Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Media whores and faux indignation

Seriously? How many of the "reporters" and I use that term very loosely, are truly outraged? None. They are nothing more than attention whores who are using one ugly incident to raise their profile. Using a victim to make themselves sound like "heroes." Instead they are all garbage. Every single one of the media whores posting endlessly about what "must" be done and who all "must" pay.

Every single one of those faux reporters that writes their "outrage" over this incident are the worst kind of hypocrite imaginable.

They are not outraged at all. In fact, none of them care. They are nothing better than TMZ and TMZ is nothing more than The National Enquirer on television. It is nothing more than an attempt to suck people into a world of lurid nothingness and it is as despicable as what happened to Janay Rice.

And, let me make this clear, what happened was despicable. But ask yourself why TMZ went public with the video before going to the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens? How many of you would have gone to their website? Watched their programs? None. You see, these media whores played it all along; they were never concerned for making sure that the right thing, whatever that may have been, was done. They were interested in raising their profile.

With the specter of this release, they can come out and look like heroes for their objection to anyone and everyone who has been associated with Ray Rice from the moment that he punched and knocked out his fiance. You see, every one of those despicable, disgusting media whores that felt the need to right about their "indignation" were victimizing Janay again.

Should she still be with Ray Rice? Who the hell am I or ANY one of those media scum whores to make that decision? We cannot make that decision, nor should we.

It is time we stop letting the media dictate our reactions to what is considered socially acceptable and what is not. Did we really need a video of Janay Rice getting knocked out to know what happened? No. But every single one of those media whores pounced on the video like a vulture on a rotting carcass.

Not a single damn one of you cares about Janay Rice. Not a single damn one of you will ever send a penny to abused women's charities; not a single damn one of you will even consider her name after the media circus passes.

Ray Rice made a massive mistake and he will definitely pay for his actions. The difference between him and the media whores? He recognizes his mistake and has apologized to everyone for his actions. But the media whores? They'll just move on to the next story like the ghypocritical whores they are.

Manufacturing consent indeed.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scott's Flock Talk: NFL-Not For Long

In the beginning of the Chip Kelly NFL experiment there were doubters galore. In fact, everyone involved in the food chain that is the NFL was doubtful that Kelly would succeed. They felt it was simply not going to work in the NFL.

To some extent, the doubters were spot on. What Chip Kelly ran at Oregon and New Hampshire before that would not work in the NFL. What they failed to see was that Chip Kelly did not run the spread option at Oretgon because he was trying to force square pegs into round holes. He ran it because it would work. He understood what it meant to be successful.

He studied football almost exclusively. There were no wives; no girlfriends and no children. In short, there were no encumbrances which would conflate him to one genre or another. He was a football junkie and he would use his mad scientist skills to change what he did and adapt to the NFL.

The naysayers simply forgot to look toward New England and even Buffalo and the Cincinnati Bengals in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The hurry up offense as an entire game plan is not new. The Patriots, under Belichik and Brady had perfected it in a different way-but it was possible.

Kelly took the NFL by storm destroying the old adage that ball control equals winning. Time of possession was not relevant to Kelly or the Eagles as it had not been to Kelly while at Oregon.
But there is another truth about the NFL; what the acronym stands for. First, it officially stands for “National Football League.” But there are a couple of other ironically accurate meanings. The “No Fun league” for their propensity to take the joy away from the athletes and turn them into corporate robots  going through the motions. The other acronym “not for long” typically refers to the life span of a playing career in the league. It also, though, refers to coaching life span. Not for long.

If you win, you stay. If you cannot win, someone else will be the next ‘big thing’ and take your place.
That’s what concerns me about Kelly’s decision to bring in Kenjon Barner recently. Kelly has been nothing if not loyal to his former players. Many times he brings in players he knows are destined for the practice squad or cut line to help practices be as efficient as possible. And that is fine. It is a necessary evil and players like Will Murphy probably know what is going to happen.

But there is a difference between that player and the borderline NFL player who may or may not make their prior team. It was a stretch to take Huff in the draft and many of his moves have been a stretch. As long as he wins, no one will blink twice. But if he starts losing, his affinity for stockpiling former Ducks could come back to haunt both he and the Oregon program.

The adage pertaining to Oregon by opposing coaches in recruiting is that the Ducks players could not get to the next level and succeed. If Kelly cannot help them succeed in Philadelphia, you can be sure that it will once again be used against Oregon in recruiting. And if Kelly starts losing more than he wins; does not progress past that barely above .500 record of a season ago, the NFL will mean not for long.

Kelly is taking a big gamble by hitching his NFL wagon to so many former Ducks, and if the wheel falls off too soon, it could also derail the future hopes of the program he took to another level. And that would not be a good thing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Flock Talk: Reclaiming Dignity

Coming out of the closet.

This is a trend in athletics that has caught many off guard, some not so much. One thing is for sure, though, that the announcements of high profile players that they are gay has stirred plenty of debate and commentary across the board. Some are for the announcements, some against.

