3.30.2006

lacrosse team = a-holes

i know that this story broke a few days ago, but i wanted to digest everything before i made a comment. by now, i'm sure that you've heard that the duke lacrosse team is involved in a very gruesome rape scandal. the short story is, there was a party, there were two black women at the party, the women have accused players of the team, (read the extremely disturbing police report here) alleged rapists are white, and to turn a heinous crime into something on the order of something only complete miserable human beings would do, there was some racial terrorizing involved.

in any case, it's touched off a firestorm of controversey on the lilly white duke campus. as you might imagine, the lacrosse team has circled the wagons, hoping that DNA taken by the police will clear them all. however, if there's one thing that i've learned, it is that when white dudes get together and refuse to talk to anyone all the while claiming innocence (i.e. cops, white house administrations, baseball players, enron management), it usually means there's something rotten in the state of denmark (how's that for unnecesary shakespeare reference?).

anyways, it's interesting to see how the community, the campus, and the school administration have reacted, specifically, the fact that everyone hates the lacrosse team. of course, i can understand the town not liking this, seeing as how the durham area has a very high percentage of people of color. but despite duke being a hoity-toity institution, i think it's great that most of the students can still understand what's going on. a bunch of white guys who think that because of their status as athletes they can do whatever they want. not that athletes of color aren't guilty of this, but when white dudes do it, it takes on a whole new character. in the case of the duke lacrosse team, it may have led to a rape of a black woman, but it really is just an extension of general douche-baggery. i don't know about you guys, but in high school, and to a lesser extent in college, it always seemed that the sports that were played by mostly white people, i.e. soccer, lacrosse, water polo, were always just a bunch of a-holes. they walked around camous acting like they are super studs cuz they play sports, but most people just snicker because they realize in the heirarchy of sports their stupid sport just doesn't matter. and they also realize that the reason that they're playing their lame sport is that they weren't good enough for the basketball or football team. quite honestly, i find it ridiculous that college sports even sanctions sports like lacrosse or crew. i find it even more ridiculous that in some cases you can get a scholarship for playing fringe sports. there's no way that any of these teams can generate any real revenue for their school. and so the only thing you get from including sports like these are little cliques of white dudes on campus who, in the best case scenario just annoy the eff out of everyone, and in the worst case scenario, rape black women. and we already have fraternities to serve this purpose.

anyways, i just wanted to add, that while the unique intersection of sports and race are why i am blogging about this, i would imagine that the culture of drinking, which on many campuses, including UCSB, is completely out of control and dangerous, has as much to do with this as the fact that the duke lacross team are a bunch of douchebags.

3.28.2006

go GMU, i guess...

don't get me wrong, i'm rooting for the #11 seed as much as any one, but does anyone really care about the final four anymore? i am of the opinion that the NCAA has hyped the event of the final four so much that it has in effect, destroyed college basketball. there are other factors such as high schoolers going pro, but for the most part, other than the tournament, college basketball just doesn't mean as much as it used to.

perhaps this is good ol' day syndrome, but when i was a kid, i could name all the starting lineups of the top 10 teams. these days, i'd be hard pressed to name any one of the starters in this years final four. i mean, jordan farmar from UCLA, who i only know since i live in socal, and there's that one kid on florida who looks like troy polamalu with his crazy ass hair, but other than that, i'm drawing a complete blank.

again, i'm not saying it's not a big deal, cuz obviously, it's the second most important sporting event of the year behind the superbowl. but tell me, unless you're related to the school in some way, are you going to remember this george mason team five years from now? probably not. are you going to remember any of these teams or any of these players. there are just too many conferences trying to cram as many teams into the tournament for it to be meaningful anymore.

my apathy towards college hoops has gotten so bad, that in the first time in about...well, forever, i didn't fill out a bracket. not that it mattered, since i doubt anyone in the country has more than two teams left.

another factor that i attribute this waning in popularity is the fact that college basketball commentators are by far the worst of any sport. dick vitale? billy packer? rick majerus? all of these guys are gigantic blowhards who only know how to fellate coaches and praise white kids for not having tatoos. eff college basketball.

but hey, whatever. go patriots.

p.s. the one redeeming factor of this year's final four is the fact that the two great white hopes (re: soon-to-be NBA role players), jj redick and adam morrison had horrible games last weekend, and their teams lost.

