Category Archives: Spectacle

Amanda Palmer Writes A Poem, And The Internet Explodes

In what is apparently the Making It All About You Department, the not-always-social-media-savvy Amanda Palmer has written a poem titled “A Poem For Dzhokhar” on her blog over the weekend. Although the work does venture into what Suspect #2 (and his brother, Suspect #1, aka the Tsarnaev Brothers of last week’s horrific Boston marathon bombings) might be thinking, the references to iPhone battery life, Vietnamese soft rolls, and the Oh-my-Godiest line of all: “you don’t know how to tell the girl in the chair next to you that you’ve been peeking at her dissertation draft and there’s a grammatical typo in the actual file name” indicates that this poem is more about Amanda calling attention to Amanda. (We’ll let the crime of all lower-casing rest for now.)

So, the Internets noticed. Spin called it “a new low” (and paired it with an engineered-to-scare photo of Amanda enjoying a ball pit more maniacally than she might have intended), Gawker called it “the worst poem ever written,” and one blogger wrote biting parodies. And, predictably, the greatest handwringing on the Internets was of the “Neil Gaiman has to stay married to her?” variety.

It’s really not, to be fair, the worst poem ever written — it has all the hallmarks of being quickly dashed off, in an attempt to enter the dialogue in a way that’s clearly marked with her own voice and her own worldview. She has adoring fans, to be sure, and when you raise over a million dollars on Kickstarter and create a fantastic album in response, it maybe makes you feel like you can do no wrong, even after last year’s Unpaidmusiciangate — a pretty definitive indication that the Internets will not always love you.

Here’s the problem — we’re all watching from a distance right now as the FBI, CIA, and whoever else is questioning Dzhokhar right now trying to get into his head. We’re pretty sure that he wasn’t bleeding to death hiding in a boat thinking about Vietnamese soft rolls, and if he was, we’re not concerned about that. We want to know more important things, like why did they try to kill people, was he and his brother working with other terrorists to kill people, and are there plans to kill anymore people, including any additional bombs hidden in Boston. Right now, getting into the mind of the bomber isn’t a journey to the land of aesthetic ennui and artists-who-made-it problems for those of us who feel compelled together. We want to see the blueprint imprinted in that mind — namely, a plan to hurt and kill innocents, a plan that worked, a plan that took an eight-year-old boy and two young women from the world. We collectively want to know the extent of the plan so we can begin to heal and fight the fear and bewilderment that terrorism means. There’s a time and place for navel-gazing art. The galvanic response to Amanda’s thoughts on Amanda as filtered through Dzhokhar is the audience saying that this is not quite the time and place.

(Update: The title was arbitrary, and it only took her nine minutes to write the poem. We suspected as much.)

He Bites, He Dives, He Hates the Jackson Five: The Enigmatic Luis Suarez Just Got More Enigmatic

Sometimes, sport transcends itself and becomes something of which the whole world takes notice. Sometimes, it’s as a result of something very dramatic and on the field of play and amazing. Something, though, it’s Tiger Woods driving his SUV into a tree and setting off a whole investigation into his sex life, or it’s Mike Tyson doing any number of Mike Tyson things, or, as happened yesterday for the second time in his career (speaking of Mike Tyson things), it’s Luis Suarez biting an opposing player (Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanonic) in the middle of a game between two of the most high-profile English football clubs.

It’s even more remarkable in that the referee didn’t see it, Suarez was allowed to stay in the game, and scored the last-gasp, game-tying goal. Suarez is no stranger to controversy — the “he bites, he dives, he hates the Jackson Five” is an awesome soccer chant referring to a past biting incident (when he played for Holland’s Ajax), his propensity to pretend to be fouled, and his prior ban for racism toward Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. In other words, dude’s an enigma — eminently talented, but a certified jackass. (That doesn’t even include this jackassery on the world stage playing for his native Uruguay in the last World Cup.)

After the game, the Fox Soccer crew questioned Suarez’ IQ and ability to function in society, and Twitter was alight with mirth about the incident. Our personal favorite was “Dinner is Serb,” in reference to Ivanovic’s heritage, though there were plenty of cracks about Suarez just wanting a “taste of Champions League football” (which you instantly get if you follow the English Premier League). Suarez will surely feel the wrath of a suspension and a fine, though perhaps the Gulag of Hilarious Internet Memes is where he’ll feel this the most.

(Update: The memes in question. The last one is particularly LOL-worthy.)

Cocaine and Horse-Punching: Soccer Has A Bad Weekend

Courtesy of Deadspin, here’s all you really need to know about how soccer went in England this past weekend.

Millwall’s motto is “No One Likes Us,” so news of their fans at the FA Cup semi-finals fighting in the stands isn’t surprising. But fighting with each other, allegedly while coked-up, is pretty much next-level.

Still, though, that last video. A Newcastle fan, after a horrible loss to rivals Sunderland, in what’s been a really frustrating season, punching a horse. PUNCHING A HORSE.

What Is Not To Love: NPR’s “Wait, Wait” Crew Tries and Skewers Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos

The apocalypse is nigh.

This. Is. Amazing.

It’s the NPR “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” crew in their Sandwich Monday feature on The Salt (NPR’s erstwhile food blog) — tackling the “sandwich” that is the new Cool Ranch Doritos Loco Taco. Best quote is a toss up between, “Is there such a thing as Don’tritos?” and the observation, “If grown-ups put “cool” in front of something, teenagers will automatically NOT eat it” followed by Peter Sagal (fresh from his SXSW appearance) cracking, “Is this why my kids refuse to sit and watch PBS Cool Newshour with Cool Lehrer with me?”

