Tag Archives: pop culture

This crisis seems vastly different from previous crises

I’ve been around awhile, a bit more than 70 years.

In my lifetime I have endured a presidential assassination, global warfare. I have witnessed a volcano erupt in real time. And yes, I have lived through health crises of all sorts.

None of those events has delivered quite the impact on our lives as the one that’s evolving at this moment. The coronavirus pandemic has brought a temporary (I hope) collapse of our national culture.

Think of this: Professional basketball, hockey and baseball have suspended their seasons; college basketball has canceled its men’s and women’s tournaments; Disneyland and Walt Disney World have closed; public schools are closing or are delaying their reopening after spring break; pro golf tournaments have been canceled or postponed; late-night comedians have suspended production of their shows, given that they cannot welcome audiences into their studios.

The president has declared a national emergency. Governors around the country are declaring disasters are at hand. Cities are banning events that bring crowds of assorted sizes.

Our popular culture is being affected in a major way by this coronavirus.

I am trying to remember a single event bringing this kind of disruption to our lives. I can’t remember it.

When the Japanese navy and air force attacked us at Pearl Harbor, the nation mobilized immediately but went about its life as we prepared to go to war. Our nation’s commercial air traffic was suspended for a time after 9/11, but yet we went to work the next day and our children went to school.

Yes, this one feels different. Our media are covering the ramifications of this crisis 24/7. They are far from exhausting every possible angle on this still-developing story.

As a former colleague of mine wondered on social media, he now will get to experience what he’s pondered over the years: How do people cope without being able to watch any sporting activity? I guess I can expand that to include going to any sort of event that brings crowds that get to laugh and cheer.

I long have called for patience and perseverance when government undertakes a project. My reference usually is of road projects or any sort of infrastructure capital construction.

We’ll need patience and perseverance in spades as we work our way through this health crisis. I also must add prudence.

Just who is LaVar Ball?

I’ll admit readily that I am not all that keen on pop culture personalities. I don’t keep up with them.

I’m actually a bit unclear whether LaVar Ball fits into that category of celebrity. But he’s intriguing me in a curious sort of way.

He’s the father of a professional basketball player, Lonzo Ball. His second-oldest son also is a pretty good basketball player who, until just the other day, was enrolled at UCLA; his name is LiAngelo Ball. There’s a third kid, too, who I reckon is going to play hoops for someone.

LaVar the Loudmouth thrust his name into the news, which I guess is his specialty, when LiAngelo and two UCLA teammates got caught shoplifting at a department store in China, where they were playing some non-conference games.

Chinese authorities were threatening to imprison the young men. Then Donald Trump intervened. He persuaded the commies to let the boys out. They came home. Daddy Ball got into a public beef with the president over whether he thanked the president sufficiently.

Back and forth they went.

Then LaVar pulled LiAngelo out of UCLA.

This is a case of someone hogging attention away from others. Imagine that. LaVar Ball and Donald Trump engaging in a man-to-man fight over who should bask in the spotlight.

So, what’s going to happen to LiAngelo? Is he going to play basketball for another college? As for Lonzo — who’s playing hoops for the Los Angeles Lakers, what does the future bode for him? What if he washes out? What is Daddy Ball going to do?

I’ll presume that LaVar loves his sons. He might think he’s doing them a big favor by cheering them on so loudly — and obnoxiously — from the front row.

However, the very idea that this guy — whose major talent seems to rival that of the Kardashians, Paris Hilton and the whole roster of Housewives of Wherever — is able to thrust himself into the public discussion speaks so very graphically about what has become of popular culture these days.

It seems that anyone can be a celebrity in the Social Media Age.