3.21.2006

a banner week for asians in sports

fresh off the heels of japan winning the world baseball classic, i thought i'd also take a moment to point out a little story that won't make it to most people's newspaper.

this past weekend, california had it's state basketball championship games. the division II title pitted private school power house and the #11 team in the country mater dei (same school that matt leinart went to) against palo alto high. they showed it on fox sports saturday night so i was able to catch most of it. anyways, the short story is, led by their star point guard jason lin, palo alto was able to beat mater dei for the championship 51-47.

it wasn't quite the miracle in milan, but just by looking at the teams, you could tell that generally speaking, mater dei was really an overwhelming favorite. they had four or five guys that were at least 6-7, and they had a couple of 7 footers as well. add that to the fact that their best player is going to play for duke, well, i think that goliath is clearly established here. they even have a snotty mascot, the monarchs. and well, it was clear that they underestimated their opponent and didn't have the speed to keep up with palo alto.

anyways, the point is, it was really neat to see an asian kid leading the way on the basketball court, something that is really rare. not that asian kids can't play, but the truth is, there are very few college players that are of asian descent. in a culture that stereotypes asians as intellectuals, docile, and unmasculine, at least for one day, that stereotype was proven wrong. jason lin, if you read this, congratulations from one ragin asian to another. you've done your pan-ethnic brothers and sisters proud.

p.s. jason lin is going to harvard next year...which is kinda funny. as great as this is for raising asian profile in sports, the stereotype still trumps over all. we just can't win.


and introducing the starting point guard for the harvard engineering intramural team...

3.20.2006

sports quick hits

1) japan wins the inaugural world baseball classic, by thumping the cubans 10-6. i haven't said much about the WBC so far, except to say that the US team were a bunch of losers and should lose their citezenship for failing its citizenry so badly. but i will say this, it was really neat to see the japanese win one for their country and it was really neat to see fans of all of the latin american countries showing up in droves faces painted and chanting like crazy. the WBC is a good idea, and they ought to do it again.

2) america's team just got a lot better at wide receiver. look, if it were your team, you'd want him catching balls too. i've said this before and i'll say it again. it's not necesarily good to be an off the field distraction, but in the big picture, if you do what T.O. has done on the field than it doesn't matter. now erik, is going to go off on this, and say, so if someone rapes a kid, it's ok for him to play on your team. and here's my answer. i watch sports because i like to see athletic achievement. not moral achievement, but athletic. now it's easy for people to equate the two, but all the evidence in the world will point to the fact that i am right and that moral quality and athletic ability have a correlation somewhere in the neighborhood of ZERO. that being said, if i want my team to win, and that takes T.O. lining up for me on the left side, then that's fine by me. if i wanted to root for a team with fine upstanding young men that represented the spirit of team play, well then, i'd watch some special olympics wheelchair basketball or some crap like that. the tradeoff of course, is that i wouldn't be watching anything remotely athletic. and most likely, i'd be watching a bunch of losers. i acknowledge that this could blow up in the cowboys face, but it's not like they were a super bowl contender last year. this is classic jerry jones and i like the move. not only does it make the team better but it proves that the dallas cowboys are the most relevant football team in the league because they are willing to take chances.

3) alfonso soriano is griping about not being able to play 2nd base in washington. he's gone so far as to not go out on the field even though his name was in the lineup. a lot of people are saying "what a selfish guy" and "what a jerk". me i don't care, cuz he's not on my team anymore. i'm only commenting on this because i find it mercurial. i had to root for soriano for a couple of years when he was a ranger. the thing is, he's a terrible second baseman. he's averaged 20 errors a season since he became a full time second baseman. i'm completely perplexed as to why he wants to stay there and embarrass himself further. and yes it's different from the T.O. thing because the errors can actually cause you to lose a game directly, while badmouthing your teammates can only hurt your team if your quarterback lets it.

3.15.2006

world baseball classic update

team USA is on the brink of elimination in the world baseball classic.

as it stands right now, if japan beats south korea in 9 innings and scores less than 7 runs, then the US goes home early. if that's not the most stupid tiebreaker system, then i don't know what it. if south korea beats japan, then the US has to beat mexico to advance (which it did handily in its first game). they've gotten to this point by losing to canada, a team that's not better than they are, pasting south africa who only got invited because we needed one more team to round out the bracket, beating japan on a blown call that was so obviously made to keep the US in contention. they then got beat by south korea. 2-2 from a team that has a-rod, derek lee, roger clemens, and johnny damon.

of course, we know that i'm rooting against, but now that the team has struggled, the important thing that i mentioned earlier is the reaction from the media and fans. there are some people that are calling the team out for underperforming. however, if you notice the language of this column, there is nothing to the effect that these players are lazy or selfish, unlike when the US basketball team struggled in the world championship and in the olympics. furthermore you get columns like this from page 2's worst writer, jim caple, which actually beseeches you, joe fan, to rally and start supporting your country by rooting for the team.
I tell you, seeing the U.S. team celebrating and congratulating A-Rod made you want to tie yellow ribbons around old oak trees, kiss nurses in Times Square and phone in your vote to "American Idol."
obviously, jim cample is a jackass, and this is an extreme opinion. however, again, i'll point out that there was no such call to rally the troops when the basketball team failed.

there's plenty of studies done on how sports is used to reinforce national identities but in the case of the US, it seems that only works when the sports are played by mostly white players.