Also, read of last week’s outrage in which Taco Bell fans were deprived of the latest offering because social media jumped the gun and said Wednesday when they meant Thursday. Easy there, ‘Merica.

ESPN’s Music Issue Lets You Know: Yep, It’s February

So, the Super Bowl’s over, the NBA’s heading toward the always-entertaining All-Star Weekend (but the admittedly lackluster All-Star midseason caesura), baseball’s not quite yet in preseason, and hockey’s made itself irrelevant — taking care of the Big Four sports. So ESPN The Magazine decided to make the latest issue “The Music Issue,” which means photo shoots in which willing athletes try to help you shake off the winter doldrums by posing in costumes made to look like album covers. So, Alex Morgan dresses up like Katy Perry (giggity), MLB stars dress up like Devo on the Freedom of Choice cover (why?), Ryan Lochte undresses up like the baby on the Nirvana Nevermind cover (double why), and Josh Freeman dons the white suit (and a stuffed baby tiger) to replicate Michael Jackson’s Thriller, forever making him “the guy who posed as Michael Jackson for ESPN the Magazine that one time.” And NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson as Bob Dylan? Imagined staff meeting at ESPN the Magazine this week: “Okay, the costumes were fun — NFL DRAFT IN TWO MONTHS! GET ON THAT NOW!”

Doves of Peace? Beautiful. Doves of Peace Fighting Off Seagulls? Hilarious!

So, leave it to Pope Benedict to try for some theatrics in St. Peter’s Square that went a bit awry. Let’s turn to Time, which did a brilliant job writing this up. We’ll start with their first paragraph:

“The release of a white dove is a traditional symbol of peace and tranquility. Like the olive branch, and more recently the peace symbol, the white dove is recognized worldwide as an icon of hope, love and friendship. That is, until it almost gets eaten by a seagull.”

They headlined the article, “Pope’s Dove of Peace Attacked By Seagull of Irony,” which is hilarious. And, to make it a happy ending, the dove fought back and successfully fended off the seagull. (Making it, you know, a Dove of Only In Self-Defense. So, sort of a Mr. Miyagi dove.)

Least Shocking Development From a Super Bowl Media Day Ever

What do you mean, a retiring, controversial-yet-beloved NFL player doesn’t want to talk about new allegations about using performance-enhancing drugs or old allegations about his role in a double murder? Really, Yahoo! Sports? (Related: Jim Harbaugh wears a Sharpie as a necklace? Tell me more!)

Date a Rock Star (Or, At Least, A Kill Rock Stars Recording Artist)

So, kind of a weird move for the label that’s the de facto home to the Riot Grrrl Movement, but we’re kind of enamored by it. So, New York-based Marnie Stern (think of a more in-tune version of labelmate Thao With The Get Down Stay Down) has an album coming out on Kill Rock Stars called — wait for it — The Chronicles of Marnia (GROAN), and to celebrate, gentlemen in the Tri-State Area have the chance to win a date with her.

You can’t be a vegan and must live within subwayable distance to do the date — the not-at-all-intimidating questions include “List any anti-depressants you currently take” and “What would your most recent ex-girlfriend say about you? Can we get her email?”

You’d be taking her out on the release date, March 19. I think this is going to work out really well.

Inauguration Day: The One Day Every Four Years Americans Hear A Poem

Poems. Some of us read them, listen to them, even write them. But for a great number of Americans (and no, greeting cards and wall posters of “Footprints” do not count as poems), poems are not something regularly experienced. In fact, it’s only on Inauguration Day (during the inauguration of a Democrat not from Texas or Georgia since 1960) that a great number of Americans hear a poem.

In 1993, Maya Angelou (who Americans have heard of) delivered this poem, and poetry got the 1993 equivalent of a Twitter trend. In 2009, Elizabeth Alexander was introduced as an American poet (so as to not get booed?) and did this to the English language.

This year, the inaugural poem was writ and delivered by gay Latino Cuban-born poet Richard Blanco. (Way to hit all the left-leaning categories, Inaugural Committee!) Here’s Gawker’s assessment of what he did to the English language. Here’s footage. (Note: “Kindled” is in the first line — did Amazon pay for inaugural poem product placement?)

Note: We’re actually big poetry fans here. We’re not sure the inauguration does poetry any favors.

Get Ready For Two Weeks of “Harbaugh Bowl”

Forget baseball: Football’s supplanted it as America’s favorite pastime, and today’s AFC and NFC Championship gave us, in San Francisco and Baltimore, two worthy Super Bowl XLVII opponents (because you can’t call it 47, and in many ads, you can’t call it the Super Bowl, which is why you’ll hear radio ads on sports talk stations, for instance, hypothetically, call it “The Big Game”).

Also, though, there’s this: Because the NFL has deemed it necessary to have a two-week build-up leading up to the Big Game (it used to be just a week), there’s more of a need than in prior, saner, smaller-Roman-Numeral versions of the Big Game to have a storyline to hype. It’s perfect this year: brothers are coaching the two finalists — Jim Harbaugh for the 49ers (translation: Golddiggers) and John Harbaugh for the Ravens (translation: “Nevermore!“). Ergo: Harbaugh Bowl. Storyline: Found. Easy.

This article explains (along with some creepy Photoshopping of brothercoaches with headsets standing just a leeeeetle too close together) a little bit more about why it’s the Harbaugh Bowl and just who Jim and John are.

So, you’ll hear it. And hear it. And hear it. All leading up the Second Biggest Eating Day of the Year. (‘MERICA!)