The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Player Haters Ball

So it’s that time of the year again. The sun’s out a lot more. Beach trips become a daily routine. And, ah yes, the NBA playoffs. The ultimate showdown of the best professional basketball teams duke it out for one year of bragging rights. I have been a basketball fan for years, but there’s just something about this current season that makes it seem like everything’s at stake and every game matters. Derrick Rose, who was awarded MVP, is bringing the Bulls back to their glory days. Lebron and company want to show that they are a force to be reckoned with and no one can stop them. Dirk and the Mavericks are desperately fighting to get that championship ring. Boston wants revenge. And last but not least is Kobe and his posse going for that three-peat.
You would think that a team who has so much championship history would be one of the most respected teams in the league. Well, quite the opposite. It’s crazy how many people of my peers hate the Lakers, mostly because they’re not from Los Angeles. Yet most of them complain that there are too many fans in one area. Hmm, I wonder why. You chose to be in the heart of the LakeShow. Regardless, when people hate on the Lakers, it’s because of one man: Kobe Bryant.
This is a guy that’s so easy to hate on. Before most haters begin to criticize his game on the court, they immediately bring up his scandal back in 2003. “Kobe’s a rapist and blah blah blah.” Seriously? What year are we in again? Whether it was consensual or not shouldn’t be the reason to hate on the guy. Don’t get me wrong. That’s something that shouldn’t be tolerated. Besides, the girl dropped the charges. But when that happened, people began speculating that Kobe paid her to do that. Yeah, pretty sure Kobe would be in jail for bribery and you that know the media would be all over that.
But let’s not talk about the past and talk about the present. A lot of pressure is on this team as of now. The haters desperately want every team to beat the Lakers, and if they do, they will rejoice. My only hope would be that Lebron gets knocked out too. He has a good team now, but I’m honestly so over the hype. They are a great team, but everyone expected them to be undefeated and dominate every team. It turns out that by the end of the season, they pretty much blended in with the rest of the top teams.
I would love to see the Lakers and the Bulls for the Finals. How awesome would that be? It’s a classic matchup. Not to mention that it’s Phil Jackson’s old team that he used to coach; you know where he coached that Jordan guy. Plus, if the Lakers were to win it all again, it would be Jackson’s 4th three-peat, totaling at 12 championships. Six with Jordan and six with Bryant. That’s a basketball story. Despite the haters, the fans stay persistent with their team, and I hope that once again, the haters will keep their mouths’ shut again this year.
By: Aaron Frias

Goodbye Michael Scott

Who would have thought that recreating a show based off of office-cubicle-life from England would be a smash-hit here in America? I’m talking of course about “The Office”, a show that originally ran as a short series in the UK became a television phenomenon in the USA and is about to finish its 7th season. Whether you’re a fan of the British version or the American version, it’s tough to criticize Steve Carell’s performance over the past 7 years. He has crafted such a believable character that it reminds the viewer that there are so many people out in the world of the workforce who are exactly like him. With that, the awkward moments of the show, which are normally his fault, feel realistic as if you are in the room with him.
Michael’s last day at Dunder-Mifflin was definitely one to remember. In an interview with Steve Carell as to why he was leaving the show, he said that it was just time to hang out his coat and put that character to rest. It was time for him to move on. In terms of the show, his character became engaged with Holly, the new HR, and decided to move back to Colorado with her to help take care of her parents. Though the writers needed a reason for Michael to leave the company, I kind of wish this wasn’t the reason. It felt kind of rushed and all-of-a-sudden. I wanted Michael’s leaving to correlate with Steve Carell’s leaving. This was a decision that was out of Michael’s control, for the most part. Steve Carell wasn’t fired or asked to leave the show. In fact, I’m sure NBC could have done at least five more seasons with Michael Scott if they really wanted to.
Regardless of the reasons for Michael leaving the company, I was a bit shook up to see him take off in that airplane. Sticking with a television program that’s been on the air for years is like being married to these characters. You become so wrapped up with their lives and know their personalities so well that it’s hard to let go of them. Sure you could always watch reruns, but it won’t be the same knowing that Michael isn’t around any longer.
In terms of the future of the show, it seems as if Will Ferrell will be taking over Michael’s position. Now, I’m not biased towards Michael and against the fact that he’s being replaced. Plus, I love Will Ferrell; the man’s a comedic genius. Still, it’s weird seeing someone else permanently sitting in Michael’s office chair and I don’t think the writer’s are using Ferrell’s sense of humor to its fullest potential. They’ve made him somewhat of an awkward character who occasionally has some funny moments. I’m hoping that he’s the kind of character who takes awhile to come out of his shell and can eventually be the Ron Burgundy- like character that I was expecting him to be. I haven’t lost hope for this show. Season 6 was definitely the weakest season so far in terms of story and comedy, but with Michael’s leaving, the writers definitely stepped up their game and made the show as funny as Seasons 2 and 3 (arguably the best seasons of the show). I am banking on the fact that Season 8 will be the last one. I don’t doubt that it’ll be a good season; in fact it will probably be great. But a show only stays on the air based off the ratings and reviews. Viewers will give the show an unfair criticism just because one character is gone. I just hope that once the show is over, there won’t be any spinoffs. Coming next Fall: Jim & Pam!
By: Aaron Frias

