In certain discussions of sports all-time greats, the top positions are already taken, and it’s just a matter of arranging everybody else. So when you talk about centers, you have:
People may order them differently, but that’s pretty much gonna be the overwhelming majority of people’s top 3.
Similarly, with running backs, we have:
The first two are pretty much locks. The third is debatable, but only between those two.
The question is this: is there anything somebody could do to crack into those top 3 levels, or is everybody now pretty much playing for 4th in the top 5, with the exception of somebody who pretty much revolutionizes the position?
It’s hard for me to properly place Michael Jackson in my personal pantheon. On the one hand, I fully believe that Mike is the biggest star I will ever see in my lifetime, and may very well be bigger than any star that will ever be, given the manner in which media is fragmented these days. At the same time, when it comes to me personally, I liked Mike and all, but he was never on that Stevie-James stratum. Like I told somebody the other day, if I didn’t cry when James died, it ain’t gonna happen for nobody. I liked Mike a lot, and I’ve sho nuff had my days where I played Mike all day — and this is before tragedy struck. At the same time, I can’t really pretend that I was all crushed like some people are. Mike has been in continuous rotation around here, so in that respect, nothing has changed. Nor will it.
Mike was due for a Favorite 15, and his will probably be the next one I do, but the contrarian in me just doesn’t wanna do it now. Mike’s popular right now, and honestly Mike got so many hits, it’s really hard for me to find songs I really, really like that aren’t already major, which is part of the point of me even doing a Favorite 15.
Ultimately, it breaks down to this: I think Michael Jackson, while not necessarily my favorite at any of the things that he did (singer, songwriter, dancer, etc., etc), put all of those things together in such a fantastic package that I can only call him the greatest entertainer in my lifetime. Possibly ever.
Hot Pants – Hank Carbo Searchin for Soul – Jack Wade & The Soul Searchers Packed Up – Bill Conti Ode to Billy Joe – Lou Donaldson Shake A Tail Feather – Ike & Tina Turner Contact The Three Degrees Willow Weep For Me – Johnny Lewis Quartet Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club Soul Vaccination – Tower of Power Sweet Thing – Rufus and Chaka Khan Fat Boys – Fat Boys Love Having You Around – Stevie Wonder Some Soul – Bud Powell
For it to be the semi-embarrassing moment that it was, Allen Iverson’s “Practice? We talkin bout practice?!” press conference is one of my favorite times with him as a Sixer. I remember listening to it live as I drove up Haverford Avenue. And now it has a remix, along with some other classic moments from other press conferences.
Two characters in the new Transformers movie, Skids and Mudflap, are getting a lot more attention than the film’s creators probably anticipated. Given their use of slang, their shuckin’ and jivin’ personae, and the fact that they are unremorsefully (unashamedly?) illiterate, particularly vis a vis the behavior of the other Autobots, some people question whether they are stereotypes of Black people. Knowing the historical stereotypes quite well, it’s very easy to see the precedent for this line of concern. One could go back even further, but by looking at the depction of the males in Coal Black and De Seben Dwarves, it’s fairly easy to see a strong continuity from that 1940s cartoon to 2009′s movie. But for me, there are a few questions that expand the discussion beyond the presence of any stereotypical characters.
First, I think it’s important to look at the character in totality. That is, it’s not enough just to note whether he has one or a few stereotypical traits, you’d have to have some understanding of that character overall. I’ll be right up front and say that I did not like Skids and Mudflap because they did not bring anything to the movie. Director Michael Bay claims that they were supposed to be there for comic relief, but I didn’t find them funny. Not in some hypersensitive ‘mad cuz he makin fun of Black folks’ way, they were just generally unfunny. A perfect character to look at to demonstrate this would be Kramer from Seinfeld. For those of us who watched Seinfeld, Kramer was hilarious. But if Kramer had been Black, he might’ve been decried as a stereotype. However, because we have a fairly good understanding of the character, we see that he’s just very quirky — and funny. Well, I would think that Black characters should have the same latitude to be funny, even if the portrayal borders on what would be stereotypical. The limitation with Skids and Mudflap is that they display the stereotypical traits without any counterbalances. They’re not shuckin and jivin and jive-talkin AND smart or particularly brave or anything else. Nope. Just shuckin and jivin and illiterate. With gold teefis. True, one gets eaten by Devastator and doesn’t continues to fight, but that 30 seconds doesn’t really offset anything that’s happpened up to that point. He still shows no particular level of valor.
