5.31.2007

rules of celebrity

great picture taken from the confessional poet

looks like a-rod just found himself a whole new way to be publicly maligned. according to the story, a-rod's wife, cynthia, is leaving him because he was recently caught cruising around new york with some stripper. scandalous stuff. i could say some stuff about a-rod and how up to this point, his saving grace was that he was a saint off the field, but instead, i'm going to take this opportunity to share with all of you my rules of celebrity. these are rules that i think all celebrities stick to if they want to stay out of the tabloids. two of them apply to celebrities in general, but the other two are directed at athletes more general. and i'm telling you people, these rules are foolproof. if celebrities listened to me, the enquirer would go out of business. anyways, without further ado:

remember what happened to this guy when he stayed out too late? it's only worse for celebrities.

rule #1 - never stay out past midnight. you could also state this another way, nothing good ever happens after midnight. you never hear about a celebrity saving someone's life at 1AM, or a celebrity gets a big part in a movie at 3:30AM, or a celebrity has really good interaction with press/public at 2AM. it's always, so and so throws someone through a plate glass window, or so and so gets popped for possession of meth, or so and so get's arrested at girlfriend's apartment. i understand the need to party, and most normal people are able to stay out past midnight and have no problems, but if you're a celebrity why take that chance. especially when you can just have the party come to you. wanna hang out with strippers late at night? just pay them to come to the house. wanna get really wasted, just throw a big party at your house. rent a big hotel room. whatever. staying off the streets past midnight reduces your likelihood of getting trouble by about 4000%.

the celebrity's best friend

rule #2 - never drive a car. pay someone else to drive you around. a driver is really not that expensive and cabs and limos are a good investment. there's the obvious stuff, like drunk driving, or killing someone on the 405. but even if you're not doing that, if there's one thing that the cops can always pull you over for, it is traffic violations - busted tail lights, failure to use turn signal, whatever. the traffic violation is usually never a big deal. it's what happens after you get pulled over, cops find gun/drugs/kiddie porn. and if you're smart, you pay your driver enough where he or she knows to take the fall for you. you all saw traffic. think terrence howard's character wishes that he had hired a driver for that night?

the next two rules do apply to all celebrities but are especially directed towards professional athletes.

have you ever seen a more effed up kid than t.j. kidd (he's the one with the moustache)

rule #3 - do not get married. look, i understand that people fall in love and that sometimes, having a life partner is cool. however, i also understand that celebrity means special circumstances often put extra pressure on something that is already difficult to maintain. the divorce rate for the regular population is already at 50%. what do you think it is for celebrities? and you can sign all the prenups in the world, but the bottom line is, if something goes wrong with your marriage, which is always does, then you're on the hook for a lot of your money, not to mention the drama and the bad press you get during a divorce. you always hear that any good lawyer can get you out of a prenup. it's even worse here in california where the law dictates the other person always gets half.

speaking of effed up kids...

corollary A to rule #3 - if you're a dude, get a vasectomy. baby momma drama is never good. just ask tom brady or matt leinart. look, you can always adopt, freeze your sperm, or in some cases, get the procedure reversed. what you can't do is force someone to have an abortion, get out of paying hush money, or having your offspring from growing up to be a psycho and then writing a tell all book about how you are a terrible father. also, don't forget if you're young, how much trouble and time it takes to be a father. your bachelor lifestyle is substantially curtailed with the presence of a little one.

you betta watch yo ass pacman jones, cuz we be comin' for you!

rule #4 - do not under any circumstances, buy, own, or carry a gun. again, i'll use the logic that i used in rule #1. how often have you heard of a celebrity fending off would-be evil doers with their gun? how many bank robberies have been stopped by paris hilton pulling her gat out of her purse? now, if you want, you can still have someone in your posse carry a gun. i know, everyone is thinking, "what about pacman jones? he wasn't carrying a gun and look how much trouble he's in." well just think how much trouble he would be in if he were carrying a gun. besides, he was violating rule #1, so it's a wash. the point is, guns plus celebrity has never ever resulted in a good outcome.

anyways, i am sure that if celebrities followed these rules, the world would be a much safer place. it may seem like i'm only talking about the celebutards like paris and lindsay, but click on over to the smoking gun's celebrity mugshot archive, and you tell me how many of these pictures would never have been taken if these people followed these rules. mel gibson? broke rule #1 and #2. phil spector? rule #4. britney? rule #3 would have saved us all from k-fed. the cinncinatti bengals? multiple infractions, all rules.

so there's my good deed for the day. if there are any readers out there connected to celebrities, please direct them to this blog and tell them i said, "you're welcome".

5.26.2007

and I'm not talking about rosie o' donnell in a cop costume

since once upon a time, i posted about a giant catfish, i present to you:


that is one big effin' hog. that'll do pig...that'll do.

