Mind over matter

So last month Bruce Jenner declared that he has a female’s soul in a man’s body. He used cosmetic surgery to feminize his facial features and give himself artificial breasts, and now refers to himself as a woman by the name of Caitlyn. The press then lauded for her being brave.

Another story broke today. Rachel Dolezal is the head of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington and also an Africana Studies professor at Eastern Washington University. She had claimed she is of white, black, and Native American descent. Her parents revealed to the AP that her ethnic heritage is Czech, Swedish, and German, with possibly a “trace” of Native American.

The NAACP issued a statement supporting her. In it, they claimed “One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership.” I do not know of any other NAACP chapters headed by a non-black member. I doubt she would have been appointed to head that chapter had it not been for her claimed black ancestry. Still, good for the NAACP. Let’s see how long it lasts.

The controversy over Dolezal has lead to the creation of some Twitter hashtags including #wrongskin (as in, Dolezal was born in the wrong skin being that she is a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body), and also #transraciallivesmater.

So if one Bruce can arbitrarily declare that his physiology of a man is irrelevant, and that he is actually a woman, why should Dolezal’s racial identity be any different? After all, recent pictures show that her claim of being a black woman is more convincing of her racial claim than Jenner’s claim of being a woman (even with cosmetic surgery and Photoshop).

If “gender” is a matter of will, why not race? I don’t see how you can make an argument for the first, but not the second. So welcome to the struggle Rachel Dolezal. I hope you succeed in the fight of your people.

Stupid names

From the “I don’t think it means what you think it means” file:

CNN says that Israelis are puzzled over the name Tom Cruise has given his newborn daughter, Suri. He says it is an ancient Hebrew variation of Sarah. Israelis say it sounds more like a blunt term that means “get out of here” (like scram).

And why is a scientologist using old Jewish names anyway? Let this be a lesson in naming children from languages you don’t understand.

(hat tip: Betsy’s Page)

The party Olympics

Bode Miller is proud of his accomplishments. Oh, not his accomplishments of downhill skiing in the 2006 Olympics (of which there were none).

Nope, he is proud of partying in Torrin.

“I just did it my way. I’m not a martyr, and I’m not a do-gooder. I just want to go out and rock. And man, I rocked here,” Miller said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press soon after he skidded off the slalom course in his fifth and final race, completing an 0-for-the-Olympics.

Miller came to the Italian Alps cresting on a wave of expectations and was considered a medal threat in every Alpine event. But he failed to finish three of them and his best showing was fifth in the downhill — part of a games with few highlights for the U.S. Ski Team.

“The expectations were other people’s,” Miller said. “I’m comfortable with what I’ve accomplished, including at the Olympics. I came in here to race as hard as I could. That was my obligation to myself.”

Dude! He partied! What an inspiration. I remember a time when “I did it my way” meant achieving goals without going through conventional methods. Now it means not achieving goals because of not trying. Partying was more important. But that is OK. Better to party, than to try but lose, right Bode?

Miller said that while he might have prepared differently, he isn’t one to second guess and he started each race fully focused and determined to win.

Bode doesn’t know the difference between being determined to win and being prepared to win.

“Me, it’s been an awesome two weeks,” Miller said. “I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level.”

If there were a gold medal in underachievement, Bode would get it. But at least he has self-esteem. Which goes to show you self-esteem is worthless without accomplishment. I havent’ even trained for the Olympics and won just as many medals as he did. But that is all right because I was determined to win just like Bode was.
Bob Costas summed up it up best when talking about Bode Miller’s effort (or lack thereof):

If you don’t care enough to consistently give your best and at least sometimes do your best, then pretty soon nobody else will care either.

Kicked off Vick

Today, college star Marcus Vick was kicked off the Virginia Tech football team he led to the Gator Bowl this past season. The time cited his repeated legal (i.e. criminal) problems and his unsportmanslike conduct during the Gator Bowl when he stomped on an opposing player’s calf.

This story quickly follows the news the another former college star Maurice Clarett has been arrested for armed robbery.

I find stories like this fascinating. Marcus Vick is a young man who is following in his older brother’s footsteps – seemingly on a guaranteed track to a lucrative NFL contract. Yet he is self destructing similar to Terrell Owens. Maurice Clarett was a hot prospect who also seemed assured of a profitable NFL contract yet couldn’t keep himself out of trouble.

