12.26.2008

A Time for Moving Self-Parody and Intense Inward Glances



-So after a series of email conversations about applying my "Jewish question" to the realm of African-American folk, Claude Johnson actually did it. Go watch the action unfold over at Black Fives. I won't go much further than that hypothetical of a "black" black guy with a "white" game, and a "white" black guy with a "black" game.

-Since we're back on this, I wanted to post a link to the interview I did with Jeremy at Mixed Multitudes. I think we cleared the air, though I flubbed my most important statement:

The Woody Allen example was a bad, and obvious, one, but when I look at who I am, and my place in American society, I definitely believe in a sense of community based around–at the risk of sounding totally 19th century–a certain ethnic character. In our case, of course, a lot of it has to do with questioning our character, not knowing where we fit in, what’s ours and what isn’t, and why we care that much to begin with.

That was trying to say not only that identity is construed as such, but that it leads to critical, outsider-y perspective on things that revolves around questioning _________, not knowing where __________ fits in, wondering what belongs to who, really, and accepting that we might not care that much about these questions to begin with. Hence the combination or inquiry, fatalism, dissonance, and absurdity that a lot of us dig in the Spanish players.

-I got an email yesterday asking if those Star of David-shaped snowflakes on the breast of yesterday's holiday jersey weren't eerily reminiscent of you-know-what. What's funny is that I only noticed them on Boston's unis, and assumed it was some sly Red Auerbach joke about this time of year. But if Stern does succeed in pissing off some Holocaust survivors, wow, that would be bad for his standing in the cabal.



-I finally saw Milk last night, and proceeded to read the whole online debate over why he's not known, or promoted, as a Jew, whether the film does enough of that or has any obligation to, and what's going on with Jewish publications not picking up on the newfound interest in a great Jewish political leader. Whatever, the movie was very, very good.

SEE COMMENTS. I MEANT TO MUTE MY REACTION, BUT DIDN'T DO SO ENOUGH. NEXT WEEK, POST ON 40 GUNS and THE FURIES TO PROVE I KNOW FILM.

-News Shoals Unlimited coming later on Celtics/Lakers.

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27 Comments:

At 12/26/2008 4:55 PM, Blogger Moose said...

I got FreeDarko's Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac for the holidays, and I have to say thank you for the awesome book. It's great, I'm almost finished, can't put it down. Great work. I recommend it.

 
At 12/26/2008 5:02 PM, Blogger Claude said...

Note that they made a big point of promoting that these game worn jerseys are being auctioned off after the game at nba.com, with a big fat pronounced and lengthy close up shot. I thought the snowflakes were a nice touch but it didn't dawn on me 'til you mentioned it that they look like the Star of David. (The Star of David Stern?) Let alone -- now that you mention it -- that they were placed on the uniforms in a very eerie and awkward way.

 
At 12/26/2008 5:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Lakers/Celtics column. I like it.

 
At 12/26/2008 5:59 PM, Blogger mdflores said...

Received the Almanac yesterday as a gift, and I literally stayed up all night just absorbing its magical goodness.

Thank you.

 
At 12/26/2008 6:21 PM, Blogger johnny5 said...

Got a copy of the Almanac for a friend, and bought one for myself. Was reading through it last night, alternately giggling and shaking my head at the genius within. Fucking brilliant, the decade's best religious text.

 
At 12/26/2008 9:15 PM, OpenID Bulls said...

Sorry, Shoals: Milk is an utterly formulaic biopic. The screenplay is cookie-cutter Hollywood and gimickly ties together anecdotes and the acting is downright bad (outside of Penn and Brolin). I had a lot of trouble finding anything interesting about it -- other than its remarkable real-life subject. Seems like people are too eager to conflate a great story with a great movie. This is safely played, well-oiled Oscar-bait.

 
At 12/26/2008 9:39 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I said "very, very good" to allow myself some wiggle room, since I didn't think it was anything more than a well-done biopic. I probably should've just gone with "very good." I think the acting was pretty much all there was to it, since they were lazy with the period piece aspect of it, and 95% of it was really strong. So yeah, I'd never call it "great" or "excellent," but for what it was, I thought it did some things well.

Honestly, I can write better movie criticism that that, I've just been in the snow for three hours.

Also am kind of annoyed that I won't drop Battier off of my fantasy team.