Another question is this: to what extent should we be concerned about the portrayal of Black folks (or ostensibly Black folks) in the media, in the first place? For instance, I’ve heard the claim that the stereotypes help to perpetuate or justify racism. But do they? I definitely wouldn’t suggest that they do anything to ameliorate racism, but given that racism is itself illogical, I don’t know that anything can be legitimately said to justify it. That is, a racist person is not racist because of anything external, he is racist because of what is inside himself; the racist hates Black people neither because of nor in spite of what we do. He hates irrespectively. So the idea that showing Black folks of noble comport would somehow change his mind really does not follow. Bearing that in mind, does it ultimately matter? The answer I’ve been trained towards is yes, but I think it’s debatable, even if I’m not quite sure what the counterargument would be.
Then, there’s the question of what difference the background of the product’s creator makes. For instance, if you look at the stereotypes of Blacks in the cartoons in the 1940s, you’ll see some of the same actions and activities that are described in Zora Neale Hurston’s works. From my perspective, the obvious difference is that Hurston’s characters were developed and imbued with a full humanity, as opposed to being mere caricatures. However, many of her Black contemporaries in the Harlem Renaissance did not see it that way. Hurston faced a good amount of scrutiny because of the stories she told and the characters in them bore some resemblance to the stereotyped characters in the popular (read: white) media at the time. Nowadays, I wonder whether Tyler Perry’s Madea would have anywhere near the traction if she was the creation of a white author. For the people who like TP’s work (cuz there are a lot who don’t), I wonder if they would still be able to relate to the character if everything but the author’s race was the same — or whether the people who protest would be going even harder.
Next question is this: because the characters are literally not human, are we doing too much in projecting humanity onto them based on a couple of characteristics? This one, I’d pretty much give a quick ‘no’ to. With any any anthropomorphic representations, as in animated works, there is a certain ‘type’ of humanity that’s given to the characters. So in the movie Cars, we know that the tow truck (I don’t remember his name) was supposed to be a ‘good ole boy.’ That’s not projecting onto the character, that’s reading it as it’s written. Same thing here. Jokers can try to deny, but in giving the robots human attributes, they also give them some racial elements — the Autobots, that is. The Decepticons, on the other hand, seem to have no distinguishing characteristics other than being Decepticons. There are no Decepticons with British accents, no ‘old man’ Decepticons, none of that. Well…there was one, but he had switched allegiance, so he was, for all practical purposes, and Autobot. But the fact that the Decepticons are all generic robots is proof that the creators know that the individual Transformers are representative of human subgroups, because they know if Megatron spoke with a [insert group] accent, there would be questions whether the portrayal indicated some sort of suggestion that that group was evil.
It’s a tough call. On the one hand, I wouldn’t want to see media that is so scrubbed of any potential offense that the characters essentially became all the same. On the other hand, I would expect somebody with a budget in the hundreds of millions to know how to do better characterization than I saw in this movie. But given the number of wasted characters I saw, maybe that’s expecting too much.
I’ma try, try, try to do this without spoiling the movie, but we’ll see what happens.
Overall, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was okay. Not great, not totally wack, it was okay. Was it worth gettin up and going to the 12:01 show for? Probably not. But y’all couple of people lookin at this probably didn’t do that, so that part’s not really a concern. One thing that I pretty much knew was gonna happen happened, although I wasn’t really expecting it to be resolved the way it turned out to be. I think I was hoping for something better, or just different. Overall, it was mostly entertaining, but there were some fairly significant annoyances.
