Category Archives: Art

In classic “fish or cut bait” scenario, “cut bait” wins

Let’s take a break (or at least a dislocation) from discussing the horrors of American football and make note of a positive development in world futbol: Fox made the right call and gave up the Gus Johnson experiment. As noted in these pages, Gus never really got the hang of soccer, and wasn’t improving at an encouraging pace. Better for Fox to make the change now than to stubbornly stick to its guns and screw up the 2018 World Cup more than FIFA already will.

Robin Sloane – In praise of the terrible live stream

Robin Sloane:

The terrible live stream is precious because, of all the formats available to us now, it selects least. It resists the narrative compression of “news.” It shows a scene that, for all its intensity, is mostly slow-moving and confusing. It forces us to sit through the in-between minutes that an editor would cut. The live stream, uniquely among formats, is free to be muddled and boring, with no clear storyline and no assurance that This Is All Going Somewhere.

The Winter of Weird Al [link]

Steven Hyden, for Grantland:

In the past, Weird Al’s timing was perhaps his greatest asset. Right when the culture seemed to be tiring of a particular song or artist, the Weird Al parody would appear. It was the sign of an artist reaching “we love you, but we also can’t stand you” stardom. But that timing now seems rather, well, sluggish, and this has caused Weird Al to drift back into a crowded field. Now that the release of Mandatory Fun completes Yankovic’s record contract, it seems wise to explore more expedient alternatives.

When I asked Yankovic if it still made sense for him to make albums in the future, he was eager to steer the conversation back to the record he had already made and was trying to promote. But in spite of the hemming and hawing, he was pretty clear about what’s next.

“I don’t want to draw any hard lines in the sand, because I’d like to leave all my options open, but I’m feeling like this is probably my last conventional album,” he said.

I think it was Richard Nixon who said “if you’ve lost Weird Al, you’ve lost the traditional music sales model.”

Darke vs. Johnson: The Fight for America’s Ears

Over at The A.V. Club, Rowan Keiser has a solid post about how things have changed (and not changed) for men’s soccer in the United States – with an emphasis on who we’ve been listening to when we watch it on television:

If you flipped on ABC or ESPN for a World Cup match this year or in 2010, you were almost certainly greeted by an announcer with an English accent. For the four World Cups prior, between 1994 and 2006, ESPN had used American voices like O’Brien—but the decision to change announcers wasn’t merely an aesthetic one. The networks took sides in an ongoing war over the nature of American soccer, where announcing is one of biggest battlegrounds about whether the sport should be Europeanized “football” or reflect a home-grown American soccer. It’s a conflict that encompasses media culture, fan culture, and even the overall philosophy of U.S. Soccer’s attempts to improve the national team.

Read the rest, then come back here. For my money, Ian Darke puts the rest of the ESPN World Cup announcers to shame when it comes to play-by-play (and the less said about Gus Johnson’s efforts to this point, the better). I don’t watch enough (read: any) MLS to know if there are any home-grown announcers up to the task yet, but I do hope that 4 years from now, when the World Cup is on Fox, we hear from some talented American voices.* Or at least some other voices that have more to contribute than just a smart-sounding accent.

* Can a voice be talented? Also, anybody think Gus is capable of getting good at this by 2018? He was atrocious in that Atletico/Real Madrid game a couple months ago.

The Lion King and the Doritos Taco Loco: both 20 years old

Jezebel‘s Lindy West looks back at The Lion King. It’s a great read. A brief excerpt to whet your appetite:

They all gather around this big rock with a lion at the top. This krazy baboon climbs up there and hugs the lion like they are old bros, which probably would not happen. Then this woman-lion is like look over here, baboon, I’ve got a baby! And baboon is like JACKPOT! So the baboon rubs some jam on the baby and then throws dirt in its face, and then he dangles the baby off the edge of the rock with some Michael Jackson blanket-head realness. You know, LIKE THEY DO IN AFRICA.

Community is dead and it should stay dead.

If you’re miserable about the cancellation of CommunityTodd VanDerWerff lays out how it could live again. But if you’re like me, you’re perfectly happy to say goodbye to a show that went from great to sporadically good. Sure, another season (or a movie) could be awesome. But it’s a lot more likely that it would continue to suffer from the gradual decay that is almost inevitable for a show like Community that thrives on novelty, bucking expectations, and subverting the cliches that are part-and-parcel of any long-running network sitcom. Let the writers, producers, directors, cast and crew move on and help make fun new stuff.