Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chi Sox Win Series, Trump Stros 4-0 + Noah's Redux

White SoxHow's that for a headline? Not so great, I know, but the Chicago White Sox did finally win their first World Series championship in 88 years, defeating the Houston Astros tonight 1-0, and winning in a four-game sweep. Veteran outfielder Jermaine Dye, who drove in the lone run tonight, was named World Series Most Valuable Player, though that honor could have gone to relief pitcher Bobby Jenks, who preserved Sox leads last night and tonight, or shortstop Juan Uribe, who had made several errors in previous games but rang the Astros' final two death knells with a superb foul catch in the stands and brilliant fielding and a throw that led to the final Houston out.

General Manager Ken Williams, one of the few (the only?) Black GMs in the major leagues, and Manager Ozzie Guillén, a former star infielder, Venezuelan native, and one of the few Latino managers, also deserve tremendous praise. In fact sportswriters openly doubted and questioned the often outspoken (sometimes to the point of offensiveness) Guillén throughout the season, especially when Chicago experienced a late-summer swoon, before righting itself and winning its division.

This year marks one of the rare periods in Major League Baseball history, especially in the post-Jackie Robinson era, when the Series has had two consecutive years of four-game sweeps; the last time was in 1998-1999, when the powerhouse New York Yankees accomplished it, but they'd done it several other times, and have also won more than 20 Series crowns. Last year's winner was the long suffering Red Sox (originally Stockings), this year the White--and Chicagoland fans all across the vast swathe of the city and suburbs south of Madison Street (and some outside that demarcated territory) get to cheer what for years looked like an impossibility. Now it doesn't look like an impossibility even for the hapless Cubs! Congratulations, White Sox!


I finally caught the first episode of Noah's Arc, director and writer Patrik-Ian Polk's series on Logo, which C. had taped for me, as well as the second episode, which aired tonight, and I'm going to let C.'s previous, hilarious review stand. No quibbles here.

I do want to add that while there is so much to criticize with this show--the acting, the writing, the implausibilities, the characterizations (Chance?), the materialism, the constant reversion to clichés (I have never ever witnessed any Black people, let alone anyone else, eating out of Chinese takeout food boxes as they depicted here and as films and TV shows always depict--try plates!), the binaristic view of sexuality in terms of Wade, the 1980s feel, etc.--I actually enjoy it. I even felt moments of...well, if not exact recognition, something close to it.

Not one of the primary characters strikes me as especially likeable or, outside of Alex, Wade, and the two peripheral characters Eddie and Tre, resembles any Black gay person I know. In addition, I found Halle Minnelli's (Ricky's) lack of a living space outside his store/bathhouse bizarre (and his hairdo annoying), wondered whether Chance (like Noah) was independently wealthy or one of the most brilliant economists under the sun to afford his lifestyle (so perhaps just make him a business or med school prof and then, like Oz, dare anyone to recognize or even challenge the background change), and tried to figure out if Noah's character had originally been written as a woman (on the model of Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, or any of the characters on Girlfriends), since it sometimes felt as if we were being read to read him, at least in a semiotic sense, in this manner. (Gender theorists, you betta work with this one.) In fact, in episode 1, the phrase that kept coming to mind in terms of Noah was "too many things...."

But still, I actually want to see it again. I do.

C. thought the second episode was better than the first, and I agree, though Chance's SUV-"shop-wrecking" (or "moving furniture," as C. told me was the more current term) was...totally implausible, probably would have meant he'd be out of a job (note to writers: most universities, including UCLA/USC/etc., will fire a tenured professor for felonious behavior, which driving a car into someone's living room/day room/den, etc., probably would qualify as, given the decided intent), and in any case, his character is so rebarbative (what's up with that voice, that delivery, the utter inability to show even the slightest emotion beyond a slightly upcurled upper lip?) that I really find it hard to believe the other three characters would want to spend more than a few minutes around him. I mean, can we really blame his boyfriend, Eddie, who appears to be far more interesting and nuanced, for looking for some on the side--or at least wanting to get the hell out of that house?

I did like that the episode played with some expectations, though, including bringing in the transgender (or gender-disrupting) designer, and having the new employee mack hir (I think that's the right pronoun, isn't it?), that it pressed the issue of safe sex, and that it evoked cybersex as sex, broached the issue of alternative sex play, and, at the risk of sounding crass, it's great to see lots of men running around in no clothes or cute clothes (or BDSM outfits!) and sexing things up. So it wasn't all bad. But....

And yet, I intend to keep watching it. Perhaps it is, as someone (Rod?) sagely said, like watching a car-wreck, which sounds rather morbid when Noah's Arc really doesn't have an edge: it's silly, at times to the point of absurdity, often unbelievable or like a fantasy gone awry, but also at times sexy and funny while intending to be so. Still the wreck simile, which I guess Chance's moment of payback literally (and ironically?) embodied, does seem to apply. And I'll keep staring/watching.


  1. Geezz, give me a break. Criticize, criticize, criticize. Is that all we can do with our time. Let's be glad that there is a black gay show on tv period. Or maybe you are not black????

