

Sport culturists, or people who believe that athletic competition carries with it great possibilities for multicultural collaboration and provides great examples of human triumph in an often inhumane world, know that sport that has provided us with some of the most important moments in social progress and racial uplift in American history. NASCAR, as have other professional sports organizations in the past, has failed to live up to its potential in this regard. What’s important now is that NASCAR deals with this situation with sensitivity, and more importantly, with a commitment to justice and ensuring that no employee is ever subjected to the wrongs Ms. Grant alleges she was subjected to.

If NASCAR does handle this situation properly, perhaps I may consider changing my mind about the sport, which I now find disdainful in addition to being unentertaining. I hope I change my mind, re-affirming sports great power to heal us, and, erstwhile, confirming one of Nikki Giovanni’s most famous poetic lines:

“I am so hip, even my errors are correct.”

wereallnumberone #5: its been 666 days since I first read Chuck Klosterman

“Cultural Popcure” or “Ream of (Cultural)Consciousness”

Early on in "Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs," which I am re-re-reading [1], Chuck Klosterman tells an unfunny joke that he claims works on 90% of the women he goes out with on the first date. The joke is unimportant (it involves the Amish and the Devil and metal zippers), as is the funny one he tells a few pages later, which involves a woman mistaking the word "carnivore" for "cannibal" and Klosterman's ensuing sexual frustration. What's also unimportant is his comparison of himself to Woody Allen (apt) and his blame of John Cusack for his dating troubles [2]. What's truly important about Klosterman is that he resonates with our generation -- his raw cynicism, his contrasting hypermaleness (you know, the desperation to get laid and all) and cathartic caricaturish hyperfemininity (seriously, when a person feels this much, male or female, it becomes impossible to do anything, other than feel). He resonates with us because the line between entertainment, media, and our "real" lives have become inexorably and impossibly blurred. And because sitcoms become metaphors and frames for our real real lives anyway -- in fact, we often cant unintertwine them, which really only leaves two kinds of people [3] -- people who are aware that they do this (such as me … I have often been known to say, after a witty retort or otherwise quasi clever observation, that "I should write sitcoms") and people who aren't aware that they do this -- but do it anyway. The person who claims "I don't watch TV" as if to claim some kind of "I wont let the media distort my view of the world" is a mere meme (or more accurately, la meme chose) of counter cultural curmudgeonly anti-technocrats they became amorous of on TV or in the movies.

People like me, who are quasi encyclopedically familiar with popular culture, to the point of obsession, to the point of defining the very means of their lives by their similarity to pivotal moments in pop culture history[4] are of the former kind.

Klosterman's noting of this is nothing new (if nothing else, cats like McLuhan, Postman, Adorno, Baudrillard, and the like predict this integration and eventual superimposition of not real life upon our real lives). His demonstration of it is nothing new either (see Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, a story about fear of commitment, hating your job, falling in love, and other pop favorites -- seriously, this is the subtitle, or if you want a "real life" example, simply think of that one friend you have whose favorite metaphors involve sitcoms/movies example below and outside of the parenthesis:)

Dude 1: Dude, your hair is f'ed up. Did you use too much hair gel or did a sheep ejaculate on your head?
Dude 2: First of all, that's a really vivid metaphor, did you read that in Manifold Superlativity? [5]? Second of all, its no worse than Ben Stiller in There's Something About Mary. Maybe a hottie like Cameron Diaz comes along and runs her fingers through it! Besides, it looks really good on Jim from the Office, and he's hookin up with the three hottest girls on that show!" [6]

See? That dude totally did what I said he would in the previous sentences. Trust me, that exact conversation has been had. Except for the acknowledgement of my blog.

So here's the deal about Chuck K. He's a good writer. And clever. And cynical, which he calls "pragmatic" the same way that I call my nappy hair "curly" and my penis "no more important an appendage than my spleen." But no one minds. And maybe that's the problem.

Maybe you've read him on Page 2. If not, go on, I'm not threatened: Hurry. ESPNInsider and its effin elitism will preclude you from reading this unless you become an insider.

The thing is, I shouldn't care what Klosterman, a pasty white goofy remarkably unathletic dork (his words, I'm paraphrasing) has to say about sport. I should also avoid his pratter about relationships, given his utter and uncanny ability to maintain one (again his words). The same way I shouldn't hearken Bush's advice on apt use of the English lexicon or Paris Hilton's advice on not being totally cockeyed. The same way you guys should totally totally stop reading my analyses of writers who pose as frustrated and falsely modest when they really think they know whats going on way more than they'd ever let on. Not even if they offer this advice by making constant references to popular culture in a way that resonates with us. Eff the media … it isn't the message.

