Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Different Approach

It's been interesting the last few weeks listening to folks talk about this Fifty Shades of Grey movie. My fellow Christians and other groups are calling for boycotts for various reasons. From what I've heard the movie contains explicit sexual situations and promotes violence against women. Personally, I cannot speak to any of this as I have not seen the movie and have no intentions of doing so. I'm more of an action and sci-fi movie guy. For my $10-$11 movie admission I want to see shooting and stuff getting blown up.

I think the folks who are clamoring for boycotts of the movie are taking the wrong approach. During my lifetime, I've noticed that time and time again when Christians and others call out something in the entertainment industry as being bad, it peaks the public's curiosity. Next thing you know, everyone has the attitude of, "Let's see what all the fuss is about." So they go buy the controversial record or go see the movie, and the artist or producer makes millions because of it. Consider the following examples to make my point.

Moon over Miami
Moon over Miami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First, back in the '80s, there was a rap/hip-hop group from Miami called 2 Live Crew. Remember them and their record As Nasty As They Wanna Be?

They released their first record in 1986. At the time, their fan base mainly grew through word of mouth. Then, 1989 rolls around and they release As Nasty As They Wanna Be with the cover photo of the backs of women in thong bikinis. The lyrics to the so-called songs on the record are sexually explicit, so Christians, the American Family Association, and others went nuts. Curiosity was peaked and people wanted to know what all the fuss was about leading to the album selling over 2 million copies.

These rappers went on to release a total of 11 albums over their 12-year career with the last one being in 1998. Let that sink in for a moment - a raunchy rap group released 11 albums, selling millions of copies of them, and making millions of dollars. It is my opinion that if Christians and others had not raised so much cain about the filthy lyrics, this "band" would have not received the notoriety it did, flopped, and just went away after a couple of records. The free press they received made them rich and successful.

Second, back in the early '80s, the hair/glam metal craze swept the country. My favorite band, Motley Crue, was right in the middle of it. The band formed in 1981 and released its first record Too Fast for Love. Too Fast really did not see much success at first. It didn't break the Billboard 200 until 1983 after the band released album #2 - Shout at the Devil. Now, why was that?

Shout at the Devil (song)
Shout at the Devil (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's simple. Shortly after Devil's release, Christians, conservatives, and other groups jumped all over Motley Crue, because in their opinion, the band was promoting satanism with it's use of pentagrams. Once again, curiosity peaked, people had to see what all the fuss was about, and all the attention led to Devil selling 4 million copies (quadruple platinum status). The Crue's career took off. Additionally, Devil's success led to more people going back and purchasing Too Fast and it shot into the Billboard 200 album chart reaching #77 and going platinum (selling over a million copies).

Motley Crue's career has now spanned 3 decades, 30 years, 9 studio albums, and they've sold over 100 million records. As I've said, they're my favorite band. I never agreed with their wild lifestyle, but I've loved much of their music. However, if you listen to their early records, Too Fast and Devil, they were really not that good. I always felt like they really didn't hit their stride until 1985's Theatre of Pain was released.

If it had not been for all the attention and controversy surrounding Shout at the Devil, I'm not convinced The Crue would have lasted more than a few albums. 30 years? No way. In my opinion, it's likely they, too, would have flamed out after a couple of records, but thanks to all the negative PR they got over Devil, they hit it big. Were they satanic? I don't think so. I think all the pentagrams, etc. were a brilliant PR stunt that left Motley Crue laughing all the way to the bank.

So, what's my point with all this? I think that when controversial stuff comes out of the entertainment industry that Christians and other conservative groups find offensive, most of the time we deal with it the wrong way. Think about it this way - when a child is told not to do something or that they can't have such-and-such, what is the the first thing they do? Exactly. They go and do just what they were just told not to. It's natural. Adults do it to. When someone, or some group, starts clamoring about how immoral or wrong something is, our natural reaction is to be curious and want to see what all the fuss is about. Well ....... STOP IT!!!!!!!

Just like 2 Live Crew and Motley Crue ended up having long, successful, and profitable careers after controversies surrounding their music, continued wailing about Fifty Shades of Grey is gonna push people to want to see the movie. Hollywood will make millions, allow it to run for weeks and weeks, and then make similar movies in the future due to the success of this one.

So, try a different approach for once - just fuhgeddaboutit and shut up. Then, it might just go away when it stops making money due to a lack of interest. Right now, all the negative attention is making Hollywood money.

Christians and conservatives are currently doing exactly what Hollywood wants them to in regards to Fifty Shades of Grey. They're being played, and just like Motley Crue did, Hollywood's laughing all the way to the bank.

Friday, February 13, 2015

An Open Letter to Mr. Rooney, Coach Tomlin, and the Rest of the Steelers' Organization

Dear Steelers' Leadership,

I've been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan since I was old enough to know what a football was, so my support of the team is nearing the 40 year mark. Terry Bradshaw was, and still is, one of my heroes. I had the privilege of meeting him once many, many years ago. I'll never forget that day.
Terry Bradshaw (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last few years have been, to say the least, frustrating to be a Steelers fan. We missed the playoffs in both 2012 and '13 and then were one and done this year after getting man-handled by the hated Ravens at HOME. One playoff game in three years is unacceptable. Furthermore, if we take a look back to 2011, we went to Denver and were one and done, too. So, we've played TWO playoff games in the last five seasons and lost both of them. Once again - unacceptable.

