you lose gambler!

my beloved texas rangers are finally getting national headlines again. unfortunately it's for a bad reason. musically named pitcher kenny rogers picked a fight with an unsuspecting camera man before a game (you can watch a clip of the altercation by clicking on the video link at the top of espn's webpage. from everything i've read and heard, the camera man didn't do anything to provoke rogers, and rogers just went apeshit on the guy. from the footage, extremely sorry on rogers part. not that i care one way or the other about rogers. he's always been a servicable pitcher that can eat up innings, but he' always had the reputation of having a short temper.

anyways, i was thinking about this parallels between this and the whole ron artest fiasco. now before i start, let me make it clear, that i understand that the artest thing is much more severe and much more out of line that what kenny did. however, at the same time, they're both way out of line. both crossed some sacred line by doing violence on someone who is not directly involved with the game in the context of a sporting event. true, rogers did his before the game. true, artest got a beer thrown on him, but in both cases, this is just something that you cannot do. i'm just wondering if the coverage will be proportional. it's just that when the whole artest thing went down, we had to endure about two months of people wondering if the world was coming to an end. i'm just wondering if rogers will get a proportional grilling. obviously, for the next few days people will be talking and writing about this. but will there be any calls for beefed up security? will there be any calls to get thugs out of major league baseball? will any analogies be drawn between what happened with rogers and the general moral decline of the world? will there be any commentary about how the hothead/redneck culture has made the game less palatable to fans?

my guess is that there won't. i'm not saying that there should be, but really why shouldn't it provoke the same kind of response as the artest deal did, except on a smaller scale? i know that athletes have gone after media people before, but nothing this violent in recent memory. what's really interesting is that my guess is that people will be more likely to just say that kenny rogers is a sorry sonuvabitch. but with the artest deal, it became a debate about how black culture is affecting the NBA. i doubt that there's going to be any real furor over this, but again, i ask, why shouldn't there be? if you think about it, at least artest was provoked. rogers had absolutely no reason to go after the cameraman.

again, i'm not saying that rogers should be suspended for the rest of the year or anything. and i'm also not saying that kenny rogers is going to get off easier with the press and the public because he is white. i'm just wondering how big the reaction to this incident would be if it were a black player. i guess i just wanted to go on record as saying that the response by the media and the public will be much more muted that it should be (again, let me emphasize that i don't think it should get the same kind of coverage as the artest deal. just that it won't get a reaction that is proportional to the standard that was set with the artest deal.


new pop life radio show mp3 available for download

you can now download the mp3 of the june 28, 2005 broadcast of the pop life radio show at the pop life radio show blog/podcast. enjoy!


down goes grokster! down goes grokster!

and with it my ability to get music for free. the US supreme court ruled today on the MGM v Grokster case, and in a 7-2 ruling said that grokster is liable for the copyright infringing of its users. in other words, the record companies seemed to have scored a big victory in stamping out the commercial creation of file sharing programs. the cost of possible liability will probably discourage most software companies from trying to make money off of these programs.

of course, as pointed out here, peer-to-peer is not going anywhere. since companies can't make any money off of this, the job of software creation will go back underground, where it originally started. and really if you think about it, maybe the whole experience will improve because of it. ever since the original incarnation of napster went down, we've been plagued by a variety of different programs that sucked. most notably, kazaa, which installed all sorts of nasty programs and in many cases, actually caused your computer to crash. nothing has even come remotely close to the orignal napster experience. anyways, now that the people who will write these programs have no other motivation to write these programs other than to make the work, or make them work better. my analogy would be windows or internet explorer, both servicable programs that get the job done, but supposedly not nearly as effectively or efficiently as linux or firefox, both open source software.

i'm sure other much more knowledgable sources will have better commentary than i do on the actual case, so read them for a super breakdown of the decision, which justices ruled what way and who wrote the opinions, which you can download in pdf format here. my own reading of the decision is that the supreme court really didn't care that grokster created a program that had the potential to violate copyright, rather they cared that grokster actively promoted and encouraged copyright infringement in promoting their product. although i tend to think that this was a bad decision overall by the supreme court, i really can't disagree with the assertion that grokster was not in anyway innocent of any wrongdoing. the appeal of grokster, like any of the file sharing stuff, is free music. the defense that there's all this other perfectly legal stuff that peer-to-peer can do really doesn't change the fact that the majority of file sharing users do it to get music or video for free that they would have otherwise had to have paid for. that's what i used it for.

