Monday, March 28, 2022

One way to get your ratings up

Ramblings Post #402
Love makes you do many things. Strange things. Dumb things. I my case, not even for actual love, but in an effort to get someone to love me (this is before I came the realization it does not work that way). But I hope that love never makes me go up on stage during a national television broadcast and slap another man because my wife gave me a look. Really.

Well, that was stupid.

It was a throwaway line, a joke at the end of four or five other jokes that would have faded into nothing. It was a lame joke about a film most people don't remember. But no one would have remembered it a week from now. Then this shit happened.

I don't watch the Oscars broadcast, but someone posted a clip on Reddit that caught my eye. I thought it was a skit, a funny little thing that they'd done to liven up the show in some way. The Sporty texted me and asked me did I see it, and how Will was big mad. Now, the first clip I'd seen was short, Will walking on stage, slapping Rock and stalking off. The clip Sporty linked was longer, included the joke about Jada - which as I've said was kinda lame - and the slap, then it went quiet although the video kept running. And you'd didn't have to be from the hood to be able read Will's lips. He was for real big mad. Then I found the uncensored Japanese clip where you can hear Will cursing on live television and I realized that this wasn't at all staged in any way shape or form.

By the way, I must applaud Chris Rock's professionalism. As a long time standup comic he's probably faced down plenty of hecklers and can feel when it's best to not press an issue due to outsized anger. As such, he did what a pro would do and tried to make light of it and keep the show moving. And after the show he indicated he would not press charges, most likely at the suggestion of the Academy. He is being the bigger man here. Because truth be told if it had been me, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have embarrassed myself, my momma and the entirety of Black America.

Then after Will was dragged from the auditorium by secur....what? He wasn't? He sat back down, and a half-hour later won the Oscar for his leading man role in King Richard, got a standing ovation, and went to the Vanity Fair after-party like ain't shit happened?  Really? Wow. I guess liberal Hollywood is behind the idea of "standing up for the wifey." Because that's how Smith's defenders, including a number of those in the black community, are framing it. A number of women seem to think a lame joke was a good enough reason to slap someone on national TV if its in the defense of the wife. But it's not like Jada isn't in the game, she got her own talk show and her own roles. If she wasn't in the industry, maybe, possibly, there could have been some umbrage - but an actor in the front row of an awards show is fair game for roasting. And she is an actor, isn't she? Another argument seems to be she has a medical condition called alopecia, and medical conditions shouldn't be joked about. But um, alopecia is a medical term for hair loss, not cancer. It's not as far as I know terminal. We joke about bald dudes all the time, but they too are suffering form a form of aloepica. So, what about that? And there are plenty of beautiful women who've cut their hair short or near bald by choice. What about them?

No, this whole episode was a massive overreaction to a nothing. Which as a number of folks have pointed out gives rise to the idea that things aren't as happy at the Smith household as one might think, given their reconciliation after Jada's entanglement situation last year. What Tupac would have done jokes aside, one theory is that Jada's sour reaction combined with their rocky history prompted Will into action to openly demonstrate his love and support of her at all costs. Which is also problematic in and of itself. But that's another whole post.

So, what should Will have done? He could have done the cursing from seat thing by itself. That alone would have been enough of a shock to accomplish his point. Or, at the Vanity Fair after party when he ran into Rock he could have just said "Hey man, that joke about Jada wasn't cool." And then explained the aloepica. And let Rock say my bad and apologize to Jada. And then kept it moving. But would it have been cool? YES, way better than this.

It was a throwaway line, a joke at the end of four or five other jokes that would have faded into nothing by the time the award Rock was presenting three minutes later. It was a lame joke about a film most people don't remember and as it turns out, in poor taste to boot. No one would have remembered it by the end of the show. But now that joke and Will's reaction to it will be the subject of a thousand think pieces and evaluations. The incident is going to be object of ridicule of every late night talk show host worth his salt, SNL is going to have a field day, overshadows his own triumph and will be brought up on every other award show this season. This image has already shot up 50,000% to the very top of the meme market, is going to be a trivia question someday and will also most certainly be in the trailer of his biography film years from now.

Yeah, that was stupid.

Barkeep. The good whiskey and just a dash of apple juice. Boy, I just don't know.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

The NFL Offseason Should Be a Show

Ramblings Post #401
The NFL off-season this year has been wild. The AFC West has turned into a arms race, Green Bay gave Aaron Rodgers the keys to the franchise, and I'm veering between trusting the Jones boys in Dallas to put talent on the field and screaming "What are they doing!" over and over again to anyone who'll listen. And no, I'm probably not going to watch the USFL. Are we sure that wasn't an elaborate hoax anyway? 

