Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

Author’s note: The views below are mine alone and do not represent the views of others in the Jenkins family. 

First things first.  I don’t hit girls.  Never have, and have no plans to.

That said, I find myself holding out a proverbial helping hand to Ray Rice today — and that’s after watching the now-infamous video of him knocking out his then-fiancee (now wife) in an Atlantic City elevator.

The now former Baltimore Raven’s left hook to Janay Palmer’s face was tough to watch — every bit as tough as watching Beyonce’s sister open up a can of whoop-ass on Jay-Z.  If Mr. Rice were my son I would be extremely disappointed in him.  Like everyone in the world save Mr. and Mrs. Rice, I have no idea what preceded the punch or what, if anything, then-Ms. Palmer said or did to get her NFL boyfriend so furious.  I’m guessing something happened: the video shows her getting in his face and they appear to be spitting on each other.  Whatever (if anything) it was, I would have hoped my son would have had more self control.

But what I find just as unseemly is the race to pile on and punish Mr. Rice in the wake of TMZ Sports’s release of the aforementioned video yesterday.

The Ravens released their long-time running back almost immediately.  The video “changed things,” his now-former coach told us.  Why?  Ravens management saw the video of Mr. Rice dragging his unconscious now-wife out of an elevator months ago.  Did they think he knocked her out with Starbucks breath?   New Jersey’s criminal complaint stated that Rice struck his fiancee “with his hand, rendering her unconscious” — exactly what the video showed.  Me thinks Ravens management concluded their once-beloved star would be forever doomed to bad guy status once this video went viral and, seeing little upside to standing behind their once-dominant-but-now-past-his-prime running back, they booted him — and his considerable contract — out of town.  Politics over principle — shame on them.

Not the monster he's being made out to be.

A victim-maker in February, Ray Rice now finds himself a victim of another sort.

I wonder if the Ravens would have severed ties with Mr. Rice in 2012, when he was coming off a career year that saw him gain over 2,000 yards from scrimmage.  They didn’t come down as hard (or at all) on Terrell Suggs in 2011 when a court issued a protective order against their star linebacker based on a series of very detailed allegations that portrayed him as an unspeakable monster.   (More.) Mr. Suggs was at the peak of his career then.

The NFL’s indefinite suspension of Mr. Rice is another matter.  The league took a PR beating for its initial two-game suspension of Mr. Rice — way too lenient, the masses screamed.  Sensing public opinion was against him, the ever image-conscious Roger Goodell later concluded that he hadn’t punished the theretofore model citizen harshly enough and announced the NFL’s new domestic abuse policy — six week ban for a first offense, lifetime ban thereafter.  NFL mucky mucks, who Goodell insists didn’t see the inside-the-elevator tape until a few days ago, upped the penalty from two games to “indefinite” once the video went viral. But this was the once-model citizen’s first offense, and indefinite is not six weeks.   What gives?

Then there’s everyone else.  I’ve followed this story fairly closely for the past forty-eight hours and know of only two people — Mrs. Rice and conservative African-American commentator Dr. Ben Carlson — who have suggested that everyone should put down their pitch forks.  No one’s even curious about background or context.  Nothing, the self righteous scream with indignation, could justify Mr. Rice’s left hook, and anyone who even considers as much should lose their job. I wonder. Suppose I called an African-American the n-word and the object of my derision became so enraged that he killed me.  Think a sizable minority in the typing class would opine that my killer should be excused, or at least be entitled to a lesser conviction than murder?   I do.   Just last week a good (and very bright) friend of mine insisted to me that a white police officer’s killing of a black man justified citywide looting in Ferguson, Missouri — looting against business owners, I might add, who’s only “crime” was owning a business in Ferguson.  Now I don’t know what Ms. Palmer did or said (if anything) to her fiancee that got him so enraged; perhaps she went Solange on him where the cameras weren’t rolling.  I don’t know, but I’d like to.  That no one else seems to care a wit is what bothers me most.  Everyone else seems angry; better get angry, too.

