Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
Each of Historian Barbara Wells Sarudy's six blogs contains a wealth of esoteric treasures: "President John Adams declared, “History is not the Province of the Ladies.” Oh well, I'll give it a try." [more inside]
Everybody knows TVTropes is the best and most time-killing-est way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more. Enter Useful Notes. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
The airing of the upcoming PBS documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, will bring new attention to a protest event against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that raised important questions about free speech, the rights of student athletes, and the state of the Civil Rights Movement in the Mormon Church. On October 17, 1969, 14 football players at the University of Wyoming were suspended for threatening to wear black armbands onto the field in an upcoming game against Brigham Young University. The squad members, who were known as the "Black 14," were protesting the the Mormon Church's exclusion of people of African descent from the priesthood. [more inside]
WWJD? Well, he definitely wouldn't let a woman tell him what to do. At least, that's the theological position one institution of Christian learning has taken. And this isn't the first time the perhaps ironically named St. Mary's Academy has taken a "positive stand" on principle. Another take on the story here. (Via Boing Boing.)
The Mesoamerican Ballgame was central to the culture of pre-Columbian Central America, with Mayan kings using ah pitzlaw (he the ballplayer) as one of their royal titles. It is played with a rubber ball, which sometimes had human skulls for cores. The object of the game was to get the ball through a vertical hoop. Called many names throughout history, pitz, ulama and juego de pelota, this game has been played for 3000 years. Though usually a form of recreation, sometimes it would be played for ritual purposes, with the players of the losing side being sacrificed. [more inside]
'My religion contains pain, suffering, sacrifice,/Hardship, and bliss. My shoes are God.' H.G. Bissinger's book Friday Night Lights told the story of a town consumed by devotion... to its high school football team. 'These places really are like shrines,' said Bissinger in an interview for the movie's web site (flash). Nike ads invite viewers to 'test your faith daily' and Muscular Christians distance themselves from 'musclemen.' Secular America still bends its knee in the name of the sound body, and Hail Mary passes are recalled in detail twenty-five years later. Of course, not everyone subscribes to the culture of fitness.
Andrea Armstrong wants to play basketball. She is also a muslim, and wishes to observe traditional muslim attire for a woman of the faith. Intolerance ensues. (A link from my local paper to an Orlando Sentinel story, in that this woman is from Oregon.)
Speaking of religion causing nightmares, these just don't feel 'right'. Maybe it's the idea of 'reinforcing' the idea that Jesus is your friend, in all activities. Last i checked, forced friendships don't work well. And sandals aren't conductive to track and field.
TigerWoodsIsGod.Com. A site "dedicated to examining the possibility that God is walking the earth as a 21st century, multi-ethnic, superstar golfer and whether that is any more or less likely than God coming in the form of a first-century, Jewish carpenter."