  2. I find the show refreshing and enjoy looking at it, I realize it is just pure entertainment and does not represent the whole black gay male community. I am glad MTV/LOGO at least did not try to make it into a white gay show like HBO try to do when they was approached with "The Closet", I guess that is why it is on QTV. I do realize that every black gay male is not masculine acting like me or listen to rap or hip hop. I also realize that the actors on Noah's Arc are portraying what they are paid to portray just like the masculine black gay men you see all the time but who is to say that those actors are masculine when the camera is off of them? I guess like the others they are portraying also what they are paid to portray. I guess all of them have one thing in common they love $$$$$$$$$$$$$.


  3. Mark, come on, that's such a weak response. I'm "not Black" because I criticize a crappy show? Are people supposed to shut their brains off just because a fellow Black person does or says something? I know you don't believe that. As I said in my prior post, I'm glad the show is on TV. But it has a lot of problems. Still, I'll keep watching it, brain working and all.

    Sharif, thanks for dropping in. I realize it's not supposed to represent the "entire" Black gay/sgl community--I mean, where are the lesbians?--but still, since our representations in the mass media are SO few and far between, I wish the show were stronger. Personally I don't care whether the actors are "masculine-acting" or not (what is "masculine" ultimately), or what they're like in their personal lives, but perhaps if their acting were better (I mean, people haven't forgotten what good TV acting is, right? Think about THE WIRE, SIX FEET UNDER, etc.) it would be more credible. You're right about the hypermaterialism, but I think that's probably one of the most accurate aspects of the show. And that pertains to Americans in general, not just Black/gay folks.

  4. Ok Mark, so if you don't like something that a Black American does, and you yourself are Black, the fact that you don't like it and openly express it, somehow negates your Blackness or forms a question mark around it? It is this type of mentality that causes us to ........ (fill in the blank).

    And what do you mean let's be glad there's a black gay show on tv? Should they just bring back Amos n Andy and give them lisps? Would that not be up for criticizing?

    Take that dashiki off, put down that drink and join the adult world where critique, analysis and, conversation leads to something a little bit better.

    Good Lawd!

  5. >>...wondered whether Chance (like Noah) was independently wealthy or one of the most brilliant economists under the sun to afford his lifestyle...<<<

    too funny, john. and a good question. i "reviewed" the show at my blog, but wrote about it more from the context of the whole "identity" POV, you know, seeing oneself onscreen and what that means (and, indeed, whether it means anything, really, at all)...i've hesitated to critique the show right now--probably because i'm smack dab in the middle of "being critiqued" myself with HUNG out now, but who knows???--but i do intend to come back to it at some point after watching a few more eps.

    that said, i love your critique (as always)--it's dead on--and i understand your desire to want to watch it again. pop culture works on us in very mysterious ways, doesn't it???

    talk soon, and still loving your blog--the mix of baseball, sexuality, intelligent acadamic discourse, and a real love of (and for) us keeps me coming back for more...

    peace my brotha

  6. Congratulations Ozzie and the Sox!

    The Other Half and I watched the 2nd episode tonight. I thought much of it was better than the opener. And yes I still have problems with the show, but, sad to say (?) I am also now kinda hooked on NA. I really want to see what's going to happen and how they are going to (I hope) deepen the characters. You are right the 'intellectual' one is a *pill* who needs to get over himself, and I'm facinated by the relationship of Alex and Trey (Leatherplay! M and I both Laughed out Loud -- Ya'll just GO!).

    Noah's not quite a train wreck for me yet (Showtime's Barbershop series fills that bill for me). I'm looking forward to next week (Even tho I'm concerned that my partner had a big crush on Wade!:)

  7. good review ... SADLY my area doesnt have LOGO (or Oxygen!) so i have only heard about it, however, i've heard some pretty mixed feelings on it (from people who dont do blogs) and you're one of the few bloggers that addressed some of the issues. there is nothing wrong w/ being a critical thinker ... lol @ blackness being questioned over Noah's Arc!

  8. You know, I don't know Mark, so maybe he meant that comment like you all are hearing it, but I thought he meant "maybe you're not a black person writing". You know? As in "I just surfed on and read this post and don't happen to know whether you're black. not "maybe you're not down with the cause, politically speaking". (rereading the comment) Maybe that's a generous reading.

  9. Yes Mendi, I think it was a generous reading. Mark's comments reminded me of the Newark Mayoral race between Sharpe James and Cory Booker. Sharpe the incumbent was losing to Mr Baker, a first time political candidate; full of ideas and promise for the troubled city. A few weeks before the election Mr. James, troubled by the potential loss, began the rumor-through the media and his political machine- that Mr. Booker, a very light skinned Black man, was really Jewish and part of a conspiracy to take over Newark. No joke. It is one of the most digusting, spineless, hanky-headed things a Black person can do or say about another Black person.

  10. Scott, thanks for the props, and I like your take on the show. It's much kinder than mine (LOL).

    Mendi and Cane, I think Mark literally was saying that by criticizing the show, my blackness was somehow questionable, and Anonymous alludes to how this has happened outside the blogworld. I didn't get upset about it, though; I think it's not an uncommon, if highly problematic, response. There are talented TV writers out there, including some Black gay/sgl ones, so perhaps someone involved with Noah's Arc can bring them on board. Quickly.

    Reggie, I think it's a trainwreck, but an interesting one. I mean, wasn't anyone else shocked by Chance's driving A CAR INTO A HOUSE? Hello?