Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Inconsequential Things That Matter To Me

1. The Value of Insults

Here's my question about the Kevin Garnett-Charlie Villanueva dust-up: Isn't it worse if Garnett was actually attempting to call Villanueva a cancer to his team and to the NBA? If Garnett did call Villanueva a "cancer patient," it is undeniably stupid and insulting, but it's a juvenile taunt born of anger and spontanaiety, as Tommy Craggs ably points out. But Garnett essentially calling Villanueva a mental and emotional cancer, a bad teammate, and a lazy person, seems far more premeditated and far more deeply felt. Either way, Garnett is an extremely talented jerk, but isn't it better if he's just a jerk who spouts off like a child rather than a jerk who judges the character of people he doesn't know at all?

2. The Value of Insults, Part II

It always amuses me when the blogosphere holds a collective freak-out over something a talk-radio host says. The very notion of talk radio is built on drawing attention, on creating compelling narratives, even if those narratives are false.* That's true of both political talk radio and sports-talk radio. Either way, it is an entertainment, based entirely on perpetuating whatever news cycle happens to be capturing the public's attention, and in most cases, we do it a disservice if we take it too seriously.

On a semi-related note, there are few things more intriguing than watching pundits furiously attempt to break down the lessons learned from an election in the 24 hours following an election (watch an historian like Doris Kearns Goodwin address those same issues). I have to imagine the wild political swings in this country are not entirely isolated from cable news' nimble ability to massage the narrative in opposing directions, based on the outcome of an election.     

3. Shazzactor!

I have an idea for an IPhone app that serves as proof of how intellectually lazy I've become: I would like someone to conjure a program which would work like Shazam does for music, except it would apply to television and film actors. So I could hold my phone up to the television, shoot a photo of an actor, and in a matter of seconds, it would tell me who this person is, link to his/her IMDB profile, etc. This seems like something that should exist (I don't know, maybe it does)--so much so that I've occasionally found myself holding my phone up to the television set for no apparent reason. This is how the Internet has conditioned my brain: I now find it reflexively confounding that there is ever any mystery about anything at all.

*In other words, it's a lot like the blogosphere.

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