again, i'll invoke my theory that the internet does not have as big as the liberating or transforming effect on society that many people had hoped. rather, it just opens up all sorts of cans of worms. let me break the history of this as i understand it:

naive hippie hope for peer to peer #1: peer to peer will expose us to all sorts of great music that we never would have been exposed to before; reality - any crappy garage band can now get us to listen to their even crappier music.

naive hippie hope for peer to peer #2: people are able to share large files of any kind, including sfotware, original music, and original that will make life for the consumer easily; reality: people mostly use peer to peer to steal music.

naive hippie hope for internet: people can communicate more effectively and have access to knowledge that they would have had before; reality: people mostly use the internet to look at porn.

naive hippie hope for internet: pop culture critics have a space to point out the contradictions of the sports and entertainment industry, especially as they pertain to tom cruise; reality - uh...i guess the internet nailed this one.


this will be the last post about tom cruise ever....

well at least until he and katie holmes break up...

anyways, t. cruise was on the today show and got into it with matt lauer. you can watch the video or read the transcript here.

i was walking about this with kb and mg yesterday and judging from this interview, it's clear to me that tom cruise has turned into michael jackson. perhaps just having that much attention lavished on you turns you into a ten year old. check out the end of the lauer interview for some seriously faulty logic. however, like michael jackson, the logic would make perfect sense to a ten year old. i wonder what tom cruise thinks about intelligent design? or santa claus for that matter.

lastly, i'm officially sick of having to deal with tom cruise. the scientology publicity machine has accomplished its mission to get people talking about tom cruise again. anyways, my last comment ever on tom cruise on this blog is to offer you a conspiracy theory. as many of you may know, the box office returns have been down for over three months now from the same time period last year. revenge of the sith couldn't turn it around and neither could batman begins (by the way, i've seen them both, and i know i haven't reviewed them. sorry. revenge of the sith: B, batman begins: solid A). anyways, my prediction is that when war of the worlds comes out, scientology will do everything in its power to make sure that the box office reciepts are up from the previous year, so that the trades will say that tom cruise turned around the summer movie slump. and that's all she wrote. rest in peace tomkat, rest in peace.

it ain't the vince lombardi, but us texans will take it

the spurs won their 3rd NBA championship in 7 years last night. and while it was an exciting games as all games 7's are bound to be, i for one am glad that the NBA playoffs are over. i've been saying this for a while, but i'm almost to the point where i don't enjoy watching professional basketball anymore. i've been harping on this for a few years now, basketball has been unwatchable since jordan won his last title with the bulls. this actually started in the late eighties when the pistons won their titles, but the presence of his airness kept us distracted from the declining quality of the NBA.

ever since the pistons won the championship with the bad boys, NBA coaches realized that it was easier to coach defense than it was to find or develop players who had real basketball skills. in other words, it's easier to coach someone to deny passing lanes then it is to teach someone how to drain turnaround j's. it's easier to teach someone to box out on the defensive boards than it is to teach someone how to dribble the ball effectively. please notice that it takes a great more deal of athletic skill to hit the j and to dribble the ball than it does to deny passing lanes and crash the defensive boards. as a result, we get a game devoid of athleticism and skill and one full of people not scoring. if i wanted to see people not score, i'd watch soccer.

don't get me wrong, the pistons play unbelievable defense, and i'm not saying that any schmuck could do what they do. but i do think it's fair to say that i could come a lot closer to playing good defense than i could to playing good offense. bill simmons, of espn's.com page 2 wrote a niece little bit the other day about this, and i'll just quote him to clarify my point
Sure, the purists appreciate the defensive rotations, the way Detroit protects the rim, how Bowen fights through screens and everything else. But we're headed in a dangerous direction and have been for 3-4 years now – at the highest level, the good defenses are too good, and smart teams (like the Pistons and Spurs) have figured out how to use bumping/bodying/clutching/grabbing to their advantage. So that puts the game in the hands of the referees, the vast majority of whom range from "mediocre" to "impossibly incompetent." Other than the Phoenix games, this entire playoffs has been one long continuous foul/non-foul followed by someone complaining about what was/wasn't called. What's fun about that?