5.21.2007

what i've been working on

there's really no good excuse for my lack of blogging. i had some grand ideas way back about starting a podcast, but right now, i just don't think it is going to work. however, for those of you who might be interested, i am now working full time on the dissertation project. i've set up a website that has the basics of the project outlined. but probably of more interest to you blog reader, is that i have set up a blog that i'm going to use to keep track of my research. right now, it looks like ass and it's not very interesting, but as i start to collect data and make headway on writing it should be more interesting in a nerdy kind of way. so those of you who are interested in the Sabermetric movement in baseball and the emergence of statistics as a source of legitimate knowledge, go ahead and click on over.

i have to tell you, that probably a majority of my blogging efforts are going to be directed towards the new blog, but i'm going to try and make some time to post here more often. i can't promise anything, but i can promise to make a better effort.

tricia rose on hip hop

apologies for not posting - i've been busy dissertating. one day, i'm going to get a schedule running and i'll just force myself to blog at least once a week. anyways, last wednesday i went to see tricia rose give a talk entitled "is hip-hop dead?" it was an interesting talk and i thought that i'd share the highlights and some of my own thoughts. for those of you who don't know, tricia rose is a fairly well known scholar in the field of black studies. her book, black noise, is one of the first real academic studies on hip hop, and seems to be one of the standard texts that people engage in whenever they need to talk about hip-hop from an academic point of view. currently, she's a professor at brown university.

as shown by the don imus incident, people still seem to view hip hop and the hip hop culture as one that is morally bankrupt and one of the causes of the deterioration of the moral fiber of society. i know, i know, it sounds like an outlandish statement to most people, but when someone like don imus blames his racists statements on hip hop and then oprah feels compelled to have a town hall meeting on the subject, it can't be a good thing in most people's eyes. anyways, for rose, the problem is not the genre itself, which she acknowledges has lots of problems. rather, the problem is with the conversation on hip-hop. because of the assumptions and omissions of the conversation on hip-hop, we can't get to a place where we can really figure out what is going on.

basically, she said that you can't talk about hip-hop without being either labeled a hater or a defender of the thug lifestyle. if you criticize hip hop for being misogynist or destructive, then you are a hater. if you accuse critics of hip-hop of being racist, then you are blind to the effects of culture on people. in some ways, it is a straw man argument, that opposing sides are situated on extremes of a continuum and the right place to be is somewhere in the middle. but i think that in this case, it's not that far off. on the one hand, i do understand the problems with the types of hip-hop that are most prevalent in today's popular culture. on the other hand, i loves me some snoop-dizzle. and my experience of how most people view the hip-hop issue is in terms of black and white, no pun intended.

anyways, rose says the the one of the biggest problems in this conversation is the failure of either side of the debate to acknowledge capitalism's role in determining the development of hip-hop. that is, hip-hop, at least popular hip-hop, has developed the way it has because of the role of these media multi-national corporations, who are run by mostly white people, have had in determining what people will hear.

in other words, a lot of the stuff out there is very problematic. but there's a lot of stuff that isn't so problematic but never gets played. she used the example of lupe fiasco. here's an artist that the critics love, has the backing of major players in the hip-hop game (kanye west and jay-z), and is able to rap about relevant topics about the african american experience without resorting to the usual tired tropes of thug or gangsta. yet, we never ever hear him on mainstream radio.

i suppose that none of this is really new, that capitalism screws up everything, especially art. and as a sociologists, it is almost impossible for me to not consider the effects of capitalism on anything. however, at the same time, it does strike me that the discussion of capitalism are absent in most work done on hip-hop, because as rose says, it makes that discussion seem "inauthentic". while i'm not sure if that is true of the academic community, it is most certainly true of most cultural critics. when it comes to this particular cultural form, for most people it seems that most of the issues are not rooted in the economic machinations if the medium, but rather the racial machinations. hip-hop is seen as a "black" thing, therefore, the problems that it causes, are caused by blacks. now i doubt you would find someone who would say this outright, but if you read carefully how hip-hop is usually talked by cultural critics, that is most definitely the implication.

she also spoke about masculinity and the fact that the only kind of hip-hop that those who are in charge of producing and disseminating popular music is one that is marked by hyper-masculinity. as you can imagine, this struck a chord with me, as it seems that sports works in much the same way. with all of this in mind, it should not surprise anyone that sports, particularly basketball and hip-hop are intimately intertwined. the NBA culture is often described as a hip-hop culture, which means it is a hyper-masculine culture which conforms to the current hierarchy, both in terms of race and gender. and in my opinion, this is generally not a good thing.

what does this all mean? as usual, i have no real good answers. but what i do think that this demonstrates is that people still aren't comfortable talking about race in a meaningful way.
any comments on the topic are welcome.

5.11.2007

god bless black people

i'm very hesistant to post anything about the waste of time that is paris hilton going to jail, but this was too good not to post. enjoy.



link via best week ever.

