Thursday, December 09, 2004


Comes from the ever-enjoyable University Diaries: "
"A minor in peace studies and conflict resolution promotes personal growth and enriched relationships with others," promises the director, unaware that this is what Barney, not Ball State University, is supposed to do.

Institution of higher education  Posted by Hello

A friendly purple dinosaur Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Apparently those somewhat annoying Nike ads that feature Cleveland Cavaliers NBA star LeBron James taking it to some caricatures of Chinese martial arts figures have offended the powers-that-be in the PRC.
BEIJING -- China has banned a Nike television commercial showing NBA star LeBron James battling a cartoon kung fu master, saying the ad insults national dignity.

The commercial, titled "Chamber of Fear," was broadcast on Chinese stations and on state television's national sports channel before being pulled last month.

The ad shows James, the Cleveland Cavaliers' reigning NBA rookie of the year defeating the kung fu master, two women in traditional Chinese attire and a pair of dragons, considered a sacred symbol in traditional Chinese culture.

The advertisement "violates regulations that mandate that all advertisements in China should uphold national dignity and interest and respect the motherland's culture," the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television said on its Web site Monday. "It also goes against rules that require ads not to contain content that blasphemes national practices and cultures. ... The ad has received an indignant response from Chinese viewers."
Not only that, but James and Nike have managed to offend the order-loving denizens of Singapore as well:
Last month, a series of Nike ads in Singapore designed to resemble graffiti drew attention in a nation known for civic order.

The small, page-sized posters featuring anime-style images of James were pasted over the ad panels of 700 bus stops, surprising commuters who were used to very tidy shelters. At least 50 commuters complained, shelter officials said.

Imitation used to be the sincerest form of flattery but I guess American hoopsters and shoe companies should invoke Chinese symbols and motifs at their own peril.

Monday, December 06, 2004


It is a given that every generation of parents comes to decry the music their kids listen to as degraded and degrading (at least over the past sixty years or so). And yet, if Mary Eberstadt is right, perhaps parents should listen a little more closely before they dismiss the latest "noise" their kids listen to:
The odd truth about contemporary teenage music — the characteristic that most separates it from what has gone before — is its compulsive insistence on the damage wrought by broken homes, family dysfunction, checked-out parents, and (especially) absent fathers. Papa Roach, Everclear, Blink-182, Good Charlotte, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Eminem — these and other singers and bands, all of them award-winning top-40 performers who either are or were among the most popular icons in America, have their own generational answer to what ails the modern teenager. Surprising though it may be to some, that answer is: dysfunctional childhood. Moreover, and just as interesting, many bands and singers explicitly link the most deplored themes in music today — suicide, misogyny, and drugs — with that lack of a quasi-normal, intact-home personal past.

To put this perhaps unexpected point more broadly, during the same years in which progressive-minded and politically correct adults have been excoriating Ozzie and Harriet as an artifact of 1950s-style oppression, many millions of American teenagers have enshrined a new generation of music idols whose shared generational signature in song after song is to rage about what not having had a nuclear family has done to them.
There may be some truth to these observations but I think that popular music has become so big and so diversified that it is next to impossible to discern any sort of trends from a handful of musicians and songs.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?