Anyone who maintains this is "good basketball" comes off like a film school grad expounding the merits of a Todd Solondz movie – yes, we see your point and respect it, but the bottom line is that major movie studios aren't paying the bills on Todd Solondz movies...
as simmons implies, athletic talent and skill have taken a back seat to brute force and chicanery. take allen iverson. when he drives the lane, every team just mugs him , because they know that they can get away with it (which by the way, is a testament to iverson's greatness, that he can still put up 25+ points a game despite getting bodyslammed about ten times a game). i'm really not sure why the league hasn't done anything to restrict the contact that players make near the basket. because you can be physical without fouling, which is exactly what teams like the pistons and the spurs do. they play good defense by fouling you repeatedly. and the crazy thing is, you can be physical without fouling, i've seen it. i've been watching basketball since i was seven. teams like the celtics and the 76ers played extremely physically, but they managed to do it without the hacking that you see today.

now i fully admit that i might have G.O.D.S. (good ol' day syndrome), but i challenge anyone to watch the lakers of the eighties, or the celtics, the cavs, the hawks, and the nuggets of yesteryear, and tell me that today's basketball is as entertaining as it was in the eighties and the nineties.

what irks me the most however, is that this crappy (and basically illegal) style of play has been defended with an extremely specious argument (similar to an argument i made about the new england patriots earlier this year), the pistons and the spurs play "real" team basketball, as opposed to other teams that rely on a superstar, which somehow is reflective of a more moral paradigm of how we should live our lives in regular society. actually, it's a little marxist if you think about it. each to his own ability...the good of the collective over capitalism...not that i think capitalism is all that great. anyways, from my point of view, the pistons don't play team basketball more than any other team. how many assists per game did they average during the season? 21.8, good for 12th in the league, and virtually the same as the league average (21.3). how many players for the pistons averaged more than 10 points? 4, meaning that there are 23 teams that have more players averaging more than double digits (i know, i knoow, i should calcualate the standard deviation for the each teams scoring average per player, but i don't have the time or energy...incidentally, the correlation between # of players scoring over 10 points and winning percentage of a team is -.313. in other words, the more that the load is shared, the worse record a team is likely to have).

i know there isn't a good statistical way to keep track of team defense other than points allowed, but it seems to me, that the pistons are a middle of the pack team when it comes to one team measure and way below the pack on another. that's not to say that the pistons don't play like a team, but like pretty much any other team, they have a few guys who do most of the scoring, and everyone else pitches in however they can. the pistons are no better, no worse than other teams at being a "team". the fact remains, is that their players are alot more talented than the collection of talent on other teams. everyone knew kobe was going to fail, despite him being a top 5 player, because he had a big bunch of no talent ass clowns around him. same with iverson, same with even the mavs. the pistons have more talented players. any talk of them being greater than the sum of their parts is socially constructed bullshit created to fit some goofy hippie commune vision of society. actually, what it is is trying to construe the pistons as morally superior to other teams instead of physically superior. they are physically superior to other teams, morals has nothing to do with it. they're not any more selfless than the utah jazz or the sacramento kings.

like i said before, the point is not to bag on the pistons. they're a great team that plays crazy defense, and if this series is played 10 times, the pistons probably win half of them. my point is, however, is that basketball is not as fun to watch as it used to be, and that it has reached a point where it's almost unwatchable as evidenced by this year's finals. the second point is that the idea that winning via "teamwork" is a dumb myth. and some day in my life, i'll figure out how it's connected to race. cuz make no mistake, it most certainly is.


when to throw crap out of your refrigerator

murphy's law: this afternoon, i went through the fridge and threw out anything that i wasn't sure had not expired yet. and then i run across this. there are at least four things that i threw out that would have been good for at least another two or three months. my favorite:

Unopened: 18 months
Opened: No conclusive data. Discard if slippery or excessively soft.
i think my last girlfriend discarded me when my pickle went excessively soft. hi-o!

new pop life mp3 available for download

hey kids, as mentioned before, our little radio show is on the FM dial now. we did our first broadcast bright and early this morning. i've set up a new blog and podcast feed where you can download and listen to the shows at your leisure. i'm in the process of updating the official pop life radio show website, but rest assured, you will be able to download the MP3s from there as well. i've also decided to post the links to the MP3s on this blog as well since some of you a-holes are too lazy to click on one more link to download the show. anyways, right click here to download the MP3 of the june 21, 2005 broadcast of pop life.

