I can see my house from here: T.I. and I survey his domain.
Photo by Akwasi Prempeh
Rapper Clifford “Tip” Harris Jr. and I lock minds, above, in the Westin Peachtree Plaza’s rotating Sundial Restaurant, 72 stories over downtown Atlanta. We’d stopped at the second tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere (and 16th tallest in the world) for an upcoming edition of BET’s Food For Thought. It airs in September, shortly after the release of the artist’s upcoming album, King Uncaged.
How did the convo go? T.I. has a sharp mind. He was frank about the issues he’s faced and the challenges now before him. Plus, the food was good, and skydiving off the Westin’s roof was a blast. I’m kidding.
I can’t even begin to look at this 2006 bit, below, from MADtv’s twelfth season, too often. “I Want You To Watch Me Play Madden” features former cast member Jordan Peele, above, as a guy whose notion of foreplay is getting his girl (castmate Nicole Randall Johnson) to join him in a menage á mille on Xbox Live.
There may be nothing more pitiful than a guy who mounts his self-absorbtion cloaked in cheezy seduction, and, in the clip, “Jordan” epitomizes that dude. (Best gags: Hittin’ controller combos (“L-R-L-R-UP-DOWN…maybe SELECT-STARRRT..”) as his lady’s toes curl, and his triumphant, “HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SEX IIIIIIS!!!…WHOA!!!” on the bridge.)
In his time with the show—Peele left MADtv the next year—he demonstrated a sly hand for creating funny skits in the form of faux R&B music videos. “Madden,” however, so perversely twists one form of pop culture into the servitude—and lampooning—of both, it may be his masterpiece. Touchdown.
As Mr. Carter parries with the chummy Brit, endlessly deferring Ross’s faux-friendly entreaties, his timing is impeccable, with each pause and sideways glance as perfectly placed as they are in his raps. Indeed, it’s a whole performance, yet a good part of it is silent.
But what most dawns on this writer as I watch the clip is that Jay didn’t merely become “the biggest rapper on the planet,” as the show’s web site notes, by clever alliterations, a clothing line, or, again, marrying one of music’s biggest stars.
In part, he did it by being a nice guy. Which sounds like a cliché, until you think of the fact that, in a field whose artists are lampooned for their ice grills, he smiles more than almost anybody. Now, laught at that.
Last week on MEDIA ASSASSIN, I did a brief analysis of Tiger Woods’ press conference apology. Though, admittedly, Woods’ recitation of his written statement was wooden and lacked warmth, I judged that, in his words, he took appropriate responsibility for what he’d done, and spoke to the need for personal change.
Well, boy was I wrong! As this piece of video from the event reveals, above, there was more to Tiger’s talk than meets the eye or ear. Wow. How did he fool us all again?
You don’t have to go very far into reading the text of Tiger Woods’ apologetic press conference statement, made earlier today, to realize that either he, his handlers, or both, knew the word the disgraced athlete needed to say most, in order to win back public trust, was “I.”
He used the pronoun “I” 105 times in the short, 13 1/2-minute statement, or an average of about once ever eight seconds. Looking at his most common subjective couplet, “I have,” below—said 16 times—it appears that Woods was attempting to forge an empathetic bond with those listening to his statement by affirming the words they had probably said about him in his absence: You bitterly disappointed us…you brought this on yourself.
Or check out Woods second-most frequently-used couplet, “I am,” below, where he talks about his present state.
Finally, study Tiger’s mentions of his wife’s name, Elin, and the complimentary contexts within which Woods praised her.
Verbally, at least, it seems like Woods knew what he had to say about what he did, how he feels about it, and how he feels about his wife. These were the most important statements for him to make, it can be argued. (He certainly seemed to think so: He only mentioned “golf” twice.)
Though you heard it, and read it in the statement, the Many Eyes software, with this straightforward formatting, creates a slightly better sense of how Woods’ words were organized, and to what end. Indeed, IBM calls Many Eyes “a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns.”
Funny: That’s what Woods has got to apply, now, towards his own transgressive behavior and missteps.
Can’t say Solange Knowles, Beyoncé’s fiery little sis, doesn’t roll hard. In a couple of tweets from Monday night, the day after the Grammy Awards, she questions what anybody with more than four fingers might ask: Why was Taylor Swift, seen here, right, with one of the quartet of awards she won, being deemed the nights “big winner,” when Beyoncé took home six trophies?
When The Laughing Cow, right, France’s Jura-based makers of spreadable cheese wedges, above, recently started airing their latest commercial, something about the cloppy, jug-band, oddly sexy beats underneath sounded familiar. But I couldn’t place ‘em.
whistles, bells and bongos combined with banjos, ukuleles and sunshine pop vocals to produce a unique but accessible music for post modern vaudeville, with a nod to Monty Python, Derek & Clive and even Woody Allen.
If you can rememeber back to 2006, their ditty, “The Birds and the Bees,” was compellingly clamped to Volkswagen’s reintroduction of their classic Rabbit. The ad featured of black and white subcompacts dipping into dark tunnels and alleyways, right, only to re-emerge, followed by gray, black, white, and multi-hued lil’ uns. (Multiplying like…rabbits, get it?)
If you can’t remember that, though, ne’er worry: “The Birds and the Bees,” “Don’t Stop,” the slinky, captivating “Llama” (hear it on their MySpace page) and eleven other compositions fill out the new CD. Plus, I’ve packed this post with YouTubes, below, for your listening and viewing pleasure. Dance, kiddies, dance.
If the success of Avatar and other theatrical spectacles don’t signal that 3D has crossed an important line in the public consciousness, this upcoming HDTV setup from Panasonic, debuted at the recent CES 2010, seems to certify it. As noted on Designboom, the VT25 series, above, out this spring
comes with a set of 3D glasses that create three dimensional images using the LC shutter system. This technology works by darkening and lightening the left and right lenses on the glasses in synch to the display, which correspondingly shows the right and left eye images. these flashes are so quick that the human eye cannot perceive them and instead creates the illusion of three dimensions. Panasonic also debuted an accompanying 3D blu-ray player and a 3D video camera.
Of course, fifty bucks says the killer app in home 3D will be porn.