Friday, February 19, 2010

Knicks Trade for TMac, Pray to the God of Big City Sports

A starting five of notes on the Knicks trading for former superstar Tracy McGrady:

1. The TMac Narrative: everyone in the analysis business wants to write off TMac as a strictly cap-money acquisition. The brains say he's too old to really help. And even if he is good he'll be too expensive to keep on the roster. It's a lose-lose in terms of him sticking around for Knicks fans. But I'm thinking sports, if nothing else, is all about defying our rational intellectual senses. This is why despite exponents of stat-head freaks overpopulating the globe compiling every statistic known to man we still in any given game NEVER KNOW WTF IS GONNA HAPPEN. This was a man crying(breaks down circa 1:50 mark), emptying his heart in front of a crowded press room only a few years ago. Sports can get schmaltzy, but still not many superstar athletes expose themselves quite like that. Allan Houston was our All Star, he never cried. Nate Robinson has heart, but he ain't been broken up over much. And it's not like these guys haven't had plenty to sob about for the last decade. I don't know how Eddy Curry gets through the days. But I think TMac has a particular qualitative element to his story that fits in with the majestic arcs demanded by the city of skyscraping dreams (too much?). Its not likely, it's not something to bet your rent on. But if we snooze, he's the kind of player who can sneak up on you and become a factor. I guess I think it's good that he's being written off by the media.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Haiku for the Politically Correct



(per wiki: Haiku (俳句 haikai verse?) is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 moras (or on), in three metrical phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively... In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to parallel the three metrical phrases of Japanese haiku.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Not Bad: NBA All Star Game Rap Battle

Recently enamored of Lydia Davis and her unique brand of short story/poetry (shoetry? hmmm, pronounced show-a-tree? ...forget it, ugh!) ) I've been thinking about rapping as a form of prose styling. Which fits in with a growing notion that hip hop's grand error is its creative cachet being tied to the musical arts and not the literary arts. The music was the conduit to commercial empowerment, but the lyrics are where all the cultural and intellectual DNA reside. So as smarts trumps capitalism, hip hop is losing inventory (mostly due to bad accounting in the past).

When seen as a form of lit stylizing, then the rhythms, cadence, dialect choices all conspire to signal artistry at work in a more tangible way. Per Samuel Beckett (via Lydia Davis interview):

"I am interested in the shape of ideas even if I do not believe in them. There is a wonderful sentence in Augustine. I wish I could remember the Latin. It is even finer in Latin than in English. 'Do not despair; one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume; one of the thieves was damned.' That sentence has a wonderful shape. It is the shape that matters."

This is why the art of hip hop, of rapping, can/should be respected even if the content is about nonsense. Not that nonsense, especially of the lazy commercially-pandering variety, shouldn't be held as a demerit. But fact remains you can rap about the money, the cars, the hoes artfully. The heft of the craftsmanship in quality lyrics come from the person shaping their content/story/themes into proper "hip hop form" ...

of course that leads us into style vs. substance debates, amongst other tangents. but that's for another time. my point here was to set up this nba all star rap video, which i enjoyed as a stylizing of the "who's better: east or west?" conversation/debate most nba fans are engaging in to some degree during the All Star break.

so yeah, i mean hardcore sports fans are going to find the broad nature of this as substantively compelling as the latest black eyed peas joint (or whatever fluffy pop hip hop song is at odds with your intellectual sensibilities at the moment). but, like your average BEP song, it's mostly a fun aesthetic conceit. one that more and more people are finding accessible, if not fundamental. maybe soon rapping will be the equivalent of writing someone a note in thick permanent marker, as a sonnet or something. just having fun with language/communication! word, yo!

(also, i love the east coast production style, but think it makes the song a bit biased.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Remembering Black History

I wrote this Objective Perspective of Black History Month a while back, somehow it still feels relevant ...

In the long and storied history of the universe, nothing has come so far and overcome so much as Black.

Some have theorized that in the beginning there was only Blackness. And it wasn't a color. It was just a void. Nothingness....

(continued at McSweeney's...)

Black History Month: An Objective Perspective
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