Thursday, May 17, 2007

Little Baby Pain-in-the-Ass's One Second of Fame

Is there any question that the yuppie parents of Little Baby Pain-in-the-Ass are right now launching lawsuits against the breakdancer, the city of New York, the Transit Authority, the creators of breakdancing, the maker of the breakdancer's shoes, the maker of the laces, the estate of the inventor of subway platforms, the artist whose music the breakdancer was dancing to, every single onlooker, every single employee of the subway system, all employees of the world's subway systems, the maker of gravity, the parents of the breakdancer for conceiving and raising him, the estate of the creator of concrete, the United States of America, the estates of the Founding Fathers, Youtube, every ISP whose customer viewed the video, the cameraman who took the video, the maker of the camera that captured this video, me for posting it here...?

Because, doubtless in the mindless voids behind the foreheads of Little Baby Pain-in-the-Ass's parents, all of these named and many, many more are to blame for what was filmed here.

Everyone except themselves.

That's the beauty of being a North American -- you're never responsible for anything, least of all for your own actions.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Oprah Winfrey gives millions of dollars a year to charities. But by god, does she take, as well.

Today I saw her show on which a woman who had been abused for two years by her husband, and a harrowing 51-minute video of this abuse shot by her own thirteen year old son, was the subject of the day. And the show was Oprah at her most sanctimonious and master-of-the-obvious best.

First, it was wonderful of Oprah to maintain a level of normality during this emotionally draining show by keeping the number of commercial interruptions at their usual fever pitch. She wouldn't want her viewers to think domestic abuse was a reality and fear the sky was falling. So, phew, the commercials kept the viewing audience grounded in its superficial, consumerist quicksand.

The subject of the show was a woman named Susan Still. She married a man who revealed himself to be a brute, whose verbal and physical abuse of her was stomach-turning, rage-inducing, humiliating and Oprah-ready. Oprah played lengthy excerpts of the bizarre video Ms. Still's son made of her abuse -- Ms. Still standing, silent, motionless, in the living room while her Neanderthal husband verbally berated her; then footage of her being kicked and stepped on as she lay crying on the bedroom floor.

It was agonizing, sobering stuff.

Midway through the show, breaking for yet another damnable commercial, Oprah trumpeted the next segment -- when her guest's three children were commanded by their father to call their mother a "white slut ho" over and over. Oprah announced this as though it meant Tom Cruise would soon be onstage dancing sock-footed on her couch. All the while, a clearly traumatized Susan Still sat next to Oprah, looking like she expected her ex-husband to come slithering in from offstage. The disconnect between the two women could not have been more ugly or pronounced.

As Oprah gallantly announced at the end of each commercial break that today was the day she wanted the abused among her zombie horde to begin making their plans to escape their abusers, she showed clips of Susan Still's abuse as though they were Hollywood trailers, and then assailed her guest with the most maddening, obvious, condescending questions: "When your kids were calling you a ‘white slut ho,’ how did you feel?" "What did you do?" as though to say, I hope you marched over to that rotten husband of yours and slapped his lousy face!

When Susan Still meekly stated that she had once seen an episode of Oprah dealing with domestic abuse, Oprah took the opportunity to make a joke about Ms. Still's predicament: "I'm surprised you were allowed to watch the show..." (audience laughs). Then Oprah looked at the camera and addressed her abused zombie horde: "Watch Oprah in secret." More laughs from the audience.

There is no doubt today's Oprah may well inspire some battered people to escape their brutish partners. But what a gnawing, ham-handed program one had to sit through in order for that to happen.

Yes, Oprah Winfrey gives much to the world, but goddamn does she take. The type of exploitation she peddles is most sickening because it's done under the guise of "helping." But there is something utterly unwholesome and un-nourishing about all those execrable tampon commercials shoe-horned between glimpses into human misery.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Reparations Refereeing

The New York Times recently published news of "[a]n academic study of the National Basketball Association, whose playoffs continue tonight, suggests that a racial bias found in other parts of American society has existed on the basketball court as well." The conclusion was that white referees are more apt to call black players for fouls, than white players.
. . . Justin Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy at Penn's Wharton School, and Joseph Price, a Cornell graduate student in economics, said the difference in calls "is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew."

The study, conducted over a 13-season span through 2004, found that the racial makeup of a three-man officiating crew affected calls by up to 4½ percent. More...
After reading this article, I swung into action to correct this wretched injustice being perpetrated against these unwary steroidal millionaires. I have approached NBA commissioner David Stern (and have yet to officially hear back from him, but he will doubtless endorse and take up my ideas) about "refereeing reparations."

The way these reparations will work is -- for the next five years (seasons) no fouls will be called against black NBA players. If a situation arises where one black player appears to foul another black player (according to the racist rules of the game before the reparation seasons), a tribunal made up of delegates from African nations at the U.N. and former black NBA players will render real-time decisions from New York.

Where reparations refereeing really gets down to correcting past injustices is the reevaluation all previous championships. The number of fouls assigned to black players will be brought into balance with the number of fouls attributed to white players. To make amends for the years of wrongs, all fouled black players will be given an additional free-throw. Because it's impossible to travel back in time, their free-throw averages will be used to calculate how many of those additional free-throws they would have made, and all game scores will be adjusted accordingly.

A bank of 300 Rancour 1188 Quintuple Core computers has been working on this job of recalculating the actual scores of these past seasons. Most importantly, all past championships will be awarded to their proper winners (purists might be somewhat put out to find teams assigned championships in years before they formally existed, and other teams being awarded championships after they ceased to exist. If we're going to right a wrong, the purists are just going to have to live with this):

1946–47 Philadelphia

1947–48 Baltimore

1948–49 Minneapolis

1949–50 Minneapolis

1950–51 Rochester

1951–52 Minneapolis

1952–53 Minneapolis

1953–54 Minneapolis

1954–55 Syracuse

1955–56 Philadelphia

1956–57 Detroit

1957–58 St. Louis

1958–59 Detroit

1959–60 Detroit

1960–61 Detroit

1961–62 Detroit

1962–63 Detroit

1963–64 Detroit

1964–65 Detroit

1965–66 Detroit

1966–67 Philadelphia

1967–68 Detroit

1968–69 Detroit

1969–70 New York

1970–71 Milwaukee

1971–72 Baltimore

1972–73 New York

1973–74 Detroit

1974–75 Golden State

1975–76 Detroit

1976–77 Portland

1977–78 Washington

1978–79 Seattle

1979–80 Baltimore

1980–81 Detroit

1981–82 Baltimore

1982–83 Philadelphia

1983–84 Detroit

1984–85 Baltimore

1985–86 Detroit

1986–87 Baltimore

1987–88 Baltimore

1988–89 Detroit

1989–90 Detroit

1990–91 Chicago

1991–92 Chicago

1992–93 Chicago

1993–94 Houston

1994–95 Houston

1995–96 Chicago

1996–97 Chicago

1997–98 Chicago

1998–99 Detroit

1999-2000 Baltimore

2000-01 Baltimore

2001-02 Baltimore

2002-03 Detroit

It's my hope that the NBA will soon sit down with Paul Wolfowitz of the World Bank to begin negotiating the massive transfer of championship bonuses and championship rings to their rightful recipients. We cannot pick and choose who deserves justice in this world. Steroidal millionaires are just as worthy of our sympathy and proactive problem-solving as the residents or refugees of any impoverished nation.