Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grantland SWPL Signals

Grantland sucks because you know it has the potential to be awesome but it is a circle jerk of progressive, SWPL status signaling. "Long form sports journalism skewed towards a younger crowd." That could be awesome. "Sports stories written for poseurs, SWPLs and people who hate sports." Not awesome. I like to criticize them and snipe at them on Twitter. It becomes comical how they respond, and the quick reaction to nut-job if you point out something obvious like "Hey, no one cares about the black secretary on Mad Men except you. Stop it SWPL." It might be a weekly contest as to who can out-SWPL who. They kicked it up a notch with "Best Sports Movie Villain of All Time".

Quickly in paragraph three, you get a snarky comment citing Hollywood's racism "tries to save the youths of black America by giving them pizza and letting them listen to rap while they play baseball because I guess black people aren’t any good at baseball unless they can listen to rap while they play it". It was probably to have rap music in the movie and on the soundtrack to appeal to black viewers since it was about a whitish guy helping black kids overcome inner-city struggles through sports (SWPL heaven). They have to signal they are on the right side of history. You already know where this is ending don't you.

Best line goes to Ivan Drago for "if he dies, he dies" or "I must break you". Amazing villain lines from an evil Commie boxer. We're doing OK. Best villain monologue somehow shoehorns a Lebowski mention. This is SWPL terrible. Best villain who could turn good is a discussion of Drago (again, how memorable!) and the guy from Mighty Ducks 2. Worst villain to possibly turn it around, I quote, "Racism in Remember the Titans. There’s no hope". They don't really mention another. Signal with claxon alarms. Was not the entire movie about overcoming racism through football? You mean there is no villain in any sports movie that they could discuss as horribly unredeemable? The bad guy in Karate Kid 3, Shelly Marcone in The Last Boy Scout, or any asshole in any sports film? Heinous Acts involves a Kickboxer film. Worst ideological beliefs mention the Nazis in Victory (easy) and.... the neo-nazis in Higher Learning. Wait, sports films. That was not a sports film. It was a college film or John Singleton masturbation sequence. Really SWPLs at Grantland? They finish things with best feud and best/worst looking villain where we get some homoeroticism thrown in and anti-Asian passage. Maybe Nic Cage is onto something.

Like all modern clickbait internet media, they get to "the list". It's Grantland. It's SWPL Sports. It's a "best" list. Of course number one is a non-sports character played by Tupac Shakur. Grantland is doing a good job of trying to push the idea that Tupac was a good actor. He plays a drug dealer. These closet cases call him "devastatingly handsome". Greatest villain no way associated with playing a sport in a sports movie would be "Milo" in The Last Boy Scout. This is about SWPL cred, which is the only kind of cred that matters. It's about selecting a non-athlete black character as the best villain in a movie genre about athletic competition. It's about signaling how goddamn progressive you are in every, single thing you do.

For the record...

5. The Warden from the original "The Longest Yard" - He nails the corrupt, Southern prison warden obsessed enough with football to threaten jail time to win big. Doesn't nail the accent, but you hate him.
4. Apollo Creed - Nice film version of Ali. Charismatic and condescending enough to get you behind the palooka underdog Rocky. His turn as a good guy makes his death in Rocky 4 so startling, well, to little kids who saw it in the theater.
3. Johnny Lawrence - I should have typed Cobra Kai, the dojo he trained in, which was run by an ex-Vietnam Vet from the special forces. Their slogan "no mercy" was once used by a Little League All Star team I played against. His minions were hysterical. Lawrence was the perfect '80s teen villain and even cheats at the end, making you hate him more.
2. Clubber Lang - He was Mike Tyson before there was a Mike Tyson. His lines, "Prediction? Pain", or "I'm gonna crucify him... real bad", and "hey woman hey woman...". He is an asshole to everyone. He kills Mickey. He trains in an old, dank looking gym. He was so memorable that they put Mr. T into the A-Team. He also was believable as a boxer.
1. Ivan Drago -  Sports movies are usually team sports movies so it is hard to have a villain as we want to build drama between two people: one good and one bad. Even in team movies, focus can slide to the coaches to mentally and emotionally duel. Ivan Drago in 1985 was a perfect phony villain from the USSR. He kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition. He has great lines. He is portrayed as a machine. A product of the science behind the Iron Curtain that we knew had been juicing athletes. It was the Cold War.

9 comments:

PA said...