Klosterman reads like a Family Guy episode (which I also adore) making constant non sequitirish references to pop culture to keep us entertained but ultimately not pushing us any further than the beginning of the punchline, where we already were in the first place. Its funny. It truly is. And interesting. But we're no better for it. Except we've learned to craftily use wikipedia when a reference is made that we aren't quite familiar with (or nod approvingly sans knowledge of the aforementioned pop-culture item).

And, as Klosterman says himself … its interesting, but in the end not totally profound. And millions of Americans agree, to the tune of $19.99 (paperback) a pop.

So Klosterman is either as not profound as he claims, as cynical as you imagine, and in the end only a diversion from real life (the sort of escapist consumerism Marx and Engels nightmarishly predict) or he is aware that pop culture soaked quasi profundity masked as not-cynicism and plenary self-indulgence[7] will sell like hot cakes, and for this, he should be censured at least as vigorously as the million pieces guy. I dig Klosterman, but I don't think I should. I don't think any of us should. He's like McDonald's French Fries -- so effin good you'd donkey punch an elderly woman (and yes, I know what a donkey punch is, and what you'd have to do first in order to be in position to donkey punch an elderly person … I calculated all of that) if she cut you in line while you were waiting to purchase his next book. Even when Morgan Spurlock (before: and after: warns you specifically not to. Or maybe Klosterman is actually defining our current condition by embodying it so melodramatically. I mean, who is going to reference pop culture, on average, 3-5 times every sentence and expect us to think this is normal behavior?

And seriously, who has time for this? Varsity Blues is on. And I totally played with a guy like Billy Bob, totally have turned down scores [8] of women in "cool whip bikinis [9]" and my momma did my recruiting, too. You win this round, Klosterman. No rererereading.

1 I read it for the first time a year ago. I decided to re-read it recently because the first time felt like it confirmed me more than it challenged me, which I chalked up to not reading closely enough. The second reading embarrassed and disheartened me, because really, that confirmed me? Confirmed. In a way that religion and the support of friends could not? Really? That guy? That argument? I'm re-re-reading it because I need to confirm that it no longer confirms me. P.S., I digged really long footnotes way before I knew Klosterman did. I'm invoking Eliot here, not him*.
*So what I'm footnoting the footnote. Eliot's project was grand, but a total study in the importance of strategy, purpose, and audience when developing a rhetorical strategy. Let's bring back the importance of the love of literary classics via poetry. Wow. While at it, lets bring back America's love and respect of women and femininity by casting a music video featuring Paris Hilton singing "I am woman, hear me ride some random dude while a night vision cam records it" (directed by R. Kelly and Dean Martin).

2 Ok so I kinda do this, too. Anyone who knows me well knows that I once encountered Rosario Dawson in a NYC bar and inadvertently flirted with her … and I think she kinda didn't know how to respond, but she still flirted back. The reason she totally didn't go for me? Probably because she Hollywooded me … fitting me into an all too neat pigeonhole … as Anthony Anderson on Atkins, or a big boned LL Cool J (I tried to find a picture of him with a) his shirt on and b) not licking his lips and was on pages 451-475 on Google before I gave up. I began the previous sentence at 9:15 pm and finished it at 10:04. I also purchased "Bad" on CD in the meantime

3 Just kidding, the third kind of person is the person who really really likes Larry the Cable Guy. This is a third kind of person entirely.

4 Seriously, my first kiss was in the woods. The song "Harvest Moon" played in the distance. The moment was sponsored by JOOP! Perfume, which she wore. It was right out of Dawson's Creek for God's sake.

5 Yeah, I just big upped myself in my own blog. No worse than Saul Williams' big up of himself in Dead Emcee Scrolls, in which he attributes his meteoric rise to fame as a spoken word artist to the discovery of a Dead Sea scrolls like document stuffed into a Krylon ™ can in an underground subway, and then subsequently translating them. Sidebar 1: Saul Williams is a little, um, purple for a Mormon, no? Sidebar 2: Saul Williams would totally totally effin pwn Joe Smith in an emcee battle.

6 Something about that stick in the tailpiped Angela does it for me …

7 Quite possibly the most amazing neologism I have ever created, meaning "when someone absolves himself completely of his own sin/vices by learning that indulging in them is in fact, not sinful at all, because everyone else is doing it" or "finding virtue in your vices," as Ben Franklin once said.

8 And by scores (see next sentence), I mean that I have also been with scores of women, cool whip or no. And by scores, a "score" equals 3, right? Because then, technically, I'm not lying.


And finally, do you guys get from this that I enjoy reading Klosterman? Trust me, if I dont dig you, I dont write about you. Ever read my blog on John Stuart Mill? Exactly.