Sunday, February 26, 2012

That Awkward Moment at the NBA All-Star Game

At some point in the past year, a group (or groups) of apparently smart people from TNT, the NBA and the music industry sat in a meeting and had a conversation that went something like this:
 "What would be appropriate entertainment for the NBA All-Star Game? It's airing in over 6 million households in America, and in 215 countries.  In China alone, over 1 million people will follow on social media. We want something that will represent America well, and be appropriate for our worldwide family audience. In addition, we will advertise it this way:  'NBA All-Star Jam Session is nonstop basketball action for all ages. Fans can shoot, slam, dribble and drive all day, compete against their friends in skills challenges and collect free autographs from NBA Players and Legends. Young fans can hang out in the Kids Zone, with hoops and interactive activities that are the perfect size for kids' slam dunks, three-pointers and jump shots.'  So, what would be some solid entertainment?"
"I know! What about starting with Nicki Minaj?  What was there not to like about her Grammy performance? She could sing: 
'And he ill, he real, he might got a deal. He pop bottles and he got the right kind of bill.  He cold, he dope, he might sell coke.  He always in the air, but he never fly coach. He a m*********ing trip, trip, sailor of the ship, ship. When he make it drip, drip kiss him on the lip, lip. That's the kind of dude I was lookin' for - And yes you'll get slapped if you're lookin' hoe.' 
           Then we could have Pitbull! He will sing the brilliant lyrics:
'But I might drink a little bit more than I should tonight
And I might take you home with me if I could tonight
And I think you should let me cause I look good tonight
And we might not get tomorrow.'  
Fortunately, nobody will pay any attention to the words, as he will be surrounded by a bunch of dancers in garters and lace dancing like strippers. That way nobody will notice he's not very good live, and that the lyrics are not only really, really inappropriate for young kids, but also a terrible representation of our culture to the other 124 countries watching."
I wish I were making this up.  I'm not. If you doubt me, find clips on youtube.  I understand and appreciate freedom of expression, but what happens to a culture when there is increasingly no attempt to accommodate the morality and restraints of others?  If I don't like it I can turn it off, I know. I did. That's not my point. We live in a society that increasingly flaunts rights and privileges and freedoms with no thought about the responsibility and restraint that must accompany power and influence.  This cannot be sustained.  The center cannot hold.  

One final point: Did anyone else catch the irony of the NBA - a business that goes out of its way to cover up any stories involving its players and their politically incorrect remarks, partying, and, uh, indiscretions with the ladies (either legal or illegal) - offering entertainment that glorifies the objectification of women, rampant promiscuity, drunkenness, drugs, and name-calling?
I keep thinking we are not far from the bottom of the cultural barrel.  Congratulations, NBA, for digging that much deeper. 

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