Friday, January 18, 2013

Class Notes week 1/14

What a week for explosive drama.  If you're a sportswriter or talk-show host, you got to be lazy this week in preparation as Manti Te'o and Lance Armstrong provided more than enough material to fill a column or a show.  The Golden Globes happened last weekend and saw Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take hosting a step forward.  Salute Don Cheadle for winning the Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series Award for his work on one of my favorite shows, House of Lies.  Here are the rest of my class notes for the week:

POLITICS:  We're still talking gun control, and that's a good thing.  I like how President Obama symbolically used children and the letters they wrote to him after the Newtown, CT tragedy to remind his fellow politicians that controlling assault weapons and their ammo is not simply about politics, but about people.  No family should have to live with the knowledge that their child might have been spared being riddled with bullets from a 100-round drum magazine if only the shooter had been background checked.  I'm also still waiting to hear a plausible argument for why you would ever need that kind of ammo in the first place unless you intend to maim big groups of people.  I applaud the President in that among his 23 executive orders, there were provisions included for mental health professionals to cooperate in the background screening process and there were also provisions for assault weapons recovered at crime scenes to be traced so we can begin to deal with the sources of these weapons.

SPORTS:  So Lance Armstrong decides to come clean about his use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) ideally so he can save the Livestrong organization that he built.  Instead of facing a sportswriter like Bryant Gumbel, Andrea Kremer, or Jason Whitlock, people who would really press him on why he perpetrated a lie for almost 15 years, he chose Oprah Winfrey.  This selection was a copout because while Oprah is a good interviewer, investigative journalism is not what she does, nor does she ever really dig in on someone she is interviewing to make them feel uncomfortable.  I did not watch the interview and I won't because the questions I would have for Lance aren't going to be answered.  Oprah didn't push him about why he intimidated and discredited teammates who came out against him. Nor did she press him on why he chose now to come clean.  I wanted to believe the Lance Armstrong narrative, and did for many years, but as teammates started to chip away at the legend one by one, common sense took over.  It is a complicated story in that his tainted athletic accomplishments gave him the platform to do so much good in the area of cancer research funding.  However, I believe he still would've had success as a cancer advocate without the seven PED-tainted Tour deFrance wins, and the story would've been real.  Beating brain and testicular cancer to come back and race in a 2,000+ mi competition would've worked as a hero story especially given that he was already a world champion.  Now, he'll have to cough up millions, and the Livestrong brand will forever be tarnished.

ENTERTAINMENT:  Lots of my favorite shows came back this week.  Makes it harder to maintain my writing discipline, but I'll make it.  My current Top 5:

1.  Suits
2.  House of Lies
3.  Californication
4.  Last Resort (can't believe it's already cancelled.  Andre Braugher is the man)
5.  Scandal (I can see that this show is gonna jump the shark for me very quickly)

TEAM CARROLL:  Lil Man took another step towards becoming the next Bruce Lee as he earned his 2nd degree yellow belt this past weekend.  It is truly amazing to watch the kid who bounces all over the house like a bouncy ball focus in when it's time to perform his skills.  

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