The more troubling trend, though, are the naysayers who claim, vociferously, to not care either way. I know. I was one of those people. As a former college football player, I didn’t care whether any of the linemen that protected my quarterback were white, pink, purple, black, straight or gay.

Then, as I was driving home Thursday night, I asked myself about my own motives in those protestations. I wondered aloud if the issue is not the sexuality itself, but how we on the receiving end of the message perceive its intent.

Yes, these are football (and basketball) players and all that should matter is their performance on the field. But then a strange question popped into my head, and the answer I gave myself showed me why my initial thoughts were simply wrong. I did not get it, and neither do most.

When Brent Musberger became fascinated, almost creepily, with A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend at the time, we were not offended by her picture. In fact, most ‘red-blooded’ American men secretly agreed with Musburger; she was very beautiful. The football fans, that inner Neanderthal inside us all would have also called her “hot.” It’s what most men watching thought.

In other articles inside Sports Illustrated and other sports journals, many times a question is asked about the players celebrity crush. No one winces at the answers. No one says “I don’t care” — they do care and they read and determine what kind of “taste” the player has in women. What if a player said “Well, I think Justin Timberlake is hot, he’s my celebrity crush?”

Honestly, you know what would happen. False protestations voiced everywhere we can imagine that ‘we don’t care about that stuff.’ Well, we do.

Further compounding the issue surrounding sexuality in football especially is the level of machismo that is a part of the football culture. It is thicker than Alabama mud. When Jonathan Martin exposed the harassment that had been directed at him, some were appalled, but a majority of people secretly, some more publicly, ridiculed Martin for not being “tough” he was not being a “man.” He was called a “sissy” by plenty of people. As children growing up, anyone who was not able to throw well was said to ‘throw like a girl’ and was also called a sissy. Being ‘feminine’ had no place on the football field.

I would like to say that the people talking about Martin in such mannerisms were the minority, or the uneducated, or just simpleton fans. Unfortunately, this attitude extended not only to his own team mates but his own coaches, his own management in the Dolphins front office. Think about those terms for a minute and let them sink in. His “manhood” was questioned. Even worse, commentators versed in sports programming were mimicking these thoughts. They perpetuated the stereotypes. Some of the same commentators who now applaud these announcements ridiculed Martin’s ‘manhood’ last year.

So much of football is wrapped in a misogynistic stereotype of masculinity that it becomes difficult to unravel what is necessary to compete on the field and what is left over from a different time.

You say you don’t care. Then why were so many people disgusted when Michael Sam kissed his significant other after being drafted? Did anyone respond with that kind of vile and vulgar disgust when McCarron kissed Katherine Webb? Would anyone be upset if Marcus Mariota named Mila Kunis as his celebrity crush if asked? Would anyone say ‘we don’t care’ about that?

When the Eagles’ Riley Cooper dropped a specific derogatory racial epithet last summer, he was roundly criticized as he should have been — his actions and words were despicable. Had he used that language on a consistent basis during practice, in the manner which he used it (derogatorily), there would have been hell to pay in the locker room.

Now think about a different word. “Faggot.” It is a constant in many places, especially in the locker room. If you are gay, this word is just as demeaning, just as derogatory as any racial epithet. A constant reminder that you, as a gay man in that locker room, are not worthy.

Sam, Jason Collins and now Chip Sarafin are speaking out, not because they want you to care about their sexuality, but because they want you to no longer care about sexuality at all. No longer should they have to hide in corners keeping their lives a secret, afraid of what people will think.

The culture inside locker rooms has been far too offensive for far too long. These announcements are not about sexuality; they are about a changing world, a changing demographic. The sports world has stuck to the past with the concept of tradition for many years. Change of any type in sports is fought tooth and nail by traditionalists. But football and sports are changing.

I once thought that I did not care about the sexuality of players. I was wrong. I applaud these men for their courage. They are tired of the negativity. For football players who happen to be gay, it’s not about sexuality, it is about dignity. They have reclaimed their own dignity and now have opened up the world for everyone to reclaim theirs.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thoughts on the complexity of the endings

So, I have this thought about the final chapters, I know it is going to be very heavy in dialogue, but the responses will not be typical short answers in dialogues... each of the two characters will respond with lengthy diatribes on their belief... in one exchange, they will have met at around sunrise on morning and will talk throughout the day...

that much I already knew. I know where the final sequence occurs (not revealing it here, though!) and I have the concept for this person opposite the protagonist (Brian), but I have still yet to decide the exact nature of their relationship...

So this idea hits me, he is going to ask her if they are on a date, if they have been dating the entire time... and her response will be along the lines of this:

Does it matter? I mean, all of our lives, we have tried to compartmentalize our relationships with people. I feel like that has made my relationships less than full. I put each person in a box and say 'this is you, you fit here' and that traps them.

What if my brother could have been my best friend? But instead of turning to him based on some pre-defined relation, I turned elsewhere.

