The Mailbag Debuts


The Mailbag Debuts
M.D. Wright
5.29.09

I am finally rolling out my Professor Mailbag. I’m going to debut with just a few questions that will give you a taste of the things to expect (at least twice a month) here at the Musings of the Professor. In the coming weeks and months, as questions and emails flow in, the number of featured questions will increase and be displayed here. If you would like to reach the Professor, simply drop him some bars at allout718@hotmail.com. With that, let’s get right to the questions:
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Now that we live in an era of constant access to athletes, Do you think we’re getting closer to them or forcing them to withdraw? Since the media is in their faces 24/7, wouldn’t that lead to more players putting on a front, especially when PR firms and possible endorsements are involved? I’ve heard stories about old sportswriters having dinner and drinks with athletes, those days are long gone. Have expanded access actually limited our access?
— Brandon, Virginia

Excellent question. I have sometimes wondered this myself. Especially given that we live in a time where people so politically correct. No one can express how they truly feel without drawing the ire of some special interest group that comes out of the woodwork anytime someone speaks ill of the people they supposedly “fight” for. Indeed, sportswriters like the legendary Dick Schaap, Peter Gammons and other mavens routinely dined and yakked it up with sports stars. Superstars, even. Now, with the media constantly vying for the “next big breaking news story”, athletes and entertainers are wary of who they talk to (ex. Mike Tyson rarely spoke to anyone other than Jeremy Schaap

upon his release from prison in 1995, Kobe Bryant’s mouthpiece was one TJ Simers

, before he actively began to rebuild his public image, Cam’ron only breaks news related to himself through Miss Info

or Funkmaster Flex

), if they spoke to anyone at all. I really do believe with the advent of Twitter and other social networking sites, that, while further breaking down the barrier between “them” and the “rest of us”, you will see less interaction with the widespread media as we have known it. Effectively cutting the middle man out, if you will. Why use the media when you have Twitter ha?

I do agree with the PR/endorsements angle, but this is the one reason why I don’t believe the media will totally be done away with. It does still serve as an excellent (and quick) means to create buzz and publicity for upcoming projects or products that a player or entertainer may be pushing.

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I realized that some Black People have had a hard way to go because of their parent’s creativity when it comes to names. Keylolesha, Quandarious, and Rayshawneem are all extremes but you get the picture.

However, as Black People have progressed and more of us become “middle class” there has been a rise of the “Madisons”, “McKenzie’s” and “Sydney’s” of the world. I find this is extremely common with female names. My goodness, I know 5 little black girls around the same age with the same name (Madison). I get it! We want something different, a name that says something else, but come on, can we hit a name book and retire some of these names? Just want to know other’s thoughts. Also, what other names people are using to announce to the world that they have arrived and are now “middle class”!!??
— Anonymity Requested, North Carolina

(Laughs)
You’re not the only one who has wondered this, trust me. In a way it is a good thing that Black people are finally coming off these stupid names that make no sense DEAR GOD. Shaqadocious? DeMaybach? Vuittona?

However, the opposite reaction is kind of jarring. Maybe because we just aren’t used to the image of a Black child with the name “Madison” or “Chip” affixed to their faces in a yearbook? I dunno. This will take some getting used to ha. I do agree, the Madison Jenkins and Holly Venables of the world kind of make you wonder what’s next. That’s the thing about Black people, though ha… you just NEVER KNOW what’s next with names. Who saw the 70s/80s ghettofication of names coming? Our great grandparents are rolling in their graves for sure.
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Yo Mike this is Cory and this is my question. How do you feel about Roger Goodell trying to expand the NFL season by 1 or 2 games to make every team playing 17-18 games in the regular season and possible 20-21 to win the Super Bowl? I feel it’s unnecessary to do this. The season is already long enough as it is and doesn’t need to be tampered with anymore. Thanks.
— Cory, Kentucky

I don’t like the idea unless they plan to cut the preseason to two games. From what I understand, that is what Goodell’s plan is. If the owners and player’s association agrees to it (the latter being the main naysayer currently), then it’s full speed ahead. I’d much rather see 21 games that count than four preseason games, a 16-game/17-week season (as is) or a four-preseason/17 or 18-week season and then the playoffs. The NFLPA will not go for that with obvious trepidation. More games equate with increased likelihood of injury to its players. You’re guaranteed to see more images such as these:

No one (except sick, irrational fans whose hate for the New England Patriots far exceeds nature).
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With Blake Griffin most likely heading to L.A.(well there goes his career) and Memphis pretty set at center, Do you think OKC goes after Thabeet and with the young nucleus they would have how long until they rise into a playoff time a la Portland?
— Brandon, Virginia

Haaaaaaaaaaaaa First, let’s take a quick look at just a FEW players whose careers have been killed by the Los Angeles Clippers organization before they even began:

Shaun Livingston.

Charles Smith.

Lamar Odom (his heart, got tooken).

Let’s hope the Clippers “botch” this draft and don’t choose Griffin.

However, by the sound of it, they are planning to select him #1 overall with their pick in the upcoming 2009 NBA Draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder started out in the 2008-2009 season on pace to break the 1973-74 Philadelphia 76ers’ record of 9 wins and 73 losses. They did finish strongly down the stretch, however, winning 22 games following a 5-30 start. With G Kevin Durant,

F Jeff Green

G Russell Westbrook

and an assortment of decent role players, it would make sense for the Thunder to select C Hasheem Thabeet out of the University of Connecticut. We shall see. We don’t know what the Thunder ‘s philosophy is. Do they want to run like the Suns or play halfcourt (with “Hosh”) like the Rockets? Personally, I say take Thabeet and develop him — give yourself a defensive presence inside. However, he is soft.