3.13.2006

official declaration


the sopranos is the greatest television show in the history of television.

i, like several other million people watched the season premiere of the sopranos last night, and somehow came away convinced that the 2 and a half year wait was worth it. can a single episode of any other show inspire as much giddiness about the upcoming season?

there are plenty of shows that have come and gone and many good shows. but i have never been so engaged and so hooked on a show as i have the sopranos. i find myself replaying the episode in my head while taking a shower and trying to figure out what is going on inside tony's head. never has a show taken up so much of my time outside of actually watching the show. it's just that good. i know it has the advantage of being on cable so it can push the subject envelope a little bit, but the ensemble of actors is just so stellar, there's no other word for it than completly engrossing.

many of HBO's shows are like that: well written, great ensemble casts, and complicated story lines. however, as one of my watching mates remarked last night, HBO is good at creating shows that if you stick with it from the beginning, they get better over time because of your own investment in the character. but that's where the sopranos separates itself as the alpha male of this pack. i think that you can jump in whenever you want with the sopranos and instantly enjoy it.

so while i lament the fact that it is probably gonna take the full twenty episodes until i figure out how chrissy is going to get it, i think that people who have invested the time, should take a moment to appreciate this singular television show while it is still on the air. i'm not sure that we'll see anything like it for a long long time.

bob's top 10 television shows of all time
1. the sopranos
2. seinfeld
3. the cosby show
4. ally mcbeal (season 1 and 2)
5. diff'rent strokes
6. star trek the next generation
7. family ties
8. the andy griffith show
9. the real world
10. tie - three's company and late night with david letterman.

discuss.

3.09.2006

sometimes, the internets are really awesome

from the best week ever blog, movie scene reenactments with stuffed animals...even funnier than those TNT commericals with the chimps acting out famous movie scenes.

3.08.2006

let's keep an eye on this one...

team usa loses in the world baseball classic.

recall a few years ago when team USA lost in the world basketball championship a few years back and the extreme backlash from fans and the media. if you don't remember it, maybe this will refresh your memory.

in any case, let's keep an eye out and see how the media reflects when a bunch of rich millionaire white athletes screw the pooch on the international stage, shall we....obviously, we'll update you as we inevitably read columns in response to this historic loss. canada...why did it have to be canada?

hey america! jay mohr sucks!


hey america! i suck!

i'm unveiling the first of a new feature that i'm going to try and do on a semi-regular basis. please give a warm ragin' asian welcome to: hey america! this sucks! (polite smattering of applause). as someone who has spent a lifetime navigating the murky waters of popular culture, very often times i find that the water is as polluted as waters of lake michigan that i used to go swimming in once a year in college. you see, i believe that pop culture is important and means something to our greater understanding of culture, power, and society. i think that it is important to discuss these things that most people consider trivial. yet every now and again, i find a piece of poop that smells so bad, that even i have to admit, sometimes the stuff on television or the internet just out and out sucks. it's what i like to call popular culture deadweight. take for example, mandy moore. i mean what in the world has she ever done to make her worth talking about, yet there she is, at red carpet events smiling that toothy smile and taking up valuable brain power and discussion time with her vapidity. these pop culture deadweights bring nothing to the table and add nothing to the conversation. and i feel the need to let america how useless these things and people are. so without further ado...i present the first hey america! this sucks! award to.....jay mohr's cnnsi.com sports column.

you may remember jay mohr as the slimeball agent from jerry maguire and....well nothing else except a string of repeatedly failed bits such as last comic standing. anyways, for some reason, even after an awful stint as the resident funny man on FOX's NFL pregame show, cnnsi.com saw fit to give jay mohr a space to write a rambling incoherent account of his life as a sports fan. recent topics have included handing out sports oscars!, the winter olympics are goofy!, the NBA has some players with funny names!

as you might guess, these are all just platforms for mohr to make tired and bad jokes about nothing. take for instance, this zinger from his most recent column watching sports on television:
Which do you think is more odd? I think that the Lakers get the nod on this one since Kwame Brown got 12 boards against the Pistons front line. How that happened I have no idea. I didn't think Brown was capable of getting 12 boards in a lumber yard.
(cue crickets chirping in background)

anyways, the larger issue here is cnnsi.com's attempt to have "a funny guy". i'm all for mixing stuff up with these sports news outlets, but hiring a largely unsuccessul comic reeks of inauthenticity and desperation. cnnsi is better than that. if anyone over there is reading, don't try to force the comedy angle, just tell your current crop of writers to let loose a little more. i.e. their resident old school football guy dr. z is plenty funny in his columns and all of his jokes make sense in the context of his column. encourage everyone to do that. especially that stick-up-his-ass tom verducci. and also know that when i click over to cnnsi.com in the morning and when i look over and see this:

i click to sportingnews.com immediately.

so there you go america, jay mohr sucks.