anyways, our first show was a pretty good one, so get going and listen and give us some feedback!


people call me big shot bob too, but they're referring to my porn career

temporary layoffs...good times...scratching and surviving...good times...ain't we lucky we got 'em...good ti-iii-iii-iii-mes.

what a great nickname for robert horry huh? i know, it's been a while since i've done some hardcore sports blogging but here we go. last night's pistons/spurs game was a good one and robert horry pulled some more magic out of his ass once again. here's yesterday's column by espn.com's page 2 columnist bill simmons. it says all the usual thing, that we've never been an odder big game player than robert horry. i mean here is a guy who is decidedly not a star but somehow is able to score the biggest baskets when needed. here's another column that appeared in slate that says horry is overrated because his timely shooting makes us forget how the rest of the time he's a pretty average player.

now i, as any good statistics geek know that in baseball, there's no such thing as clutch hitting (or maybe there is). it's one of those socially constructed qualities that we use to make myths about our favorite players. and you would think that i would agree with the slate guy that this extends to basketball. however, you would be wrong. it might be true that if you factor in every game of horry's NBA finals career that horry only averages about eight points a game. but just as a small sample can be deceiving, so can looking at numbers without context. this is horry's seventh NBA finals. his team, so far has won five of those finals, probably six after this year. there are at least three different times where during his team's playoff run, horry has made a game winning shot. in 2002, first against portland, and then again against sacramento. there was the time when he hit 7 of 7 three pointers for houston in 1997, and then sunday's game clincher. in my eyes, all of these situations can be interpreted as "without robert horry, horry's team doesn't win." and in 7 games series, every single game is absolutely crucial. so the problem here is not that the sample size is too small, but rather the sample size is too big. i think that most people would say that horry is not a hall of famer. so looking at his overall numbers don't tell the story. what tells the story is that during the playoffs, there have been four times when the game was literally in his hands:, he makes the shot, his team wins, he misses, his team loses. and of those four times, he's made three of those shots, he missed a game winner last year against the pistons or the spurs, i forget who). obviously basketball is a team sport, and he didn't win those games single-handedly (although a good case could be made for that last night). but the fact is, when given the chance to win a game, he's batting .750. of course true greatness is playing well over the course of a season or a career and then being able to sustain that greatness in the playoffs. but nobody is saying that horry is truly great. i think that people are saying that horry has an uncanny ability to deliver when asked to. and that's a hypothesis that holds up to the data, which in my mind makes the nickname "big shot bob" an appropriate one.

let's not forget that horry made this dunk left-handed

hi t. cruise, this is your reality check

hi tom,

i know that you've been under a lot of pressure lately, what with having to kiss someone with a vagina in public lately, but calling the guy who squirted your face with water (insert your own katie holmes getting squirted in the face by tom cruise joke here) the other day, just really doesn't make a lot of sense. tell me tom, which do you think is higher, the number of people who think this guy is a jerk for playing a harmless prank, or the number of people who think you are a jerk for telling women with post partum depression that their depression is not real, or the number of people who think you are a jerk from taking away sweet clean katie holmes from us and turning her into a weirdo, or the number of gay dudes who jerk off to the volleyball scene from top gun*? maybe you were just irritable because your engrams were out of sync. you should go get that checked out. my point is tom, you just need to lighten up. calling people names isn't going to make your PR problems go away.

peace out,
the ragin' asian

* seriously, could top gun have been any more homoerotic? the shower scenes? kenny loggins' "playing with the boys" playing in the background during the volleyball scene?

p.s. i just looked up the lyrics to "playing with the boys". here's a sample
I'm moving in slow motion
Feels so good
It's a strange anticipation
Knock, knock, knocking on wood
Bodies working overtime
Man against man
And all that ever matters
Is baby who's ahead in the game
Funny but it's always the same
if that's not gay, then i'll join the scientologists.

