All posts by Amok

One guy’s response to HBO’s “Girls” finale

A friend of mine said she was let down by the series “finale” of HBO’s “Girls.”

I was too.

So many missed opportunities to insert a little color into the much criticized show. 

To date, I’ve stayed out of the “Where’s the diversity?” debate in “Girls” because I’m a late comer to the program.

Generally, I do find it smarter than most TV fare, so I’m more inclined to like than dislike the show.

But the “Girls”  has a diversity quotient of zero. Can any version of New York, even on television,  be so insular in these modern times that there are no  black, Latino or Asian folks to support even a thin story thread?  Network TV’s “New Girl” or “Broke Girls” all  have a lot more  color. Is premium cable the place to say to hell with all that?

If  FB’s Zuckerberg marries an Asian American woman  in real life, you’d think  we couldn’t see an Asian somewhere in that surprise wedding party finale. But no, not even an extra.  How about as the wedding  photographer? A waiter? (I know they can’t let a forlorn but horny Marnie start kissing some person of color at wedding’s end.  But why sic her on the self-effacing schlimazal for a little mercy tongue.)

What’s distressing is if this is the reality of young 20-somethings’ lives, then their lives are merely a modern update of the plain old segregation we had in the past.  It’s so retro. And it’s all brought to you by trendy whites who apparently see diversity as a matter of taste, and not an urgent sense of social justice.

In a response to a question about people of color, Writer/director Lena Dunham admitted in the NY Times recently , “I have to write people who feel honest but also push our cultural ball forward.”

Too bad her segregated characters certainly are pushing the cultural ball backwards.

I guess the creators of “Girls”  have  bigger “real life” problems to tackle.  Like getting a job. Finding a boyfriend.  A white one. (Did they ever think they’d improve their chances in the mating game if they sought out non-whites?)

I hope that in this Judd Apatow production, the Ken Leong image in the Hangover movies didn’t hurt Asian guys.

Still,  this show has a problem with guys, all around.

On the finale, the once indifferent Adam shows his softside at the wedding and exposes the utter self-absorption of Hannah. She can’t accept that Adam is falling for her. How unromantic of her? But what’s his reward for showing vulnerability? Hannah connects with a one time partner now gay, with whom she shares an STD to be her roommate instead.  How sweet. Gays are well represented in “Girls.”  (He’s white, but don’t the writer’s know the gay friend in chick flicks is always the opportunity for the modern double minority, the gay-black or gay-Asian guy?)

Back to straight, vulnerable Adam. I get his rage totally. But the girls on “Girls” don’t get it.

Adam gets run over,and the girls would rather sit quietly alone on the beach eating wedding cake.

It’s a good thing I’m not 20-something anymore.

This show would have cured me of white girls.

Matt Cain was great, but my dad and I had our own perfect SF Giants game just before Father’s Day, 1978

I had tickets for Wednesday night, but my cousin and nephew used them. Just my luck to miss history.

I was always planning to go today, Thursday, June 14th. It’s a day game and matched the circumstances of a game  I attended with my dad in 1978.

That day was far from perfect.

But the baseball, and all that baseball can do for a father and son was perfect.

On top of that, the Giants won. What more could I ask for?  

And then life ended. No need for extra innings.

My dad went out a winner.

Affirmative action, Timothy Bradley,Jr., and the suckerpunch heard round the world

It’s funny what people have reacted to in my post-fight  post on the Pacquiao/Bradley fight on

I said that the outrageously bogus decision in favor of Bradley could have been “boxing’s affirmative action.”

I found the notion funny.

To me it’s as clear as “why did the chicken cross the road?”

But for those who don’t share my sense of humor, allow me to explain. 

Tim Bradley did not deserve to win.  The judges inexplicably gave him the fight. This is not good.

The standard anti-affirmative action stance is that affirmative action is often thought to benefit the undeserving.  Bradley certainly was undeserving.

If you didn’t get the joke, the joke was on you.

When I support affirmative action it is always about making sure the underserved and underrepresented get a fair chance. But recipients have to be qualified on the merits. They have to be truly deserving.  That’s always been the true intent of affirmative action.

By using the phrase in my boxing post, I was mocking the traditional sense of affirmative action used by anti-affirmative action folks.

How else could Bradley be given the championship? It wasn’t because of his great skill to punch air and miss Pacquiao. The stuff of champions? No.

Another reader suggested that I was anti-black and  showed I was OK with affirmative action for me, but not for thee.

Once again, my stand in favor of affirmative action in some people’s mind favors  blacks and Latinos and hurts Asian Americans. So any criticisim of me on that point makes no sense.

So now that’s cleared up, there’s still this small matter of who won that damn fight.

Glad to see other fighters like Andre Ward chime in that Bradley should give back the belt. That would be interesting.

Won’t happen.

With their bad decision, the judges are simply reminding us that this is part of the “joy” of boxing–the post-ring debate.

