Tag Archives: analysis

Does the sport make the star or does the star make the sport? Black Stars Burn Brightest…

It is without doubt that Professional Sports plays a major role in the lifeblood of America.  It does everything from pushing the economy forward,to providing heroes for the youth to aspire towards, to galvanizing entire regions across cultural lines.

Yes, America loves its Sports.  Some may even go as far as to say that the ritual of Sunday football has replaced the ritual of attending Church. The energy once used to worship “God” has been averted to the anticipation, elation and praising of football teams and their stars.

Indeed America loves its sports and the stars that they produce.

2015/01/img_4161.pngAmerica loves its athletes.  We are no different than any other civilization, just like the Romans of yesteryear, we hold our Gladiators in High Esteem.  In fact we hold our stars in high esteem no matter what arena they participate in.  As long as they are an entertainer, there will be somebody that can relate to them and there to give praise.

The argument arises, does the sport make the star or does the star make the sport.  Conventional thinking would lead one to believe that no one person is bigger than the sport.  Like David Ruffin and the Temptations no one part can thrive without the sum.  But I would beg to differ.  Perhaps no one single person can persuade the game one way or another, but a subset can have a tremendous impact on the popularity of said sport.  And I have food for thought, that may offer strong persuasion.

Let’s look at the most popular sports in America, currently Football reigns supreme; followed by basketball and at a distant third baseball.  There was a time when Baseball claimed the thrown, and then it struggled to keep it but eventually capitulated and gave way to the current king–Football.

But Why?

Is it a direct result of a shift in the demographics of America.  Is it due to the fast pace society that we live in and the American continuum wants a fast pace sport to parallel its pacing.  Or is it something subconsciously deeper than that.

Follow me, America has an affinity for its stars and in particular its Black stars.

2015/01/img_4162.pngLet’s look at a low hanging fruit—Golf.  I don’t have the numbers but I can definitively correlate the spike and decline of golf with the oscillation of Tiger Wood’s Greatness.  He single handedly brought the sport from the rungs and gutters of popularity to the forefront of American Consciousness.  As his “Scandle” ensued and his decline in play sprang forth as did the popularity of Golf.  Just look at the ratings.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4163-0.pngLet’s take a look at the sport of female tennis.  Can we say it received a jolt of enthusiasm with the influx of a certain two sisters?  I’m not even sure how much relevance the female tennis world captured without that shining Eastern Star Serena and her sister Star Venus.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4164.pngBasketball  was a sport on the fringes of being popular.  A sport with an identity crisis, it didn’t know if it wanted to be great or not.  Back in the 80’s the NBA was on the verge of something special with star power of Bird and Magic.  These stars shined indeed but they weren’t enough to bring the NBA to the Billion dollar business that it is today, sitting comfortable in the royal court of the King–Football.  No—it was arguable the brightest black star of all time—the marketing creation of one Michael Jordan.  This bright star single handedly carried the NBA on his back–the Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods.  Before him, 100 million dollar contracts were unheard of.  He parted the Red Sea and allowed for the NBA to ascend to the peak of its popularity.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4165.pngFootball—the king in this sports jungle.  Now football is a bit of an anomaly I would admit.  It is a sport flooded by Black stars but you can honestly say there is no polarizing figure.  In fact, it is a sport that hails its white stars.  Yet footballs popularity didn’t increase until it received an infusion of Black athletes if not stars.  The 80’s is when football first spotted it’s opening for the crown, but it wasn’t until Baseball, former King, exposed its chink in its armor.  A sport that thought it was too Big for its Black Stars, which eventually led to its downfall.  Yet as we see today, football sits atop its thrown gazing over its kingdom as it embraces its litany of Black Stars.  And baseball looks at what was, and like a scorned lover: looks back on what could have been.

America loves its Black Stars.

This brings us to Baseball, “America’s Past Time”.

2015/01/img_4166.pngWhat happened to Baseball?

Suicide happened. –Self-inflicted misery by way of Pride. I will tell you what happened, Baseball and the powers to be got fed up.  It got fed up with its Black stars.  It became fed-up with the arrogance of seeing these young Black Stars shining so brilliantly.  It grew tired of these young flashy, wealthy, insolent stars.  It felt, man, talent is multi-cultural; I can replace these egregious, haughty black stars with colored stars from another land.  Yah, that’s it…I’ll go down and get these Latin American stars that look the same and play the same and we’ll teach them.  But its plan backfired.

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Because  America loves its Black Stars.

Key word being “its”.  Not someone else’s Black stars, America loves its Black Stars.  I would argue that the decline in Baseball popularity is a direct result of its systematically ushering out of its Black Stars.  The same arrogance and haughty nature it despised is the same arrogance and haughty nature America seeks to embrace.  We love our Dennis Rodman’s.  We love our Dion Sander’s.  We love our Mike Tyson’s.  We love to hate our Lebron James’s.  We love our Charles Barkley’s.  No matter what form or fashion they come in—we Love our Black Stars.

