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Thursday, April 25, 2002

den Worste?
Steven Den Beste made some rather inflammatory remarks the other day about Hockey, to which he's received a tremendous amount of flak.
And I'm even sorrier that some Americans decided to moon Canada at a hockey game. All I can say is that in the spectrum of fans of various sports, hockey fans rank down about one step above pro wrestling. There are probably thoughtful, educated hockey fans, but there aren't damned many.
It turns out that the incident he was referring to occurred during a Pistons and Knicks basketball game, not hockey. Steven then goes on to criticize the sport a bit, more specifically the fighting that goes on. As a hockey fan who read this, I was slightly irked, but I recognized it as the comments of someone who simply wasn't a fan of the sport. Normally, I would think that most people would have a similar reaction. So why all the hate mail? I don't think it has anything to do with hockey fans being "the worst we have to offer" - I would wager a guess that a good number of complaints he has received have come from intelligent, thoughtful hockey fans (as the above links show).

No, what is at work here is some people's inferiority complex. Steven Den Beste is a know-it-all, and not in a derogatory sense. He is very intelligent, and usually, when he comments on something, he is quite compelling, if not correct. So when he finally made a mistake, everyone seized the opportunity to prove him wrong. Take this as a compliment captain; you wouldn't be receiving this much criticism about your hockey comments if you weren't so right about everything else. Oh, and next time, you might not want to comfort a country by insulting its most beloved sport (sorry, I couldn't resist; it seems that I have an inferiority complex as well).

update 2:10 p.m. - Good Grief? Just to clarify a bit. Steven did make disparaging remarks about a group of people, and, naturally, that group of people feels slighted. The angle I was going for, though, was that some of these people saw this as a chink in the armor and capitalized on it ("I've finally discovered a topic that he is completely wrong in his opinion and apparently knows near to nothing about"). I actually thought this angle was funny, so I made this post.

update 10:30 p.m. - I've been Den Bested!

Speaking of hockey, my Flyers aren't doing so well. They've been shut out for three straight games and they haven't scored in regulation for even longer. They looked like they were playing pretty good last night until they self-destructed in the second period with bad penalties and some defensive breakdowns. The Flyers arr 0-11 when they fall behind three games to one. Things are not looking good...
Posted by Mark on April 25, 2002 at 09:00 AM .: link :.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Clowns are Scary
Blanky the Clown by riverrun : An E2 peice by the ever brilliant riverrun in which he admits more than a passing discomfort for clowns. In fact, they scare the shit out of him. Given his tale of Blanky, the resident clown in his home town, you could hardly blame him. Though I'll admit a passing discomfort for clowns (and, in fact, the entire carnival setting kinda creeps me out), I've had the fortune of never really crossing paths with them. Anyway, riverrun gives a very brief history of clowns, which have been around for quite some time, followed by the somewhat disturbing tale of Blanky.
Posted by Mark on April 14, 2002 at 10:39 PM .: link :.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Making Chop-Socky Important
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Art Film Hidden Inside the Chop-Socky Flick by Mattew Levie : Everyone was willing to heap praise on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when it came out, but few actually examined the importance of the film. Most people rightly praised the stunning visuals or the expertly choreographed fight sequences, but there was no discussion of what made CTHD an important film. This despite being directed by Ang Lee, a man known for his slowly paced character studies. They've been making martial arts films in Hong Kong for quite some time, and as far as that goes, CTHD is pretty much average. But there is something that sets it apart from its mindless action counterparts. Levie contends that CTHD is a commentary on the plight of the modern woman.
Imagine Jade Fox as the strong professional woman who is perceived as too "aggressive" and even "bitchy," while her equally aggressive male colleagues are spared this criticism; Shu Lien as the woman who works twice as hard as her male colleagues to reach the same stature, sacrificing her personal happiness for professional success; and Jen as a beautiful, capable teenager trying to set her priorities: career or family?
Its an interesting viewpoint, and it fits with the movie. The women in CTHD are desperately trying to succeed in a world that doesn't overtly oppress them, but is still full of sexual prejudices and challenges. Its watching how the women in CTHD reconcile with this world that gives it an advantage over its competition.

The article is from Bright Lights Film Journal, which has always been a good read for movie fans with more diverse interests. They just released a new issue, with good articles on the distribution of Black Films, The Tarantino Legacy, and the failure of Wag the Dog.
Posted by Mark on April 10, 2002 at 08:37 PM .: link :.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Tales of Woe
The Complete Newgate Calendar : An 18th/19th century English compendium of true-crime stories. The New Gate of the City of London was built during the reign of Henry I, and was used as a prison from at least 1188. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times, but always acted as a prison. It was finally destroyed in 1902, part of the site becoming occupied by the Central Criminal Court. The Newgate Calendar was originally published in five volumes in 1760 and narrated notorious crimes from 1700 till then. There were many later editions. Some of the stories are fascinating. Read about timeless con games, greedy counterfeiters, ghost stories, reprieved executions (this one is particularly interesting; the criminal actually hung nearly fifteen minutes before being cut down) and much, much more.
Posted by Mark on April 04, 2002 at 02:41 PM .: link :.

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