Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ahh-Pologizzzee: [say that in your best Kevin Kline voice from "A Fish Called Wanda"] Anyway, great take by a female Duke alum concerning the apology that the Duke Womens' Lacrosse Team deserves for standing behind the presumed innocent players throughout the rape-oh-but-it-wasn't scandal:

Last spring, one of the only groups that stood up against a tirade of prejudices were the members of the Duke Women’s Lacrosse team, led by their courageous coach, Kerstin Kimel. While the rest of the world was condemning the Men’s Lacrosse team as guilty, Coach Kimel was actively supporting the students and her players' choice to show their support by wearing wristbands with the numbers of the indicted players. Rather than highlight the fortitude and commitment to the truth of these accomplished female athletes, the media rained criticism down in the most sexist and dismissive ways.

She then goes on to quote from various national and regional media personalities who are quite scathing in their pre-determined judgment over not just the accused, but the womens' team for showing solidarity in the face of such whithering criticism.

The post then makes the greater point of how, when dealing with these type of "perfect storm" scandals, rather than focus on the individual, the great free press instead rushes to throw on generic labels; rather than report, they smear with very broad and dirty brushes:

Instead of highlighting the courage of the women’s lacrosse team, the media brought us Rolling Stone’s pop culture critique of Duke’s campus as half “The Devil Wears Prada” and half “Girls Gone Wild.” The transparently stupid article by Janet Reitman furthered the media firestorm that Duke was chock full of “drunk,” “horny” women whose lives consist of studying while on the treadmill and finding hot guys to hook up with. You see, it wasn’t intelligence, intuition, or courage that caused these women to support the men’s lacrosse team. It was, instead, the fact that they were sex crazed, stupid, and ignorant. (Someday, someone will have to explain to me how this qualifies as a “feminist” perspective.) Reitman completely exaggerated the Duke social scene by following several “core four” sorority girls who happen to support the lacrosse players and, therefore, according to Reitman, have subverted their feminist predecessors in order to emulate Britney Spears.

Personally, I still don’t understand how “laxers,” who make up 0.01175% of Duke undergraduates could that big of an influence on the social scene. I think I remember one from my time at Duke and recall far more Duke women jokingly lusting after the assistant men’s basketball coach Quinn Snyder than any lacrosse player. That’s right, everybody, basketball, not lacrosse, is the sport that dominates the social scene on Duke’s campus.

Anyway, read on...it's well worth it.

h/t Volokh.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Down Under: Just a brief ditty on the opening of the 2007 tennis season. Couple of surprises and some things not-so-surprising.

First off, Serena is winning -- not always convincingly, and certainly not without some degree of awkwardness, but she's winning. By all accounts, she's not in tip-top shape, but with all the rust, injuries and distraction over the past 2 years, it's good to see her challenging, and against a cruising Sharapova (who mind you, was thiiis close to losing in the first round), she will need every ounce of effort.

Roddick can't beat Roger. It wasn't even close. Unless Connors can lace-up, I don't think he's ever going to get Andy to "man up" against Roger in the Slams. It's just not pretty and it's unfortunate that we're not going to see a true rivalry in mens' tennis for some time.

Hingis is back. She hung tough against Clijsters, taking her to three sets (Clijsters had 62 (!) unforced errors), and reaffirms that grace can prevail, at least often enough, against power.

Nadal is his usual mixed bag off European soil. Still can't figure out the shorts concept.

I fear Blake just won't turn the corner. He is starting to remind me of a Henman -- a guy who is a gamer, tough, and undeniably talented, but seems to lack the extra gear to win a Slam. Now mind you, I'm not faulting the guy for not beating up on Federer, but just make a few finals at least to show you have the mental fortitude.

Finals predictions: Serena guts one out (pun intended). Federer in 4.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SOTU: Okay, I'm going to get back into the swing of things here. I've had some personal issues to work out, mostly related to having a new job and all, so apologies all around for being completely (well, nearly so) absent for the past two months.

Flyer -- nice comments on Vodkapundit by the way. I figure if Stephen is back, then so am I. And yes, the Supremes have always had to sit on their hand to show how "impartial" they are to the policy points put forth by the Prez that they will end up tearing into little pieces within a few years. Although I'm pretty sure Scalia was biting through his cheeks on the healthcare talk -- or maybe that was just the remains of his panacotta; either way.....

I think others remarked on this: the Prez seemed beaten (and I guess in a way he was). I was ready for him to come out and say: "And as for the War in Iraq -- I was wrong." and then watch Cheney tackle him, whip out his hunting shotgun, declare W unfit to serve, and announce that he was in charge and henceforth habeas corpus is hereby suspended and a curfew is announced -- temporarily of course.

But somehow, Bushie kept it together enough to stay to his utterly un-inspiring talking points. You know, the SOTU has been in a slow decline for the past, oh 50 years, and it's now to the point where I don't see the point. No president would dare ever say that the Union's state is anything but strong -- even when it's barely getting by on broken rims and the tailpipe is dragging. Moreover, the Constitution requires only that the President inform Congress what is shape of things, not introduce NBA players as model citizens -- although I would have paid money to hear Mutombo give the Democratic response. Here's a much more thoughtful review of the devolution of the SOTU.

Here is the short version: "The State of the Union is Kentucky. Once China goes off the dollar, we're all done for. The Military is completely confused, undermanned, and without morale. Social Security will bankrupt whatever is left, but hey, isn't that Baby Einstein something? I get a little confused watching those tapes, but Cheney says his daughter is buying them left and right in anticipation of her giving birth to the Anti-Christ, so there must be something to them. Ethanol = teh awesome. Madame Speaker, you may now drive this Country into the ground. Thank you and God (you know, the good one) bless America."