"Friday Night Lights" was one of the few movies without a cartoon villain, except for the all-black powerhouse team, but they were an afterthought and didn't figure in until the end.

And even then, the conflict was internal: each player on the protagonist team overcoming his weakness and his demons.

BTW, my favorite sports movie is "Vision Quest," about a high school wrestler. For a number of reasons, I related to the character back in the 80, when I was a teen.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Vision quest is great because its a well done movie with sports. Louden and the peg board. His friend who pretends to be an Indian because he thinks his life sucks, the cook who talks about Pele, cutting weight, the hardcore tough opponent Shute, Louden's dad being that all time hardass actor and Linda Fiorentino as the tough sexy Italian. Classic!

PA said...

"whitish guy helping black kids overcome inner-city struggles through sports (SWPL heaven)"

Do you see much of that among swpls? I don't, except indirectly like through corporate "community" charity actions that mostly just girls get into.

The Uplift narrative ran string in popular culture through the early 90s. I don't see anyone sincerely-- or even out of vanity-- giving much a shit about Struggling InnaCity AffikanMericans. I suspect that Derbyshire and Sailed are right, in that swpls find any direct consideration of blacks more depressing than anything else.

As to pop culture, there's no Uplift message. That was replaced with Triumphalism. Blacks are no longer shown as needy; in ads and such, theyre now shown as in your face taunting or dominant.

PA said...

"Linda Fiorentino as the tough sexy Italian."

Also Madonna's only good song, "Crazy for You".

peterike said...

I think it was the unhinged SWPL worship of Cassius Clay that really kicked off the black-worship (of course, nobody knew they were SWPLs at the time, as that status game was just aborning).

Ali was the worst possible role model for black youth and other athletes, almost single handedly creating the athlete-as-obnoxious-jerk character that's ruled sports ever since (remember the "gentleman athlete"? neither does anyone else). The last thing young blacks needed as they were gaining entry into the white world was to be rebellious loud mouths, but that's what Ali taught them. And the white media praised him to the hilt for it. He's a universally beloved icon -- and like so many such black icons, it's entirely misplaced praise. He was a disaster for American culture, a corrosive cultural acid bath.

It would be an interesting book idea to trace the negative impact of Ali on black culture in particular and American culture in general, but anyone writing such a book would be instantly ruined.

Anonymous said...

Bill Simmons became much less interesting as he moved from just a guy with interesting opinions to a brand and editorial control began to increase. I am curious if moving to LA made Simmons actually buy into the PC/SWPL nonsense, or just made him much more aware of how strong the PC guardians are in the entertainment industry.

Grantland bill Simmons would never hire the boston sports guy bill Simmons

Chris said...

Our internet nickname for Bill Barnwell is "StatZodiac" because looks like a fucking serial killer.

This piece sucked, but as clickbait, well, it passes the time. Barnwell churning out crap before he can finally write about the NFL and Serrano appears to have proper IQ/melatonin ad-mix to get hired so that the Grantland group photo isn't all white dudes. (He wrote at the Houston city paper for 7 years.)

With grantland, you take the good with the bad and acknowledge there are several solid reasons to go the site:

1.) Lowe on the NBA
2.) Keri on MLB
3.) Simmons' occasional meanderings on the NBA/NFL
4.) Sean McIndone on the NHL
4.5) Barnwell on NFL (this was a whole reason last year, but Mike Tanier at SoE is much better.)

(Steve Hyden on music is not too shabby, either.)

Think of all of this stuff as a tax to get what you really like, except the tax is really avoidable. We are not privy to GLand's click numbers, but you have to think Lowe on the NBA gets, what, 100x the clicks as Molly Lambert's pop culture drivel? Or Katie Baker's garbarge on hockey? Or rembert's cultural meanderings? (When comments are allowed, they are almost all universally smart (SWPL) white dudes.)

And don't even get me started on ESPN's decision to hire Jason Whitlock to run a black grantland. colossal mistake (though he does has some merit as a columnist).

Mike said...

Closet case sounds right...just look at this mug:

http://blog.urbanoutfitters.com/files/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-17%20at%209.12.58%20AM.png

What is it about sports journalism that attracts so many closet cases? Check out Bill Conlin.

I gave up on that site a long time ago. Too much preening. The only guy I'd read at this point is Jonah Keri, who is smart enough to stick to his knitting and just write baseball.

Anonymous said...

Jock sniffing metrosexuals who wouldn't last three seconds on any field of play.