It is said that because of how a grand jury works, that a semi-decent prosecutor can get a conviction against a ham sandwich if they really wanted to. So, last week when the people in a Grand Jury decided not to bring charges against Texan's QB Deshaun Watson, please know that I raised an eyebrow in disbelief. It may have hit my slightly receding hairline. Allegedly receding.

For those who don't know, last season the NFL avoided addressing the issue at all when the Texans decided to not even suit up Watson to play. By the way, as long as Watson showed up to the facility, did his workouts and stayed ready, he still got paid like he was playing. A whole bunch of money. Only without the physical stress of actually playing. In the interim the Texans found new ways to embarrass themselves, aside from letting all the talent walk out the door. I mean, at one point the Texans found themselves torn between hiring as their next head coach a ...long time coaching veteran who been part of a Superbowl coaching staff and who'd just won two of the last three seasons as head coach with his previous team who happened to black and...checks notes... a former player and part time assistant high school coach who happened to be white. So, obviously it was a toss up. But that aside, they had at least been smart enough not to play Watson.

I had a discussion about it right after it happened, I figured that a media savvy league would make it clear that even if there were to be no charges, that a serious suspension would still be assessed upon Watson's return to the field. I mean, they'd just suspended a player for the whole season for a single bet using the LEAGUE sponsored app. (Okay, there is a sign in the locker room specifically prohibiting betting, so there is a difference. Although I wouldn't think you'd need a sign to say don't assault women, would you?"). Would teams try for him? Sure, but this was a player who hadn't suited up in a year, and football comes at you fast. No, others said, it would be a free for all. The game is all about money now and they would not care. I argued that even from just a PR viewpoint, the league would not let that happen.  

And I was completely and unequivocally wrong.

The new NFL is QB driven. There was a time about twenty years ago where Trent Dilfer won a Superbowl. Who? He was the backup who took over halfway through the season and rode the defense of the Ravens to the NFL's promised land. And although he's an excellent analyst, he was also so mediocre he's the first starting and winning QB in history to not be resigned by his team for the next season. That's not possible with the way the game is now called and schemed. And everyone knows it. Hell, the Cowboys found it out after Dak went down and suddenly it seemed like the secrets of the completed forward pass were lost. And as it turns out Watson is a QB. And was a fairly good one. And as it turns out winning, or even the promise of winning, trumps everything.

I heard analysts decry that half the league need to take a look at Watson. The Saints were talked about, Atlanta was in the mix, the Colts and Chicago discussed. And what other QB might go where depending on what could be worked out with Deshaun. You would have thought Watson was the second coming of Micheal, the pun actually intended,... only with a less offensive charge. Yes, apparently to the NFL Animal Cruelty is worse than Sexual Assault, go figure. So after listening to Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless rag about how the Cleveland Browns had blown up their own dicey QB situation to even talk to Watson and how they'd been unceremoniously spurned I was shocked to see this....

The Brown fans online that I've seen are not especially happy at this turn of events. People in desperate need of a stable football situation, considering all the drama that happened with team during the season, weren't happy. You know, and they know, just because the state decided not to bring charges doesn't mean you're innocent. And did everyone in the league's media gang FORGET the twenty two civil suits still in the mix? This is one of those situations involving millions of dollars that makes you wonder just how smart some rich people really are. Did the Browns forget that quite a few of their fans are women? Did they forget that their fan base just in general might have a basic sense of decency? I mean, damn. It is very possible the Browns play a few home games this season to an empty stadium, and it won't be because of Covid.

What's really weird is that the league is handing out top-tier QB money to a player who hasn't touched turf in a season. No, I kid, that's not weird, that's the NFL. What's weird is that Watson wasn't banished from the league for at least a season. Not sat out of his own free will, but formally banished with no pay for at least a season. And between you and me, people don't offer someone a quarter of a billion dollars, a large portion guaranteed, unless you're pretty damn sure that player is gonna suit up. Which means unless the league blindsides because of backlash, it's already a done thing. One of my old running partners stopped watching football altogether because he was mad Rothlesberger never got any punishment for his...indiscretions. I guess my boy is gonna be an Atlanta United fan from here on out.   

The NFL is something, ain't it.