Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Two more rules, stat!

Rule #36: Shakespeare vs. Love

Celebrities should stop apologizing every time they suggest that America is not perfect. Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines this past weekend for telling a Portuguese newspaper that the British "don't talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner" and "are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans." And for that, she's being branded by some as unpatriotic. But if Gwyneth should apologize for anything, it's her desperate-sounding apology. The critics aren't buying it, and those of us who agree with her wish she'd retain her backbone.

Why is Gwyneth is getting bad press for suggesting that Americans talk a lot about work and money? We DO! In fact, it's probably the number-one topic of any American conversation, with American Idol running a close second. Getting slammed for saying this is like getting slammed for saying, "Americans like to drive SUVs." Well, duh! And aren't those drivers the ones who brag the most about it?

And come on, Mr. and Mrs. Patriot: don't you think it's a stretch to claim the United States is more civilized than Great Britain? Isn't it precisely the pro-America crowd who always makes "tea and crumpet" jokes about how timid and proper the English are, and how America is so much better at kicking ass? You can't go around bragging about how Americans are strong workers and don't have time for understanding the rest of the world, and then get pissed because someone said that we're too obsessed with work and aren't culturally civilized.

As Americans, we should be able to tolerate criticism about ourselves. And, let's face it: if we can't handle mild comments from a pond-hopping American actress, then maybe we aren't as superior as we claim to be.

Rule #37: Spike TD

The NFL should immediately rescind all rules and fines relating to touchdown celebrations.

Say what you will about Joe Horn and his infamous cell phone. Or Terrell Owens and his Sharpie. Or Terrell Owens and his dancing on the Cowboys' star after he scored against them. Or Terrell Owens, period. These antics are entertaining, and give the fans an opportunity to wonder what creative celebration will come next. Conversely, the other team will have an even greater impetus to play better and/or clock the guy next time. And that player's haters will have something to talk about for the next week on sports call-in shows. Everybody wins!

Is it a bad show of sportsmanship? Probably. But standing stone-cold after scoring is not its opposite. Not that sportsmanship is exactly the barometer of NFL behavior anyway. Hell, pro football could use a little more grudge, as long as it remains on the field. While you're on that field, have fun with the rivalry! Juke, dance with the star, call your mom after the touchdown. As long as you're showing no class, do it with fervor and abandon! Seems to work for the rest of the country.

Rules archive


colinsmith said...

Some other things Gwyneth should apologize for include:

Sylvia, View from the Top, Bounce, and Duets.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't offended one bit by Paltrow's comment...took them as a compliment in fact.

Anonymous said...

You are forgetting a number of crucial points in your misguided defense of Paltrow (before I start - I am not a "patriot" nor have I ever felt "patriotism" or "patriotic" - have I covered the word?). Paltrow forgets that she is only famous because ticket-buying Americans deemed her worthy of fame. Yeah, it's OK to say what you want and bite the hand to feed you, it's also stupid and arrogant. Crucial Point #2: Paltrow comes from a showbiz background and is a child of the biz - no wonder she has no idea what it means to be "civlized". Crucial Point #3: She's not talented. Crucial Point #4: Let's wait and see how the barbarian Americans react to Paltrow's next flick. Crucial Point #4: Long before the US was a drooling nation of war hungry killers, Great Britain made war on every nation, race, and religion in the world. The difference: They did so with a refined, English accent and we did it with a moronic Texan drawl.

Ian McGibboney said...

About those "crucial points":

1) Paltrow is entitled to her opinion, and has as much a right to express it as anyone else. To insinuate that she must keep her mouth shut in order to appease her fans is ridiculous. Assuming that they're all pissed off to begin with, which they aren't. Americans are a (mostly) diverse bunch who for the most part let stuff like this go.

2) So Hollywood families aren't "civilized?" (Very interesting word choice, BTW.) You must HATE the Reagans, then! In all seriousness, though: considering the nerve Gwyneth hit, she's obviously somewhat in tune with what Americans do. And, as a non-star, I agree with her. Sure, what she said isn't true of everybody, but it is true of most. And she's lived in both America and England, so that perspective lends more credence to what she says.

3) Completely irrelevant.

4) Also irrelevant. Assumes that all Paltrow fans are thin-skinned and jingostic. You're thinking of the Dixie Chicks.

Second #4) She's talking about today's Brits versus today's Americans. Again, her own observations. Not to mention that she didn't even bring up the war.

Anonymous said...

Gwen Paltrow is a rich, spoiled brat. She has never had to work hard at anything or take out the garbage or solve an engineering conundrum or change a diaper. She is not qualified for assessing the contents of a refrigerator. Assessing and comparing national characteristics is much more difficult. I personally disregard all her audio output. I do, however, carefully regard photons scattered off her bare skin.

Ian McGibboney said...

George W. Bush is a rich, spoiled brat. He has never had to work hard at anything or take out the garbage or solve an engineering conundrum or change a diaper. He is not qualified for assessing the contents of a refrigerator.

The difference between he and Gwyneth Paltrow, however, is that she actually did some traveling before affecting an air of elitism.

Anonymous said...

Completely irrelevant

Ian McGibboney said...

Careful now...if this exchange gets any wittier, I'm going to get accused of playing both sides!

Anonymous said...

