What Jewish Media Conspiracy? Mushnick On Gibson’s Easy Ride

Posted in non-sporting journalism, Racism Corner, Religion, The World Of Entertainment at 9:56 pm by

(l-r : persecuted Jew, guy with box office clout)

Actor/director Mel Gibson is “a born and raised anti-Semite” argues the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick, “What am I supposed to do, look past it, get over it? Enjoy his movies, anyway?” Only if they’re as much fun as “Payback”, Phil.

As TV commercials for Gibson’s new movie appear, and earlier this month, when Gibson appeared on NBC as a presenter of a Golden Globes award ” host Ricky Gervais only poked fun at Gibson’s fondness for excessive drinking; Gibson’s anti-Semitism was politely indulged by all.

It got me to thinking about what it would have taken for Gibson to have genuinely suffered the slings, arrows and fortunes of race and/or religion-based hatred.

No wishful thinking here. Just the honest application of what you and I know about TV and modern American life.

Do you think that if Gibson’s father proclaimed South African apartheid and/or American slavery to be exaggerated ” no big deals ” and if Gibson then delivered a drunken, hate-filled spew about African-Americans, he’d have been invited, two weeks ago, to the podium at the Golden Globes?

If Gibson swapped Jews for blacks, do you suppose that TV networks would have accepted advertising for a new movie starring Mel Gibson?

It’s a legit enough question, though surely there are enough real life examples that Mushnick could’ve cited to disprove his own point. Drunkenly calling Ray Charles “a blind, ignorant nigger” wasn’t enough to keep Elvis Costello — one of the more critically feted musicians of the past half century — out of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  Nor was Michael Richards dropping N-bombs in a semi-crowded theatre the sort of thing that precluded his participation in this past season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (with Richards playing himself and the show’s writers openly mocking said incident).  One outburst may or may not be enough to sink a career — it all depends on the degree of contrition (Costello) or earning power (Gibson).  But one thing is for certain ; whenever a public figure faces censure for racism towards black people, you can count on Phil Mushnick to suggest there’s some kind of crummy double-standard at work. We know plenty about Mel Gibson’s upbringing — what was up with Phil’s?

James Dolan’s Electronic Paper Route – Less Popular, Believe It Or Not, Than The Straight Shot

Posted in non-sporting journalism, The Marketplace at 8:42 pm by

“I figure there is no opportunity to make fun of the Straight Shooter himself that you aren’t interested in,” guesses Charles Star, forwarding an item from The New York Observer’s John Koblin claiming fewer than 3 dozen persons have have opted to become paid subscribers to Newsday online since the Cablevision-owned paper retreated behind a pay wall.  At least Neil Best’s Tweets are still free.

That astoundingly low figure was revealed in a newsroom-wide meeting last week by publisher Terry Jimenez when a reporter asked how many people had signed up for the site. Mr. Jimenez didn’t know the number off the top of his head, so he asked a deputy sitting near him. He replied 35.

Michael Amon, a social services reporter, asked for clarification.

“I heard you say 35 people,” he said, from Newsday’s auditorium in Melville. “Is that number correct?”

Mr. Jimenez nodded.

Of course, there are a few caveats. Anyone who has a newspaper subscription is allowed free access; anyone who has Optimum Cable, which is owned by the Dolans and Cablevision, also gets it free. Newsday representatives claim that 75 percent of Long Island either has a subscription or Optimum Cable.

“We’re the freebie newsletter that comes with your HBO,” sniffed one Newsday reporter.

Mr. Jimenez was in no mood to apologize. “That’s 35 more than I would have thought it would have been,” said Mr. Jimenez to the assembled staff, according to five interviews with Newsday staffer.

It must come as tremendous consolation to Newsday’s staff that their work is so accessible to Long Island residents….and virtually no one else.

Cowboy Down : Kevin Millar, Not Coming Soon To A Video Game Console Near You

Posted in Baseball, Video Games at 4:23 pm by

Every wonder why the name and likesness of former Red Sox farmhand / position player-turned-reliever Ron Mahay (above) cannot be found in one of the popular video games for the Wii, Xbox or PS3? Me neither, but as Kontaku’s Owen Good explains, Mahay and former other active major leaguers who participated as replacement players during the 2004 work stoppage, are banished from virtual competition by virtue of their non-membership in baseball’s players union.

Brendan Donnelly, Matt Herges, Ron Mahay, Jamie Walker and Kevin Milar, one of the emotional leaders of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, known for his “cowboy up” comment in 2003 that became a rallying cry. All of them are on their real-life teams under different names, uniform numbers and player images in any video game.

Could 2K or SCEA cut individual deals with Donnelly, Millar and the other three to get their authentic names and likeness in a game? I’m not sure what the contracts say, whether they are specifically prohibited from doing so or if there’s some other legal proscription at work here. But even if they could, it simply wouldn’t be worth it to get five journeymen players into a game, considering the antagonism that would cause to an absolutely essential licensing partner in a realistic sports simulation.

That said, the continued banishment of these players reflects poorly on the baseball players’ union. When Donnelly won a World Series ring with the Angels and Millar claimed his with the Red Sox, neither were allowed to appear on licensed memorabilia commemorating the titles. That kind of KGBing of history makes the MLBPA look petty and its posture needlessly punitive.

CSTB’s Greatest Hits : Pro Bowl Chili

Posted in Food, Gridiron, Internal Affairs at 3:07 pm by

(David Garrard, QB of the last place Jackson Jaguars, working up a Pro Bowl-sized appetite for the recipe below, earlier this week)

(the following was first posted on February 8, 2004).