 
At 12/26/2008 11:39 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

This Nuggets/Sixers game is my favorite of the year thus far. Never in my life did I think I'd see Billups/Atkins/Carter AT THE SAME TIME. Everyone on the Sixers is holding back everyone else on the Sixers these days, even with Brand out.

 
At 12/26/2008 11:42 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

And Kenyon Martin with the go-ahead driving dunk when everyone's looking for Mr. Big Shot as time's getting scarce. And J.R. hitting 7 threes. YES!

 
At 12/27/2008 12:23 AM, Blogger Dre *SuperStar* Baldwin said...

Just cracked open your book and it is great so far. And I don't know if this has been pointed out yet or not, but I must address: on p. 20 the book mentions, "Allen Iverson, who entered the League one year after Kobe..."
Iverson and Kobe both entered the League via the 1996 Draft- Iverson #1 and Kobe #13. If I'm the millionth person to mention this, my apologies.

 
At 12/27/2008 1:07 PM, Blogger W2 said...

Celts dropped two in a row and I could not be happier. I am not interested in them beating the Bulls record. I think it would be an unneeded distraction...visions of Pats Super Bowl loss dancing in my head.

Watching the Suns on Xmas was sad. Not that Matt Barnes, J Rich, Grant Hill, and Steve Nash are the most exciting players in the NBA, but to see them just dump the ball into Shaq and Amare, was downright boring. What a waste of perimeter talent. How that team lost on that day was amazing to me. What will Kerr do when Nash and Amare bounce. Hand the reigns over to Goran? Yikes.

With all due respect to Jim Carey, Jamie Foxx, Will Smtih, Salma Hayek, and any other actor or actress that locks it down as somebody else...biopics suck.

Shit like Sweet and Lowdown and Raging Bull seem to transcend that genre, so for me those flicks don't count.

 
At 12/27/2008 1:28 PM, Blogger Bertrand DeNovo said...

Just started reading the Almanac last night - it's definitely an A+. The Josh Smith/Gerald Wallace section was blowing my mind.

My only complaint is that the Bulls (my team) have the weirdest collection of players in the league right now, and I would love to see at least one in cartoon form.

So, when Almanac 2 comes out please consider Noah (zero skill, but efficient, emotionally retarded), Gordon (can't dribble but scores 20 a game), Hinrich (has never seen the sun), Hughes (has never seen a terrible shot he didn't like), Thomas (top 5 athlete - bottom five brain), Nocioni (flopping red-haired South American), Deng (Sudan is in the house) or some other Chicago freak.

much love.

 
At 12/27/2008 3:06 PM, Blogger Moose said...

Bertrand, I believe that Nocioni did get some love in the Euro section (which was incredibly funny).

 
At 12/27/2008 5:58 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

Bertrand's onto something. The next book should be "Unliberated Fandom: An Anthropological Cautionary Tale." I'm available for consultation on the Knicks chapter. And if bribed with the Karate Kid and Rocky series on Blu-Ray, Bill Simmons might help with the Celtics chapter.

 
At 12/27/2008 6:17 PM, Blogger Bertrand DeNovo said...

I'd like to combine Moose and Jawaan's points - and recommend volume 2 have each chapter dedicated to a country/region. The fact that there are so many different nationalities in the league, and each one has a recognizable style, is my favorite thing about the NBA. Plus, the Bulls have players from Britain, Sudan, Switzerland, and Argentina - so it's a win-win.

 
At 12/27/2008 7:13 PM, Blogger R. Lobstah said...

I grew up with stories of ghettos and concentrations camps coming from every branch of the family tree. To my mind, the meaning and use of of the yellow Juden star is so far removed from the way the blue Star of David shaped snow flake was used that I derived absolutely no discomfort from it.

Milk's Jewishness is not what set the man apart. It's his open homosexuality that provided an example that inspired. It makes sense that this would be the portion of his identity the film would express. His being Jewish lends as much to the story as expressing his left-handedness. That said, I'll wait for Netflix to see I Am Milk, if at all.

 
At 12/29/2008 1:02 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

I just got the book for Christmas. Thank You Shoals, Big Baby, Recluse and Dr. LIC.
Also, its nice to see Shoals commenting excitedly about JR and the Nuggs.

 
At 12/29/2008 3:08 PM, Blogger brian said...

ever see the passion of joan of arc? that's a good bio-pic.

