Saturday, October 25, 2014

Football Counter-Programming: Bye Week

There will be no Football Counter-Programming post today. I consider this my bye week.
I have several other things scheduled to do this Saturday and so I won't have time to write something to help distract you from the gridiron-based tyranny of Facebook on this Saturday.

To help you in my textual absence, here is an appropriately-themed photograph.
(This photo is not any sort of endorsement or prediction for this evening's Penn State/tOhio State football meet up.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Football Counter-Programming #8

It's another week of Football Counter-Programming here on WWYG?! (Sorry I was a bit later than normal in getting this out there, but I was having some fun with Grace and also spending some overdue time in the yard earlier in the morning.

But that doesn't matter now. Now I've got to get my thoughts out there on the internets and try to get you to think about something other than University football and whether or not State will beat College. And maybe you'll read this instead of taunting your alumni friend who bet you that Ole Miss was better than Georgia Tech. Or whatever. . .

I know it's a losing battle. But its a battle I'm determined to keep fighting.

This week, we're fighting against the tyranny of Saturday football with an examination of dualities.

I was taking a shower a few days ago and was thinking about how dual characters who are often flip sides of the same coins are often presented in movies and books. And so I started to list some of them in my head. For example, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker demonstrate this pretty well. Luke was the fair-haired naive kid that you would not be afraid to bring home to mom and dad.

But Han? Well, he's the dashing rogue that is a bit dangerous (though maybe with a heart of gold). He's the guy that give you that little thrill that you're transgressing.

You know what I mean.

How about Veronica and Betty? The two girls from the Archie comics? Betty is the "sweet" blonde (the Luke) and Veronica is the "dangerous"brunette" (the Han). Archie is always in conflict over which of the two he is going to choose and the two girls are constantly in conflict with each other over him. I think this may be the first duality set of this type that I was introduced to when I was young. (Though, of course, I didn't really understand what I was looking at during that time.)

There was, however, another option from my childhood that is cut from the very same sort of dual nature and you are most likely already yelling at me because I didn't start the examples with this one. It is, of course those two desert island girls from Gilligan's Island--the farm girl versus the Hollywood sexpot. The girl next door versus the dreamboat.
It's Ginger versus Mary-Anne.
Now, most guys have sat around (probably in college) and had this discussion. And I'm pretty sure that I always chosen Mary-Anne. Because she seemed nicest and most interested in Gilligan as a person. Ginger was always in the middle of some scheme and you always felt that what SHE really wanted was the get something for herself and eventually get off of the island and back to her career in Hollywood. She didn't really care about Gilligan at all.

Heck, she never even made him a coconut pie. Mary-Anne was making pies for Gilligan all the time!

Do you want some other examples?

Let us go more modern this time. But we're still going to stick to the good GIRL/bad GIRL scenario. But we'll cross titles rather than stick within one universe. What better example than Hermione Granger versus Bella Swan.

If you look up "Hermione versus Bella"on the Internet, you'll find plenty of fan-generated evidence to prove why Our Ms. Granger is so much better than Bella Swann. Heck, you can probably type the phrase in the search field on Why Won't You Grow?! and find several instances where I've ranted on this this topic over the years. I know I've said before which type I'd want my own girls to grow up to be like.


But let's move away from the girls. How about some guys (other than Luke and Han) that might fit the bill? The first one's that came to my mind were John Locke and Jack Shepherd--two of the main leading men of one of my favorite shows, LOST. Dr. Jack Shepherd was often shown on the program as the Man of Science. Jack believed in Reason and how effort would lead to results. That through logic and choice you could fix your problems.Sometimes this worked and sometimes it very definitely did not.

John on the other hand? Well, he was the Man of Faith. He believed in  (and fell victim to) leaps of belief and mysticism. He let him emotions and his hunches guide him through many, many decisions. John fought his way through many problems in his life and he felt that his belief and his innate "specialness" was what gave him the rewards provided by the Island. But it also made him vulnerable to the manipulations of others (and Others).

Jack, I think, relied on his emphasis on reason and logic because deep inside he didn't think he was special at all. And some of that was due to his father's difficult upbringing methods. Since Jack had not strong faith within himself, for himself, he has to rely on outside forces and choices to guide his decisions.

There was also on LOST the other famous dual choice between Jack and Sawyer. This was a more classic example of the Good Guy/Bad Guy option. Or . .  at least it appeared that way in the beginning. Jack the Doctor versus Sawyer the crooked con artist. But as the show progressed, we certainly got to see that both men had character flaws big enough to drive a Dharma minibus through. And neither one was a cut-and-dried as they seemed to be in the beginning.

And isn't that the point with these kids of characters? It helps quickly set up a visual short-hand for the viewer when introducing a new show and finding ways to signal intent without lots of verbal expeditionary word salad. It relies on what we know, what we've seen. It's the modern day William Campbell stereotypes for the pop culturalist. Through time, these characters might be allowed to change, to grow, to deepen and embiggen themselves into more than just a collection of ticks and wardrobe clues. (At least, with good writers and enough time, you hope this might happen.)

