Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gregg Easterbrook Will Not Believe Your Crazy Comic Book Stories!

I read this week’s TMQ and had three separate paragraphs to comment on. Yeah, that’s all the introduction you’re getting, I’m busy.

"Wall-E" was a terrific flick, the finest Hollywood romance in years, despite starring two mute robots; "The Dark Knight" was a terrible film. People felt "The Dark Knight" had to be praised owing to the death of Heath Ledger; that movie was terrible.

Really, just because Heath Ledger died? Do you really think the Dark Knight made over 7 trillion dollars at the Box Office because people said “hey let’s go see that movie that stars that guy who died recently”? Do you really think guys like Roger Ebert are swayed by this? I don’t. That guy can be pretty vicious when he thinks a movie sucks.

The big chase scene at its center made absolutely no sense -- no matter what street the van turned down, the Joker's tractor-trailer truck was already on that street and approaching from the opposite direction. Huh?

It wasn’t approaching in the opposite direction, it was running parallel. If the Joker was approaching in the opposite direction, he would have just flown right by the van. So huh…to you!!!! See how I turned that around?

The Joker made no sense. How did he know where everyone in Gotham City was at every moment?

He didn’t, why do you say he did? Do you really know how much time was elapsing in this movie? Everyone…..every moment? It’s easy to discard something as stupid when you make up “facts” about it.

How did he enter guarded buildings without being detected?

As I noted in my post last year about this same goddamn subject, he’s a fucking criminal mastermind. In Gregg Easterbrook’s version of Batman, when the joker and his henchmen break into the bank at the beginning, they are immediately swarmed and taken down by the 66 year old security guard Cliff and his 18 year old assistant (who would be Cliff’s grandson, Jason…on his first day). Cliff would go on to get a $500 bonus from the bank and a plaque from the Mayor. The rest of the movie is mainly just Bruce Wayne shagging random NFL cheerleaders and watching Star Trek re-runs and pulling his hair out when NFL teams punt on 4th and 3 from the opponent’s 45 when the average NFL play yields 4.85 yards so they are guaranteed a first down. Also, Harvey Dent would be a raging anti-semite.

How did he command an army of super-competent ultra-loyal henchmen, including engineers and surgeons, despite having no money and boasting of murdering his own assistants for amusement?

Who says he had no money? How are any of those super villains in any movies with armies of henchman able to command them? Who are the engineers and surgeons (I may just be forgetting)? WHO FUCKING CARES? It’s a comic book movie, turn your brain off for two hours and watch the pretty explosions. How did Hitler command hundreds of thousands of people? With fear? Well that's my answer. The Joker did it with fear.

And that scene of gibberish pseudo-philosophizing about society by the Joker, puh-leeze.

Seriously, what scene is this?

I don’t remember the Joker philosophizing about society in any grandiose way, he just said he likes to cause mayhem and see what happens. Good god you must be a miserable fuck to watch a movie with.

Moving on, let’s talk about apologies and false analogies.

Serena Williams was fined $10,000 for cursing out and threatening to harm a line judge in the U.S. Open. It's not just that in the Masterpiece Theater environment of tennis, the hushed crowd can hear a player curse; threatening another person with physical harm is in most states a crime akin to simple battery, such as throwing a punch. Williams, who is wealthy, was assessed a minor fine -- yet LeGarrette Blount of Oregon loses his entire senior season for throwing a punch. Blount's punch was wrong and punishment was required, but taking away his senior season -- in high school and college football, the senior season is the most important season by far -- for losing his cool in the heat of the moment is excessive punishment.

It's been a while since I took Criminal Justice, but I don't believe throwing and landing a punch is “simple battery”. What LeGarrette Blount did was assault and battery. Simple battery would have been knocking the other player’s helmet out of his hand or something. What Serena Williams did was assault, only because she raised her racket and motioned towards the line judge in a threatening way (pointing at her)…even though everyone who saw it knew the Williams would not actually physically do anything to the line judge. What Serena Williams did was not battery, because she never actually touched the line judge (or even "simple battery"). Taking a cheap shot punch at another player from an angle where you are hidden is not analogous to yelling at someone. He lost his entire season not for “simple battery” caused by throwing a punch. He assaulted a player with the intent of doing him great physical harm. Note: I’m not a lawyer, so don’t all 8 of you e-mail me lawery stuff. You get my point.

I don’t disagree with Easterbrook’s larger point in the paragraph above, which is that Blount’s punishment is very severe, perhaps overly so. But his analogy here is not very good. Here’s where it gets worse.

