Saturday, May 14, 2011

The week that Sean Avery stepped up, and more

Hello and welcome to the weekend. As of this writing, it is a grey morning. Maybe listen to Here Comes the Sun to perk things up, and let's get started with roundups and opinions. And in case you're used to the regular format of these things, today's post does not end with music or videos (although they're there), so make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for the complete musings.

-  First up, Sean Avery claims the high ground. No, not some other Sean Avery. The Sean Avery who is easily one of the most disliked players in the big four of major North American sports. The Sean Avery who is more about gamesmanship than sportsmanship. The Sean Avery who once publicly uttered a particularly vulgar statement about his ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert. That Sean Avery has also been an equal rights supporter, and now he's supporting gay rights. This is a big deal, considering homosexuality is totally taboo in professional sports. The next openly gay major professional sports player will be the first. Of all people, Sean Avery has volunteered to fly to anywhere in North America to stand by any player (presumably in hockey) who wanted to come out to his teammates. Have we arrived at the Tipping Point for gay rights in pro sports?

This is how the news went over in the New York Times and the Toronto Star. Later in the week, a hockey agent and a broadcaster got into hot water for denouncing Avery and commenting on what they feel is the true meaning of marriage. Expect more reaction like this as the issue becomes more prevalent.

-  Current Fifa president Sepp Blatter warns that the organization will be plunged into a "black hole" if his main opponent is elected instead of him. That's rich for a couple of reasons. First, it offers the tantalizing possibility that Fifa could be sucked into a void and never escape. Second, it's hilarious to hear Blatter or any of his cronies suggest that Fifa would be WORSE off without their scheming, meddling, and general crookedness.

-  Finally! You can now read the first five Harry Potter books in single page comics. Five books in five pages, by artist Lucy Knisley. How can you go wrong?

-  This new Sansa Stark wallpaper includes the quote "What if I only have girls?" I think we can do better than that. Quick! New caption contest... go!

-  Leigh Butler is reading her way through A Game of Thrones for the first time, and blogging about it. It's really amusing to watch someone's reactions to the characters and events in that series, especially at the beginning, when they have no idea about all the AWW HELL NO moments in store for them. (New readers, have I mentioned that I blogged about A Game of Thrones? True story.)

-  The use of the n-word in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has plagued schools and families for years. Not anymore. Now you and your children can read Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The Patriot’s Edition, where the n-word is replaced with "Navy SEAL."

"If you're going to read a censored version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it might as well be the version about Huck and his Navy SEAL friend Jim." – Gothamist

(Evil Wylie is the fake online version of “evil” literary agent Andrew Wylie, aka The Jackal. He is also brilliant.)

-  Smallville ended last night, after ten years. I'm not going to lie... I've never seen a single episode, but I heard there were some decent seasons. Maybe I'm just not that crazy about Superman, although I used to watch Lois and Clark all the time as a kid.

-  Song of the week: Due to my indecision, we have two for the price of one, but either one includes a bit of a throwback to the 70s. There is Redlight King, sampling Old Man by Neil Young for their song called... Old Man. Hip-hop and roots rock, right here.

There there's I Don't Know, by The Sheepdogs, modern Saskatchewan rockers who sound like the could be touring with the Allman Brothers. A local DJ put it best when he said "their guitars actually sound like guitars... no keyboards or anything... you don't know how refreshing that is."

You know what? Bonus track, for all the people who wanted a collaboration between The Lonely Island and Michael Bolton. It's called Jack Sparrow. Hide your kids, because this video contains bad words.

-  Are you ready for the weekend yet? Well, here's one last thing to end this on a serious note. I've been thinking about people who use emotional manipulation on friends and significant others. Guilt trips might seem funny when they're presented in comedies that play on family stereotypes, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But when emotional blackmail is used to coerce and intimidate people, that just gets me fired up. No one should have their decisions influenced by another person's guilt trip. Take a look at these two quotes from In Sheep's Clothing, by George K. Simon:

"Manipulators are often skilled at using what they know to be the greater conscientiousness of their victims as a means of keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, and submissive position. The more conscientious the potential victim, the more effective guilt is as a weapon."

"What our gut tells us a manipulator is like challenges everything we've been taught to believe about human nature. We've been inundated with a psychology that has us seeing everybody, at least to some degree, as afraid, insecure or "hung-up." So, while our gut tells us we're dealing with a ruthless conniver, our head tells us they must be really frightened or wounded "underneath." What's more, most of us generally hate to think of ourselves as callous and insensitive people. We hesitate to make harsh or seemingly negative judgments about others. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they don't really harbor the malevolent intentions we suspect. We're more apt to doubt and blame ourselves for daring to believe what our gut tells us about our manipulator's character."

Think you're being/have been manipulated, but aren't sure? Check out Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation for starters, or How to Recognize Emotional Manipulation.

Stay classy.

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