There is a deeper issue here as to why this axiom is true, but that is for another blog at another time.

Baseball should take it as a lesson learned.  Although, without the sport there would be no superstar one could clearly see that without the superstar the sport doesn’t quite shine.

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Hip Hop…The Gift and Curse (an analysis: does art imitate life or vice versa)

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

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We will examine the medium of rap or hip-hop music and its function in American culture. We will attempt to examine this expression of art from an honest– objective perspective.

There exist many influential mediums that utilize audio and visual stimulation– music and television—hip-hop is just a drop in a bucket of a larger lexicon. With each of these mediums the question of what influences what becomes blurred and almost indistinguishable. I see it as such: the 80/20 rule. The art impacts the lives that perceive it, and the creators of the art are impacted by aspects of life that they wish to convey. Art tends to imitate a portion of life that is provocative or noteworthy and it highlights and often embellishes this phenomenon.

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Life, on the other hand, is very much influenced by what it perceives. So life, or a portion of life, will reside in the comfort of the status quo– while the rebellious nature, that desires change, will often imitate art. And seek this art out as a means of expressing this innate desire for change. It then becomes a self-referential pattern if you will. Art– bringing to the forefront of society something hidden and unbeknownst to the majority. In turn the highly suggestible of society will imitate this art. From this process “pop” icons and influential figures are birthed creating their own phenomenon. Seemingly out of no where, stars are born and the strength of their gravitational pull draws people in. And for a time these figures tend to exercise an influence of power until their star power fizzles out and they are replaced by the next cultural icon.

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There is a thin line between art and propaganda…

Let us examine the art of hip-hop– art in form but a device in function. It serves many purposes in the modern era. A means of marketing… A means of venting… A medium to exchange knowledge… A means of individual expression…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3946.pngIn its inception hip-hop was a pure Art form. It served as a voice of a disenfranchised portion of society—as a means to both express and provide a healthy fun outlet for individuals. Hip-hop was a four-point art form that included break dancing, DJing, graffiti display, and MCing (actual oral poetry on top of a beat– rapping). In its current state, hip-hop has become mutated into a disfigured remnant of itself. The art form has been raped, ravaged, exploited, commercialized, and pimped out to the highest bidder–and not by accident but through systematic design.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3949.jpgThe phenomenon of hip-hop has evolved. It is a powerful force that has the ears and energy of the youth. There was a time when the art form spoke out about social injustices among the disenfranchised—it gave knowledge to the youth about who they were and could be in a positive light.

It provided quality dance music that allowed the body to freely expressive itself and tune in with energies of the natural environment. Hip-hop enlightened the youth by dropping conscious jewels. It had its flaws but it was an overall positive powerful force in American society.

But special interest became intertwined with the art. Money became their means of infiltration and manipulation. Fame became a poison, and artist placed fame above the art. Statistics and money became the major motivation of producing the art while talent and artistry began to gradually lose significance. Artist began to utilize gimmicks in aims of selling records and lost the purpose of the art form. Money became the only purpose of making the music. The art began to glorify opulence– unrealistic life styles, misogyny, violence, and drug culture. The art began to sell hope.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3952.pngHope for an illusion.

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Thus we have liquor companies investing heavenly into hip-hop culture—soliciting their products through song lyrics and music videos. You have the industrial prison complex having mutual interest with record labels encouraging violence and illicit drug use. You have the drug underworld “powers to be” having a vested interest in the art helping market new drugs and so forth to susceptible ears.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3956.jpg We have the fashion-industry sponsoring artist to market their name-brands that the susceptible hold with such prestige and a manifestation of self-esteem.

And so on and so on and so on…

So hip-hop current state is in a tug-of-war.

With the advent of the Internet, music is not so much a monopoly. Generally those controlling the means of distribution and marketing the music hold all of the power. Now there are different channels for a pure artist to reach their target market. Hip-hop has a means of organically resurrecting itself. And the recent success of hip-hop artist J. Cole is encouragement enough to show that hip-hop is beginning to rebirth itself.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3957.png(With little to no marketing, he outsold major pop-hop artist who had major labels backing them.)

People are addicted to the relate-ability and appeal of the music to their lower-selfs. Not elevating but staying within the bestial realm of the carnal senses—and this serves a purpose. So the music is marketed towards this sect. The 808s and rhythmic drums awaken and lead the subconscious, awakening the body and having it involuntarily move in conjunction with these rhythms. The mind absorbs the lyrics and registers them. The lyrics repeat over and over and begin to evoke thought. And before you know it the music becomes a part of you. You’ve imitated what you are to become. As the people begin to desire more from their music, the art form will become what it once was. The people will awaken from their comatose state, for hip-hop is the spirit of the people. As the spirit awakens the non-sense we gradually die.

