Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, I KNOW, OK? Nike is a big bad company and commercials are poisoning our children and Adbusters and Naomi Klein and everything etc. bah blah blah. Additionally, I have no clue what the Nike Fuelband is and I’m sure it’s stupid and I really don’t care. But I am amazed by the folks at Wieden+Kennedy and how they just consistently crank out ads that are both really visually interesting and not cheesy and JUST emotionally manipulative enough to get you excited without feeling TOTALLY gross.
I mean, did you see this one yet? IT HAS DAVID BRENT IN IT.
I don’t know anything about marketing or video production or any of this stuff, but one day I will work for W+K. Even if it means I have to live in Portland.
Prior to blogging about last year’s show I had never bothered to watch the ESPYs. I mean, it’s the ESPYs, right? Come on, ESPN, the ESPYs? What a stupid name!! Plus, why do we need an award show for sports? I’m pretty sure we already have awards for sports. You know, like MVPs and championships.
But then I watched them, and wow, it was a lot of fun! Mostly because of all the great montages. I love a good montage, and ESPN is really good at putting them together. Plus, Seth Meyers is hosting, there is sure to be a bunch of weird, awkward celebrity/athlete pairings, and it’s a slow Wednesday night. What else do I have going on? I’m in.
The ESPYs are also perfect for the award show winner-picking competition between my wife Johanna and I, because she has absolutely no idea what’s going on. She claimed not to have heard of any of the boxers until I pronounced Manny Pacquiao’s name for her, and she’s currently Googling the names in the “Best Jockey” category. As I said last year, if I don’t win this one, it’ll be embarrassing.
As always, in addition to blindly picking a “Best Bowler,” she is also in charge of making us a themed cocktail for the evening. She’s whipping something up with gin, lemonade, and a splash each of cranberry juice and sparkling water and calling it the “Derrick Rosé” in honor of the man who has managed to steal the title of “Jared’s Sports Crush” away from Albert Pujols.
Categories and winners are in bold, and I’ll be keeping score as we go along. Let’s get started. Play ball! Kickoff! Tip off! Puck drop, or whatever!
9:01 – You know you’re watching a seriously classy event when it’s sponsored by a motor oil.
So at some point, perhaps when I was the owner of a Chrysler dealership while they were going bankrupt (Believe it or not, that is not a joke! That is a thing that actually happened!), I got it in my head that I should be one of those “Buy American” people. One way in which this manifested itself was in my half-baked decision to only wear, like, Nike, Vans and Converse shoes and no longer support Adidas or Puma.
My aversion to Adidas was even more pronounced because I have an inherent distrust of German corporations, mostly because I assume they all used to provide material support to the Nazi Party. UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIM BASED ON ABSOLUTELY NO INFORMATION ALERT! When I brought up this attitude about the Germans to my wife’s father and told him I was thinking of buying a Ford instead of, say, a Volkswagen because of it, he pointed out that Henry Ford was a noted anti-Semite who exchanged correspondance with Adolf Hitler. Or something. So there’s that.
Another way in which I’m an idiot is that clearly all of these shoe companies are global corporations at this point, and they’re all manufacturing the sneakers in the same Indonesian sweatshops, and blah blah blah, I know! I know, OK?! I just said RIGHT AT THE START OF THIS PARAGRAPH that I’m an idiot! Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am a large hypocrite.
Anyway, this new Adidas commercial features both my singer crush, Katy Perry, and my basketball crush, Derrick Rose, so I’m thinking of switching allegiances. Sorry, Phil Knight! And yes, I know, you hate Katy Perry, but I don’t care. She’s really hot, you guys. Plus, I know you hate her husband Russell Brand, too, but that doesn’t stop me from also really liking him. So there.
As for the commercial itself, I think it might be slightly too frenetic for my taste, but the new Justice song it uses is pretty awesome, and it really makes me want to go care about something/work hard/never give up! I’m not sure I’m going to go out and buy a new pair of Adidas shoes, though, because pretty much every pair that I’ve ever owned has sort of hurt my feet. But if anyone could convince me to switch brands it would be Derrick Rose, on whom I currently have the biggest sports crush I’ve had since the heights of my Pujolsmania. He’s so hard-working and humble and unselfish and amazing! Did you see this article? How could you not love him?!
Speaking of my current love of Derrick Rose, I really need someone to talk NBA with. None of my friends care, and my wife, God bless her, tries her best, but I get the sense that she’s just daydreaming about Kyle Chandler while I’m blathering on about how maybe the Bulls are better off with the 2 seed in the East as opposed to the 1 seed because then they would probably face the Heat in the second round of the playoffs instead of the Magic, and I really think they match up better against the Heat in a seven game series. What’s that? You’ve already stopped reading? OK then, I’ll show myself out.
OK, wait, just for one second let’s talk about the Puppy Bowl. Did you guys see Two Face? He was clearly the best and my favorite because he just wants to chill.
I’m also probably going to be good friends with Oliver (and maybe his brother River) because we share a love of movies.
But anyway, the Super Bowl. So, this seems like it’s going to be a good game. Most people that I’ve heard have been picking the Packers to win, but they aren’t huge favorites. It should be close. Plus, both the Packers and the Steelers have huge fanbases and storied histories. There is a lot going on here. And somehow, I absolutely could not care less. I can’t remember the last time I was this uninterested in this game.
