Sunday, February 08, 2009

What Do Watchmen, Lebron James, Yao Ming and Barack Obama have in common?

Things that fuck me off right now: Premature celebration.

Is it just me, or is it incredibly sad that the time of most jubilation, excitement and general warm fuzzy feelings is before anything has a chance to dissapoint us?

11 months ago I walked past a cover that made my heart sink, Alan Moore's watchmen was being adapted into a film. This saddens me in the same way I imagine Barack Obama is saddened when he sees a black guy asking for change at a bus stop, if that ever happens to Obama. But as a fan of comics, I pray for the upliftment of comic fandom to self respect and not pandering to validation from the movie industry.

But what ticked me off the most was that Empire magazine ran the tagline 'The Citizen Cane of Comic Book Films.'

Watchmen is yet to be released. But it's theatrical trailer has spawned such excitement that swathes of new people rushed out to buy unprecedented numbers of copies of Watchmen, something that sadly denies Alan Moore ownership of his work so long as DC can continuously reprint it.

But what is this reaction. People get excited about a film, then rush to read the originl print before the movie ruins it for them? But to call something the 'citizen cane of' anything before its hit the market is just an outright lie. Watchmen may well be the 'citizen cane' of comics, but the movie hasn't been seen. What little I have seen from the trailer promises none of the innovation in film techniques that Citizen Cane brought with it, nor does it look like it will be critically reveared like the original.

THen you have Lebron who has actually been fucking me off for years. Micheal Jordan was a statistical anomoly not just for basketball, but sport. He captured the whole world's imagination. He is quite literally more popular than Jesus. If their is one thing that Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindu's can all agree on it is that MJ is the best.

Unfortunately he made squillions of dollars for Nike and boosted ratings for the NBA, sold merchandise for the Chicago Bulls and probably tipped his caddy generously.
So the industry found him not only amazing but quite lucrative too. A big fat cash cow they could milk like wringing someone off through a glory hole, so thick and creamy was his payload.

So naturally the industry is going to feel sorry that he's gone. And not just the winners, the losers like Adidas, Reebok and Converse who missed out on the MJ gravy train are going to not want to miss the next one.

So what do they do? They make one up. A bit of a truth and a lie situation. Truly Lebron James from an early age had the makings that come as close to gaurunteeing a champion as you can get. The lie is that he is guarunteed to be a champion.

MJ was the most phenomenal athlete on the planet for his first n seasons. It wasn't till he got Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen that he started collecting rings. He couldn't do it alone.

Nor probably can Lebron who has Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, The Boston Three Party and so fourth to contend with. Coming up behind them are the next gen of stars Chris Paul, Deron Williams, OJ Mayo, Derick Rose, Beasley, Brandon Roy (probably the more similar player to MJ mentally) and so fourth.

The point is, that the time to say Lebron is the next MJ is after he is the next MJ. After he has 5 MVP's and 6 Championships. The League, the Cavs and Nike have invested so much money into trying to make Lebron a star that they honestly seem desperate that it isn't happening.

I mean he is a star. But if he had a season ending injury tomorrow his legacy would be up there with Penny Hardaway and Shawn Kemp. THat is to say 'a never was' because he hasn't fucking achieved anything yet. He refused to go in the Dunk Contest so you can't even really say Lebron is the next Vince Carter.

Meanwhile there's Kobe who actually was the next MJ. Except he got dicked around for 4 years with the worst lineup in the league. And just like MJ without a Scottie Pippen calibre player he couldn't do it alone. He could go deep into the finals alone, year after year and this probably cost him too.

Anyway, the Kobe vs Lebron debate to me is just like the Isreal vs Palestine debate. You want to voice your opinion on it, but everytime you do, you regret it because there's a world full of douchebags out there that are obsessed with these issues that in the face of eternity are really quite pointless.

I mean I'll eat my words if in 10,000 years the Isreal Defence force invokes the right to temporally defend their territory by combating the Dinosaurs that originally occupied the middle east before the holy book was written by a bunch of ordinary people from oral traditions past down from ordinary people as well. Just as I will if Hamas wage Jihad through time on Tyrannosaurus Rex as King of the Dinosaurs in the holy land.

But I'm fortunate in that I don't have to deal with Middle Eastern conflicts apart from in the annoying Lebron v Kobe way that writers of columns on have to.

But Barack Obama does, and if there was any clear evidence of humanities sad new tendancy to knowingly prematurely celebrate it is in the political realm. Where people intuitively know is that the real victory in politics is when you manage to elect the guy who said he intended to institute reforms, rather than celebrate the departure of a president that actually did institute reforms.

I know Bush had his audience too, that celebrated as much as Sarah Palin supporters did at the resounding moral victory for them of naming a pro-lifer as running partner.

So here is what fucks me off. If people think it is good enough to celebrate the vague promised intentions of Watchmen to be the Citizen Cane of Comic Book Movies (hey it might, except Citizen Kane was not an adaptation and was fully endorsed by its enthusiastic author) and Lebron to be 'The Chosen One' (which is kind of true, he is the poor shmoe chosen by the NBA and Nike and SLAM magazine to be jammed down our throats) or Barack Obama to tell us 'we can', rather then holding out our jubilation until these promises have hit the here and now, then there is simply no hope for humanity.

It's like eating a celabratory cake because you started the new diet. It is simply shifting responsibility from you to act to wishes to come true.

The only person that will make Lebron the next MJ is Lebron. And if it's going to happen it isn't going to be because his contract is bid up into the high numbers and he makes all his choices keeping the interest of his sponsors in mind. If Watchmen is going to be innovative it will be up to the director to sit down and think of exactly why the fuck the film needed to be made and what the medium of film brings to it, and not considering the interests of the studio wanting the low risk of a preexisting fanbase demanding a faithful adaptation ala 'Sin City' aka 'Give your money to some studio executive to see something which you have already read' and if Barack Obama is going to be an Abe Lincoln then that's something he needs to take up with his barber, outfitter and the next John Wilkes Booth.

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