Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl Eve, random thoughts

Since I have to work a double shift on Sunday, I will miss viewing the big game as was the reality last year. Unfortunately as this might be a game I would want to see unlike last year it came apparent that I did not miss much.

With this upcoming game, in light of the concussion issue. People are asking the question "Should you let your son play tackle football?" I question I ask is should you let your son watch the NFL at all. Parents freak out over entertainment content with fictional violence like movies and video games. But have no problem with the NFL that is entertainment based on REAL VIOLENCE.

Video Games get content ratings. E for everyone, T for Teen, M for mature a AO for Adults only.
If pro sports were given these ratings.

MLB and the NBA would get E

NHL would get T

NFL and MMA would be an M rated sport.

As for content, parents whine during the super bowl when Janet Jackson gets here nipple exposed, or Beyonce on how she dresses or MIA flipping the bird, because "children are watching".

It is time to face reality, the NFL is a sport filled with content if it was in another form of entertainment we would be steering kids away from, Violence, Sexualization of women and it is all dripping with a toxic form of masculinity.  Super Bowl itself has 4 million dollar ads that are either for junk foods, alcoholic beverages,  erection inducing medications finishing that off is the yearly tradition of risque ads. 

Every time some violent incident happens in our school we blame movies or Call of Duty. But when we hear of some horrific hazing ritual involving High School Football players, the game never gets blamed . Only until recently were these players are even getting punished. As with the case of  Hazing case at Sayerville War Memorial High School, the parents actually complained when the Principal and School Board did the right thing and laid down the ban-hammer of justice an cancelled the entire football season. One such mother and several others did not think that players being anally violated was such a big deal worthy of punishment.

Honest Truth, Football is not and never was a child's game, and if fear of concussions exclude more and more children from the sport, as polls show that 50% of families do not want their children playing. Less children will be watching, if you complain that the Super Bowl is now a raunchfest. If the NFL loses an entire generation, all they will have left is this current generation of fans who will be getting older, shrinking and not getting any new younger fans to replace them. It will also be managed and controlled by these same fans. This is where the NFL could very well be heading in the next 25 years. Super Bowl 75 could be the game that is noted by future sports writers as the one sliding into irrelevancy as a  violent T&A parade for aging men trying to hold on to the fading embers of a now anachronistic form of masculinity that has long been rendered obsolete and has no other place to exist anymore.

How Do I know this? Am I some cultural soothsayer? No because there is one entertainment medium where this has already happened, is it boxing? The sport that other writers have given parallels to since the concussion crisis broke. No its not.

This new parallel is Comic Books, MARVEL and DC books to be exact.

Comic Book medium right now is in bad shape, it went from monthly sales in the millions in the golden age to an average 50,000 a month. Despite Super Heroes raking in big money in the box office, video game sales and huge ratings with shows like Arrow and Flash. The Medium is sliding into irrelevancy as children do not read the books. Because back in the 90s the fanboys and collectors drove them away, and made it all about them. The current group of readers are Male age 30-60 and when DC did their New 52 restart they fired all female artists and writers, because they wanted comics to be their own HE-MAN girl haters club. As a result the current quality of their product is showing.

Comic books are less about heroic action but violent graphic action with female heroes who are nothing more than sex props because it now for and by males who still have the sexual maturity of 15 year-olds.Want an example just Google "Starfire New 52"

It is possible that the NFL could share the same fate of DC comics in 25 years. Monday Night Football games could now just cater to hyper masculine middle age men. Games will reflect this with cheerleaders who make today's women look demure in comparison, whose routines resemble something more in common with strippers than cheerleaders. Not only will these moms not let their kids play the sport. but they will not let them watch it either. With 50% of those sons being raised by single/divorced Moms, it will be huge attrition rate of future fans.

Much of the ills facing comic books has to do with accessibility of the medium to younger readers and the failure to adapt. So far the NFL has shown no ability to adapt, while mothers are pulling their kids out of tackle football over brain trauma. Goodell and Company are still trying to  convince those same mothers with the Heads Up program. A program that has many doctors and even John Madden, (the guy that those video games are named after) unconvinced.

