Friday, May 13, 2011

On The Week's Top Five

1. Spiking the Football

In 1965, a New York Giants wide receiver named Homer Jones, having crossed the end zone with a football in his hands, chose to slam said object to the grass in celebration. Hence the birth of the ostentatious gesture known as the "spike," which 46 years later, our commander-in-chief utilized in metaphorical language to discuss why he declined to release photographs of a mass murderer with a considerable hole in his face. Now, depending on which cable news programs you watch, you may find this refreshingly humble or you may find it hopelessly naive/falsely modest, and you may claim that there is no direct correlation between the national atmosphere fostered by presidents and the attitudes of professional athletes, but here's something I was wondering about, in the wake of the president's statement: Are we witnessing a restoration of modesty in sports? I am thinking specifically of several of the young stars in these NBA playoffs, most notably Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, who, at least at this point in their careers,* seem to legitimately embody a sort of humility that hearkens back to a bygone era. Not to mention, in the back and forth between the players and owners in the NFL, most reasonable humans seem to side with the players, which has earned them a new level of sympathy. So--could we be on the verge of an era when "spiking the football" suddenly seems ostentatious and uncouth, when touchdown celebrations are muted, when quiet cool is the default position?

2. Well, Probably Not...

...because there are still the Miami Heat, who grow increasingly unlikeable with each game they win, with each half-hearted apology LeBron James makes, with each opponent Dwyane Wade inadvertently cripples, with each attempt to rile up a fan base that clearly has little to no idea who exactly it is cheering for. At this point, the Heat's only mistake is in not embracing its villainy. Quit apologizing, LeBron. Embrace the dark side so that we may be allowed to embrace it with you.

3. The Most Deflating Paragraph of the Week

“The last thing you ever expect is that somebody you revere will mislead you,” said Alex Davis, 38, who bought a $500,000 unit in Trump International Hotel and Tower Fort Lauderdale, a waterfront property that Mr. Trump described in marketing materials as “my latest development” and compared to the Trump tower on Central Park in Manhattan.
4. Reading

David Grann, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes

Robert Coover, The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.

5. Listening

A few years ago, future wife and I were in Los Angeles, listening to a radio show emceed by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols--which was, I will say, one of the greatest radio shows I've ever heard--and in the midst of all this Jones was discussing Jethro Tull, and he mentioned flutes, and then he said, "When you hear flutes, you know there are hippies about." This is pretty much all I think about when I listen to "Aqualung," which happens about once every sixteen months or so.

Anyway, I don't believe there are any flutes on this new Fleet Foxes album, though there are oblique discussions about laboring in orchards and contemplating the stars and reciting incantations. It is hippie music through and through, and I really, really like it. Which means, I guess, that I should start taking flute lessons.

*If you reading this in 2016, there is a distinct possibility that both of these men will have done something self-aggrandizing and social distasteful that will completely alter the narrative about them. But, at least for now...

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