Excuse me for having to spell this one out for our European readers. Pro Bowl Sunday is a BIG event for Americans. All over the country, families come together for Pro Bowl Parties. Advertisters pay hundreds of dollars to televise commercials featuring their newest products. Each year on Pro Bowl Sunday, battered womens’ shelters report the number of victims admitted to their care decreases by two percent, testament to the calming nature of the contest . If the NBA All-Star Game is, in the words of Michael Wilbon, Black Thanksgiving, then the Pro Bowl is sort of like Yom Kippur for Gambling Degenerates & Football Obsessives of All Races.

In this household, the Pro Bowl’s importance is matched only by that of the NHL Skills Competition (skate-sharpening, carrying Eric Lindros off the ice) and the entire NASCAR calendar. And with that in mind, here is CSTB’s Award Winning Pro Bowl Chili Recipe :

Ingredients :
750 g of Sainsbury Lean Minced Beef

1 jar of Uncle Ben’s Hot Chili
simmer the minced beef in a wok or non-combustible container until brown.

drain the fat in a colander.

remove half the beef and serve to CSTB’s Dog Mascot (allow some 20 minutes for cooling or you’ll be very very sorry)

put the other half of the beef back in the wok, add the contents of the Uncle Ben’s jar.

go watch NFL Countdown for 30 minutes

serve over a bed of white rice (if you don’t have any white rice, you can always try to cut the taste by swallowing without chewing)

Serves 1 – possibly two if you can get anyone to come over to your house for the Pro Bowl.

(Possibly) Coming To MSG : Le Dunk De La Mort II

Posted in Basketball at 2:07 pm by

I don’t know how many of you spend your Saturday’s scouring L’equpe for international basketball news, serious props to True Hoop’s Chris Sheridan, who raises the very real possibility the Knicks’ 1999 first round pick Frédéric Weis might make his long-awaited Madison Square Garden debut next June.

Sheridan speculates that France will be Team USA’s opponent at the Garden, thus raising the specre of Weis’ most famous moment on the hardwood, ie., the time he was brutally posterized by Vince Carter in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Though Weis isn’t currently on the ViveMenorca active roster, who amongst us wouldn’t love to see, say, LeBron James, attempt to replicate or better VC’s effort?


“Pragmatism Gone Mad” : Lacey On Palace’s Cash-Strapped Starting XI

Posted in Football, The Marketplace at 8:20 pm by

Neil Danns scored a pair of goals in Crystal Palace’s 2-0 defeat of Peterborough Saturday, a result that came days after the Eagles were docked 10 points in the Championship standings after falling into administration. The Guardian’s David Lacey considers the greater implications of Palace’s plight, and manages to do so without once calling chairman Simon Jordan (above) the sort of names that shouldn’t be employed in a family blog.

Palace represent the solid middle footballing class that not so long ago formed the backbone of the English leagues. They were never going to be as big as Manchester United but in a good season could live comfortably with Aston Villa. Clubs like Leicester, Southampton, Norwich and Charlton fell into the same category, providing the strength in depth of the top two divisions. In football terms Palace have not been doing badly, nibbling at the fringe of the play-off places with the promise of something better if they could start turning draws into wins. But now they have suffered the statutory 10-point deduction for going into administration and are in a relegation struggle instead.

Administration changes the conventions, including the one that presumes the manager picks the team. When Palace played at Newcastle on Wednesday their best player, Victor Moses, did not appear because it had been decided that he was too valuable an asset to be risked. The manager, Neil Warnock, was able to name only three substitutes. In the depressing circumstances Palace produced a surprisingly spirited performance before losing 2-0.

It is difficult to apply the logic of the balance sheet to a business in which success or failure does not depend on the number of widgets produced in a financial year but on the ability of one set of assorted human beings putting a ball into a net more often than another set while an independent arbiter intervenes from time to time if someone breaks the rules. Weakening a team in order to avoid the possibility of harm coming to a player who is likely to be sold, even though he might just have got them something from the game, is surely pragmatism gone mad.

Jane Jarvis, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 2:23 pm by

Longtime Shea Stadium organist Jane Jarvis, last seen in this space facing homelessness in 2008, passed away last Monday at the age of 94.  From the New York Times‘ Peter Keepnews :

After eight years playing for the Braves at County Stadium in Milwaukee, she was a fixture at Shea Stadium from 1964 to 1979, performing a repertory that mixed jazz staples like Charlie Parker™s œScrapple From the Apple with more conventional fare like œTake Me Out to the Ballgame and œMeet the Mets.

Few Mets fans knew that Ms. Jarvis had begun her career as a jazz pianist. Even fewer knew that she had a day job with the Muzak Corporation.

Muzak was synonymous with soothing background sounds piped into elevators when Ms. Jarvis was hired for a clerical job there in 1963, not long after she moved to New York and roughly a year before she joined the Mets. She worked her way up to vice president in charge of programming and recording; when she began supervising sessions, she hired Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry and other jazz musicians. The result was canned music considerably more swinging than the Muzak norm, much of which the musicians, including Ms. Jarvis, composed themselves.

Faith & Fear In Flushing’s Greg Prince paid tribute as well ; “She outlived Shea. She outlived the organ as the prime source of pregame and between-innings entertainment. She lived a very long time and accomplished a great deal as a musician and music executive. She lives on for every Mets fan who ever clapped or tapped along to whatever she played. Jane Jarvis was as much the Mets as anybody or anything else between 1964 and 1979. For those of us enchanted by the Melody Queen of Shea Stadium, she™s always going to be synonymous with some of the best days of our lives.”