3.07.2006

holy cow

it's not a real surprise to find that there's actual proof that bonds used steroids. the the real meat is in how he used them. i just got through reading book excerpt and even though, i'm as crotchety as they get when it comes to sports, i must admit, i'm flabbergasted...cheating on your taxes? stealing medicine from aids patients? narcolepsy drugs? pulling a kirby puckett (r.i.p.) on his mistress?

i mean, we all knew one day it would come. in the same way the day came for mark mcgwire's reckoning on capital hill. but man, i can't but help but sit here and wonder when did the national pasttime go so wrong. i have more thoughts on this, but i need to digest this some more, as well as track the reaction to it. rest assured, the ragin' asian will be back with more ragin' (just not the roid ragin' variety).

p.s. i find it amazing that kirby puckett's indiscretions are hardly being mentioned in his obituaries. in ragin' asian terms, here's a black man who seemingly fooled everyone, and then it turns out he has a dark side that no one could even imagine, yet somehow people just didn't want to hear about it. meanwhile kobe does the same thing and he has and will always be saddled with this black predator thing. how does this stuff work? can someone tell me?

3.06.2006

2 conspiracy theories that are incorrect

in a nice confabulence (hi jp!), there are two separate stories in pop culture and sports that have a connecting thread.

mike krzyzewski, head coach of duke seems to think that the media is out to get him and duke. similarly, with the near release of the scott stapp sex tape, this same shadow organization is also out to get scott stapp and ruin his career.

let's just say that if these two clowns were robots and radiohead wrote a song about them, they'd call it paranoid androids. for duke, it's quite the opposite. all that winning has finally gotten to coach k. how do you explain dick vitale giving jj reddick a hummer at half time of the UNC game? and as for stapp...well you have to have a career in the first place before someone can ruin it.

3.05.2006

autistic basketball player

by now, most of you have heard about the kid with autism that scored 20 points in a high school basketball game. most people feel that it is a feel good story about a autistic kid, who got to live out some sort of dream when his coach, who had only let him be a manager before, put into a game that was already a blowout.

i'd like to give a different point of view. if anything, all this shows us is that 1) the coach discriminated against the kid, and 2) the coach is not a very good coach.

here is a kid who can clearly hit the three. i don't care how athletic he is, at the high school level, if you can shoot, you can probably make a real contribution to the team. yet the coach never let him play, never even considered him playing, except as a show for sympathy. we always talk about trying to treat people with disabilities like everyone else. if the coach had truly done that, the kid would have been a normal part of that team's rotation. now the basketball season is all but over and the kid will never get a chance to play organized ball again. way to waste his potential coach.

just need to get that off my chest.

lazy sunday? more like lazy comedy.

seeing as how crash just won for best picture, i'd thought i'd take this opportunity to point out to everyone yet again, how america just doesn't understand race in america.

this past saturday, natalie portman hosted saturday night live and one of the skits featured her laying down some hard core gangsta rhymes. this from the same people who brought you one of the most overhyped internet clips ever, lazy sunday.

anyways, as you can probably see, on the surface, it's slightly amusing. but if you think about it, the whole "white people acting like black people" is not only not that funny, but it's also kind of racist. but i actually don't want to harp on the racist part. i'd rather just say that not only was this gag tired when they did it with lazy sunday, it was double tired when they did it with natalie portman. why don't they just do a rap parody anytime a white person hosts saturday night live? ha ha, look, neil patrick harris is rapping, how funny. this is comedy at its laziest.

there are two things that really bother me about this. one, the powerhouse comedic personality behind this, andy samberg, is now really popular with the college kids. of all the people who really don't know shit about race, but think they know shit about race are college kids. and in their idiocy and internalized racist ways, they'll make a hero out of someone who is basically doing blackface.

second, the internet is full of this crap. it's like the 6,001 brokeback mountain parodies that are out there. i wish people knew how to quit...godammit, never mind.

p.s. crash is the worst movie to win best picture since shakespeare in love. even though i won my oscar pool, i want my money back.