Things I Liked:
- The interaction between Megatron and Starscream seemed to be closer to what I remember.
- Bumblebee’s knuckle game
- Seeing the Constructicons form Devestator (prolly my fanboy highlight of the movie. I was literally about to geek OUT)
Things I Didn’t Like
- The jive-talkin, gold-toothed, illiterate twins. Jive-talkin and gold teeth I might coulda dealt with. Illiterate? That’s the part that got me.
- The “people” part of the story, was once again, wack juice. Like, I really could not have cared LESS about them. There was literally not one human in the movie that moved me…in any positive sense. I kept thinkin, ‘get on with the robots!’
- The officious government agent seems to be as much of a stock character as the crackhead wife/mother in a Tyler Perry movie, but maybe even LESS necessary.
- The resolution to The Thing I Knew Would Happen. Like, really?
- It was maaaaaad long. I got outta there at like 3 o’clock.
- Considering the target audience, there was a whole lotta cussin. Much more than I was expecting, including some words I was not expecting to hear.
- Again with the comic movies introducing characters for what are tantamount to cameos. While I loved seeing Devestator, I was less than enthusiastic about his actual role in the movie.
For us old Transformers vets, I obviously recommend it. For people who don’t really care about the series but are looking for a decent summer blockbuster, it’s cool. If you’re looking to see a good story with your explosions, maybe not.
Our projection models show that by the year 2030, ~90% (86.3%) of all American adults would become overweight or obese and 51.1% of them would be obese. Black women (combined prevalence 96.9%) and MA men (91.1%) would be the groups most affected. In children and adolescents, prevalence of overweight would increase 1.6-fold (to ~30%) by 2030. MA young boys and black adolescent girls would have the highest prevalence (both 41.1%), a level that would be 10 percentage points higher than the national average. Further, the prevalence in MA adolescents will increase by twofold and among African-American teens, by 1.8-fold, the largest increases.
In ~15 years, by the year 2022, 80% of American adults would be overweight or obese; and the prevalence would reach 100% in ~40 years (by the year 2048) (Table 2 and Figure 1). For black women, the time course to reach 100% prevalence is <30 years (by 2034). Half of US children and adolescents overall will become overweight around the year 2070, but this level will be reached among black girls and MA boys by 2050.
Again, in this case, 100% cannot really equal all, but it should be enough for a real look at our lifestyle choices. Having had numerous discussions about the topic, I’m aware of many of the factors that go affect Black womens’ dietary and exercise choices, but at some point, some of that stuff has to fall by the wayside. I’m fairly fatalistic, in the sense that I believe people die when it’s their time, regardless of circumstance, so I’m not necessarily gonna say that a person could prolong her life, but maintaining a healthy weight will definitely help to prevent a lot of diseases and complications.
Flippin through the channels while my daughter was here, I saw a commercial for a TV show a friend of mine was complaining about. Make Me A Supermodel She’s Got The Look is about over-35 women who think they have what it takes to model. Per my friend’s observation, the contestants on the show had already been professional pretty women at some point in their lives. Moreover, they fit well within the standard definition of what a model should look like, they’re just older than 35. Like women stop lookin good after 35. Her critique was that the show is actually missing its opportunity to include a multiplicity of body types. What about the women who aren’t 5’10″, svelte, and drop-dead gorgeous? Why can’t they do a show about average women who would like to be supermodels?
I probably wouldn’t watch it, but then I don’t watch very much. I definitely think it would be interesting, though. But I wouldn’t want it to be a segregated show in terms of having all the contestants be big jawns. I might not even necessarily want it to be a contest, either. More like tracking ordinary, everyday women who are attempting to get a shot at being models.
Probably wouldn’t sell, but it might be interesting.