9:44AM: UPDATE! - you can watch the referenced money shot here (from BBC.com, also, if you're using firefox, you have to save the link to the desktop and then open it from there). seriously folks, doesn't stuff like this make you realize that the internet is the greatest thing ever? well this and the porn of course.


pop life gets called up to the big leagues

after two years of technically unsound radio on kjuc, jp and i are all set to do a radio show for UCSB's official radio station, KCSB 91.9 in santa barbara. pop life will be making its FM debut on tuesday 4AM to 6AM, and you'll be able to hear us there every week at that time slot. of course, it's a crappy time slot, but apparently, everyone's first show on KCSB is at a relatively crappy time slot. of course, for our east coast friends, that means you'll be able to tune us in at via the miracle of the internet and the KCSB's webcast from 7AM to 9AM east coast time. anyway, i'm in the process of setting up a blog where you can subscribe to the podcast if you're not able to listen to us in real time. i'm pretty excited at the prospect of people actually being able to hear us and JP's unique brand of critical pop culture commentary or some crap like that. well, i have to update the website now and set up the podcast blog. hope some of you can tune in and we look forward to solving your pop culture problems on the radio!


i've got another confession to make

that's the first line of the new foo fighters' song, "best of you". it's all i seem to be listening to these days.

anyways, i'm back from my little hiatus. got a little r & r as summer is now in full swing for me. i really f-in hate the quarter system. most of you who are still in school have been done with the school year for almost a month now, while i've only been off a week. anyways, hopefully you've been keeping up with the world of sports and pop culture via other blogs. but just know that i'm back and i plan on keeping you current in the latest of my opinions. lord knows i've got plenty of opinions on tomkat, carl everett's recent comments, and the sorry excuse for basketball that is this year's nba finals. talk to you again real soon.

real quick, on the michael jackson verdict - we all saw this coming. i've said it once and i'll say it again, michael jackson is too rich to go to jail. from what i could tell, the prosecution didn't do a very good job of making a good case. and really, that's who is the big loser, tom sneddon, the santa barbara county prosecutor. mj was his white whale, and like moby dick did to captain ahab, mj (get it? white?) getting off (pun very much intended) will prove to be tom sneddon's tragic legacy. he'll now go down as the guy who couldn't convict a likely child molester. all i know is that i hope to god people stop sending their kids to spend the night with michael jackson now.

one more thing: this is genius (via poplicks).


i hate school

hi all, i'm currently stuck in finals hell. i really only have one paper to do, but it's due tomorrow and i don't have very much done. i may be reduced to asking for an extension, something that i've generally been able to eschew for most of my academic career, but you've got to cash in that goodwill at some point, heh? i'm also trying to get FCC certified for the radio show during the summer, and i've got the usual end of the year type social functions to attend. i'm also heading out to oakland on monday to drop HK off. so as you can guess, i'm freakin' busy so just back off!!!! anyways, there's a good chance that you won't hear from me until sometime next week. until then, i'll leave you some fun links.

from gordon keith:
1) postsecret.com - not unlike the grouphug.us link i posted up a long time ago, but this is for the more creatively inclined. mine would be all white, and then with my own blood, i'd write, "i hate white people".

2) leeeeroyyyyy jennnnnkins - i'm not sure how old this short little movie is. and people who play computer RPG's will find it funnier than other people, but i think most of you will appreciate leroy's jackassery. by the way, "leroy jenkins" is now what i say to get myself psyched up for anything.

from boingboing:
3) abercrombie experiment - this is actually pretty retarded. two girls, one dressed like a hot babe, the other dressed up in goth wear go try and get a job at abercrombie and big f-in surprise, the goth chick isn't taken very seriously. what i don't like about this is how two dipshits are getting notoriety for showing that we think goths are weird. ummm...i thought that was the whole point of being goth. also, does it make any sense that abercrombie would hire someone dressed in all black and a robert smith makeup job? also, last i checked there were no goth outfits available at abercrombie. why am i giving abercrombie so much type here? anyways, the point is f these two idiots for pretending to expose some kind of evil in the world, when we already knew what was going to happen.

4) the tulsa zoo is setting up a creationism exhibit in response to other quasi-religious displays in the zoo, such as a hindu elephant statue. i would much rather have the zoo take down the other quasi-religious displays rather than kowtow to these fundamentalists idiots. there is some irony, in that if you really believe in evolution, you also are really hoping that natural selection will eventually weed these a-holes out of the population. however, since social darwinism is such a flawed paradigm (humans and animals aren't the same), this probably won't happen. i still think they're a-holes.

see you in about a week. congratulations to all the graduating seniors out there.


more proof that indie rockers hate black people

i ran across this on boingboing. it is an MP3 of a cover of N.W.A.'s seminal hit, straight outta compton done by...nina gordon of the semi-famous band veruca salt. it's done in a folk singer type way, with gordon singing the lyrics, cussin' and all, over a plaintive acoustic guitar. the same kinda thing was also done about ten years ago when the decidedly unfamous group dynamite hack covered boyz n tha hood, also by N.W.A.