Stop it, George Lucas

No, seriously, just stop it. You know exactly what I’m referring to. Back in the late 1970s up to the mid-1980s, George Lucas not only created a movie trilogy, but he created a universe. It was family-friendly, epic story about good vs. evil, likable characters, and overcoming adversity. Star Wars was on everybody’s minds at the time. Even if you weren’t born when it was a hit, myself included, Star Wars should be a part of every childhood. In fact, it should be required by law. They will change your life, as they did mine when I first saw them.
But then, Lucas decided to belittle his own franchise when he started the prequel trilogy. When he first announced that he was going to be filming Episode I, never would Star Wars fans realize that this was the beginning of the end. The trailers blew my mind when I first laid eyes on them. They were flashy, stylish, high-tech; man I couldn’t wait to see those movies. But then afterwards, I would always leave the theater wanting more. It was missing that magic spark; that fuzzy feeling I get whenever I watch the original trilogy. Episodes I and II were okay. Episode III was better, but nowhere near the quality of the original. I was hoping that it would end right there.
Then came the DVD releases of the original trilogy. Unfortunately, these versions would be the “touch-up” versions, meaning that Lucas would add-in CGI elements alongside the classic animatronics that Lucas once relied on. These CGI touch ups hinder the movie experience. They stand out so much and it’s so obvious when it’s there. Recently, Lucas announced that the movies would be released on Blu-Ray. Once again, they would not be the original theatrical versions but with even more touch-ups. Look, it’s cool that you haven’t forgotten about your movies, Mr. Lucas, but honestly, how many times can you release the same damn movie? Why do you like making your fans pay for the same movie over and over again? Get this: starting next year, Lucas is going to release all six episodes in theater with 3D. Dude, are you kidding me? Once again, you like torturing your fans because you know the absolute hardcore fans are going to pay to see them in 3D. Movies should remain in their original form. You don’t see The Godfather being retouched a million times. You don’t see Back to the Future retouched using CGI. You don’t touch classics.
By Aaron Frias