When Todd Haley was brought in as offensive coordinator starting with the 2012 season, my immediate initial reaction was, "What the ...... heck?!? His Kansas City teams were sorry with him as head coach, so why do the Steelers want him in charge of the offense? I felt sure it would be a disaster, and 2012 and '13 were pretty much just that as we struggled to finish .500 each year and lost to some of the worst teams in the NFL.

Haley's offensive prowess has been far less than stellar. Four of the Steelers' five losses this year were to teams with losing records. In two of those, embarrassing losses to the Browns and Jets, Haley showed exactly how inept he is as the offense was completely discombobulated scoring only 10 points against the Browns and only 13 against the lowly Jets. Pathetic and completely unacceptable. So, what do you guys do? You reward him with a contract extension. Yippee!! Seriously?

Now, I would agree that Big Ben had the best year of his career this year, but I would chalk that up to the young talent Ben has around him, including Leveon Bell and Antonio Brown. Those two guys are beasts and fun to watch. Heck, I could be a successful offensive coordinator if I had those guys to get the ball to. Haley did not deserve the extension.
English: Dick Lebeau with Mr. and Mrs. John Mi...
English: Dick Lebeau with Mr. and Mrs. John Mitchell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The thing I really don't get is why does Haley get an extension and yet the legend and Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, gets the ax? Seriously? Has the organization's leadership been smoking pot with Leveon Bell and the departed problem child LeGarrette Blount? LeBeau's defenses were the best in the league for years. The last two years have been down years, but Lebeau's been working with players that in NFL years are nearly old enough to draw Social Security. For instance:
  • Brett Keisel - 36 years old, just completed his 13th NFL season
  • Troy Polamalu - 33 years old, just completed his 12th NFL season
  • James Harrison - 36 season, just completed his 11th NFL season
  • Ike Taylor - 34 years old, just completed his 12th NFL season
Of the four players listed above, only one, James Harrison, was healthy and contributing at the end of the year. Why? Because they're old in terms of their NFL career and old players seem to get injured easier and then take longer to heal. Lebeau was expected to turn out a Top-5 defense every year and do it with antiques. For years, the Steelers have been needing to draft younger players for the secondary, in particular, and haven't done it. That's on Mr. Rooney and Coach Tomlin, not Dick Lebeau. Shame on you guys for making Lebeau the scapegoat.

So, Haley gets an extension, Lebeau gets the ax, and Keith Butler is promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator to take over for Lebeau. Bet that's really gonna help things a lot - promoting the longtime linebackers coach who will likely run the same schemes with the same antique players. Puh-lease. Yep, the Ravens are gonna kill us again next year, too.

I've been thinking. Since kicking Lebeau to the curb, promoting Butler, and giving Haley an extension seem to imply a youth movement is taking over the Steelers. Please allow me to make some suggestions about how to continue "the movement."

First, the four geezers playing defense I mentioned before, Keisel, Polamalu, Harrison, and Taylor, should be released. Then, the focus of the 2015 draft needs to be defense. Cornerbacks and safeties should be the first priority. Forget about high-priced free agents that will bust the salary cap. Go get new blood and go get it now. You guys have already waited too long. I know the fans will have a duck letting these guys go, but afterall, it's nothing personal - it's just business. Right? Isn't that the line you guys in the front office always give us?

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsbrgh Steelers d...
Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsbrgh Steelers during an NFL game in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Second, Big Ben Roethlisberger is currently in contract negotiations. Reports are that he's looking for a mega long term deal. Fugedabboutit. In 2008, you guys gave him an 8-year $102 Million deal. I say, "No mas!" He's already had his big deal. That ship has sailed. Ben has been an asset to the franchise winning two Super Bowls for us. However, he's gonna be 33 years old shortly, and he just completed his 11th season. Once again - geezer. And this geezer has lost more than a few steps. All the hits he's taken the last 11 years are piling up. His mobility is now more like immobility. It was obvious last year. It won't be long before he'll need a Lil' Rascal to get away from Terrell Suggs.

So give Ben a 3-year deal worth $10 Million a year or so, maybe even $15 Million to say thank you for the two additional Lombardi Trophies. Then, in the 2015 draft, get a quarterback. Heck, trade up and get a good one, and during the next three years Ben can teach and mentor him as his successor. If Ben doesn't like it, he's been there long enough to know where the door is. Just remind him he still has one year left on his contract, and we expect him to earn every dime.

Now the question is, "who do we draft"? I'm so glad you asked. It's simple. Go get Jameis Winston. The kid's got a rifle for an arm, is big, and can move. On more than one occasion, I've heard the pundits compare him to Big Ben. Yes, I know there's all those "issues" but didn't Ben have some of his own a few years ago? Ben then straightened his life out and has been a "good boy" since. Who better to mentor and guide Winston than a guy like Ben who's been there, done that, and come out of it smelling like a rose? Plus, Winston already knows what it takes to win a championship and has a ring to prove it. Jameis is your guy. Go get him.

Now, I know the things I mentioned above will be tough to do. Cutting Keisel, Polamalu, Harrison, and Taylor, as well as not giving Ben the contract he wants will not make the fans happy. Newsflash guys - WE AIN'T HAPPY NOW!!

And please, don't worry about how Brett, Troy, James, Ike, Ben, and other players feel about it. They're big boys - they'll get over it. Afterall, it's just business and the goal is the 7th Lombardi Trophy, right?

THE Pissed Off Steelers Fan

P.S. Mr. Rooney, while you're showing Brett, Troy, James, and Ike the door, please show it too Coach Tomlin, too. Two playoff games in 5 years ain't getting it. I mean, isn't that part of the reason Lebeau got shown the door? Fair is fair. See ya Tomlin. No hard feelings - it's just business.