Japan’s national team celebrates its’ victory at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Via bustasports.com
World Baseball Classic: I was one of the five people in world outraged when baseball and softball were announced in 2005 to be ousted from the Summer Olympic Games for a variety of reasons. (One being that baseball didn’t have a large enough following outside of the United States; I can’t roll my eyes enough at that.) So, when the World Baseball Classic came around I was thrilled. Though, given all the attention America pays to the WBC, I’m probably the only one.
America hasn’t fared well in the WBC in the past; the best we’ve done is finish in 4th place over the 2 tournaments that’ve been played, with Japan winning both of them. South Korea and Cuba both have 2nd-place finishes. If you’re not heading down to Phoenix to catch the USA games live, you have to have one of the many ESPN channels or MLBTV to watch the games. You won’t find them on regular cable, and certainly not on network television, and that’s honestly a shame. Continue reading →
When Michelle Obama revealed the “secret” to her workout for perfectly toned arms, it became national news. This revelation, however, did not quell the debate and fascination over the gender politics surrounding this particular body part, as CNN and Fitness magazine are two of the many outlets that use Michelle’s arms as the ideal goal of suggested workout plans. Michelle has gracefully weathered the storm of public attention about her workout regimen by turning health and fitness into one of her defining public issues, with the “Let’s Move!” campaign. But the story about Michelle’s arms is not an innocent case of celebrity flattery or fitness gossip; it is part and parcel of the American public’s obsessive concern with the public presentation of Ms. Obama’s body.
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network called for a national boycott Tuesday of action figures based on the controversial and blood-soaked slavery revenge flick Django Unchained. A 10-doll assortment of characters from the film was going for $299 on Amazon Tuesday.
“Selling this doll is highly offensive to our ancestors and the African American community,” Rev. K.W. Tulloss, NAC’s president in Los Angeles, told the Daily News. “The movie is for adults, but these are action figures that appeal to children. We don’t want other individuals to utilize them for their entertainment, to make a mockery of slavery.”
First of all, Django Unchained could’ve gone horribly wrong. However brilliant a director, Quentin Tarantino is famous amongst people of color for fetishizing African-American culture, and his liberal use of the N-word in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown still rankles folks 15 years after the fact. Tarantino injecting a Blaxploitation-style baadassss freed slave into his vision of the antebellum South could’ve been disastrous. The director’s recent comments about Roots, which he has described as “inauthentic” also raised the eyebrows of many filmgoers who were already nervous about what his slavery narrative would bring. Any crass, gratuitous depiction of Whites raping actress Kerry Washington in a popcorn movie, and “Django Unchained” would’ve been a wrap.
But that’s not what happened. Instead, the Oscar-winning Jamie Foxx plays Django as a gunslinging superhero, the fastest gun in the West.
“When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” says Tarantino. “I didn’t see it when it first came on, but when I did I couldn’t get over how oversimplified they made everything about that time. It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t.”
While many white directors might shy away from criticizing such an iconic symbol of African-American culture, Tarantino doesn’t hold back. He’s confident in his knowledge of a time and subject most people know little about and would rather forget. He was also savvy enough to bring Hudlin on board. “There were times when I’d be filming a scene and really getting into it and Reg would just say, ‘Hey is this the story you wanted to tell?’ He’d bring the focus back if I got too carried away.”
There’s been a lot of talk on all the English-language television networks since the election about the increasing power of the Latino vote—but virtually all of the TV pundits pontificating about this subject this past week have been non-Hispanic. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday morning, for example, four white males over 50 sat around and talked about the election, including the Latino vote.
And while CNN has CNN en Español, on the main network only two of the 21 anchors and hosts are Hispanic: Soledad O’Brien and Zoraida Sambolin.
Brittany Uter, a spokeswoman for MSNBC, declined to comment for this story. Christal Jones, public relations manager at CNN, tells The Daily Beast, “I will say that among our anchors, we have African-Americans, Asians, and Latinos, we have diverse hosts. As a network, we are always trying to increase our diversity among our employees both on camera as well as behind the scenes.” - From “Why Don’t We Have More Hispanic Talking Heads?”
Journalist Mona Eltahawy was arrested in New York City Tuesday for defacing one of several Islamophobic posters paid for by right-wing radio Patricia Geller. Though the arresting officer never answered her question, Eltahawy was indeed charged–she revealed on Twitter that she was booked for criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.
Geller, who helped popularize the “Ground Zero Mosque” myth, has been shown by at least one study to be part of the dog-whistle playlists that make up much of the conservative airwaves.
And if you thought photographer Patricia Hall’s attempt to block Eltahawy in the name of “free speech” was dubious, you’re not wrong: Reuters columnist Anthony De Rosa pointed out that last month, Hall posted a bizarre photo essay trailing Muslims in Times Square asking, “Is Sharia coming to America?”
You might also recall Eltahawy gaining attention earlier this year for “Why Do They Hate Us?,” her cover story for Foreign Policy magazine:
Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt–including my mother and all but one of her six sisters–have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme.
Like many people, we were struck by not only its divisiveness–its desire to undermine the life and successes of Manzano to make a political point–but your dismissive tone to anyone who doesn’t agree with you. We were also struck by your efforts to pathologize those who don’t agree with you, to seemingly mock and ridicule those who see the world differently than you (“Most Mexican-Americans I know would need a whole team of therapists to sort out their views on culture, national identity, ethnic pride and their relationship with Mother Mexico”). We were also struck by the simplicity of your discussion of history, immigration, and sports, which you seem to think is outside the realm of politics.
Ruben, you write, “This country took you in during your hour of need. Now in your moment of glory, which country deserves your respect–the one that offered nothing to your parents and forced them to leave or the one that took you all in and gave you the opportunity to live out your dreams?”
By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said
Media coverage of singer Whitney Houston’s funeral evoked a disappointment I often feel as a black woman in America. It reminded me that many elements of black culture are still viewed as exotic and, in some cases, disdained as such.
Houston’s funeral, but for being broadcast live and attended by celebrities, seemed unremarkable in the context of other black Baptist memorials I have witnessed. There was rousing gospel; truth-telling; passion; equal doses of laughing and crying, clapping and shouting; references to Jesus; moving sermons; a few long-winded eulogizers; some preening preachers on “thrones” in the pulpit; a sense of sorrow, but a greater sense of joy–celebration of life and of a soul “going home” and being released from earthly sorrows. This is not to say that all African Americans grieve the same way or grieve in a Baptist Christian way, but for most black viewers Houston’s service was not completely alien.