Andre the Giant was a great documentary: While We’re Waiting

It’s been a long spring break for me, but I’m back. Apologies for being away and thanks to those that filled in. Let’s get this show on the road.

The Andre the Giant doc was wonderful and heart-breaking

I loved the Andre the Giant documentary on HBO. It was wonderfully executed and didn’t rest on its laurels of having a fascinating character at the center of the story. This documentary made you feel everything. It was hysterical at times. It somehow even built tension prior to one of the most iconic moments, that I’ve seen replayed a million times over, when Hulk Hogan body slammed him at Wrestlemania 3. To take a moment, which is already etched into the collective brains of nearly all men my age and still cause me to wring my hands is a feat of film-making. I won’t crush your soul with the sadness of it all and how it made both my wife and me cry. Instead I’ll opt for one of the hysterical parts. This is all about Andre’s drinking prowess.

Ready Player One

My wife and I were out of town on a company trip to Huntington Beach California and we were given the gift of a lot of free time. We did plenty of California-specific things and ate lots of Cali food, but we also defied convention and stole away to the movies one afternoon to see Ready Player One. We didn’t even feel badly about it. It’s our vacation. Movies are a major part of our entertainment lives and we were away from the kids for a bit. Thankfully, Ready Player One delivered.

I didn’t read the book, so if it wasn’t as good as that, I’m sorry. I have a tough time believing that the book could be the best way to take a story like this in after seeing what Spielberg did in creating the world. It takes place in Columbus, physically, and in a virtual world mostly. It’s one part Hunger Games, one part Willy Wonka, and one part District 9. My wife and I both enjoyed it greatly. It was fun and funny, but definitely didn’t fall victim of taking itself too seriously. It’s an early summer movie present.

Are you out of your cotton-picking mind?

On Wednesday night an Oklahoma City Thunder announcer slipped and used the phrase “cotton-picking mind” in complimenting Russell Westbrook. I specifically say that he was complimenting Russell Westbrook because it seems to be lost in the conversation about Brian Davis, the play-by-play announcer who said it. Westbrook was in the midst of a 6 point, 19 assist, and 20 rebound game that enabled him to finish the season with his second straight triple-double statistical average. It was Westbrook’s ninth assist and there was still 4:31 left in the second quarter.

Here’s the clip, in case you missed it.

I don’t know what should happen to the guy. I know that this phrase is not something that anyone should say in 2018. I’m also not interested in doing the “well actually” about how it was used in the 17th century before American slavery was synonymous with cotton picking. It’s not the right thing to say and it’s a mistake to do so in 2018, especially when referencing an African-American NBA player. I think we all agree there. After that I just get sad.

I’m not saying I feel sorry for Brian Davis. He was admonished by the Thunder publicly. According to them, he apologized for making the statement as well. That’s all fine. What I have trouble with is how it turns into a “FIRESTORM” on Twitter and on the internet. I’ve never been subjected to racism personally, so I understand I’ve not walked a mile in everyone else’s shoes, but I don’t find this to be proof that this guy is a racist. He’s a guy who is around 60-years-old who uttered a phrase that has gone from being in a Bugs Bunny cartoon to being inappropriate, in his lifetime. Those old Bugs Bunny cartoons featured Bugs smoking too, by the way.

Things change and usually for the better. I’m happy that it’s wrong to casually use expressions that might minimize or normalize things like slavery. At the same time, we need to be nicer to ourselves, as members of the same culture, for honest mistakes when they occur. There needn’t be a Twitter firestorm over an honest mistake over an aging phrase. A simple, “Don’t do that,” and an “I’m sorry I said that,” should suffice in some cases.

Racism is alive and well. I’m not in denial at all about that. I just don’t think this was it. And if we’re not careful about crushing each other, you never know if you could be next.

I recently learned that “no can do,” and “long time, no see” have their origins in racism as well. Apparently, it was a phrase of mockery for Chinese immigrants attempting to communicate in English. Here I thought it was just a Hall and Oates song.