Which brings me back to Mr. Rice and why I find myself hoping he emerges from this very dark spell.   Like him, I’ve had a few moments I wish I could have back (mine, and perhaps his, alcohol-fueled).  And like him, I’ve been on the underside of a the-facts-don’t-matter avalanche; in my case the avalanche was my own state’s government.  That experience landed me in jail three times, twice as an alleged fugitive from a state I’d never set foot in, and cost me a bundle.  It took almost two years for judges to take a deep breath and consider the facts, but ultimately their exonerating opinion didn’t matter because their superiors re-wrote the law to put my then-company out of business.  It’s a lonely feeling when you get steamrolled by The Machine, especially when you’ve otherwise led an exemplary life, as I like to think I have and a good many people say Mr. Rice has.  (E.g., 1I2.)

He hit a girl no doubt.   But Ray Rice didn’t deserve to lose his job and his career because he had the misfortune of screwing up on video.  The NFL is chock full of monsters.  Mr. Rice isn’t one of them.

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Like most people who spend at least a few hours a day banging a keyboard in front of a vision-sapping monitor, Facebook is part of my daily routine. I admit — I look at it several times a day — if for no other reason than that the content on my friend-driven news feed is far more interesting than what’s elsewhere on the internet. So it was with tremendous disgust today I made the mistake of clicking through a post left on my Wall to something called “Par Mates.” From what I can tell, it was a photo shoot Golf Digest did in Las Vegas to promote golf in Sin City. One of the photos was of some teenage- or early twenties bimbo draped all over a statue of Old Tom Morris:

I have to say it’s probably the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen on Facebook and certainly the worst content I’ve ever seen on Golf Digest. I could go on and on here about why I’m so offended, but I actually have more important things to work on today.

Suffice it to say, if I still subscribed to GD I’d cancel my subscription. For now I’ll wonder aloud: is nothing sacred?

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It’s no big secret to the two of you who read this blog. Back before Tiger was Cheetah, I compiled a rather sizable collection of Nike Tiger Woods’ gear — check out the pic on this entry. It’s also no secret than I’m no longer a Tiger fan. In fact, these days the only thing that bothers me more than watching El Tigre hurl profanities on national TV is that gawd-awful Adidas stuff that Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and the rest of the Adidas posse wears.

Perforating the shirt collar may or may not help Tiger hit more fairways. It will certainly make me not buy these shirts.

According to the good folks at the Khaki Crusader, the folks at The Three Stripes are moving away from that their steady diet of techno trash with Mr. Day, aka the Guy with the Hottest Wife on Tour. That’s good — I may even buy an Adidas shirt next year. Nike, however, is going the other way. Woody Hochswender reported on Golf.com a few days ago that the Swooshers are going uber, uh, “performance” with their $8 million man. (More.) According to a Nike spokesperson, Tiger has been “repositioned.” The idea, I guess, is to make the new Tiger gear as light-weight as possible, thereby, in theory, enhancing the wearer’s performance. The new shirts reportedly weigh 2.9 ounces as compared to the five-plus ounces of a regular golf shirt.

To which I say “you gotta be kidding.”

I’m all for evolution in golf apparel — and everything else, for that matter. Except maybe music. But this new stuff is just plain silly. Is Tiger really going to hit more fairways and get the putts to start dropping again because he has holes in his collars? (And from the looks of the pic, those holes, which appear to go down the back of the shirt, ain’t small.) More importantly, are Nike’s customers going to buy this stuff? I recall Nike did an ultra-light, top-stitched performance shirt back in 2008. Trevor Immelman wore a black one on Sunday when he won The Masters. The Seattle Team wore pink ones on Sunday during Greenspan Cup 2008 (check out the third pic in this entry). I don’t think I saw anyone else on Tour or on the street wearing one. The reason I rarely wear mine — it’s so light that it doesn’t keep me warm.

To be fair to the Nikesters, I may be pre-judging here, as I’ve only seen one picture of one piece in its upcoming Tiger collection. But I doubt it. According to Hochswender, Nike officials are saying they’ve essentially merged the Tiger Platinum- and Nike Tour Performance lines. The former was just barely tolerable — the latter, worn by guys like Stewart Cink and Paul Casey, is almost as bad as the aforementioned Adidas gear. Merging two bad lines does not a good line make. I’m guessing this line’s gonna end up looking like what a robot would wear if robots played golf. Come to think of it, Tiger is often accused of being a robo-golfer when he’s not throwing clubs and dropping f-bombs. This gear ain’t gonna help.

