Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Artistic or Obscene?

We started this blog with the intent of keeping in touch with our friends and family by posting occasional updates concerning our soon-to-be changing lives. But when life fails to offer up an event worthy of a personal post we like "to keep it light, keep it bright, keep it gay" as you can tell from our recent posts. However a recent news story got our dander up a bit (no it's not the polygamists, though we do have some pointed words for Katie Couric and her "Mormon polygamist children" comment, really?, what an idiot). The story of interest is about this picture of tween superstar Miley Cryus which is to appear on the cover of the next issue of Vanity Fair. Apparently the release of this photo caused quite an uproar amongst mothers of Miley's 8-12 year old fan base who claim that the photo is obscene, offensive, and lewd. The backlash caused Disney and Miley's PR people to spring into damage control mode as they quickly issued an apology saying that Miley was manipulated and that magazine unfairly took advantage of her during the photo shot.
Our initial response to this whole hysteria was confusion. We didn't understand how this image could be perceived as a lewd given the world we live in today, and we fall pretty far to the right on the ol' political spectrum. The famous words of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart come to mind when he made a ruling on what is and what is not obscene/pornographic, "I can't describe it but I know it when I see it." Well we don't see it.
We are not interested in arguing about the details of who is responsible for the photos or about whether it is ethical for Vanity Fair to publish them. As far as we are concerned Miley and her peeps are free to make whatever marketing decisions they deem valuable and if you have a problem with that you can blame the capitalistic money machine that drives those kind of decisions. Our issue is with the reaction to the photo, not the nature of the photo.
Let us pose a series of questions in hopes of stimulating some deeper thought on the issue. (P.S. We would love to hear what you guys think even if it is stark contrast to our opinion)

Is it obscene because she is "nude"?
Is it obscene because of her age? If she were 18 would it still be offensive?
Is it obscene because it is a photograph? If it were a painting would is still be obscene?
Is it obscene because other young starlets before her have gone on to make bad choices when they are older?
Is it obscene because of who she is? Does she have a bigger responsibility because so many young girls look up to her?

To us she appears no more nude than any actress at the Oscars wearing a low backed dress or any girl in a Target commercial modeling a bright summer halter top, but we don't hear any outrage from parents threatening to boycott department stores or awards shows.

If it is obscene because of her age we pause to wonder how many offended mothers would turn down $100,000 to pose their 15 year old that way. Hmm...hypocrisy sucks.

If it is obscene because it is a photograph we wonder if the offended also object to well know images in art (i.e. The Birth of Venus and The David) and why they don't consider photography a legitimate artistic medium.

If it worrisome because it may foreshadow a downward spiral similar to that of other young performers (Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan). We submit that it is unfair to judge young Miley's current actions or predict her future behavior based on the irresponsible actions of others. We believe she has the right to prove herself to be sensible or reckless, we don't think it is our position to label her either way simply because B Spears decided to dive head first into the kiddie pool.

Finally if it obscene because of who she is and as a parent you have certain image you expect her to uphold then you should be less concerned about what affect this picture may have on your 12 year old and more worried about what affect junior high will have on your 12 year old. If as a parent you are afraid of and uncomfortable with sexuality around your "tween", even in its subtlest form as in this photo, then you have much more to be concerned about than an innocent picture on a magazine cover.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mormon "Reality"

As the worldwide membership of the church continues to grow, and as the epidemic that is reality TV continues to spread through popular culture, it is a mathematic inevitability that more and more LDS people will pop up on the tube.

With this reality (ha...punny) in mind we bring you the top 5 BEST KNOW MORMON REALITY STARS:

5. Julie from The Real World New Orleans.
In 2000 Julie became the first LDS person to appear on the popular MTV reality show. Living in an old frat house in the big easy with "7 strangers who stop being polite and start getting real" turned out to be a bit of a shock to this naive Provoite. Julie ended up getting the boot from BYU for various honor code violations that were, umm..., well documented.

4. Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars.
This 19 year old dancing nymph from Provo (we're only at our 2nd person on the list and we already have 2 skinny blonde girls from Provo...weird) is the star, who is actually not a star on dancing with the stars (if you watch the show you know what we mean). She has been partners with various short, dark haired stars such as; Apollo Anton Ohno, last season's champ Helio Castroneves, and is currently partnered with Adam Carolla. But really, who is looking at those chumps when they're dancing with her?

3. Thurl Bailey from Jazz Pre-Game Live.
Ok so maybe Thurl is only well known in our house and maybe the Jazz pre-game show doesn't quite meet the strictest definition of reality TV, but we had to give a shout out to the former Jazzman (and budding music sensation) who brings logic and reason to the most painfully inept pregame show in the country.

2. Woodcross Girl from American Idol.
Woodcroos girl was the first LDS contestant to ride her membership further into the show than her talent warranted, but we are pretty sure she won't be the last. (Note again the blondeness and the skinniness thereof).

P.S. Clearly woodcross girl is ridding her American Idol notoriety to a huge performing career as you can tell from her upcoming events:

Handcart days in Burley, Idaho
Sevier County Fair
and don't forget her big screen debut in the LDS remake of Pride and Prejudice where she made a road show worthy cameo appearance.

1. Current American Idol wannabe's: David Archuleta and Brooke
There is little argument that David is infinitely more popular than Brooke, but we think Brooke has a cool, folkly, Janis Joplin without the anger and drugs kinda sound, so we mention her here along with David. She is also (fill in the blank)..... blonde and skinny.... which goes along nicely with our semi-theme.

