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This Friday's Open Court is the Reading Room edition. I read a lot. I read smart stuff (Pandora Papers blew my mind), trashy stuff (what is up with Eminem's Spaghetti shop), in-between things, and sometimes things from French or German media. My brain fires in a lot of weird ways. I am as interested in neurology as I am in Britney Spears. I keep the neurons firing with a lot of things, which is both necessary as a journalist to keep on top of the world, but also needed to learn new ways of writing. The bad side is I easily fall into the rabbit holes of reading link after link. Come join me in the hole of all the words, with a pinkie swear promise there will be some light and fun with the dark.
Here are some of things I consumed, and they may interest you too:
Taking the trash out: The ongoing uncovering of the abuse of female athletes is enough to make you want to not get out of bed. The Athletic rightfully exposed now-fired NWSL coach Paul Riley's systematic evil toward his soccer players. People knew, and did nothing. The league's president and general counsel resigned, and the players are protesting to demand change. Blow it all up. NOW.
Skater Tarah Kayne detailed the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her former coach to Christine Brennan in USA Today, and how it has derailed her career. Psychological torture at a CIA level. We need to take a flamethrower to these coaches and get justice for these athletes. The only solace I am taking from these stories is that: A) we are all listening; B) we are naming names. We, as in journalists, are bringing the heat. Great job to Meg Linehan, Brennan and Katie Strang. The female sportswriters are getting it done.
I constantly tell my Michigan State Sports Journalism students that they have the power and skill to do impactful work right now. They don't need to "wait" until they are out of school. Speak truth to power. Don't be afraid. Case in point: the Rutgers student paper, the Daily Targum, fired up the woodchipper on the financial excesses of the university's Athletic Department. All this cash money was flying during the time of COVID, as institutions have been laying off employees, cutting pay and pleading austerity. The students got documents to prove the spending, revealing the gross spends of $12,400 for a power nap machine thingie, $470 in laser pointers for football coaches and a car service for one athlete tabbing out to $4,400. Best part of the piece was the call out of the laser pointers being available on Amazon for like $20 bucks. Bad, bad Rutgers. Brave journalism still wins the day. Go students go.
The Pandora Papers. In case of TL:DR, there are too many crappy people in charge who have a lot of money. These rascals choose to hide their money, all around the world, and laugh evil cackles at their swindles. And then they make more piles of money. Rinse and repeat. Examples? Vladimir Putin's mistress with a small real estate empire, and she hides out in Monaco? (Check!) The King of Jordan buying everything in sight while his country lacks basic resources? (Check!) The Czech prime minister hiding the purchase and ownership of two French villas? (Czech check!) It's stuff you know in your gut, that there is sooo much corruption around us, but it is rare to see the box of receipts in its naked glory. Good for the expose. We need more of this.
After all that grimy stuff...I present: Kittens in the penalty box. You HEARD ME. KITTENS IN THE PENALTY BOX. Pure joy. I want kitties at every game. NOW.
Eminem's Spaghetti. Yes, more specifically Mom's Spaghetti, made legendary in 8 Mile, is now a small restaurant in downtown Detroit. Complete with a cheesy ad that really did air on local TV. For those outside of the 313 (the old school area code for Detroit), Eminem is still a big deal around here. He made it big, and never left Metro Detroit. People lined up for this place, which serves leftover-style spag and sauce, or spag and meatballs, or a spag sandwich, and allegedly loved it. I am not sold. Yet.
I know, this is going to be very matrix, meta, Mobius, whatever you want to call it. This thought provoking piece in the NYT about how Facebook (Hi! Hi! To my cyber-Bulletin.com overlords!) may be a weaker business than we think. Obviously, Facebook draws a lot of reactions. There is a lot of good, but man, the downside can be numbing. This week's whistleblower testimony before Congress and the 60 Minutes piece from last Sunday brought to light a lot of issues with Instagram and the danger to teen/tween girls.
The Oxford Dictionary has added 26 Korean words into its listing, thanks to the rise of Korean culture in the West. Specifically because of the Oscar-winning movie Parasite, the Netflix hit series Squid Games, and yes...my boys in BTS. I've added some words that I love into my lexicon: Daebak and fighting!.
This behind the scenes video from 60 Minutes is profound. Anderson Cooper followed legendary singer Tony Bennett around his recent concert gigs at Radio City Music Hall. Bennett, 95, is sadly fading because of Alzheimer's. But music, the deepest thing in his soul, brings him out of the prison of his brain. It was amazing to see the change in Bennett during the interview. And as a journalist, it is always challenging to find a way to best communicate with those facing cognitive issues.
Coming Monday: a look at the rise of Lacrosse/Field Hockey and the path to playing in college for Indigenous, Native American and First Nations athletes.
Have a daebak weekend! Borahae!