Here’s betting big that the new Adidas stuff significantly outperforms this new Nike techno gear at the cash register in 2012. Here’s betting even bigger than Mr. Day outperforms Mr. Woods on the course, too. Because at the end of the day you have to have some idea of where the ball is going to win on the PGA Tour. Tiger just doesn’t.

Butch Harmon might be able to change that.

Holes in his collars won’t.

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I’ve long believed that how you look is every bit as important as what you think. How you dress and take care of your body tells others how you value yourself and, thus, how they should value you. As Primo Levi said, “A respectable appearance is the best guarantee of being respected.” (More.) The driving prejudice in 21st century America is based on looks, not race.

Stacy and Clinton are right — how you looks matters. Big time.

Today the folks over at TLC’s “What Not to Wear” — one of our favorite shows, by the way — posted a link on their Facebook feed to an article over at HowStuffWorks.com about the changing definitions of beauty. The piece discussed how perceptions of beauty have changed over the years and is a bit tangential for WNTW, which preaches the virtues of looking the best you can, regardless of whether that equates to objective “beauty.” It’s even slightly tangential for me: I buy into the WNTW ethos more than objective beauty per se. Nonetheless it’s worth a read, especially the first page, which makes the case that looking good actually makes a difference to the bottom line.

That’s all I have to say for now. It’s sunny outside, and I need to work on my tan.

UPDATE: I just heard a story about a movement that would afford ugly people legal protection. (More.)

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Watching the Real Housewives of wherever these days is getting to be a chore. Not because a fair number of them are morally repugnant individuals — although they are. But because so many of them, especially the real ex-wives of New York, seem to know how to push my buttons when it comes to linguistics. Watching that show is getting to be like forty-four minutes of listening to the sound of a chalkboard being scratched.

Pro athletes ...

All this, of course, got me to thinking about my biggest linguistic pet peeves. I have a few:

10. “So …” Lately I’ve noticed that many people begin any explanation with “so.” “So there are four courses at Bandon,” “So you have to get on the waiting list,” etc. Why “so” I do not know.

9. “The fact of the matter is …” And its closely-related cousin “(t)he fact is …” This is code for “I know all the facts, don’t bother disagreeing with me.” Me no likey people who argue like that.

flight attendants ...

8. “I know, RIGHT …?” This one’s come out of nowhere in the last year or so. I’m waiting for the day when the listener says “wrong.”

7. “… I’m like …” Been around since the advent of Valley Girls. If you are a valley girl it’s okay. Otherwise, nadda.

6. “I’m in (fill in city, state, country) next week …” Somewhere in corporate America the present and future tenses got combined. When I learned how to speak English, that sentence was “I’ll be in (blank) next week.”

5. “It’s very/extremely special …”
Listen for this the next time a PGA Tour professional answers a question about how it feels to, well, whatever. “How’s it feel to win in your home state? With your parents here? Etc. It’s always “special.” Someone’s gotta come up with a new pat answer.

4. “(M)yself” instead of “me.” Another one from the ranks of the professional athletes. Listen to how many of them use “myself” instead of “me” when referring to themselves, singular, in interviews. Very common among NBA and NFL players. Drives me bananas.

and the real houswives of anywhere provide a pretty steady stream of linguistic pet peeves.

3. “We’re pregnant.” Last time I checked, no man has ever been pregnant. How ’bout “my wife is pregnant — I got her that way”? Or “we’re expecting.”

2. The word “folks.” Like the aforementioned “I’m in …,” this one’s big in corporate America. Seems any collection of people, no matter how young, old, or familiar, is a “folks.” Drives me effin’ bananas.

1. “I WILL need you to return to your seat …” My all-time number one pet peeve, not just in linguistics, but period. (This new thing where males must half hug and shoulder bump when greeting one another, a la NBA players at midcourt, is running a close second.) This linguistic inefficiency, usually used in making a request, is apparently mandatory for flight attendants. Listen for it next time you fly. “I DO need you to fasten your seat belt,” etc. Drives me almost postal, I must admit.

Lest my reader think I am a complete curmudgeon, I am not. There are a few butcheries and modern-day wordplays I’m fond of. My grandpa used to say “who belongs to this?” instead of “who’s this belong to” — I kinda like that. Reese can’t quite get her “is” in the right place, as in “What tomorrow is?” and “Where Finn is?” And I gotta admit I kinda dig this “roll” thing, as in “that’s how I roll.”

