Oh John Carroll

Month: January 2013 (page 1 of 6)

Rick Reilly Is Awful →

I read Rick Reilly’s awful Super Bowl column yesterday, and was nearly about to link to it, until I realized the backward logic there.  But I’ll happily link to Deadspin’s takedown of that piece.

According to Newsweek →

30 Rock, sadly, ends tonight.  Why not prep for the finale by reading a piece on the show’s influential conversation about race?  Alyssa Rosenberg for ThinkProgress:

As Liz and Tracy got to know each other, 30 Rock pulled off an extraordinarily difficult feat. In its early years, it was often a show about the ways in which the broad preconceptions of white liberals fail them when they begin some of their first personal and professional relationships with people of color. And in Tracy and Angie Jordan, 30 Rock did something even harder: it gave characters of color the opportunity to take alternately cheerful and exasperated advantage of Liz’s awkwardness, without ever portraying them as race hustlers, and staged constant debates among African-American characters about what constituted racial progress. Liz’s issues might loom large and cause discomfort, but she was mistaking the sideshow of her feelings for the main event.

Fingerprints On My Imagination →

Tim Slowikowski interviews Tom Scharpling for Pop Matters.

I’ve Drawn Them On Bad Guys →

Up in the Air author and gun owner Walter Kirn writes about gun ownership for New Republic:

But then, soon enough, another mass shooting occurred, at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. And then another, at Sandy Hook Elementary. The crimes were no longer discrete abominations but one continuous siege, it seemed, broken only by pauses for reloading. This was a war that warranted wartime thinking; cultural criticism could go to hell. The hour of reckoning had come, particularly for gun owners like me who’d never thought clearly about where we stood, only that it was somewhere between the militants and the innocents—a dangerous spot, since both sides felt attacked.

This is a great piece from “the other side.”  I’ve been doubly shocked about guns in the past year: before Aurora and Sandy Hook, I was simply taken aback by the gun culture upon moving to Kansas.  This helps explain it a bit better for me, and yet ultimately Kirn and I probably agree on a lot of what needs to be done.

You’re It →

A 23-year-long game of tag.  Need I say more?  Russell Adams for the Wall Street Journal:

The game they play is fundamentally the same as the schoolyard version: One player is “It” until he tags someone else. But men in their 40s can’t easily chase each other around the playground, at least not without making people nervous, so this tag has a twist. There are no geographic restrictions and the game is live for the entire month of February. The last guy tagged stays “It” for the year.

The White Album →

Chuck Klosterman spent some time with Royce White, and wrote about how his mental health needs have come between him and his team, the Houston Rockets:

It is not that Royce White thinks he has a unique problem. It’s more that Royce White believes society has made everyone slightly insane. And this helps and hurts his argument at the same time.

I’ve been following White’s story since the NBA Draft, and he’s managed to be one of the most fascinating players in basketball despite not yet playing a minute.  I think Klosterman hits on something I’ve been noticing in White’s interviews (which have ramped up recently, including a feature story on HBO’s Real Sports): his youth and inexperience cause him to stumble.  The comparison to a well-researched and excited ninth-grader is an apt one.

I certainly wouldn’t fault him for inexperience, but I do think his occasional lack of clarity is what allows his detractors to dismiss as immature, or deceitful.

You Are Going To Die →

Tim Kreider wrote an excellent op-ed about mortality for The New York Times:

Plenty of people before me have lamented the way that we in industrialized countries regard our elderly as unproductive workers or obsolete products, and lock them away in institutions instead of taking them into our own homes out of devotion and duty. Most of these critiques are directed at the indifference and cruelty thus displayed to the elderly; what I wonder about is what it’s doing to the rest of us.

All the Answers

I’ve been watching Robert Redford’s Quiz Show a lot lately.  The film is making the cable rounds, and it’s easy to get sucked in.  I think what’s particularly fascinating is how its tale of unregulated corporate power is even more relevant today than it likely was upon initial release.

I thought I’d link to this 2008 New Yorker piece written by Charles Van Doren (played by Ralph Fiennes in the film), who was typically reluctant to speak on the quiz show scandals.  It’s fascinating reading, whether you’ve been watching the film lately or not.

Make Me Ugly →

You should read Bilge Ebiri’s excellent essay on Spike Lee’s The 25th Hour, one of my favorite films of the past 15 years:

So later, when Monty finally asks Frank to kick his face in, he’s not just asking for a favor from a friend, he’s asking for the punishment he knows he should have had all along: “I think you can,” he says to the protesting Frank. “You know what, I think you want to, too, a little bit. You think I deserve it a little bit. For years you’ve been giving me that look, like you want to smack some sense into me. This is your chance. I need it, Frank.”

I imagine I’ll be pulling the DVD off the shelf soon.

America’s Doctor →

I recently saw Dr. Oz on television, and thought to myself: “What’s this guy’s deal?”  Soon enough, Michael Specter and The New Yorker came to provide some answers:

Oz’s popularity isn’t hard to understand: he speaks to Americans about problems that many find impossible to share, and he talks to them in ways that few other physicians would. Want to know how many orgasms you will require each year to prolong your life? Oz says two hundred—give or take. He also suggests how often we should move our bowels and what they ought to look like when we do (at least every other day, brown with a hint of gold, shaped like an S, he says, and “it should hit the water like a diver from Acapulco”). Oz likes to be in the news; he was on the air with students from the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, three days after the shootings there. And you never know who his guests will be. Not long ago, Michelle Obama appeared on the show to talk about her effort to end the epidemic of childhood obesity. A few weeks later, Oz welcomed back Theresa Caputo, a Long Island-based medium who helps people commune with dead family members. “The last time she was here,” Oz told the audience, “her readings blew me away.”

At times, equally fascinating and terrifying.

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