But . . . what about your thoughts? Can you think of other examples that fit? Men and women dual pairs? Something from a genre other than television and movies? How about religious figures? Leave your thoughts.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Football Counter-Programming #7

I'm going to be out of town on Saturday, so earlier this week I asked the digiverse for suggestions on which direction I should jump for the Saturday Football Counter-Programming post.

And, as I should have expected . . . absolutely NO ONE responded with any opinion at all. (My efforts as crowd-sourcing my paltry digital efforts are going nowhere.)

So, I'm forced to avoid ALL of those topics and come up with something else half-assed and poorly considered. Business as usual . . .


But what is there to talk about? I'm frankly at a loss. All I've done in the last week is work, come home, keep up with the kids a bit in the evening, watch some TV, then go to bed. Nothing exciting happened at all this week. At least nothing exciting happened to me.

Did anything noteworthy happen to you this week/ What are your weekly routines like? Do you prefer comfortable routine or do we yearn for the unexpected? Some of you carve out time to exercise each week, I know. So how do you do that? Do you prefer to exercise early in the morning or do you do it in the evening once your responsibilities are finished? Do you go to a gym or do you just do it yourself at home? These are the things that I'm asking YOU, since I don't have any ideas of my own this week (and I can't spend another blog post just writing about television, thought I still have LOTS of television to write about.)

Have you watched Gone Girl? What about "New Girl"? Or maybe you're just waiting around for regular "Girls"? Or do you like to read books? Have you read the Gone Girl book? (I haven't yet but I feel I should before I watch the movie.)

I've have Gravity sitting on my DVR for the past few weeks and haven't yet carved out the time to watch it. What was the last movie you saw? Or maybe the last movie you put off watching like me? Once you saw that movie (whatever it was) did you like it or were you disappointed? The last movie I saw in theater was Guardians of the Galaxy and it was pretty good, but there was some disappointment there as well. It's just not as good as everyone NEEDED it to be, you know?

What else do you know? Do you watch Jeopardy! a lot? I used to watch that show but never on a predictable basis. Speaking of predictable, I've never watched Saturday Nigh Live that much either. (Did you know it is now in its 40th season?) I've just never made the time to watch it. Have you? What was the last great cast that the show had? (Do you think Jan Hooks was killed by Tom Cruise?)

These are the thoughts that I have this week? Leave me some comments with answers to my questions, why don't you?

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Football Counter-Programming #6

Welcome to Week 6 of WWYG?!'s Football Counter-Programming. Each week I try to provide a counterstrike to the unrelenting swarm of football-related posts that fill up your Facebook feed each Saturday during the fall season.


To be fair, I've had some issues trying to figure out the best topic for this week's offensive. Each week prior to this one, I've had a quick idea going in and I was ready to go. But this week, I've been busy with other things and didn't devote any specific time to early preparation or thought.

One thing I can say, however, is that the part of the post-writing task that I am increasingly enjoying less and less is finding a suitable image to visualize these posts. As you can see by scrolling back through these posts, I've tried to find something football-related but inflected with a nerdy/geeky/non-sports-related twist. (To be fair, I think the one that I used in week 1 was my overall favorite--Adam West's Batman doing a Heisman against a stormtrooper.) But the last few weeks, I've been trying to find some other images . . . and the pickings are disturbing.

The problem is that for the last few week's I've been using "fantasy football" as a search term, in part because of the image that I found and used in Week 3. As you might guess, I've found several different sorts of images that take "football" and combine it with the "fantasy" angle in very disappointing ways. Imagine "babes" in every manner of undress--but wearing shoulder pads! or holding a football! or whatever SPORTS!-related nonsense someone can think of.

None of this is surprising certainly, though admitting that is as disappointing as anything else. It makes me think of the various stories that have been in the regular and digital media in the last few weeks--a rolling series of sexual abuse problems within the YouTube community, the problems of sexual harassment covered most recently by the Daily Show (please watch out for salty language in this one), GamerGate, the annual nonsense surrounding female Halloweek costumes, or whatever else you want to point to.

I guess what I'm talking myself into writing here is that it is hard to be female, even in this most free and liberal country. It is hard to be female and I won't try to go further than that, since I'm NOT female so I shouldn't presume to be able to speak to the issue with real meaning.

But I want to acknowledge it. And I'm going to try to pay attention to it since I've got three young ladies of my own to guide and raise and worry about during the rest of my life. And I hope that they will arm themselves with a strong sense of self that protects them from the nonsense of the world's expectations placed UPON them.

So . . . I guess that is it for today. Not the most uplifting of topics, I guess. But it was what came out of my fingers as I sat down to type. What's YOUR opinion about the topics I linked to above? What examples of problems do you know of? What are your concerns? Put your thoughts into comments.