They have the ability, their failings can only be the result of flaws in their character. Shakespeare could have written plays about these guys.

How to self-destruct

Terrell Owens is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL. Even so, the team he plays for suspended him indefinitely today because he just can’t help himself. His talent on the field is undeniable. Sadly, he just can’t keep his mouth shut off the field.

During the last off season, he criticized his teammate Donovan McNabb for the way he played in their Superbowl loss last season. Then he did not report to training camp in pre-season to try and get his contract re-negotiated. This past week he said his team would be undefeated if Brett Favre were the starting quarterback instead of McNabb.

It’s amazing watching someone like this. He seems to have everything going for him in talent and skill. His performance on the field is amazing, yet he just cannot control himself to be a team player. He alienates everyone around him. Why did the 49ers so willingly let him go to the Eagles? It seems now we know.

What will happen to T.O. now? He wanted more money. That dream is gone. He’s damaged goods now. One thing is sure, he won’t be with the Eagles much longer. He has pretty much secured the legacy of a problem player rather than a Hall of Fame contender.

I just find it strangely fascinating to watch a someone self-destruct. There aren’t many Shakespearean characters with more tragic flaws.

Poor Ashlee

Ashlee Simpson is once again getting some back publicity for her screaching performance at last night’s Orange Bowl. The crowd of 72,000 responded with a chorus of boos. You can see it from this page.

Oh my goodness. There are not words to say how bad the “performance” was. You almost have to feel sorry for her. Getting booed by 72,000 people and having it nationally televised? Where do you go from there?

I thought she could bounce back from the SNL disaster. Poke a little fun at yourself and fans will forgive you if you make it clear your future performances are live. The problem only gets worse if your live performance is horrible. That had to be the most embarrassing event in half-time show history.

I’m not sure we’ll be hearing much more of Ashlee on the radio.

Tryouts today

Ron Artest was suspended for the rest of the season – 73 games – for his part in the brawl on Saturday night.

That’s going to cost him $5 million. Whoo! That’s one expensive temper. Steve Jackson was suspended for 30 games and Jermaine O’Neal for 25. If you want to play in the NBA, the Pacers are probably holding tryouts today. So much for the Pacer’s season.

You think this is the result of the NBA cultivating a thug culture? Or maybe it was just the result of the NBA’s plan of trying to capture the NHL audience going tragically awry.

NBA thuggery

Last night, the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers were involved NBA’s most shameful moment in history. A bench clearing brawl followed Pacer Ron Artest’s hard foul of the Piston’s Ben Wallace. That was followed by Artest charging into that stands and attacking a fan. Artest was mad because someone threw a cup of beer at him.

Artest’s lack of self-control endangered him, and his teammates who went into the stands to protect him. When I was watching the replay on ESPN, I was wondering how Artest knew which person threw the beer. The thing was, he didn’t. ESPN’s reporter at the arena, Jim Gray, reported that the man Artest attacked was not the one that threw the beer. Artest’s teammate, Steve Jackson, then entered the stands and started throwing punches at fans.

The fans in Detroit were embarrasingly misbehaved. That doesn’t excuse Artest’s or Jackson’s behavior. ESPN thinks it does though. Tim Legler writes:

Artest will probably receive the brunt of the media condemnation from this situation because he’s a lightning rod for controversy and that’s not fair. It’s not fair because he’s not truly at fault for what happened…

In the paragraph before that, Legler said, “Once again, I’m not justifying the players’ actions.” OK, so after he doesn’t justify the players actions, he justifies the players actions by claiming it wasn’t Artest’s fault.

The “he made me do it” defense won’t fly. The fans responsible for attacking any Indiana Pacer should be held responsible for their actions. Artest is responsible for his actions. He was not defending himself when he went into the stands and attacked a man who did not throw anything at him. Steve Jackson was not defending himself when he followed Artest and punched another fan who had not attacked his teammate.

Sadly, this is what you get when you cross a few drunk people with some over-payed hot-headed thugs.

Update: The NBA has indefinitely suspended Indiana Pacers’ Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson and Detroit Pistons player Ben Wallace. Indiana is going to be hurting with three of its stars out.