Last I watched, none of the Real Housewives were rolling with any of my faves.

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Ed. note: The following my opinions only and do not reflect the opinions of Rhonda, Reese, Finn, Ollie or Sarah.

Buh bye.

Since American forces killed Osama bin Laden over the weekend, seemingly everyone I know and their brother has asked me what I think about it. Well, I don’t think about it much, but when I do these are my thoughts, in no particular order:

  • First, I’m glad he’s dead. Not dancing-in-the-streets-glad as I would have been had Hitler been killed in 1944 (and had I been alive). Hitler’s death would have meant something — in all likelihood, the end of a war. Unless it turns out that bin Laden has remained active in al Qaeda all these years we thought he’d been holed up in a cave, his death, while making the world a slightly better place, probably doesn’t mean much in our overall war against radical Muslims.
  • Reports that bin Laden “resisted” may as well say “tongue in cheek.” He was reportedly unarmed and used one of his wives as a human shield — how much resistance could he have offered? My hunch is that President Obama’s order was to kill, and that is exactly what happened. Why not be honest about it? I can only imagine the bloody murder Democrats would be crying right now had this “he resisted” story come out of the Bush Administration. Congressional “investigations” anyone?
  • All this celebrating about bin Laden’s death is a bit unseemly. Again, it would have been appropriate with Hitler but, inasmuch as it really doesn’t mean much, it is a bit much here. Feels like an excuse to party. We have another one of those coming up soon — Cinco de Mayo.
  • So far President Obama has given not a shred of credit to the Bush Administration its role in finding bin Laden. It deserves some (more) — after all, without President Bush, the special forces that killed bin Laden wouldn’t have been in Pakistan in the first place. The honorable thing to do would have been to note this was a joint effort of both administrations but mostly one of the forces on the ground. That Obama has shared no credit for Osama confirms for me what I’ve thought all along — that all his talk about “hope” and “change” nothwithstanding, President Obama is a partisan political hack. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • By far the element of the story that baffles me most was the decision to dump bin Laden’s body at sea. Bone-headed at best — and after a reported forty-minute religious ceremony, no less. Dumping OBL with the fishes all but guaranteed that he will take his place alongside Elvis among the undead in Conspiracyworld. The idea that giving him a religious burial would placate America’s haters is, at best, silly. My guess is that they’ll be plenty mad that we killed him in the first place. I cannot imagine who made that decision, but whoever it was needs a new day job.
  • Speaking of stupid arguments, this idea that OBL’s death will only create 1,000 new bin Laden’s to take his place is pure claptrap. If there are a thousand Muslims out there thinking about becoming terrorists, they’re going to do it, anyway. It is also possible, I might add, that they’ll have second thoughts about their career paths. I just don’t see a thousand young Muslims sitting in huts out there saying “Mom, I was thinking about becoming a Holy Warrior, and now that OBL is dead I’m decided to make that my life’s work.” C’mon.
  • Those are my thoughts, and I’m sticking to them.

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    Well, not really. But it looks like someone robbed his closet and dumped it in our pro shop:

    Puma has quite a presence in WSGC's pro shop.

    The very-new-school Puma is suddenly the “it” brand at the very-old-school municipal golf course. And with Kikkor’s streetwear golf shoes making up a fair share of our shoe inventory, it looks like our pros are officially directing the pro shop in a decidedly youngish direction.

    That’s great. But I don’t see the Puma stuff selling.

    No doubt Puma has scored big time with the addition of Rickie Fowler. A brand that was nothing in the golf world eighteen months ago is now a big player — largely, if not exclusively, because of Mr. Fowler. And earlier this year, I rated Puma number four in my less-than-scientific list of top ten golf apparel brands, largely on the strength of their cutting edge innovation. But a big marketing presence does not necessarily translate into big sales, especially in the wrong market. I just don’t see a lot of the decidedly beer-and-potato-chips guys who frequent West Seattle’s pro shop dropping $75 plus tax on a crazy-colored shirt. I don’t see them dropping anything to buy any of the Puma monoline hats hanging on the walls. Indeed, other than Mr. Fowler, I don’t think I’ve seen a real human being wear one of those monolines. (Their Castro is another matter. 1I2)

    I asked one of the WSGC employees if he’s be buying any of the RickieWear anytime soon. “Too old,” he said.

    I feel the same way. And I’m only 41.

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