I don't aspire to be witty. I aspire to be accurate. I'm accurate in my assessment of the usefulness of GP. I'm accurate in my observation that your follow-up post is not pertinent. Here's another you can take to the bank: you hope wit masks poor analysis. Good luck with that strategy.

Ian McGibboney said...

Disagreeing with me doesn't make you "accurate" or prove I offer "poor analysis." All it means is that you hold differing views. Nothing less, nothing more.

It takes zero courage to make personal attacks on a public figure (and sidestep the actual issue) and then similarly insult me, while hiding behind no name.

But returning back to the issue at hand: tossing aside your hatred for Gwyneth as a person (and your hypocritical lust for her as a woman), how would you rebut her statements if I said them? I can't vouch for Europeans across the pond, but I do find merit in much of what she says. So let's pretend I made those statements. What you you offer to counter them?

Anonymous said...

I think you have made a slight error. I have not disagreed with you (yet). Basically, you claim GP should not apologize. I claim she is not qualified. These claims are not contradictory.

Yes, it also takes zero courage to use tongs rather than bare hands to flip steaks on the bbq. What is your point?

I withdraw a first 1% of my insult in support of your recent good effort at analysis rather than knee-jerk bush bashing.

Slight error detected again. I do not hate GP. I did not say I hated her. I listed some of her characteristics and abilities.

The statements: Firstly... we don't have enough time to rebut all statements. In this case, the best path is to realize she has no standing for her assertions. They should be disregarded just like you disregard a three-year-old's assertion that there's an angry elephant in the bathroom. Secondly, it is transparent that she is merely taking an opportunity to brag about herself. By pointing out a delta in intelligence she is hoping the audience will conclude "oh, she must be intelligent" - a standard ploy by glamor types that want to be seen as more than glamorous. Thirdly, she offered no supporting data (e.g. reference to research study). She only offered anecdotal evidence. Not worth much. GP should have the onus, not me, for proving her goofy statements. Okay, suppose I was on the spot and had to save the planet by debunking her assertions. I will do this today and report later. I must go to work...

Ian McGibboney said...

I get it. You're one of those people who believe that no one's entitled to an opinion unless they can back it up with a full study from the Cato Institute. That is, unless they agree with you; then it's all good.

You clearly disagree with me; otherwise, you wouldn't be posting so much anti-Paltrow fluffery. You've gone on and on about what a pretentious, arrogant brat Gwyneth Paltrow is, and how her opinion doesn't matter, etc. etc. And yet, now you say you only "listed some of her characteristics and abilities." Please. Your pseudo-academic language cannot hide your contempt for her.

You still have yet to rebut what she was saying. And I figure that if you have time to ramble about every other point I made, you could at least touch on the only one that matters:

Do Americans talk about work and money more than the Brits? And do Americans seem less intellectual and civilized?

What is your input? And--since we're asking now--what are your qualifications / credentials for taking that stance, anonymous?

Anonymous said...

I-Mac: please disable your simplification process. All are entitled an opinion, but not all opinions are equally trustworthy.

My disagreeing with you (which I haven't yet done) would not imply contempt for GP. Non-zero contempt does not imply hate. She's entitled to her opinion. She might even be right, but if so, it is likely through luck. Her opinion is not trustworthy. I do not hate her.

Your questions:
"Do Americans talk about work and money more than the Brits?" I've perused the old memory banks for statistically significant observations. I confess I cannot draw a conclusion on this pressing issue. If forced to guess I would disagree due to the British spending more time in the quieter pubs chitchatting over food. Can't serve liquor without offering food in England. So, they talk more than Americans and therefore mention work and money more often. American conversation may include a higher percentage of work/money talk than the British, but the raw amount is less.

"do Americans seem less intellectual and civilized?" The question, as stated, depends on who is perceiving. If we extract the word "seem" then we are left with the challenge of defining intelligence and civility. The Brits are clearly less civil while watching sport (soccer) and debating (parliament), but perhaps more civil at tea-time. Once again, too difficult to figure out. My guess, GP, like the monkey at the typewriter, got this one right.

My qualifications: I lived and worked for three months in England. I have a perfect 4.0 in 10 math classes beyond calculus. I can juggle. However, I, too, am not likely qualified to make these difficult determinations.


Ian McGibboney said...

I believe you. You certainly approached this extremely subjective matter with the quantitative mind of a math student. I got as much out of what you said as you probably would if I tried to do a math problem. That said, however, I appreciate your direct approach to my questions. Your take is interesting in that it isn't measured in Republican anger and hatred of dissent, but rather through equations. Rock on!

I don't doubt Gwyneth would crack under the gravitas of your answers. She clearly didn't do her statistical research before making such a broad remark. She should really watch her back next time.

Anonymous said...

If someone approaches this question without math as the primary tool then that someone is an idiot.

If she had instead stated she "believes/thinks/perceives" group x is more intelligent than group y then there's no argument. She erred by making the unsupported statement about reality instead of her perception of it.

I doubt she would crack. These arguments would not register with her.

Regarding her apology: She apologized to preserve her future earning potential. Which means she is more capitalistic than idealistic, contradicting her statements that started the whole mess.

I don't know what "republican anger" has to do with this. Here's *my* non-sequitur: please be good to the American soldier