not in our stars, but in ourselves
Quite a few hullabaloos this week, most of them ridiculous.
1. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension was upheld for being “generally aware” that someone had slightly deflated a football used in the first quarter of a game that the Indianapolis Colts went on to lose, quite spectacularly (45-7). Outside New England, I’m aware that there’s quite a bit of merriment and righteous schadenfreude; here, the decision is being treated as a declaration of war. The reason his suspension was upheld: he’d destroyed his cell phone, according to the NFL. According to Brady, he was replacing his broken phone with a new one, and he’d provided all the text messages/emails the NFL asked for. And indeed, Roger Goodell’s determination that a destroyed cell phone was tantamount to conspiracy to deflate footballs is pretty silly. I mean, this whole thing is silly. It’s silly that Goodell has rubber-stamped his own decision to suspend Brady; it’s silly that Brady is apparently planning to make this a federal case; and it’s silly that we’re talking about it. Sports are usually pretty silly, in my uninformed opinion, even if they can be lots of fun. The silliness ends when you consider that Tom Brady has received the maximum penalty allowable (according to my boyf, who understands much more about the rules and regulations of football than I do) for maybe possibly lying about something that might have been intentional or not…and known domestic abusers receive half that penalty. Regardless of your stance on Brady, you must agree that’s absurd, at the very least. I would say it ought to be criminal, but what the hell do I know.
2. Yes, I am still excited about Boston not being forced into carrying through with its arranged marriage to the IOC. For local reactions, you can’t do better than Universal Hub, which has been one of the best and liveliest sources throughout this whole ordeal. Indeed, the success of Olympics protesters is due mostly to their better understanding of the media landscape in this year of our lord, 2015. Boston 2024 assumed they could swindle people the old-fashioned way: buy off a few columnists at what they took to be an “influential” newspaper (the Globe, rest in peace) and tell Bostonians what to think. The Nolympics crowd, on the other hand, used Twitter and other social media platforms to shoot down every lie that Boston 2024 spouted, to demand that every secret of the initial bid document be released, and to make sure that other people knew that Boston 2024 was a landsnatch like the one Hedley Lamarr was plotting in Blazing Saddles. And that’s before “FIFA with rhythmic gymnasts” even started throwing its weight around. Anyone who thinks this was a case of cranky old NIMBYs forbidding any progress or change is sorely mistaken: this was very much a case of mostly youngish Bostonians, who love this city and want to see it thrive, calling bullshit. Besides: as The Guardian asks, who the fuck actually wants to be a host city anymore? China and former Soviet Bloc countries. Let ’em have it, I say.
3. PETA continues to be the Donald Trump of animal rights groups. While I don’t really want to discuss this case any more – as I think the Internet Outrage Machine has done far more than necessary – I would like to note that (a) the hunter’s life is likely ruined, so don’t worry; and (b) it would be nice if we could actually use this opportunity to question why it’s legal at all for rich tourists to go trophy-hunting in “exotic” lands, and perhaps to restrict that practice severely, if not outlaw it altogether, and not to get all sentimental about one lion that was nice to humans when there are, frankly, far more pressing issues happening in our own backyard. But, y’know, I’m an idealist. (And for the record, I love animals. I love any given animal more than most humans I’ve met. It upsets me that lion-hunting is a legal practice, as it upsets me that any hunting solely for sport is legal. Nevertheless, it is sad – albeit predictable – that more are up in arms about this than they are about continued, systematic, unpardonable crimes against people of color.)
4. Individual actors can, of course, be intelligent. Actors en masse, however, think Tootsie is the best movie of all time. And that Gladiator is a better movie than The Godfather. Amazing.
5. I haven’t complained too much about the marginalization of women in Hollywood, at least not here, but as this Guardian article puts it – this is about much more than one millionaire having less than another millionaire. This is about women being reduced to the stupidest roles available – and only scantily available, at that – in tentpole movies. This is about women receiving far less than their male counterparts, whether the women are superstars or extras, for the same work. This is about women being considered too emotional or fragile or inexperienced to direct huge blockbusters, when mostly unknown male directors of sensitive indie movies are selected all the time. This is about the normalization of women’s status as less-than onscreen, and that normalization spilling over into real life. This is sexism, and it’s appalling, and it’s been going on for far, far too long.
6. On a positive note: there’s a great little article about It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on The A.V. Club – a site I seldom like, to be honest, as it’s clickbaity and white-male-centric more often than I care for – and I recommend it if you’re a fan. It includes clips, including one of my favorite song:
7. Grantland has been doing a Tom Cruise week. It’s…quite a ride.