What if I label this a date? Will that change the tone of our discussion? Will you look at me differently? Of course it will, and of course you will, because now you will see me in a small box; trapped inside the corners of your own minds definition of what 'date' means.

I want to explore the world without relationship definitons. The old way clearly did not work for me and I don't think it worked well for you either. You trapped everyone into a box inside your mind and you wouldn't let them escape that pre-defined role you had imagined them filling.

What if your conception of that relationship is wrong? And who tells you it is wrong. By shoving people into a corner like that you not only imprison them, you imprison yourself. There is no growth in your understanding of yourself or others.

On the other hand, if you open up, stop categorizing people by some pre-defined ideal set by a society we both agree is broken, if you do this, and you begin to explore the world without all those little boxes constraining your mind and your spirit, maybe, just maybe, your relationship with the  world will grow in a way you could not have imagined. Maybe all that loneliness you have felt for so long will escape when you open the boxes.

Are we on a date? Well, that depends on how you classify date. Stop letting a a definition decide your actions. Act as your will dictates not as your mind. Free yourself from life as a 'jack-in-the-box' and learn to run free. Stop. Be."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Directions and inspirations...

another mini-inspiration adds 500+ more words. Just a brief interaction that I knew was coming, just was not sure when it would happen...

To clue you in, conflict cannot all be resolved in just a few chapters... and there cannot be too simple of a "ep
iphany" so, there has to be a girl come along that seems right, but is not...

There will be more journeys... the protagonist already took one small excursion, I am planning at least two MAJOR excursions and a move to a new city...

The tortured soul

The tortured soul. Throughout recorded history, there have been tortured souls.

The strange part is that it is the tortured soul that has made the world a better place, only to take away their gift all too soon. Art, that very act which took an uncivilized people and created a vast and deep culture, is the province of tortured souls. From the very first symbol drawn on a wall, the artist has been a part of every major development.

That first symbol; the first hand gesture; was the beginning of communication. Without their angst and need to create a form of communication, later forms of art would not be possible. All art has evolved from those first pictures; those first grunts.

There would be no Mozart without the first words and no Shakespeare without the first written word. There would be no Monet, no Picasso without those first pictures. Throughout it all, it seems, art has been permeated by tortured souls.

Maybe it is the very nature of the muse which inspires the artist. Each artist has a unique muse; one that gives a message either visually or verbally. It is often just a hodge-podge of stimuli which is processed uniquely by the artist. Oftentimes that creation is something so entirely unique that no one else is capable of interpreting the initial inspiration in such a beautiful or haunting manner.

Whether it be from the epic poems of ancient Greece, the beautiful music of Mozart. Even in modern times, music, art and acting have provided a vast number of tortured souls.

Some are capable of overcoming the dark side of the muse and find a way to triumph. In reality, all souls have a form of their own torture. The duality of existence creates a form of tortured soul in us all. We are all conscious of our existence and we are also very conscious of the fragility of that existence. Most of us simply go through each day without ever really digging into the depths of our duality.

We simply exist.

The artist, though, takes that digging and creates something that brings joy to many. If they cannot bring themselves joy, they take great delight in bringing that joy to others. It is a tenuous existence at best. From the Greek sculptors, Bupalos and Athenis, who were rumored to have been driven to suicide by unflattering commentary from one of their subjects, through contemporary artists like Kurt Cobain, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and now Robin Williams, the list of artists who committed suicide is too long to detail. Suffice it to say, though, that the list is inclusive of all forms of art.

What is it that makes the artist unique? They use their pain to bring joy to others. By exposing their pains to the world, though, they are in a constant state of edge. Living life always on the edge can be a dangerous choice. Add in the somewhat strange need to medicate their pain while not performing through other addictive behavior and the tortured soul is perilously close to the edge of oblivion on  a regular basis.

We will never be able to understnad the tortured soul. After we lose an artist of immense talent, many, many people will talk about what we can learn. The truth is, we realty cannot truly learn what it is like to be that tortured soul. It is a loneliness that only he or she will ever understand. Their torture is unique to them. There is nothing from Kurt Cobain’s tortured mind that will translate to Robin Williams. Though they may have had the same ultimate end to their torture, the arrival at such a place bears no resemblance to one another.

They were each tortured souls.

What we are left with are memories. Memories of music, laughter, beautiful pictures and beautiful words. We must only embrace the beauty they left because they are like shooting stars. Their time here is short; how short only they can ever tell, but short nonetheless. Take their words, their music, their life and enjoy their beautiful souls while you can. Even if they were not tortured souls, their time is still short.

Their tortured soul, though, has made the world a better place. Duality creates so many questions with so few answers. Why is it that the tortured soul brings so much joy to the world around them, yet cannot find joy themselves? That is a question that cannot be answered in this life.

Enjoy what they gave us. Hope they find the peace in the after-life they could not find on Earth. But know this, the artist give their tortured souls so the world might be a better place, even if only for the briefest of moments.

Thank those tortured souls. Enjoy their gifts. There is not much that lasts forever. Not even the tortured soul. But their gifts will always be.
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