EA Sports: Not in the Game

Even if you don’t play video games, chances are that you still know about a game franchise called “Madden” by EA Sports. This is a football simulation video game that has been a huge success over the years, allowing NFL fans to control their favorite quarterbacks. It has proven to be a great commercial success and more of these games are bound to keep coming in the future. Now, with every video game there has to be some kind of competition, right? Every shooting game competes with Call of Duty; every fighting game competes with Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter; every massive multiplayer online role playing game competes with World of Warcraft. Who competes with Madden? Sadly, no one.
Back when the game first hit the scene and as the years went on, technology for video games was getting better. The graphics were getting better and so was the game play. So it should go without saying that the Madden games were getting better and better every year. But then comes along other gaming companies like 2K Sports who also wanted to get in on the NFL licensing. While these two companies were competing to create the better NFL simulation game, EA Sports gradually began to feel threatened. Madden was making a realistic approach to the graphics and presentation. 2K Sports, on the other hand, was making the game play fun and exciting. Turns out, that’s exactly what the fans wanted. Good graphics are nice but game play will always win.
So how does EA Sports handle their competition? By making the graphics and game play superior to 2K Sports? Well, you would think, but they end up doing something that no one saw coming. EA Sports decided to buy out the NFL licensing so that only EA Sports could produce a football video game based off of the franchise. In other words, it would be illegal for 2K Sports to create another NFL-based game since EA Sports has those rights. Since then, Madden has simply been just an okay game. The series has definitely come a long way, but there is still a lot of work to be done. But EA Sports has ZERO competition for Madden, unless you count NCAA Football…which is EA Sports too! If Madden still had competitors, maybe for once they would make a good game. Not that Madden is a bad game by today’s standards, but I feel there’s a lack of heart and soul that other gaming companies put into their games.
To give hard proof that 2K was always better than EA, take a look at the NBA video games that they make. When 2K announced NBA 2K11 with Michael Jordan on the cover, EA Sports announced that their game would be called NBA Elite, which used to be called NBA Live. When 2K11 was finally released (before Elite), the game got rave reviews. It got countless 9s out of 10s from just about every gaming website and magazine. EA got intimidated and still had another month before NBA Elite was to be released. Turns out, EA decided to pull the plug on Elite, saying that it was going to be inferior to 2K11. Even if there wasn’t going to be competition, they said that the game would just be horrible on its own. EA needs to learn that they aren’t the only gaming company around and that we live in a dog-eat-dog world. They should compete with their games, not their money.
By Aaron Frias

Green & Yellow

**Disclaimer: Written before the 2011 Super Bowl**
The month of February has proven to be both a great time of the month and also somewhat depressing as well. Single Awareness Day (otherwise known as Valentine’s Day) is around the corner and sadly the NFL season officially comes to an end for awhile. However, that means the Super Bowl is this weekend, America’s favorite unofficial holiday. Whether one watches it for the game, the commercials, to simply be with friends at a bar/party or all of the above like myself, Super Bowl Sunday is an eventful day. Those who will watch the game religiously this Sunday know exactly what’s at stake. The mighty Pittsburgh Steelers versus the determined Green Bay Packers will both fight for every play during Sunday’s matchup. Pittsburgh is looking to gain their 3rd championship in the last 5 years, while Green Bay needs to prove that they don’t need Brett Favre to win a Super Bowl.
Brett Favre played 16 seasons with the Packers from 1992 to 2007. Think about that for a second. When he started playing for them in ’92, millions of newborns had been brought into this world. When he left the Packers, those same newborns are now teenagers. So it’s safe to say that he had a major impact on this town, generating millions of fans and even his own restaurant in Green Bay. Within those 16 years, he gained over 2000 passing yards, over 400 passing touchdowns and two Super Bowl appearances with 1 championship. Favre has gained an admirable amount of respect in the football world.
After the 2007 season, he announced that he was going to retire but decided to return as a New York Jet. That somewhat left Green Bay in the dust. Second string Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had some major, MAJOR shoes to fill. Coming fresh out of Cal Berkeley, he knew what had to be done to get the team and its city back on their feet. Well, fast forward to 2011 and he has taken his team to a Super Bowl matchup.
Not being a fan of either team for this particular game (I’m a St. Louis fan and yes it’s torture), I always root for the underdog. The Steelers have some major guns on their side like Roethlisberger, Ward and Polamalu to name a few, so this team knows exactly what it takes to bring their city another victory. However, considering Green Bay’s past history and their strange transition between quarterbacks, they deserve this championship. Yeah, yeah the Steelers are an amazing team but I’m sorry, if they win this Sunday, that just makes the NFL boring and predictable. Green Bay hasn’t won since 1997 and far overdue to win something major.
But the question still remains. Can Aaron Rodgers escape the shadow of Brett Favre? Should he be called the new “Brett Favre” of Green Bay? The one thing that is going to especially bother me are all of the pregame reports on Sunday before the game actually begins. I can see it now. A short, mini-documentary will air and will be ALL about Favre, his last Super Bowl appearance and then transition to Rodgers briefly. When it ends, the reporters will then give their insights about Rodgers filling in the shoes for Favre. Just watch for it this Sunday, it’s going to happen. If I’m wrong, then the 2012 apocalypse is going to happen.
If I were in charge of FOX, I would urge the reporters to not speak heavily about Favre. I understand that it’s pretty difficult to talk about the Packers being in the Super Bowl and not think about what Favre has done for this great franchise. However, this isn’t 1997 when Favre was young and agile. All eyes should be on Rodgers and I don’t think it’s fair to him or the Packers’ organization. Everyone usually forgets that it should never be about one particular player of a certain team (I’m referring to you, Lebron). It’s about the team franchise first and then using their money to formulate good players and coaches. Just like graduation is usually for the parents of the student graduating, winning a football game is for the fans. Who doesn’t love bragging to an opposing fan when your team wins, especially when the underdog wins?
Sunday should prove to be an amazing game. If it’s anything like last year’s game with the Saints defeating the Colts, then we should have ourselves a football game. Although the only minor thing that worries me are the Madden predictions. Every year before the Super Bowl, EA Sports will simulate the Super Bowl using their successful video game Madden 11, selecting the teams that will play on Sunday. According to the simulation, the Steelers will defeat the Packers 24-20. Madden usually has the most accurate stats for each individual player and the team as a whole in real life. What’s even worse is that Madden has been correct in selecting the winning teams in the past 5 years, with the scores eerily close to the actual final scores. My obviously hope is that Madden is wrong and that Green Bay can overcome the Steel Curtain.
By Aaron Frias