what's interesting about this to me is that i've always kinda thought that indie rockers have their heads up their asses. despite all their bitchin' and moaning about how the world sucks and how their vision of the world is better and you can tell because of the their music and if you don't get it than it's because you're part of the problem attitude, that indie rockers are just as myopic as everyone else, because if you go to a sleater kinney show or a veruca salt show, chances are you will see exactly zero black people in their audience. which means that their vision of the world only appeals to a certain segment of the population, and since it doesn't take race into account, it is really just the indie rocker saying, "the world would be a better place if i felt better about it." which of course, here at the ragin' asian, means all they're really saying is "what about me?" i call this the "pavement hates black people" theory.

anyways, here's what cory doctorow of boingboing wrote in the post about the song
Nina Gordon, late of Veruca Salt, has recorded a mind-blowing cover of NWA's Straight Outta Compton, in the style of a Baezesque guitar folksinger. It's funny at first, then it's beautiful, then it's both.
hmmm...beautiful is not the word i would have used. it seems to me that this commonly used phenomenon of a white person talking like black people is used mostly as a gimmick to get attention. you see, back in the 1920's, this was called "blackface" and was generally considered pretty racist. and honestly, i'm not sure what's so different about it in this context, and well, i'm not so sure how this is not at least a little bit racist as well. i'm not saying nina gordon was out to oppress black people, but she sure isn't helping with this lame recording.

and by extension, neither is boingboing, which is generally considered a rather liberally minded blog. again, not that boingboing is racist, but i think that they have a vision of the world, that is seen by most as progressive, especially in terms of digital rights management, copyright issues, and intellectual property - issues that don't necessarily take into consideration the fact that not everyone, namely poor people, who also happen to be overwhelmingly people of color, have access to a computer and that not everyone's rights are being infringed upon when the music industry raises a ruckus about file sharing. rather, they are fighting a fight that materially affects people like themselves, white middle class people.

new pop life mp3 available for download

the pop life v2.0 broadcast from june 4th, 2005 is now available for download on the pop life v2.0 podcast blog and from the pop life radio show archives page.


live 8? more like white 8!

damn it, london activist group, black information link beat me to saying publicly that the lineup for live 8 is full of too much whitey that it's making me blind. well i think they're saying that about the london lineup. the US lineup seems to have at least 5 african-americans (6 if you count will smith, which i emphatically do not). for those of you who don't know, live 8 is the concert being organized by sir bob geldof, the same guy who organized live aid, and is going to be held with the G8 conference is being held and it's going to call upon members of the G8 to forgive the debt of under-developed nations and give them a whole bunch of money for food and stuff.

actually, my point isn't quite the same. my point is that i predict semi-failure for this event. i'm sure that it'll raise a lot of money, but no where near the amount of money that the original live aid made. there are several reasons why i think this. first, the ethiopian famine, which is where the proceeds for the first live aid went to was a much more visceral tanglible cause. with all of the footage of dying babies and what not, people were bound to give at the first real benefit event. while i'm pretty sure that there are just as many people dying because the IMF and world bank are holding under-developed countries hostage with their imperialist fiscal policies, i doubt anyone really gives a crap.

the second reason, and the one i'm much more interested in, is because of the nature of the music business today. back in the 80's it just seemed like there were more genuinely artists with crossover/universal appeal than there are today. who didn't like phil collins back then? but today, i kinda feel that everything is too structured around genre, and i think that ultimately is related to race. case in point, coldplay is slated to open up the london show. how many black coldplay fans do you know? yeah, that's what i thought. in a lot of ways, we've made a lot of progress with race relations since the 80's. but as i have said on several occasions here on this blog, race still continues to heavily influence the way we live our lives. and i think music is one of those places where music is extremely organized by race, via genre. not to say things haven't changed. hip hop is surely the most popular music, pop music is heavily influenced by r&b, but by and large, the white elites still prefer the decidedly white world of rock and indie rock, which seems to be the dominant genre for live 8. which is a shame since this concert is a really good idea, but won't be as successful as it could be.

some thoughts on the lineups for the five venues:

rob thomas in philadelphia - does he really warrant a place on the stage here? we couldn't get bruce springsteen to sing glory days and born in the USA?

the british lineup includes joss stone, scissor sisters, and snow patrol - the equivalent of style council, ultravox, and status quo from the original live aid london lineup. hear that? that's the sound of a lot of black people not giving a damn.

