Author Archives: mattmgregg

I Fuckin’ Hate the Eagles

No, not another reference to The Big Lebowski.  I’m talking about the Philadeplhia Eagles whose fans are known as some of the biggest assholes in NFL history.  They throw snowballs and cuss out Santa Claus at Christmas, seriously.  But, to their credit, they love their team.  Some do to such a great extent that they would mortgage their house for playoff tickets.  At least that’s what superfan Kevin O’Donoghue explained to his infinitely patient wife in 2005 when the Eagles made their first Superbowl appearance in 24 years.

Mr. O’Donoghue, 36, took out a home-equity loan to raise the $4,000 that the trip and the tickets cost him. And he’s not the only one.  “Up and down Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, bankers spent the week fielding calls from Eagles diehards looking to refinance mortgages or dip into savings,” (Cosh, 2005).  The high eBay bid on one pair of upper-deck Super Bowl tickets that year was $4,250, and a front-row pair on the 40-yard line cost at least $8,975.

 

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Not many can, but I sympathize with O’Donoghue’s situation.  If the Cubs finally made it to the end of October you bet your ass I would be grinding for tickets no matter what the cost.  But if you asked me why I psychotically stalked vendors for tickets, I probably wouldn’t be able to muster up a logical response outside of the misplaced and drunken home-town pride you would expect from those Philly fans.  But Supertheorist Colby Cosh offers up a pretty good rationale:

I think there’s something else going on here besides ordinary fandom. Mass media have a tendency to bring distant events ever closer to us, in increasingly high-definition, convenient forms. The news has its own 24-hour channels, the whole NFL season is available on satellite for a pittance and you can watch the deliberations of the U.S. Congress live on your computer. We don’t even have to leave our chairs to enter the global village. But now that this moment has arrived, it looks like a huge counter intuitive premium has been placed on the act of leaving one’s chair. What’s special now, in an age where every visual spectacle is recorded and digitized, is the irreproducible in-person experience — the chance to say “I was there.”

In an age where you can watch every minute of every game from the best seats in the house (the one in your kitchen near the fridge), the status we confer on the game itself has increased!  I think the fact that millions of people can sit on their ass and watch the game makes the real-life experience so much more rewarding.

I remember last year I went to see the Bears play New Orleans at Soldier’s Field.  It was February.  And even though I couldn’t feel my feet and other unmentionable extremities, the enduring appeal of being there carried me through.

Once again, I’ll tip my hat to Cosh.  He explains this sentiment much better than I can:

As more and more people watch the Super Bowl, the charmed circle of actual spectators gets ever tighter psychologically. You can stay home and be comfortable, and be one amongst 800 million. Or you can take out a second mortgage, go to Alltel Stadium, and be one amongst just 78,000. The math seems vaguely silly, but in a mass age, the power of authentic presence seems destined to get even greater.

In The Parlance of Our Times

Here is a short glossary of terms and preferred nomenclatures for all things Lebowski

ABIDE – To endure, sustain, or withstand without tielding or submitting.  Such as the Dude does after having his head shoved into a toilet, his rug peed on, hig bungaloq burgled, and his car dinged up.  I don’t know about you, but we take comfort in that.

ACHIEVER – The preferred nomenclature for a fan of The Big Lebowski.  Derived from the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers, inner-city  children of promise, but without the necessary means for a higher education.  And proud we are of all of them.

AMATEUR – Someome whohas never seen The Big Lebowski or doesn’t “get it.”  Someone who is obviously not a golfer.  Also known as FUCKING AMATERUS.

CAUCASIAN – An alternate name for the beverage known as the White Russian.

CHINAMAN – We’re not talking about the guy who built the railroads here, we’re talking about someone who took Mr. Lebowski’s legs in Korea.  Also, Dude, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature.  Asian American, please.

DUDE – A man of his time and place.  Someone who takes it easy for all us sinners.  Also knows as DUDER, HIS DUDENES, or EL DUDERINO if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

NIHILIST – One who believes in nothing.  Pastimes include techno-pop music, severing toes, marmot wrangling, threatening castration, and passing out in pools.  May cause exhaustion.

ROLL – To bowl, as in <Fucking Quintana–that creep can ~, man.>  Thus, if you’re rollin’ rocks, you’re having a good night.

VIETNAM – A world of pain, where Walter watched his buddies die facedown in the much so that we could enjoy our basic freedoms and family restaurants.

Refer to this guide in the event of confusion, a lot of new shit has come to light, man.

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The Allure of XENA!!

Anybody remember this duo?

Xena___Gabrielle

I certainly do, but probably because of this episode (I was in middle school at the time):

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Xena Warrior Princess (XWP) and her meek sidekick Gabriel, what a team. I guess there are obvious reasons as to why so many people have followed this show (see above), but I found an interesting article by Kaarina Nikunen that explains the cult attraction a bit better:

The multidimensional narrative includes playing with sexuality constructing the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle as a possible lesbian love affair. This subtext element has attracted a wide lesbian audience for the series. The subtext interpretation of the series is also heavily debated among the fans.

Dressed in leather corsets the figures of Xena and Gabrielle combine a sense of the past with the exaggerated and erotic femininity of action heroines.  As Sara Gwenillian Jones notes XWP offers a suggestive structure but few rules, encouraging audiences to explore the world of XWP and produce their own texts. Thus it is an example of the way television series address audiences as fans in specific ways. The textuality of XWP leads fans to develop the series further, to write fanfiction and create fan sites.  As a multilayered, open text it enables multiple interpretations of the story and its characters, such as the subtext reading of the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle.

So I guess the heart of cult classics, at the core of fandom, is the interpretative nature of the text.  The more ambiguous, the more appealing.  Right?  But what about the role of technology?

Moreover the generic elements seem to interlink XWP fandom together with the culture of science fiction and fantasy fandom. These fan cultures have traditionally used various media side by side such as films, books and magazines. At present, the Internet is the main platform for fandoms, thus not surprisingly Xena fans gather in the virtual world. Therefore the text and the genre encourage and connect audiences towards certain existing intermedial fan cultures and practices.

So if nerds like tech stuff, and internet is tech stuff,then nerds like internet.  Of course, by this syllogism, fanfic and collections of fans will always utilize the most recent technology to express their love of… well whatever it is about XWP that they drives their obessison.  I don’t know what the hell to think about it, I never really watched the show with the intent of interpreting it and writing out my own storyline… But the washtub scenes are pretty cool.  What do you think?