Monday, 16 November 2009

Awards and The Coliseum


Going underground is what our work prep. feels like; contact with the world at large being via my phone, with its tiny screen only allowing me to view blogs while squinting and shaking it at the same time. I often tried to comment but for some reason my on screen keyboard seems to have been made by Lilliputians with a sense of humour. Clicking anything makes the page expand and contract, double clicking makes me type in Danish, do I speak Danish? My phone seems to think so.

So alas, I am back in the realm of the living on a mild November day and gearing up to read what I’ve been missing. As for those who messaged, love you. This post is in two parts; the first, passing on awards because they are “about timely” and the second a youtube sight that can only be called … well, you’ll see.

I have tried not to repeat awards for those that already have them; I know the "rules" involve one word answers to questions, etc, but I was never very good with rules or monosyllabic answers. I choose to pass them on in appreciation and love, unconditionally.

The "Deborah" for Laurel, Pamela, Jennifer, Renee, French Fancy, Vanessa and Purple Flowers.

The "Kreative Blogger" for Lori, Diane, Heavenly Housewife, Phoenix, Victoria, Debra, Corinna, Dzintra, Jacqueline and Des.

Above you will find a feast to suit any mood, be it intellectual, emotional, decorative, culinary, cultural or simply those that bring a spark as they share. Thank you for being who you are so openly.



In complete contrast, the following youtube video may surprise. It’s one of the first things I saw on going back online to a reasonably sized screen. I want to write about it objectively, if that is possible. I can attest to never seeing anything like it.

The centre of attention is footballer, Elizabeth Lambert of the New Mexico University team. The sight of this girl kicking, punching, pulling hair, tripping up opponents and tripping them up again has flamed through youtube with a vigour worthy of the cheesy wedding dance couple.

This is the most surprising, feisty and ferocious bit of (sports) violence that people have witnessed for some time. One of the kindest people I know viewed this and burst out laughing. While offensive, the complete incredulity of the clip brings forth a shock that is sated by laughter. It is hard to believe that it is real. It’s too cartoon-like, too "Street Fighter", too.. masculine?

As of now, the youtube view count is hurtling past one million. The comments alone reveal a snapshot of the world at large,

"She was provoked", "What a bully!", "Go girl", "Thug life!" (apparently a positive).

Besides the obvious calls for a referee (where was she/he?), the majority of Elizabeth’s defenders appear to be male and her opponents, female. In an age where equality is King, when a woman produces a performance mirroring Vinnie Jones’ - former model for football hooligans in my country, it is electrifyingly vulgar.

Perhaps it takes an act of sports barbarism or rough play according to which side you are on, to wake people up. Violence of this kind is rarely made real to the majority of genteel viewers. One expects it to be the start of gang fights (when they can’t find their blades) or the result of a crass late night gone wrong. One does not expect "Thug life!" to come in a blonde, middle class and female package.

Elizabeth Lambert is the bitter pill and antidote to an unshockable zeitgeist. Perhaps the transplanted coliseum show playing across our screens is just what we need in order to ask how far violence is going. She could be your daughter or sister, that is the piercing reality when the laughter dies down.

So could her toppled opponents. Within forty seconds of footage, the college girls have been catapulted to infamous worldwide attention. The last thing they expected to learn besides their major and minor was how to take a thorough kicking, in public too. It is neither their fault nor their infamy but the memory is sure to remain more acute now. The fact that a mea culpa has been issued is of little use to them as is her indefinite suspension.

As for Thug Life Lizzie, we have not heard the end of her after that apology. Rather than vilify her, it would be wise to ask where this anger comes from, is it a symptom of our times? I can’t help but believe that condemning something makes us stop debating, stop figuring out what lies beneath and what we can do to change it. Condemning it also makes the taboo grow acceptable and more palatable, because in our world, taboo attracts attention.

We have not seen the last of that kind of performance either. Expect youtube parodies to come pouring in with carrion crow efficiency. One can only hope that the "Why?" can be answered before the world numbs itself with laughter.