June 04, 2002


THE BOSS RISES AGAIN: It was officially announced today: on July 30, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will release "The Rising," their first studio album as a group since "Born in the USA" in 1984. If the new album is even one-tenth as good as last year's live album (and if it will include a subsequent tour) then I will be one happy man; I feel good about it, since all three new Springsteen songs from the last three years have been excellent. See, I knew a new album was a better idea than that Senate run...

THE FINAL INSULT: Unfortunately, we won't be getting the '80s championship nostalgia series (Lakers-Celtics), nor the '90s draft lottery nostalgia series (Kings-Nets) in this year's NBA Finals. Nope, we're stuck with the New York vs. LA angle, the first time teams from our nation's two largest cities have faced off for a pro sports championship since the Yankees-Dodgers wars of the late '70s. I can't see myself getting too excited when I don't care about either team; indeed, I haven't been this uninterested in a championship pairing since the second Cowboys-Bills Super Bowl. The only entertainment I expect out of this series is Jay Leno telling Jason Kidd jokes. I can't conceive of any possible scenario (short of a catastrophic injury to Shaq or Kobe) in which the Lakers don't win; as we all know, Phil Jackson wins championships in threes. Lakers in five.

OVERHEARD IN A BAR IMMEDIATELY AFTER GAME 7 OF LAKERS-KINGS: "The only way Kidd can beat Shaq is if he marries him."

AND SPEAKING OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INDIRECTLY RELATED TO SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: In overtime of Game 7 there was a rather vicious collision between Shaq and Kings guard/Tupac lookalike Bobby Jackson. Jackson seemed particularly determined to show up Shaq, and I think I know why: Jackson's teammate on Minnesota's since-defrocked 1997 Final Four team was forward Courtney James, who was kicked off the team the following year after assaulting a girlfriend. The assault, it was reported at the time, came about after James found out that the girlfriend had had sexual relationships with seven different NBA players, including O'Neal, and James had overheard a message on the girl's answering machine: "Yo it's Shaq, I'll call you back." My guess is that Bobby Jackson has been haunted for years by that rhyme (which was later turned into a rap remix by a local radio station), and has been bent on payback ever since. Sorry Bobby; revenge must wait one more year.

ONE RIGHT-WING GIRL GOES 'ROUND THE OUTSIDE: There are few things I enjoy more than reading reviews of popular culture by social conservatives. Not only is it fun to laugh at their comically behind-the-times taste, but (with the lone exception of film critic Michael Medved) none of them have the slightest idea what the hell they're talking about. I'm reminded of Bob Dole making a major anti-Hollywood speech during the 1996 election and later admitting he hadn't actually seen any of the movies he had ripped, or Gary Bauer's presidential-debate invocation of the subversive rock group "Machine Unto the Rage." This is what Dylan meant when he sang "don't criticize what you can't understand."
This time it's wacky columnist Michelle Malkin with a critique of Eminem. It's almost comical to imagine Malkin settling into her living room to listen to "The Eminem Show," cringing, and trying oh so hard to make it to the end without screaming— really, this could be the next great reality game show. Predictably, Malkin misses all the nuance and profundity of Shady's social commentary, harping instead on immorality of the lyrics, the whole "playing devil's advocate" thing never even dawning on her of course. It's also fun to see this anti-gay anti-feminist slamming Slim for sexism and gay-bashing. I'm telling you- if Eminem is provoking outrage from activist wackos on the left and the right, then he certainly must be doing something right.

BUT NOT ALL CONSERVATIVE PUNDITS ARE QUITE SO CRAZY: George Will with an excellent piece about how excessive litigiousness is, in many ways, crippling society. Apologies to my dad and to all of my future lawyer friends.

THE BUCK STOPS HERE: Buck Martinez was fired today as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. While the Jays' small-market status certainly has something to do with Martinez's failure, could a guy whose name rhymes with the famous (and more profane) 2 Live Crew song really have had a chance in the first place?

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 4, 2002 04:24 AM
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