U2 in london - is it possible for them to top one of the greatest live performances of all time? smart money is that during this performance, we'll be transported to 1986 and the crowd will go completely apeshit over the bono and the mates.

yannick noah in paris - i only know this because my family have always been tennis fans, yannick noah is a former tennis pro that won the french open once. when the hell did he become a rock star?

tim mcgraw and faith hill in rome - whatever.

a-ha at the brandenburg gates - for those of us who always wanted to see "take on me" live i guess. dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun...

no phil collins: this is a travesty. those of you who have seen the original live aid know what i'm talkin' about.

football is sexist and racist? no way!

the 49ers are in a bit of trouble over a "controversial" training video. you can watch the video here, courtesy of ifilm. among other things, people are saying that the video contains racists representations of chinese people, sterotypical representations of gay men, a pair of topless lesbians, and then in a later scene a lot of topless women. now after watching the video myself, i agree that it's inappropriate and offensive, particularly the chinese restaurant bit, and the hot lesbians making out (although admittedly, i tend to stare whenever i see hot lesbians make out at bars or wherever). however, i can't help but think that there are some contradictory types of protesting going on. in fact, getting in a tizzy about the topless women seems a little puritanical to me.

are we so naive as to think that professional football players don't frequent strip clubs and aren't entertained by dick and fart jokes (which is what much of the final scene basically amounts to)? i'm not saying it's right to parade women around as objects, but in terms of the NFL, teams do it all the time in the form of cheerleaders. is anyone protesting them? i'm just thinking that the alternative is your basic run of the mill HR training video that all people just tune out anyway. so i will at least give props to the guy who is in trouble for attempting to make a rather mundane training activity interesting. again, not to say that he did it correctly. i'm not really sure what my point is, but i think that to call the 49ers complete bigots may be going to far. it's not like there's a pattern....oh wait...forgot about garrison hearst.

also, the chinese guy bit. while the glasses and the buck teeth are extremely offensice, the accent, in my opinion, really isn't that offensive. there are plenty of people out here in california who are chinese immigrants who do speak with a heavy accent. they do pronounce their r's as l's. there are plenty of times where things get lost in translation, and the resulting sentences are funny.

as for the gay representation part, again, i think it's a little offensive, but i find that people seem to pick and choose when to say something is a bad stereotype or not. are not the same effeminate gay male stereotypes perpetuated in other shows like queer eye for the straight guy or will and grace? both of these are shows that i've enjoyed at one time or another, but i've always felt a little uncomfortable with some of the jokes because in some other contexts they could be considered extremely offensive. i've always wondered why i've never heard of gay activist groups making noise about these things. then again, it's not like i'm trying to get gay activists groups to do anything about it, so maybe they are making some noise about these things and i just don't know.

my final point, i guess, is that the video, in the context of the fact that they're trying to train hypermasculine football players, should definitely not shock us, given the fact that sports in general are and always have been set up along racial and gendered hierarchies anyway. or maybe my point is that this video should make us more aware of other types of media representations that we usually let skate. or maybe i'm trying to say that this just proves again, what a second class organization the niners are how they'll never able to match the class and dignity of the world's greatest sports franchise the dallas cowboys.

p.s. for those of you who are following the whole t. cruise-katie holmes romance/sham, robomuffin.com has posted the video of the highlights of the whole crazy-ass oprah winfrey show appearance. (however, for a much funnier edited montage of the whole ordeal, tvgasm.com has put together a little montage of t. cruise's greatest moments set to a fun little guster (one of the ragin' asian's favorite semi-indie bands) ditty called "center of attention".) after you watch that, watch the dane cook appearance on the jimmy kimmel show (next on the list of clips on robomuffin) for more hilarity. geez, tom cruise is so g. a. y.

update 06-06-05 - it looks like that robomuffin has exceeded their bandwidth for the month. so you can't get to the tom cruise video there. however, as always, ifilm comes through and provides us with the footage here.


new pop life mp3 available for download

the pop life v2.0 broadcast from may 21, 2005 is now available for download at the pop life v2.0 blog and at the pop life radio show archives page.