5.07.2007

rocket is on the sauce

for those of you who don't get the reference in the title, click here.

anyways, as i'm sure most of you have heard by now, roger clemens is unretiring, or whatever you call it, for the thirteenth time to play for the yankees again. not that i care one way or the other, but it did get me thinking. pretty much every major sports columnists has written at least one column about barry bonds breaking hank aaron's record with the help of steroids. and yet as obviously as clemens is juicing, i feel that the press is essentially giving him a free pass on this topic. obviously, there are a lot of things going on here, bonds' general a-hole-ishness, the fact that he is about to break essentially the most hallowed baseball record, the whole perjury thing, his rocky relationship with the press, did i mention he was an a-hole? of course, i'm here to ask, what role does race play in all of this, because i contend that if clemens were about to break say, the all-time strikeouts record or the wins record, that he would not be held up to the same scrutiny as bonds. luckily, most of the other sports blogs that are written by non-mainstream sports media, have picked up on this and have made it abundantly clear that we think the rocket is roided out.

much has been made about a recent poll that indicated that 37% of baseball fans want bonds to break aaron's record, vs. 52% that don't want him too. i found these findings very curious because the press would have you believe that everyone except giants fans think that bonds is a travesty to the game. i would imagine if you polled all of the major sports columnists that there would be a much greater disparity between those who want bonds to break the record and those who don't. anyways, my point is, the media, in this case, in the form of the sports columnists and baseball writers, are not at all representative of the view of the general public, who seems to be at least moderately conflicted on this issue. even more instructive is the racial breakdown of the people rooting for barry and the people rooting against. 74% of black people want him to break the record vs. 28% of whites. my point is, for those people who insist that race has nothing to do with how bonds is treated by the press is simply out of touch with the general public. not to say that the fact that he's an a-hole doesn't mean anything cuz it obviously does. but just these simple statistics, if accurate, shows that race plays a large role in how the press and baseball fans view bonds.

clemens in 1986:

clemens in 2006:
you make the call.

p.s. in regards to the lack of posting: i'm working on something...something big, that is going to change this blog as you know it. stay tuned for details.

5.02.2007

a joke for computer geeks

how many angry digg users does it take to change a light bulb?

09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0

sorry, just jumping on top of the dogpile.

5.01.2007

the nba is racist, yo

according to the new york times, nba officials have a racial bias! i use an exclamation mark because if this research by a penn professor, justin wolfers is correct, this is an extraordinary development. according to the article, white officials are more likely to call fouls on black players, and black officials are more likely to call fouls on white players. the difference is admittedly small (around 2-4% more fouls depending on your race), but in the bigger picture, what it means is that the outcome of a game can be determined by the racial makeup of the officiating crew and the racial makeup of a team.

i wish there was a link to the research so i can make a more definitive assessment of the methodology, but it seems that the LA times had the report examined by three independent stats experts and they all seem to agree that the research is legit.

what i find amusing is the league's response. according to the league, they've done their own research and that their research shows no bias with officials. while this response is predictable, it is made more remarkable when you take into account the the differences between the two research studies. the wolfers' research used data from 13 NBA seasons (1991-2004). the NBA's research used two years worth. the wolfers' research took into account, player position, and veteran status. the NBA's did not. the wolfers' research is done by an academic whose career is consumed by exploring these issues in a scientific manner. the NBA's research is done by an actuarial consulting firm, whose careers is consumed with getting paid by the NBA. the wolfers' research has made their data to anyone who wants to check it out for themselves ensuring accuracy and peer review. the NBA's research is supposedly "proprietary" for confidentiality reasons.

it seems pretty clear to me, who is probably closer to being right. i have to disclose that the NBA does have the advantage of having data on individual data, which it appears that wolfers' research does not. and this i find strange since i don't think it would have been that difficult for wolfers to have included this in his models. anyways, like any good business venture, the NBA is burying its head in regards to the social issues that surround its product.

my reaction of course is predictable and mirrors ian ayres, a professor at yale who reviewed the research for the la times, when he says
I would be more surprised if it (bias) didn’t exist. There’s a growing consensus that a large proportion of racialized decisions is not driven by any conscious race discrimination, but that it is often just driven by unconscious, or subconscious, attitudes. When you force people to make snap decisions, they often can’t keep themselves from subconsciously treating blacks different than whites, men different from women.
for more on this theory, click here to watch a dateline report on some very interesting research being done by those crazy cats at berkeley about subconscious racial bias.

basketball is the perfect setting for this by the way. more than any sport, race is crucially woven into the very fabric of the game. in football, it's hard to see race with a helmet on. in baseball, there really aren't enough black people. but no where is race more evidently embodied in players than in basketball. it makes perfect sense to me that race would influence the outcome of a contest.

anyways, from a regular fan standpoint, i've always been wary of the idea of league conspiracies enacted through poor officiating. however, after watching game 5 of the mavs/warriors series, where some very iffy officiating may have resulted in a win for the good guys, and coupling that with this video that popped up recently, i may have to rethink my position. either that or officials seem to think that dwayne wade is white.