 
At 12/29/2008 5:11 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

@Bertrand: I have to take exception to the comment that Tyrus Thomas has a "bottom five brain." I'll concede that's he's an incredibly frustrating player to watch, but it is not because he's unintelligent. I think from watching interviews with him (and doing my own brief one), he seems like he's actually pretty smart. He is just inexperienced and stubborn when it comes to basketball. This is a guy who didn't make his high school team until he was a junior and then redshirted his freshman year of college.

I think his intelligence might actually be kind of an impediment, because he overthinks things or refuses to do certain things that don't make sense to him. He could benefit a lot from an established coach who earns his respect. You know, someone like Vinny del Negro!

 
At 12/29/2008 6:12 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

The real question: was Harvey Milk lactose intolerant?

NBA TV denied us Wade-LeBron yesterday but Paul-Granger turned out to be a good substitute.

 
At 12/29/2008 6:15 PM, Blogger Bertrand DeNovo said...

I love Tyrus, and I don't think he is dumb in general. But I've seen sooo many games where he gets this confused puppy look on his face, and does something inexplicable.

It's frustrating because he's excellent at catching alley-oops, blocking shots and grabbing boards, and his jumpshot is actually falling much more consistently this year. However, he still likes to drive the lane with his head down, do an unnecessary spin move, and dribble the ball off his foot or throw up an awkward hook shot that fails to find the rim. He is also 136th out of 157 in assist to turnover ratio among forwards, and only 2 forwards who have worse ratios have played as many minutes as him.

I just hopes he sees that the good lord did not put him on this Earth for dribble drives and spastic head fakes. He's still very young, and I do see him slowly improving. I hope we can hold onto him for a few more years and he grows into the all-star he can be.

Also, if I ever had the chance to interview him like you, I would not have the nerve to bring any of this stuff up. It's safe to say I probably have bottom five balls.

 
At 12/30/2008 9:29 AM, Blogger W2 said...

Lots of nice action in the association last night...hawks-nuggets, pistons-magic, even wiz-rockets.

I am curious about something. It seems like the Celts, Cavs, and Lakes are the current front runners. This may be an assumption, but a fair one at this point.

What team has the best shot to make the finals outside this group....I lean toward SA because they take care of the ball so well, but I see them losing steam in a long series. I am scared of the Hawks.

Thoughts?

 
At 12/30/2008 5:04 PM, Blogger StreakShooter McFloorburn said...

W2...

Orlando should be counted as a legit contender as long as Jameer Nelson keeps playing with the chip he's got now. (If he starts getting love on ESPN, forget it.) If the Spurs could win with Avery at the point... but I guess I'm asking Dwight to be Duncan and Robinson combined with that comparison. Can I get away with saying Lewis and Turkoglu are like two smaller, more athletic Nowitzkis? Their bench is better than Atlanta's, and the starting fives are pretty close. Atlanta needs a guy who can play 2-4 off the bench (Anthony Randolph maybe?) and/or a decent backup point, before you should really be scared of them. No one, especially not your Celtics, will be looking past the Hawks, and no team ever beat a legit contender with 6 1/2 players (I say Pachulia & Murray are worth 3/4 each), the 06-07 Warriors were 9 deep and the 93-94 Nuggets 8 deep. This Hawks team just might be the best 6 1/2 player team of all time though... As for SA, I think Timmy will be worn out come playoff time, and Ginobili being in full rhythm by then won't be enough to offset that.

 
At 12/30/2008 5:08 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Yeah, Tyrus is tough to watch sometimes. I guess my point was just that I think with him, it's more about stubbornness than being stupid. It's like he knows he's not supposed to do what he does, but he resents having limitations placed on him. That's why a good coach whom he actually respects could help him immensely. I hope he eventually figures out it on his own eventually....but I don't know....

 
At 12/31/2008 11:45 AM, Blogger Z said...

I don't know if other people have been keeping track of the accuracy of "WYWS: TFDEGP," but I wanted to point this out:

"Dec 30 Boston@Portland: The most definitive proof yet that Portland is for real."

 
At 12/31/2008 12:30 PM, Blogger W2 said...

Gutty win by Blazers sans Roy.

Boston's bench is frustrating. I have to expect an upgrade at the point or the pivot coming soon.


Thanks for the resonse SSMF. Orlando is nice. Do the pistons have there number? I think matchups, both east and west will have a lot to do with how things play out this year.

 
At 4/13/2009 1:40 AM, Blogger 平平 said...

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