Issue 9 of The Campbell Times
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Titles can tell you a lot about a piece of art or entertainment. “Call Me Maybe” couldn’t be anything other than a catchy pop tune and anything with Tyler Perry’s name in the title is bound to have a lot of tears broken up by bits of broad cross-dressing humor. However, titles can also be misleading. For instance, the closest thing to breakfast in The Breakfast Club is Ally Sheedy’s Cap’n Crunch and Pixie Stix sandwich. It would be more accurate to call it “Did I Whine That Much in High School? I Think I Did. John Hughes So Gets Me.” TV shows are especially tricky, since they last so long and could be completely different before it’s over. “Seinfeld” wasn’t really “Seinfeld” until halfway through season two, but fortunately it was still about a guy named Jerry Seinfeld. These other shows weren’t so lucky.
“Cougar Town” started its fifth season this year, and its fourth year of not being about “cougars” (older women who date younger guys0. The first season of the show is about Jules, played by Courtney Cox, who recently divorced from her husband because he gave his laundry discount to another woman. At first Jules gets back in the game by dating younger men, but she begins dating men her own age before the first season finale. Now Jules is remarried to an age appropriate man and there isn’t a cougar in sight. There are about as many literal big cat cougars in “Cougar Town” as there are “awkward breakfast with the guy from your high school” cougars.
“Trophy Wife” on the other hand, has never been about trophy wives. It just has a poorly chosen ironic title. Even the star Malin Akerman almost turned down the lead role because she was put off by the title. Akerman does play a young woman married to an older man (like an anti-cougar so, like a small dog I guess), but she’s not a gold digger or airhead. She’s just a flawed character attempting to adjust to her new role as a stepmother to three kids and become queen of the castle. A great cast joins Akerman, including Bradley Whitford from “The West Wing” and Billy Madison, SNL veteran Michaela Watkins, and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy is the main character, and “Vampire Slayer” is her title, but together they make a name that is more accurate for the cheesy 1992 movie than the cult classic series based on it. Maybe the first couple of seasons were campy enough to fit the title, but once “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” developed its own mythology and stood on its own two feet; it became something much more than a horror movie parody. It’s an intelligent, complex show with relatable and human characters, and even some relatable and human vampires. Besides, calling Buffy a vampire slayer is a bit like calling an iPhone a tip calculator. Plenty of vamps get dusted, but Buffy also cancels at least one apocalypse each season.
By Brian Brown
So here’s a hypothetical situation:
A person–maybe someone you know, maybe someone you love, maybe someone you heard of in a story from a friend–was diagnosed with cancer. This person, it is said, chose not to undergo chemotherapy treatment; likewise, he refused any and all other available medicines.
Because, and here’s the kicker, he equated treatment to “cheating.”
Would you not think this response asinine?
What he sees as cheating death, you see as cheating life. What he sees as an unfair advantage over other cancer patients, and the disease itself, you see as doing what is necessary to succeed. What he sees as having negative secondary effects, you see as ignoring the primary reason he is in the hospital.
And that’s the real argument I see being made in Alex Gibney’s documentary The Armstrong Lie.
Gibney, whom plays the part of narrator, tells the audience that the documentary had been a long time in gestation. He admits that when he began creating the movie in 2009, he intended to document Lance’s return to the sport of cycling after spending four years in retirement. Shortly after Lance returned however, so did the allegations that Lance was blood-doping. What started out as a documentary of the hero’s return ended, as this journey often does, with a heavy dose of heroic hubris.
Gibney’s narration plays a key role in the audience perception of the Lance. I like to think that Gibney’s perception is much like our own—somewhere in between the double yellow lines of empathy for the American athlete standing atop the podium pedestal, and disgust for a public figure subject to the repercussions of his own lying, cheating, and fraud.
Yet, with all the negative hype and attention brought to the Sestina Affair, after seeing The Armstrong Lie, I can’t seem to blame Lance Armstrong. Here are a couple of reasons why:
Herein I invoke my initial hypothetical. Lance’s fight with cancer shaped his outlook on life. His battle with testicular cancer wasn’t one in which “losing” in the conventional athletic sense was an option. To lose would have meant to die.
