Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Costas' Surprising and Uncharacteristic Ignorance

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I know I'm a day late on my next "Random Americana" installment, but I needed to go with a regular post for a few reasons.
    • I know this whole cat-eating-spaghetti obsession is getting out of control, so I'll put it to bed with one final note. This is the actual segment (thanks, Evan). You can't fast-forward the video and there's no clock, so the best I can say is that the cut is about 14 dots in. Put aside that these women are wastes of God's creation and the creepiness of the hosts playing around with wanting to know if the girls have ever been sexually assaulted (without actually asking it), when you see the mess-up in context, the whole thing goes from "insanely funny" to "bizarrely awesome".
    • Okay, I'm bracing myself for the ridicule of being a month late on this one, but my excuse is that, until today, I have not historically been a huge Joss Whedon fan. Not that I hated his work, just didn't go out of my way to watch it. But, after the buzz and messing around on hulu.com, I discovered Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. The story of how this came to be is classic entrepreneurship -- Whedon and his brother Jed decided, during the writer's strike, to prove that original web content can be well-made, popular, and revenue-generating. What came of it was a musical starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion about an aspiring super-villain, his romantic missteps, and his obnoxious arch-enemy. If you haven't seen it yet, drop whatever you're doing (assuming you have 42 minutes, or at least 13 for the first act) and watch it now.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • The line that Elisha left out last night -- and to be fair she used it when she was giving me the Dateline crap vocally on my way downtown last night, and it killed me -- was when I say to Hansen, "But this is my first time ever doing this." That one should be familiar to anyone who has watched "To Catch A Predator" as much as I have.
    • Obama will be speaking at noon on Saturday on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield. For those (many) of us who got shivers watching as he announced his candidacy at that exact place on February 10, 2007, this speech/appearance will draw nearly as much anticipation as the big Thursday night one.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Bob Costas is one of my absolute favorites, but he really got to me during Olympics coverage last night. I've disagreed with him before on some of his ultra-purist baseball ideas, like being against the Wild Card, but this one was much deeper. At the beginning of NBC's coverage, Costas was speaking with someone about Usain Bolt's amazing performance in the 100M when he started complaining about Bolt's showmanship at the end of the race. Costas talked about how Bolt disrespected the fans by not getting his best time, since he could have gone even faster if he hadn't started celebrating before crossing the finish line. Don't give me that BS! First and foremost, Bolt won and he won by a lot. I don't think he cheated the fans too too much. Second, if Bolt had won quietly, we would all have forgotten his name in two seconds. It's because of the showboating that we'll remember him for a long time. Too many people -- and NBC (understandably) is the worst culprit by far in this -- take the Olympics too seriously. The games lost all claim to purism when pros started playing, but that's assuming purism is even legitimate. It isn't. Saying that someone "wins or plays the 'right' way" is as overt as discrimination gets without being entirely vocalized. I don't mean racism (in most cases, certainly not in this one), but rather ageism or self-centrism. What does Costas know about being the fastest man in the world? One would have to assume that it's Bolt's attitude that makes him great and, rather than cheating us, he would be cheating himself if he strayed from that in his finest hour. Play on, Usain, be proud of what you've done.

1 comment:

Roy said...

Totally agree with you on Costas being wrong on Bolt. Can't someone actually enjoy their own achievement? Does anyone really believe that Bolt pre-planned that a la touchdown celebrations? I think he was just pumped to be the fastest man in the world, and win his countries first men's Gold medal since 1976!

Also, Costas could stand to be educated about the subtleties of track and field. From Peter King's always excellent MMQB column today:

EXPLAINING, PERHAPS, THE SHOWBOATING OF USAIN BOLT. From Anonymous, of Davie, Fla.: "You will rarely see a track and field athlete demolish a world record. They will break them, but usually don't try to put them out of sight as you might expect. Why? Simple. Most of them have lucrative bonuses from their shoe companies (or other sponsors) for breaking world records. So they have an incentive to break a world record, but not by so much where they can't do it again. This way, they can get multiple payments for breaking a world record if they do it incrementally instead of in one big chunk. As an example, if the world record for the 100 is 9.62 (or whatever it is), it makes more sense to run a 9.60, get the bonus for setting a world record, and then try to run a 9.58 the next time and get a second bonus. That will give you twice the payday than if you had run 9.58 the first time. The most obvious example of that is in the high jump or pole vault, where competitors stop jumping after they set a world record, instead of continuing to see how high they can go. No sense putting the record so high that they can't break it again.''

I did not know that. Costas probably doesn't either.