Entries from March 2008 ↓
March 31st, 2008 — Blogs, Controversy, Culture, Design, Fashion, Film, Journalism, Magazines, Media, Pop Culture, Race, Sports
Everything but the helmet: LeBron James meets his doppelganger
“Vogue spokesman Patrick O’Connell said the magazine ‘sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game’ for the magazine’s annual issue devoted to size and shape.
“‘We think Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen look beautiful together and we are honoured to have them on the cover,’ he said.”
“But magazine analyst Samir Husni believes the photo was deliberately provocative, adding that it ‘screams King Kong.” Considering Vogue’s influential history, he said, covers are not something that the magazine does in a rush.
“‘So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, Black man wanting white woman, it’s not innocent,’ he said.”
—“Vogue cover starring LeBron James is called racially insensitive by some,” Megan Scott, The Associated Press
“Lying,” photographer Annie Leibovitz’s late lover, Susan Sontag, famously said in an essay, “is an elementary means of self-defense.”
Perhaps knowing this is why both Leibovitz, right, creator of VOGUE’s controversial April 2008 cover photo, above right, and Anna Wintour, VOGUE editor-in-chief, below, both 58, have remained absolutely mute since accusations began to fly, over a week ago, that their coy image—featuring Cleveland Cavaliers point forward LeBron James, 23, and supermodel Gisele Bündchen, 27—was a less-than-subtle piece of racist indoctrination.
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March 28th, 2008 — Entertainment, Pop Culture, Race, TV
Forgive me: I don’t mean to put a sister’s business out in the street, but I have never been as shocked to find out a person’s age as I was during a recent chance lookup of actor Rachel True (Half & Half), right, on Wikipedia.
According to Wiki, True was born on November 15, 1966. This makes her 41 years old.
I’m sorry, but I find this absolutely mind-boggling. My wife and I became real fans of True’s gentle little farce, which ran from September 2002 to May 2006 on the now defunct UPN network. True, with Essence Atkins, played one of two San Francisco-based stepsisters, navigating missteps in careers, relationships, with their mothers, and each other. True, who I’d argue looked no older than 25 in the role—if that—played her character, Mona, with genuine pluck; the one relatively normal human being in a cast of kooks.
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March 27th, 2008 — Blogs, Entertainment, Humor, Politics, Pop Culture, Satire
The news this week that Barack Obama is distantly related to, among others, Brad Pitt, and that Hillary Clinton is, albeit at a distance, connected by family to Angelina Jolie, led to Pretty On the Outside blog fashioning these grotesque morphs of the Democratic candidates with their respective kinfolk.
March 27th, 2008 — Advertising, Anime, Humor, Media, Medicine, Pop Culture, Satire
I met Wilford Brimley once, on the set of Hard Target, John Woo’s first U.S. production. I had no idea he was a master of club music remixes, as these YouTubes, here, here, here, and especially here, of his Liberty Medical commercials clearly demonstrate.
March 27th, 2008 — Politics, Race, Religion
“He would not have been my pastor,” Hillary Clinton haughtily told members of the press Tuesday, speaking of Trinity United Church of Christ’s Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s beleaguered former pastor.
But, reports The Huffington Post, the senior pastor of the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington D.C., where the Clintons went during their White House years, calls Wright “an outstanding church leader.”
“He has served for decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society. To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation, and the African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and violence. Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize.”
Hillary, ducking sniper fire on the campaign trail, could not be reached for comment.
March 27th, 2008 — Controversy, Design, Entertainment, Magazines, Media, Race
Exactly one week ago, I ran a photo of the current LeBron James/Gisele Bündchen VOGUE cover, right, and noted, upon seeing it, “my first raw thought was that James looked bestial. They look like King Kong and Fay Wray.” (This, in the context of my reporting on a recent study that found many Americans subconsciously associate Black people with apes.)
I then asked, “Is it just me? Am I just imagining this?”
Apparently not. According to this Associated Press piece (thanks, Ray Winbush) titled, “Vogue cover starring LeBron James is called racially insensitive by some”:
the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen’s tiny waist.
It’s an image some have likened to “King Kong” and Fay Wray.
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March 27th, 2008 — Advertising, Entertainment, Film, Pop Culture
If you thought Angelina Jolie should’ve gotten an Oscar for the face she made, above, in the first trailer for Wanted—her June 27 super assassin, super-actioner with Morgan Freeman, James McAvoy, and Common, directed by Timur Bekmambetov—you’ll be thrilled that the hot, new trailer is out.
March 26th, 2008 — Books, Culture, Sex
When asked about marriage, or even when not, I typically say that it’s a hard thing to do well; that probably, apart from raising children, it’s the hardest thing anyone will ever attempt. And that, in marriage, communication is not only important, but that it is the blood plasma of your relationship, though, again, it is always a difficult thing to do correctly. And that you need to have an unbreakable agreement that your marriage is for life for it to even have a chance at working. And that, particularly as a person who aspires to Christianity, you need God in your relationship to make it work. And that…well, you get the idea.
These are hard-earned truths from over 15 years of betrothal to Zakiya, and, believe me, I’m learning more all the time, every day, or at least trying to do so.
But this guy says forget all that: Just don’t get married and, if you do, do not, under any circumstances, marry an American woman.
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March 26th, 2008 — Books, Culture, Mathematics, Science
Book agent John Brockman’s Edge site is like crack if you’re into reading some of the world’s smartest thinkers address compelling questions related to their own typically cutting-edge research, or larger issues about the role of science in human culture.
Reuben Hersh is one such Edge intellectual. He’s professor emeritus in the University of New Mexico’s department of mathematics and statistics and author of the 1999 book What Is Mathematics, Really?, right.
Hersh’s 1997 mind-blowing elaboration on numeracy, below, is proof perfect, not only of the maxim that the more one understands a subject, the more simple and elemental their questions become but, that those questions—the simplest ones—are always the hardest to answer.
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March 26th, 2008 — Art, Design, Entertainment, Music, Music Video, Pop Culture, Toys
Though almost nothing is cooler than the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video that Samuel Bayer directed for Nirvana, if you can believe it, nearly two decades ago, in 1991—not Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody or Paul Anka’s big band-styled tribute—this $44.99, 18-inch figure of Kurt Cobain from the classic vid comes close. (Thanks to super-blogger and fellow New Zealand-phile Hanan Levin at Grow-A-Brain for the tip.)
It not only talks, nor solely comes in a 7-inch, $16.99 version but, revelation!, also makes obvious that Cobain’s competition model 1969 Fender Mustang was finished in “Lake Placid Blue.” Somehow, I’d never noticed this. Perhaps I was distracted by all the marbles in his mouth.