So for Lance, simply winning the battle against cancer wouldn’t be enough. He wasn’t going to simply “survive” the ordeal—he was going to come out on top. He sought out the most cutting edge treatments for testicular cancer—a type of chemo-therapy treatment that would treat him, but not do so at the expense of scarring his lungs, which would allow him to return to cycling after the ordeal. He did not want simply to live, but to live well.
Lance went on and then applied this ideology to racing—why simply race when you can race well? It would not be enough to simply engage in the battle, he would have to win the war. When he entered into professional cycling, blood doping was the norm—everyone did it—so why would he simply dope when he could have the best? And so just as he sought the top medicine and team of medical professionals, he would seek also the best doctors and physicians in sports medicine—Dr. Mikele Ferari.
I can’t seem to blame Lance Armstrong. How can it be considered “cheating” when the word “cheating” means, as he defined it, “to have an unfair advantage over the rest of the field”? Really, he wouldn’t have been doing himself, his team-mates, or his country any favors by not taking part in something so “normal” that it’s nearly expected. Eat. Sleep. Bike. Lift. Supplement.
If the top 58 cyclists were all taking testosterone, cortisone, EPO, etc. then, weren’t they, in a way, leveling their own playing field? I’m not saying that moral relativism is ever a legitimate argument for the normative fallacy, (which is to say that just because it’s happening doesn’t mean you can say because it is happening it ought to happen), but I am saying that I can’t blame Lance Armstrong. It would have been athletic suicide for him to race against the best and deny the scientific advancements he had available.
I feel like I am echoing Lil Wayne, who when asked about legalizing steroids in professional baseball said, in a nut-shell, “I don’t care—let them all hit home-runs.”
By Claudia Mundy
Myth Number 1: Only girls teach.
Actually, no. It is only brave men and women, brave heroes and heroines, that take on such a dedicated war.
Number 2: Teaching is easy.
Sure, teaching is easy. Making sure children learn to use every part of their brain is not. Being there as students’ role model is not. Being more than just a monotone voice speaking at the front of the classroom is not. Being someone students can trust is not. “Teaching” does not cover it all. Teachers are also actors/actresses, nurses, counselors (for students and parents), lunch and recess monitors, social workers, secretaries, copy machine mechanics, and especially, learners. In short, teaching is easy. Being a teacher is not.
Number 3: What teachers teach is boring!
You see, in reality, not thinking is boring. Not participating is boring. Not doing anything is boring. Not being the true you is boring. It is all this which makes teachers’ teaching seem boring. Yet, what teachers do, is teach students how to make everything un-boring by teaching children to think for themselves.
Number 4: My teacher said that what I learned in his/her class,
I would eventually use when I graduated. I have graduated.
I still have not used it.
Teachers help expand different parts of their students’ brains. So, every time a student uses a part of the brain a teacher has helped expand, the student is using that material…just in a different manner.
Number 5: Teachers finish the job at 3pm.
Actually, every teacher should end “the job.” After all, teaching is not a job, it is a lifestyle.
Number 6: Teachers have summers off.
Well, in part, teachers technically do have the summers off – off as in, out of the school building. However, there is still much to be done during those three months, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the other holidays! Yet, it all is worth it considering the great teacher pay.
Number 7: Teacher pay stinks!
In actuality, it smells really good. No, seriously, it does. Teachers’ pay is success and victory; that is, success and victory their students obtain upon leaving their classroom, which not only smells great, but also feels great.
Number 8: Teachers just couldn’t find a better job.
Truthfully, this one is almost all the way true. Teachers really could not have found any better lifestyle than this one.
This is dedicated to all those brave, big kids who finished school, chose to go back to school, and learned about how to live the rest of their lives at school. To all those heroes and heroines that with every A+, “Well done!” sticker, smile, encouraging words, dedication, and especially teaching children how to learn by being the best exemplary learners themselves, have been an essential part in shaping up today’s champions: every doctor, lawyer, policeman/woman, firefighter, writer, scientist, mathematician, teacher, musician, President, and the list goes on. But, most importantly you: the learner. Thank you, teachers, for your undivided, fully-devoted service. We love you.
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Issue 9 of The Campbell Times