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Sunday, June 24, 2018

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (let’s call it July 2018)

With so much time spent fostering garbage takes on food, perhaps many of you missed Tom Breihan’s “A History of Violence” series, which kicked off in 2016 with a celebration of Bullitt:

When you talk about the history of action movies, you sort of have to define what an action movie is first. As with any movie genre, lines blur, and movies can be multiple things at once. Action—fights, chases, bodies forced into extreme circumstances—has been a part of narrative cinema since narrative cinema became a thing. If you wanted to be ultra-pedantic, you could say that the 1903 silent film The Great Train Robbery was the first action movie, though it would take a whole lot of work to draw a historical line between that and John Wick.

For the purposes of this column, action movies didn’t arrive in their modern and fully-formed state until the late ’60s. There were other genres of movies that supplied the kinds of thrills that action movies would later provide: Westerns, war movies, crime thrillers. (All those genres will appear, in hybridized forms, in this column later on. We’re also going to stay away from things like superhero movies, sci-fi, fantasy, and Oscar bait, except in the rare instances when those genres cross over fully with the action genre.) And there were movies that could be considered proto-action movies: John Sturges’ 1955 Bad Day At Black Rock, Hitchcock’s 1959 North By Northwest, all the early movies in the Bond series.

I should also add that the whole goal of this column is to pick the most important action movie of every year, not necessarily the best or most beloved. (Most of the time, though, it probably will be the best or most beloved action movie of its year, partly because bullshit usually doesn’t leave that deep of an impact and partly because I have no desire to rewatch a bunch of bullshit.)

 


Monday, June 11, 2018

OTP 2018 June 11: Sports, politics conflicted 50 years ago with mourning of RFK’s death

If you think the intersection – and conflict – of sports and politics is something new, well, you haven’t been paying close enough attention to either for a very long time.

Don’t think so? Check out President Trump’s pardon of the controversial African-American heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who held the title more than 100 years ago. His reign was consumed by the politics of the day. So it is no surprise that the debate over NFL players and the national anthem remains a divisive topic.

Anything that is going to have the powerful symbolism of sports —and the ability to unite, as we have seen right here in Washington during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup playoffs run — is also going to generate enough passion to divide as well, in death as well as life.

That was the case 50 years ago, as Major League Baseball tried to cope with the proper way to mourn the death of New York Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968.

 


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

OT - 2018 NBA Summer Potpourri (finals, draft, free agency, Colangelo dragging)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom can be bothered to curate their own thread to avoid detracting from what this site is really about:  complaints about mayonnaise.


EDIT: image is shrunken. Mouse over to show full size. -vi

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: May 30, 2018 at 12:56 AM | 3473 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

Monday, April 23, 2018

OTP 2018 Apr 23: The Dominant-Sport Theory of American Politics

All true, and I have joined in the tut-tutting. Yet I can’t help noticing that the people making these criticisms are mostly a bunch of white guys born in the 1960s. I came along near the start of that decade, so I’ve seen a few cultural shifts in my day, and the first one came via early-1970s headlines proclaiming “Baseball No Longer the National Pastime,” after polls showed that football had become America’s most popular sport. Pundits lamented football’s rise (“violence punctuated by committee meetings,” in George Will’s memorable phrase, though he was certainly no stranger to the press box at Redskins games), and indeed, the change coincided with a trend toward greater complication, bureaucratization, and crudity in American life. After brushing off the 1980s soccer scare, football remained unchallenged for decades.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 23, 2018 at 08:10 AM | 1350 comment(s)
  Beats: nba, nfl, off-topic, politics, soccer

Saturday, April 21, 2018

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (April - June 2018)

The following is previously unseen rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution from the summer of 1984.

It was in this very room at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota that Prince created and committed to tape one of his most beloved and iconic compositions, which six years later would become a worldwide hit for Sinead O’Connor.

Prince’s original studio version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ is presented here for the first time.

Trial to see if there’s sufficient support to make this a thing.


Monday, March 26, 2018

OTP 2018 March 26: He struck out at baseball, but made it big in politics. Now he’s returned to his first love

In 1937, a group of standouts from the Negro baseball league, as it was known, was lured to the Dominican Republic for a barnstorming tournament against the country’s home-grown talent. Soon enough, the sun-and-fun adventure became a life-and-death proposition; the competition, it turned out, was for the benefit of the homicidal dictator Rafael Trujillo. The instruction given the visiting all-stars was simple: “You better win.”


While baseball is at the heart of the book, “The Pitcher and the Dictator” — the pitcher being the legendary Satchel Paige — the story is about much more, including gunboat diplomacy, the blood-drenched history of the Dominican Republic and, not least, the prevalence of racism and repression in mid-20th century America.


“One of the great ironies,” Smith said in an interview, is the visiting black players were “coming from the land of the free, home of the brave, and they’re going into one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. Yet in some sense they have more freedom in that repressive dictatorship than they do in the United States.”


Monday, February 26, 2018

OTP 26 February 2018: Hope springs eternal in baseball and politics

This is a special time for baseball fans. Major league baseball is ready to begin another season, with spring training officially opening this week. With some exceptions, fans in most cities can at least dream of watching their team play in the postseason and maybe even compete for the World Series championship. For them, hope springs eternal.

Ditto for the Democratic Party. 2018 appears to be a “wave year,” with an opportunity to win control of the House of Representatives, maybe even the Senate, and then use those majorities to place a major constitutional check on a president almost all Democrats loathe. Once that victory is secured, Democrats dream of finding the perfect candidate to win back the presidency in 2020. Just who that might be is not clear yet, but Democrats are hopeful that it is only a matter of time before the next Messiah arrives to lead them to the promised land. Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy in baseball or politics.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: February 26, 2018 at 07:48 AM | 1688 comment(s)
  Beats: off-topic, politics, spring training

Monday, February 19, 2018

OTP 19 February 2018: Does Buster Posey Have a Post-playing Career in Politics?

Buster Posey is one of the most accomplished catchers in baseball history. At 30 years old, he already has a Hall of Fame resume.

In eight full seasons with the Giants, Posey has won National League Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, four Silver Slugger awards, a Gold Glove, and is a five-time All-Star. While he still has plenty of years left, Posey has naturally thought a bit about what he would like to do once his playing days are done.

But, politics? Well, kind of.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: February 19, 2018 at 08:04 AM | 2205 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, giants, off-topic, politics

Saturday, February 17, 2018

OT - 2017-18 NBA thread (All-Star Weekend to End of Time edition)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom can be bothered to curate their own thread to avoid detracting from what this site is really about:  eliminationist rhetoric and precognition.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: February 17, 2018 at 02:09 AM | 6535 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

 

 

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