American Idol is apparently becoming the sharpest arrow in the church's missionary quiver and we're not sure whether or not that is a good thing but we are pretty sure that having a Mormon American Idol champ is far better for the church's PR than having a Mormon president.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Finding the Good in a Wednesday

Today is a Wednesday and since Wednesdays' are by definition: "blah, lame, and boring" I have nothing of great interest to report. So rather than bore you with another post about the power and glory of sports I have chosen to provide a simple update about what is good about this Wednesday.
5 cool things about today:

5. I only have one week of classes left before I graduate from this ridiculous hoop jumping contest we call college.

Here is a picture of me completing my Fall '05 semester. The third hoop is "Survey of Theater".

4. I pulled out an incredible win on my Tiger Woods '08 Wii game last night. I was down 3 strokes with 3 to play on the incredibly challenging Pebble Beach course when I got my short game going to finish birdie-birdie-eagle and win the tournament. Clutch baby, clutch.

3. I found 4 oral surgeons who were willing to collect extracted teeth for me. I know, you had to read that twice because you thought you read it wrong, but really I have to collect extracted teeth to practice on in dental school and it can be hard getting your hands on enough. It's gross but just be happy for me.

2. The Jazz Playoffs start this weekend (You really thought I would go an entire post without mentioning sports, really?). Well, you could argue that they start tonight with a crucial game against the Spurs that will determine whether or not we have home court advantage in the first round. Either way Meg and I already have our Game 1 tickets!!!

And since I can't resist let me give you 5 keys to the Jazz post season success:

1. Carlos Boozer's jump shot. He has to hit that 12-17 footer for us to win it all.

2. The Money Man. Memo's ability to continue to take his game inside and rebound like the Turkish Bill Russell.

3. TEAM DEFENSE!!! (Especially Ronnie Brewer's D on Manu, Kobe, and T-Mac)

4. Bench production. We have the best bench in the league with Paul, Harp, Kyle, and Ronnie P they just need to play like it.

5. AK-47. He is truly our X factor. When he is confident, happy, and motivated he has the ability to make more game changing plays than anyone else on the floor.

1. I have rediscovered Crispix. Crispix was probably responsible for 62% of my caloric intake between the ages of 7 and 12. Inexplicably I then turned my back on this fine Kellogg's product until my sweet wife suggested that we bring in back into our lives. I am now a happier man.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

The MASTERS started yesterday!!!!! What is The Masters you ask?
If you are unfortunate enough to have to ask this question please read on and allow me to change your life. The Masters is only the most anticipated, historic, tradition rich golf event in the world. It is played every year on the second weekend in April at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Augusta is an almost magical place where the beauty of nature's landscape and the precision of man's abilities come together for four days a year to create the most awe-inspiring event in sports. With the azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom, Augusta in April is truly a masterpiece. If you are finding yourself scoffing at someone's excitement over golf or if you are one of those people that don't think golf is a sport then you have clearly never watched this grand spectacle of sport.

In was back in April of 1997 shortly after my 13th birthday when I watched my first ever round of professional golf and it happened to be the final round of the Masters. At that time I didn't appreciate the magnificence of August National, the drama of Amen corner, or the significance of the green jacket. All I knew is that I had heard a lot about some kid named Tiger Woods and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I was not disappointed.

I fell in love with a new sport that Sunday afternoon. I watched as a 21 year old Tiger became the youngest player ever to win the Masters. In route to his historic victory he also shoot the lowest score ever for the tournament at -18 (low is good in golf :) and his 12 stroke margin of victory was the largest of all time. His win also carried cultural significance as he simultaneously became the first black player and the first Asian player (His dad is African American and his mom is from Thailand) to win the Masters. It was captivating stuff to see a sport that had been dominated by old white guys for so long be changed forever by this fiery young prodigy.

Tiger has gone on to provide many more mesmerizing moments in his career but perhaps none greater than his chip in on the 16th hole en route to his 4th green jacket in 2005.

Allow me to set the stage. Tiger has a slim lead with only 3 holes to play when he hits is tee shot at the famous par 3 16th just off the green. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but this particular green has such a severe slope that Snowbird would be forced to label it a least a blue run. Face with an impossible shot, Tiger comes up with this.

Watch and let the voice of Verne Lundquist take you to a special place:

Well if that doesn't do it for you I don't know what to say. But I hope that those of you who remain unconverted to this wonderful event will take a few minutes this weekend to tune in and see for yourself, this tradition unlike any other. My bet is that before long you will doing fist pumps too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Korver Effect

It has been said (by me) that the best way to really get involved in sports is to find a team that has an exceptionally unique or attractive individual and cheer for them. For example, I was an avid LSU fan this year. Why you ask? Well because Herman Johnson is the biggest baby ever to be born in the state of Louisiana, weighing in at 15 lbs 14 oz. Bless his mother.
Anyways- If that doesn’t make you want to wave a gold and purple tigers flag, nothing will. Lucky lucky for me, it just so happens that the Jazz have recently acquired just such an individual. Not the biggest baby ever born in Louisiana, but possibly the hottest player ever to grace the court in Jazz history. His outstanding physique has young Utah girls and mothers wild with Jazz fever. And who can blame them? Not I.

It is not only Kyle Korver’s luscious lips, sweeping hair and boyish figure that inspire such passion for basketball, but it is that he is actually ridiculously good (looking) at draining a 3 pointer. Easily the sexiest shot in basketball. His quick catch and release makes my heart soar.
I especially love the post game shirtless interviews. Thank you Steve Brown. (Sorry no photo for that one) And whats more- he has brought a whole new style to the game. The knee-high socks are back my friends. Get into it- cause it is IN…Kyle made it so.
So next Monday, Tuesday, Friday or whatever day you are bored (I swear they play 8 days a week), just turn on KJZZ channel 14 and bask in the beauty that is Kyle Korver. You know I will be.