What Blount did is not hugely different from what Williams did. Yet she is slapped on the wrist while he is severely punished.

I have a problem with this. This is the youtube video of Serena Williams. She lost her cool and yelled at a line judge. She motioned towards her. She said bad things. But the line judge was not, for one second, in true physical danger. This is the US open. There are 10’s of thousands of people there, and the match is televised. The actually likelihood of Serena Williams doing something to physically harm the line judge is zero point zero per cent. People yell at officials/refs/umpires/line judges all the time. To analogize it to punching someone from the side is insane.

This is the youtube video of LeGarrette Blount blindsiding Byron Hout. If he hits Hout in the temple with that punch, who knows what happens? Blount is a big strong guy, and he didn’t just “lose his cool”, he put another person’s livelihood at risk. This is not in the same universe as an athlete cursing out an official. There was no real threat of physical harm, and everyone knows this.

Let’s turn this around. Let’s say that Serena Williams had punched the line judge when the judge had her head turned and LeGarrette Blount has said “I will kill you” and pointed at another player. Would you still think these things are not hugely different?

Plus, whatever happened to the value of the apology? Blount apologized to Byron Hout, the player he struck, and Hout graciously accepted.

So if Hout doesn’t accept, then the apology is not as valued. This is stupid logic. What he does is minimized if he apologizes for it….IF….the apology is accepted!

Life is full of screw-ups. The apology, if accepted, lets us go forward without nursing grudges. Rep. Joe Wilson was incredibly rude to President Barack Obama last week. Wilson apologized; Obama accepted. The matter should now be closed. Blount's apology was genuine, and ought to count for a lot.

No, the matter is not closed. There’s still the little matter of a player punching another player. THE LAST THING WE NEED TO TEACH PEOPLE WHO CAN’T CONTROL THEMSELVES IS THAT YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT AND FACE A MUCH MORE LENIENT POLICY IF YOU APOLOGIZE. Blount learns no lesson if he’s given a small penalty simply because he apologized.

Football spectators, TV fans and boosters are hypocritical to demand violent contact during games, then theatrically call for extreme punishment of a player whose heat-of-battle emotions had not cooled a mere two minutes after the contest ended.

He fucking blindsided another player with a punch that could have done serious damage. This is a serious thing. This wasn’t two Pop Warner kids at school the next day behind the jungle gym. He should have known people would see him do this and there would be repercussions. By being so brazen, he practically obligated the NCAA and his school to hit him with a super harsh penalty. Stop glossing over this. A full season seems extreme to me, I’d have suspended him for a few games, but this is not the same as Serena Williams or Joe Wilson. Exchanges like this happen all the time and don’t lead to violence, so I don’t buy the argument that this is hypocritical to expect this instance to have not resulted in violence.

Okay, moving on again. One thing Gregg does all the time is take plays and describe them with total revisionist history. If you just read his column and never actually see the plays, you will not notice this. But frequently when Gregg says “no one moved”, a few guys moved. When he says 4 players were involved, 2 were involved, etc. When he says that he likes cheerbabes in skimpy outfits, he’s sucking on a dildo. Anyway, that brings us to his recap of the Brandon Stokley reception this week.

Single Worst Play of the Season -- So Far: Just maybe you've seen a highlight of the Brandon Stokley play that won the Denver-Cincinnati game. Forget the ball bouncing or Stokley running, where were the Bengals? Leading 7-6 with 28 seconds remaining and the opponent pinned on its 13, Cincinnati coaches sent only a nickel, not a dime, onto the field. At the snap, the deepest safety was only 12 yards off. Once Stokley grabs the tipped pass, linebacker Dhani Jones is the sole Bengal who chases him all-out. Other Broncos, and Bronco coaches, ran down the sideline with Stokley. The linesman ran with him almost stride-for-stride. Where are the other Bengals?

The underlines are mine.

Wow, that’s powerful stuff. The linesman ran with him! So did the coaches! But the well paid professional athletes on the Bengals didn’t even try. Based on what you just read, don’t you have this vision of a bunch of Bengals DB’s being beaten on a route or something and then when Stokley is in front of them, they just stop running because they are lazy assholes? All the while, a parade of people are stride for stride with Stokely on the sideline….even the much older linesman!

Here is the play. Watch it.

The DB’s fell and were out of the play once the ball was tipped. The linesman ran about 15 feet and not at all with Stokley. A couple of Bronco players ran about 15 yards, not at all with Stokley’s pace. Lastly, the part about the Bronco coaches is unverifiable from this clip. I couldn’t see anyone running. I suspect the TMQ made it up.

Easterbrook does this all the time.

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