Such is the nature of art it both enlightens and it condemns…

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014): Analysis of Power

The extremely popular action/drama Hunger Games is yet another depiction of a Dystopian society in which the working class revolts against the ruling elite. A la “V for Vendetta” an old white man is penned as the enemy– serving as the symbol of a patriarchal dominant society being ruled without balance.

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Although, it would appear your typical underdog narrative, I will examine the story from a cynical eye, and perhaps the story isn’t so much what it is presumed to be.

Enter the Mockingjay. The pervading symbol and theme of the plebeian throughout the film. It is the representative of freedom, choice, and harmony– for the Mocking jay sings in harmonious unison with its peers.

But is freedom truly what they are fighting for?

Or is it simply the lesser of two evils that they are fighting for?

A duality is presented in the film. Dualities always provide a unique phenomenon to the human experience because on some level the mind automatically antagonizes the two sides against each other. The conscious mind would assume that they are opposing sides just because the two are juxtaposed. Yet these “opposing sides” within the film are more alike than dissimilar.

The phrase “Anyone can be replaced” is uttered by a prominent character within the plebeian hierarchy–Plutarch Heavensbee. This phrase alone implicates so much. It informs the viewer that we too are a machine and every cog in the machine is disposable and replaceable. Just because we are rebelling against a corrupt system we too are a system. We too have power that we will exercise and infringe upon the individual one way or another.

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Thus, the outer shell of each system of rule may be slightly different, but the brain inside the monsters are eerily similar. The brain of the current system is headed by President Snow– who represents the patriarchal dominant elite. The brain of the system seeking to usurp the current system is Plutarch Heavensbee– which coincidence enough was once a prominent figure within the old system. They both use similar tactics and have similar mindsets. They both are obsessed with Katniss and want to use her as a means to further their cause. They both are heavy into using images as a means to manipulating public opinion. They both understand the strength Of symbols and use them to further their cause.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2014/12/img_3884.pngThey both realize the power of the superficial — the show and showmanship if you will, and what affect it has on the human psyche: presentation is everything. What happens on the surface inspires that which is below. As above so below is the principle that is utilized much throughout the film. Both sides seek to destroy the superficial in aims of securing what’s underneath, and this is done through the many psychological and emotional ploys used during the film.

Fear seemed to be the most prominent control mechanism used during the film. Both sides utilized it. The ruling party used fear to secure and maintain the status quo and to dissuade the rebellious. The rebels used fear to inspire said rebellion and to make “a statement” in the face of the ruling party.

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An interesting point that the film highlighted were the challenges of detaching from the comfort of the norm and starting over–leaving all the comfort and amenities to start fresh and with nothing. The personal greed of the individual provides the foundation of class structured societies. Nobody wants to “lose” what they have in order to help the next man. They would much rather sacrifice the next man for their own sustainability. This transitionary period creates the most disdain. The period between leaving the old and beginning again is the hardship many do not want to bare. This can be paralleled with any class structured society, because the capturers provide enough reason for the captured to love being captive.

It is interesting enough that the rebels are quelling one system of bureaucracy to replace it with another. Propaganda is a strong tool utilized by both sides. Strict edicts are an effective tool utilized by both sides. Minus the hope and justified inspiration is one side anymore right? Ironically enough with the nature of power and the nature of systems the ultimate outcome will have an inevitable end.

The axiom that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely may always hold true when leadership is held by the unrighteous. The same class structures will persist. The same inequalities will find themselves manifesting and the monster simply will be rebirthing herself anew!

The monster will have a new exterior but the core makeup of the monster of the system has not changed at all. As above so below, and she will inevitably show her true nature.

So the question remains: how do we attain true freedom?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2014/12/img_3883-0.png Or is this a natural order of things? For man to destroy themselves in a cyclical manner. Man grows too big, man knocks itself down, man grows too big and the cycle continues. Is this just some sort of balance or natural order we innately maintain to keep some semblance of order upon the planet. We “can’t” be too big in a sense and the conquering spirit of man will not allow us to be too small either.

This film leaves me with more questions than answers. It does examine the pitfalls of big government. It is more than apparent that in order for a large government to work the freedoms of the majority must be sacrificed. And to trade freedoms for comforts is not what a true individual wants, but I can understand why very few choose to leave the comfort of passivity.

One thing for sure is that this film awakens a rebellious seed within all of us. It may never be brought to fruition for the majority of onlookers, but the fact that this film is grossly popular is proof that it does indeed exist.

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