Thank you Mike Judge

Whether someone claims that they don’t watch television is lying when they say that they don’t have at least one favorite show. They are most certainly aware of an invention called television and on this invention they show shows. (Pulp Fiction) Those who are couch potatoes are fully aware of what shows are definitely worth watching and which ones will get cancelled after two episodes. Let’s rewind time back to the early to mid 1990s, back when MTV was actually called Music Television. Now days, MTV is enjoying their loads of money thanks to stupid shows like “Jersey Shore” but I won’t get into that again. (Read my last blog) But back in the 90s, it was actually cool to say that one watches MTV. During these golden years of said channel, a simple show created by Mike Judge changed the television industry as we know it. It was about two high school dimwits who don’t have a clue about life while laughing at nearly everything and nothing in front of their beloved television. I’m talking, of course, about “Beavis and Butthead”, a show that had such a huge cult following that fans have been begging for it to come back on the air ever since the series ended.
When “Beavis and Butthead” ended, Judge was busy at work working on his new show on Fox called, “King of the Hill”. Usually regarded as Judge’s most subtle yet cleverest work he’s done in his career, the show often gets a bad reputation. Fans of Judge got an idea of his sense of humor with “Beavis and Butthead” and expected “King of the Hill” to be just as funny. Being that I’m fans of both shows, the comparison of humor is vastly different from one another. At the end of the day, “Beavis and Butthead” is simple yet ingenious at the same time. Anyone can make a show about two stupid friends, but Judge creates them so vividly and lifelike that you completely forget that one is watching a cartoon. When the show ended in 1996, fans have desperately wanted the dynamic duo to come back on the air, and just recently Judge announced that they will be making a glorious return. Not only that, but they are returning to MTV.
For those who don’t watch the show religiously, (It’s on Netflix Instant Stream) the show consists of two high school metal heads that are completely oblivious to everything and everyone surrounding them. They don’t care about their futures because they are living for each individual moment and their life passes them by in front of the television. One of the great things about the show when it first aired in the 1990s was the fact that it was one of the few shows to air on a music channel that wasn’t actually about music. However, the characters Beavis and Butthead usually watch actual music videos that MTV would air regularly. With that, the two would constantly make fun of the videos if they didn’t like the genre of song. In addition, they always wear the same clothes, as most cartoon characters do, sporting their Metallica and AC/DC shirts. Even though the boys are completely idiotic, they have a keen taste in music. With the new episodes that Judge says will come out Fall of 2011, the boys will of course watch more music videos. (My God I can’t wait to see what they say about Lady Gaga and that Bieber kid) Also, they will watch UFC fights, YouTube videos and will watch “Jersey Shore”. It was about time that MTV did something worthy for their channel. At this point, I think that they too miss their old selves that they used to be. “Beavis and Butthead” was a HUGE reason why it was cool to say that one watches the channel. I look forward to seeing the return of quality television returning. The nostalgic feeling is taking over my brain and I love every second of it.
By Aaron Frias