As a UConn fan, I saw this first-hand. CAUTION, Thunder. Caution.
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Why is it that half the women out there are trying to tell us guys to be less picky, while the other half is looking for such an exact (and unrealistic) rendition of a man that none of us get a fair shake? Which half is really kidding themselves here and who should we listen to?
— Lee, New York

I wrote a blog concerning such psychosis a while back. Rather than plug the blog, I’ll answer flat out:

BLAME HOLLYWOOD, DISNEY AND DANIELLE STEEL.

These two are the culprit for women developing ridiculous expectations for men (most of these women don’t even meet the kinds of expectations they have for the men they claim to want). Hollywood, with their movies with serene, classical tunes, showing a man act like a total pansy and doing whatever a woman wants… Disney with ALADDIN and Beauty & The Beast, trash like “Twilight” (featured here:) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clYTM_TaXP0 and Danielle Steel with her steamy, semipornographic novels

have all feed images, ideas and concepts into women’s minds about a perfect man. Such a man (nor woman) exists. Therefore, there is a constant comparison (in women’s minds, whether they admit it or not) between the images and characters on TV and in movies and the real-life man with issues that she chooses to get with.

There is a difference between being romantic, loving your woman, being caring, supportive, providing and protective of your woman. But to become a complete pansy, virtually a eunuch is a different story. What happens is you end up with a wide swath of good men who are essentially what most of these women both want AND need get passed over because they don’t look like the proverbial Knight in Shining Armor

I could go on and on, but if you ask an honest woman to assess what her idea of an ideal man is, see does it not line up with characters from one of, if not all of the aforementioned media outlets. Who to listen to concerning this ha? This may sound crazy, but DON’T listen to the ones who talk the most about what they want. Listen to those who DON’T sit around talking about who/what their “ideal” man is. Check out this article really quick. This will answer ALL of your questions regarding this relatively new phenomena:

Does Twilight set an unreasonable standard for men?
By Ted Cox

As much as it pains me, I admit I have seen the Twilight movie. [view trailer] In my defense, I didn’t want to see it, but my four younger teenage sisters were bugging me to go for family bonding time (that, and I was still in trouble for picking Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the last family-movie outing).

In case you have been living in a hole for the past months, Twilight is based [on] author Stephenie Meyer’s novel of the same name. The story follows Bella, a clumsy, unpopular teenage girl who tries to manage an awkward relationship with her mustachioed father while she adjusts to life in a new town. Soon after starting at her new high school, Bella falls madly in love with Edward, a vampire who has been undead for “a while.” (The poor guy. Life must get pretty monotonous after a few hundred years.)

My sisters, like so many teenage girls, went gaga whenever the hunky, pasty Edward and his male-model coif appeared on-screen. Edward is inhumanly gorgeous, inhumanly strong, holds several medical degrees, plays concert piano, drives a shiny car, is filthy rich and, most importantly, is instantly and uncontrollably attracted to Bella.

It’s not hard to see why Twilight has become so popular. The story probably resonates with young women who feel they aren’t particularly pretty, smart, talented or loveable. Twilight is the movie version of a common teenage fantasy: The hot, rich guy falls madly in love with the unpopular klutz.

I guess that means Twilight is pornography for young women. While porn for men takes normal, everyday guys and pairs them with idealized women, Twilight flips the formula around: Bella is the everyday teenage girl who ends up with the idealized man.

When women are idealized in the media, it’s called sexism, objectification or misogyny. But when men are idealized, it’s called a blockbuster. One blogger at Feministing.com cried foul over Bella needing a man to fulfill her life. The same writer didn’t mention anything about the story holding men up to impossible standards.

Science is only recently exploring how films negatively impact the perceptions of women. Last month, scientists at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, released a study suggesting that romantic comedies can “spoil your love life.” Fans of movies like You’ve Got Mail and Runaway Bride were more likely to believe in unhealthy ideas like predestined love, fate and destiny, and that it’s not necessary for partners to verbally express love for each other.

It seems that just as pornography can fill men with unrealistic expectations about women, films like Twilight can give women unrealistic expectations about men.

Unhealthy, unrealistic expectations in the media affect all of us. To achieve true gender equality, unfair portrayals of men need to receive attention and criticism.

After all, if my sisters are hoping for an Edward to come along and sweep them off of their feet, they’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Excellent question. Expect a separate blog addressing this VERY SOON.
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I contend that the 90s contained more quality diverse music than any other era in history. Hip hop and grunge took off, female artists like Alanis and Britney broke sales records, and the ways we bought and shared music were forever altered. If you made a 90s mixtape, what would be on it?
— Brian, Texas

You are trying to start something by talking about music here. Especially asking me to compile a mixtape. That’s tough. I would definitely feature one song from everyone on the roster of Bad Boy Records, a cut from a group such as Green Day, definitely one or two songs from the conglomerate that housed Aaliyah, Missy Elliott and Timbaland, for some soul, a Jodeci record or two, a song from En Vogue, TLC, SWV and Mary J. Blige apiece, a track or two from Alanis Morissette and Diana Krall, an Aerosmith cut from “Get A Grip” (“Cryin”?)

I could go on and on Brian, you just gave me a blog idea. I will give you credits on that blog. Coming soon. I promise. Stay tuned.

For my other readers who want to submit questions, again, you can email me at allout718@hotmail.com or message me on Facebook.

Thanks for reading!

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