And it goes on because the absolute “truth” can’t really be had unless one fighter can’t answer the bell.

You want certainty, knock the guy out. Until then, if you’ve got eyes, you’ve got an opinion. Box on.

Those who prefer logic bring up Pacquaio’s last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and say Marquez should have won that.  They call the Bradley fight “karma.” B.S. The Marquez fights were actually close, and could have gone either way. 

The Pacquiao Bradley fight was not 115-113 close, and certainly not in Bradley’s favor.

In fact, many of the conspiracy theories out there now figure Arum needed to pump up Bradley’s credibility to keep his cash cow Pacquiao boxing until the guy everyone really wants to see Pacquiao fight –Floyd Mayweather, Jr.–gets out of jail. Do we really want to see a Pacquaio Marquez IV?  Or do we want to see “Manny’s Revenge”?  Arum has a need to keep things interesting. He owns a piece of all the boxers. Conflict of interest is just part of the professional game, which is as close to a monopoly as it gets. The state of boxing smells. And if it didn’t bother us enough before last weekend, maybe we just got used to the smell.

Still, some of us more interested in the sport of boxing try to keep the “sweet science” separate from boxing’s bitter, venal world that commingles high-stakes  business and gambling.

This weekend’s suckerpunch was our wake-up call. It can’t be done.

The only thing we can do is act as consumers. Pay-per-view? Not with my hard earned dough.

Also see my pre-fight column where I question if Pacquiao has the desire to fight any longer.  His post-fight demeanor has been very “Love they neighbor.”  Maybe religion is his calling. Or maybe he figures the “lost brain cell to earned dollar” ratio in boxing is still in his favor. He can roll in the cash until early dementia sets in. He can quit, stay healthy or fight me.

And I know he won’t fight me now,  because he knows I can beat him. 

I just need the right judges.

Paquiao Bradley promoter Bob Arum calls for investigation–just to make it look good

News that boxing promoter Bob Arum is calling for an investigation on the Paquiao-Bradley split decision, and refusing to grant a rematch until the Nevada Attorney General’s office makes an inquiry, should come as no surprise.

You’d be calling for an investigation too if you had a record of bribery and suspected corruption like Arum that goes back to 1995. 

Arum’s record, of course, is old news. But the shocking results of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, where such an obvious winner is declared a loser, makes the past suddenly relevant again, if only to let everyone realize who we are dealing with and the kind of “sport” professional boxing has become.

A call for an investigation merely takes a little heat off Arum and lets the world know he appears to be just as outraged over the  controversial split decision as any sane unbiased observer of the fight. .

Never mind that Arum’s still likely to make millions no matter what happens in the aftermath.  As the promoter of  both Pacquiao and Bradley, he’s no different from a bookie or a hedge fund manager, who balances his books and profits either way. He can’t lose.

Conflict of interest is just part of the professional game. Boxing promotion is as close to a monopoly as it gets. And if it wasn’t, what do you get? Don King? If  the state of boxing  didn’t bother us before the weekend, maybe it shouldn’t bother us now.  

That only works if you can separate the seamy business side of boxing from the actual sport, the fight between two opponents going at each other.

Some of us really are interested not in the betting and the money side, but in the “sweet science,” the sport of boxing.  And that’s where some of us finally realized this weekend it really can’t be done.

We saw the fight.  So did the judges,  who scored it 115-113.

Judge Jerry Roth called it for Pacquiao.

Duane Ford and C.J. Ross called it for Bradley.

I’ve watched fights and studied boxing. I know a jab from a hook.  Incompetence in athletic judging is nothing new. I’ve mentioned the French Olympic skating judges. It comes up even in legitimate sports. In the PacBradley fight, three of the judges were over 70. No age discrimination from me. But this is where subjectivity appears, and where generational  differences come into play as to boxing judging standards. New computer stats that show actual punches thrown and landed are supposed to smooth out the subjectivity and take away the guess work. By those numbers, Pacquiao landed at least 100 more punches than Bradley.  Pacquiao’s display in the fourth and fifth rounds were enough to give him the decision. Bradley never came close to performing at that level.

Those who bring up Pacquaio’s victorious fights with Juan Manuel Marquez and say Marquez should have won them are comparing apples to oranges. Those were actual close fights and really could have gone either way. No complaint from me. Those were razor close.

The Pacquiao Bradley fight was not 115-113 close. Not in Bradley’s favor.

Before the fight, there was some talk about why these three judges in particular were called in for this fight. Just their luck? Commentators were surprised that more experienced judges weren’t called in.

Still, any calls for some kind of investigation on the judges and the judging process seem all for show at this point.

I don’t expect anything to happen to change a thing. In a few weeks, all this will be conveniently forgotten and more pay-per-view matches will be scheduled.

Just not with my hard-earned money.

Will they take yours?

See also previous posts on and on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.