Jersey Shore and Glee: Go Away

I love the fact that when I tell people that I watch Beavis and Butthead, they are so quick to judge that I watch stupid television and have no taste in shows. (I’ve never actually been told that, but I can read it in their eyes). Then, these same people drive home and rush to their televisions to watch Jersey Shore and Glee. Now I’ve seen my fair share of bad television, but there’s nothing worse when bad shows get good ratings. If you’re reading this and you enjoy both of these shows, allow me to explain why I simply dislike them. It’s just a personal opinion. I don’t claim to be an expert on good television, but I like to dish on shows that get unworthy attention.
Let’s start with Glee. (I have to warm up for Jersey Shore). The minute that I saw a quick preview for the show before the world premiere, I immediately knew that people were going to go goo-gah over it. I thought to myself, “Just watch, half way through the 1st season, Facebook is going to be bombarded with statuses about the show.” And dammit, I was right. Don’t you hate it sometimes when you’re right?
My problems with the show? Well, I normally like movies and television shows that have a PLOT. You know, a story? I’ve spoken to fans of the show and they even admit that the show is literally 90% song and 10% story. I usually don’t like musicals, but this one takes the cake. I’d also like to add that I have actually attempted to watch an episode due to the hype, and to this day I wish I could gain my 15 minutes back that I wasted on it. Don’t get me wrong. I love music. It is practically my life. However, cover songs of extremely popular songs bother the hell out of me. These are the songs that everyone knows, lyric for lyric. They don’t exactly need to be covered. It feels like Kidz Bop is the official sponsor for the show.
Not only am I bothered by the show, but the producers are big babies. How? Well, recently they asked the band Kings of Leon if they could cover their song “Use Somebody” for the show. The band immediately rejected saying, “At the time of the request, we hadn't even seen the show. It came at the end of that record cycle, and we were over promoting [‘Use Somebody’].” Glee’s response: “"F-ck you, Kings Of Leon. They are self-centered a--holes and they missed the big picture." Notice the differences in the responses from both parties. One is calm and polite. The other is acting like a little bratty kid who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas. I mean something just isn’t right here. You have a show that gains millions of viewers a week, making good money off of other musicians’ work and now you cry because 1 band had the balls to say no. This was the icing on the cake for me. Maybe I’m missing something here but Glee is simply taking up too much air time. Can Fox please replace Glee for Arrested Development??
Oh boy, then there’s Jersey Shore. My God. I have never witnessed such atrocious television entertainment than this show. Before the show began, the internet was filled with Guido jokes which poke fun of their lifestyle and personalities. For those who don’t watch the show or don’t know what a Guido is, let’s take a look at the definition from good ol’ “An Italian American man usually residing in New York or New Jersey. He wears shirts that are too tight and unbuttoned 5 buttons too low to show off the chest that he spent hours and hours at the gym obtaining, he spends more time on his hair than his girlfriend, and continues to ‘hit the clubs’ long into his mid to late 30's. Often attracted to the female version of himself, the Guidette.”
Doesn’t this sound like an easy target to make fun of? Well, the geniuses at MTV decided to make a reality show (Reality show, how original) based on the lifestyles of said individuals. Jersey Shore was born and it hurts me to say that the show is in its 3rd season. A show about douche bags who simply cannot get over themselves. They fist pump in the clubs, work out, have an incredible amount of drunken hook ups and nonstop drama. And wouldn’t you know it? The people have spoken. Is this what America loves now days? They love it. Not only do they love it, but fans have made an attempt to quote the show nonstop. T-shirt time? The hell is that? I swear I had a girl come up to me and that’s literally all she said, in her high pitched voice. “T-Shirt time??” Oh that’s right! You watch bad television; sorry I was busy watching South Park and Entourage.
I really don’t mean to sound like a ranting jerk here and I apologize if I have offended your taste in television. But it just shocks me what passes as television now days. Maybe I haven’t given the shows a fair shot at redemption, but I feel as if I’d be wasting my time again. But if I’ve learned anything about American society is that we get bored very easily. These shows won’t last very long. Hell, The O.C. was insanely popular and got cancelled, so there’s hope.
By Aaron Frias