Instead of just switching to flag or touch and then letting that be at least a starter foundation to a eventual graduation to full contact when their bodies are mature enough. They are trying to repackage and resell the same dangerous product instead of changing it to face the challenges of a new era. It is what the NFL has always done to PROTECT THE SHIELD(tm). We see it with their "No More" anti domestic violence ad, a PR response to the horrific Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases and their equally appalling response to it. Am I convinced in their sincerity in dealing with this issue? NO because this is the same NFL that actually makes a profit on merchandise sold for Breast Cancer Awareness.

All of this has a feel of a long time institution that is now reaching it's peak, The Peak is only recognizable with the decline that follows.

Final Thoughts....Go Seahawks. Only because my team is the Lions, and I am sick of deflated balls.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Charlie Hebdo and the dangers of Satire.

There is a reason why religious extremists attacked a satrical newspaper in Paris France. That reason is that Satire is DANGEROUS, not only to religions the people in power, but to celebrities and genres of entertainment as well.

There is a rule I read somewhere that when some piece of culture is about to die it becomes a self parody. We saw this with Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson or any favorite show near the end of its run. It is the same story they all degrade into becoming a JOKE.  We are seeing this with religious fundamentalism. Fact is...they are dying. Here in the USA the youngest generation of adults, the millennials are abandoning religion. One half do not identify with the religion of their parents, and one fourth are completely secularized. Much has to do with the rise of the internet as the free flow of information makes it harder for these extreme sects to keep followers, the bigotry and scandals from church leaders and the outright violence some terrorist groups does not help.

Major reason for the decline is that these religions are no longer in control of the culture, why do you think evangelical christian pastors speak out against Hollywood and secular entertainment?

Fact is evangelical Christianity to the young adults is a JOKE. Sure people will laugh at a joke, but they will not BELIEVE in or follow one.

We have Kirk Cameron literally going bananas over evolution, during Halloween he ranted about Jesus's sacrifice was an attempt to embarrass Satan, or something. Then he did a 90 minute insane rant in form of a film called Saving Christmas. A movie that now has the IMDB #1 spot for Worst Movie ever. It beat out Manos the Hands of Fate, Battlefield Earth and that Oogieloves movie. That is a major accomplishment.

Recently we have Saudi Cleric issuing a fatwa against Snowmen for being blasphemy against Islam.

Ellen DeGeneres then responded to another pastor who claimed that she uses Taylor Swift to recruit young girls into lesbianism.  Secular world does not need Charlie Hebdo to satire them, because they are doing it themselves. They wonder why the youth of the world do not take them seriously.

In Kentucky we have Creationist Ken Ham trying to prove the world that he Bible is the literal infallible  word of God by trying to build a life sized replica of Noah's Ark. So far he is EPICALLY FAILING at it. Unlike Noah and his family, Ham needs government money to pay skilled contractors with modern equipment, to prove that the Ark is real.

To make matters worse for them, these same young adults get their news and world view not shaped not by Fox News or the Church, but the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Fundamentalists have lost the culture war and the youth, but they still in America have the GOP and it's politicians. Because they can still get the older Americans who adhere to their message. They now still have political influence. Influence that is aging and dying off without any youth to replace them.
 The same youth who voted in Obama and the only reason they won big in 2014 was because those same young adults did not show up. Well in 25 years they are going to go from just voting to RUNNING for office and they will change BOTH PARTIES, for the GOP it will mean dumping the religious conservatives that is if they are not all dead already.

What we are seeing now is just the first death throes. Religion is like Elvis in the 70's, overweight, drugged up, constipated and now having rambling meltdowns on stage in front of silver haired women who still get all shook up over him. While their bored grandchildren wonder what the big deal was about this guy in the first place.

One day these religions, like Elvis will take their last dump in the toilet and be found dead in the puddle of vomit. What happens to religions when they die? Do they stay dead forgotten forever, if they were so lucky. After his death Elvis lived on as tabloid conspiracy theory fodder and with various Las Vegas impersonators. In many ways this is the true Afterlife of the King

Religions go through something simular when they die. Their theology becomes mythology, long time ago Zeus, Hercules and Thor were very real to people. Now Thor is a Marvel Comic Book superhero, and Hercules was and still is the subject of many (awful) movies and the rest of the pantheon has become the subject of many a video game, movie and other forms of entertainment.

This is the afterlive of religions, deep down the true believers know this, one day there will be a blockbuster 3D film with Jesus Christ fighting his own brother for the fate of mankind with blaster guns and laser swords in space.

Their Lord and Savior will just become another Comic Book Superhero.