what’s wrong with atlanta

(second in a series of diatribes from an ATL native)

A CITY OF FRONT-RUNNERS

Recently the Los Angeles Lakers came to town to play the Hawks. Philips Arena was filled — with Lakers fans. They chanted "MVP" — on behalf of Laker Kobe Bryant. They booed — when a Hawks player made a free throw.

We’re told this is due to the transient nature of our populace. Everyone’s from somewhere else. Perhaps, but I guarantee there weren’t 15,000 Southern California transplants in Philips Arena that night.

And no way are there 30,000 native New Englanders filling Turner Field whenever the Red Sox come to town. Most of them are, in fact, front-running trendoids (Red Sox fans since 2004). I despise them. Unfortunately, Atlanta seems to have cornered the market on their kind.

Now if you were, say, a Tampa Bay Rays fan, you could make the same argument, but that franchise is just a decade old. The Braves have been here since 1966. Same with the Falcons. The Hawks relocated from St. Louis two years later.

They might as well be expansion teams, considering the lackluster fan support. Yes, the Falcons and Hawks have mostly sucked. The Braves have not, but too many of the city’s fickle fans consider them disappointments. They expect World Series victories every season. They don’t know much about baseball.

Neither do the flaks who run the local baseball concern. In a city that doesn’t know it’s history, the Braves do little to promote theirs. Fans in St. Louis are treated to Stan Musial playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on Opening Day; here, we get the VP of marketing from Kroger tossing out the first pitch. It’s become sadly fitting that an out-of-town corporation owns the franchise.

It wasn’t always so. In 1991, when the Braves went from worst to first, the city was electric. Everyone followed the Braves. We were, for one magical summer, just like Boston, minus insufferable Bostonians.

The 1994 baseball strike did much to curb that enthusiasm, but Atlantans as a whole have become increasingly addicted to instant gratification. If we can’t find it here, we’ll look elsewhere.

Hard to think of many cities as preoccupied with the "cool kids."

everything’s political (cont’d)

The truth is that maybe Denzel’s depiction of a violent, successfully, drug dealing entrepreneurial thug was just too much in a year where all things revolve around the hope of Barack Obama. It wouldn’t be the first time Hollywood, represented today by the Academy through the Oscar’s, bowed to political correctness and cowardice. It’s a rancid vein in our culture that never ceases to wield its influence. There simply is no other reason why “American Gangster” would get slighted as it has. On the merits of judging filmmaking, by any standards of excellence, it belongs in the Best Picture category.

Hillbot hack Taylor Marsh

romney not dead yet

The Anchorman refuses to go away, lurking in the shadows as the allegations against McCain play out.

Josh Romney, one of former Gov. Mitt Romney’s five sons, says it’s “possible” his father may rejoin the race for the White House, either as a vice presidential candidate or seek to become the Republican Party’s standard bearer if the campaign of Sen. John McCain falters…

He’s asked about speculation that given the McCain troubles his father might re-enter the Republican race either as a candidate for the top spot or as the party nominee’s vice presidential partner and Romney replies it’s “possible.” Then, he adds, “unlikely, but possible.”

the blah-scars

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I’m pleased “No Country for Old Men” swept the major categories — as logic dictated — but could award shows be more archaic? The boredom was palpable.

Jon Stewart was barely adequate, but forgiven, as Bruce “Sigmund the Sea Monster” Vilanch remains on the academy’s payroll. The bad jokes were most likely his.

Bruce was a busy man.

the inequity of legos

A study was conducted, and Legos were subsequently banned.

When the children discovered the decimated Legotown, they reacted with shock and grief. Children moaned and fell to their knees to inspect the damage; many were near tears. The builders were devastated, and the other children were deeply sympathetic. We gathered as a full group to talk about what had happened; at one point in the conversation, Kendra suggested a big cleanup of the loose Legos on the floor. The Legotown builders were fierce in their opposition. They explained that particular children “owned” those pieces and it would be unfair to put them back in the bins where other children might use them. As we talked, the issues of ownership and power that had been hidden became explicit to the whole group.

We met as a teaching staff later that day. We saw the decimation of Lego-town as an opportunity to launch a critical evaluation of Legotown and the inequities of private ownership and hierarchical authority on which it was founded. Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation. We knew that the examination would have the most impact if it was based in engaged exploration and reflection rather than in lots of talking. We didn’t want simply to step in as teachers with a new set of rules about how the children could use Legos, exchanging one set of authoritarian rules with another. Ann suggested removing the Legos from the classroom. This bold decision would demonstrate our discomfort with the issues we saw at play in Legotown. And it posed a challenge to the children: How might we create a “community of fairness” about Legos?

These educators seem more focused on enforcing fairness (in an unfair world) than encouraging creativity, a depressing cliche within academia.