My desire to watch it is also hurt by the fact that the television rights this year belong to FOX, which means this is going to be really overproduced and will constantly pander to the lowest common denominator. And will feature a robot.
Because on game day what we all really want to read is an analysis of the opposing quarterbacks’ personal styles. At least the Jets vs. Patriots preview coverage features players that are currently alive. For the Chicago Bears they’re transporting us all the way back to the Great Depression.
I suspect that they run stories like this because they still regret their adoption of color photography back in 1997.
Someone should tell the editors that when you’re talking football you need to tap into fans’ deep-rooted anger, aggression, and bloodlust. The New York Post gets it.
Columnist Steve Serby considers anything short of the literal decapitation of the opposing team’s coach and quarterback to be a failure, regardless of the score.
At the very least, The New York Times needs to employ more pun headlines. ESPN has at least twelve people on their pun-writing staff at all times. Look at the gem they came up with today:
I think they might also need to hire a pun ombudsman; that headline can’t possibly be considered up to their standards of journalistic integrity. It took me a full minute to even realize that it was a play on “fair-weather friends.”
New York Times, I love you, but you’re doing it wrong.
Deadspin points out that tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of ESPN.com’sPage 2, which has me reminiscing about my time spent online over the past decade. Page 2 was, at least for sports, the first source of online, well-written, free-wheeling opinion pieces that I read, I think, and I would suspect it contributed quite a bit to blogging culture as we now know it. I was familiar with David Halberstam, but I’m pretty sure I hadn’t ever heard of Hunter S. Thompson before he started writing for ESPN, which is a really bizarre way to be introduced to him.
And, of course, Page 2 introduced us all to Bill Simmons, who would eventually become a sports media behemoth and perhaps the premier star over at ESPN. I can’t believe I’ve been reading him for ten years. That sort of explains why he seems so old and vaguely out of touch lately.
Anyway, I like to make fun of ESPN, and I’ve certainly had a few laughs at Page 2 over the years, but here is just one more example of the network being ahead of its time. As if introducing the idea of 24-hour sports and fueling adoption of HDTV (and maybe 3D TV) weren’t enough. Kudos, Worldwide Leader.
So, I’ve never watched the ESPYs. I’ve actually never even thought about watching the ESPYs. I doubt I know anyone who has watched the ESPYs. They’re a non-event, kind of like the Daytime Emmys, except they seem even more artificial and tacky. (Note: I spent about five minutes trying to think of a joke about an imaginary Daytime ESPYs and came up empty. This is how I spend my time.)
That said, Johanna and I must soldier on in our 2010 award show winner-picking competition, so we’re going to slog through it. Luckily, Seth Meyers is hosting. Also, there will undoubtedly be ridiculously dressed athletes. And, as Bill Simmons always points out, women in high heels who are not used to wearing high heels. So that’s fun.
Let’s get this started. In the sporting, masculine spirit of the evening, Johanna and I will be sharing a bottle of 2009 D’Autrefois Pinot Noir Rosé. As always, categories and winners in bold.
9:00 – Picking winners in these categories was really hard; this has been a crazy exciting and dramatic sports year. Great Super Bowl, amazing March Madness, Phil Mickelson defeating his wife’s cancer at the Masters, a super-long tennis match, perfect games and no hitters, Celtics vs. Lakers, the World Cup. The Olympics were sort of meh, but hey, it’s still the Olympics.
I was thinking to myself the other day, you know what might be a fun thing to do for the blog? Pick a year, do some research on it, write down my thoughts on the major events, and dig around on YouTube for corresponding videos. And you know what? It was absolutely as fun as I thought it would be, mostly because of the videos. Old videos on YouTube are unbelievably great. God bless the people that not only hold on to their old VHS tapes, but also willingly spend their time putting them online. Or however it is these things find their way to my computer.
It seemed like 1982 would be an appropriate place to start; after all, that’s when I got my start. If I do muster up the energy to keep this going, though, I don’t plan to go sequentially, because that seems like it would be really, really boring.
I came up with the idea of beginning this entry with the first video that showed up for me when I searched for “1982.” I was pretty convinced that this would end up being a terrible idea, as I assumed that the first result would be something terribly dull. Boy, was I wrong. I think if I looked up “how to start a blog entry about 1982” in the dictionary, this video would start playing:
I was hoping to work things into a seamless narrative, but that would be too much work, so let’s just take things a category at a time.
My recent post about commercials that I find irritating might have led one to believe that I’m annoyed by commercials in general, but that’s really not the case. I find advertising sort of fascinating, and I get real enjoyment out of a well-made television commercial. In an effort to balance negativity with positivity, here are my thoughts on a few I’ve liked lately.
The ESPN campaign for the FIFA World Cup has a simple goal: alert unaware Americans, of which I’m sure there are quite a few, that the World Cup is coming soon and it will be televised on ESPN. They do that quite well, but they also accomplish a couple of secondary things, most notably convince skeptical American non-soccer fans that this is a really big deal and worthy of their attention, and get Americans that are already interested in soccer absolutely, foaming-at-the-mouth, crazy excited about it.
The first ad I saw them air is a nice, concise 30-second spot featuring footage from World Cups past and a simple voiceover. The key here, for me at least, is the use of “City of Blinding Lights” by U2, which is just the perfect song. It was also famously employed during the introduction of Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President back in 2008, a totally goosebump-inducing moment for me. I feel like a memo went out to all of the people that score things like this that this should be their go-to song.