Reaction – “The Brutal Truth About Penn State”

I thought this was an outstanding piece with an incredible edge of truth to it. It laid bare the realities of the situation at Penn State and sought both accountability and retribution on behalf of those that run the university. The author, Charles G. Pierce, makes it quite clear he is upset about both the rapes and how the fallout was handled. He states as much, his stream of self-consciousness precluding the venomous rage aimed directly at Happy Valley.

I found the correlation between Penn State and the Catholic church not wholly original but still refreshing nonetheless. Indeed, there are striking similarities between the cover-up at the Vatican and that at Penn State. But Pierce finds a new angle on the situation. He chides the university for making a public display of their sorrow. Pierce wonders how the responsibility was shared by so many yet brought forth by so few.

Pierce wraps up the opinion piece beautifully with an allegory to the church’s repression in Ireland. By tying in the Church’s shortcomings and the tragedy at Penn State, Pierce bemoans how the cries of the repressed fell on deaf ears.

Reaction – “The Persuaders”

I think this was a great two-piece documentary on the strategy and ethics behind selling products and ideas to the American consumer. I especially liked the second segment, because I found it much more grounded and pragmatic than the first, which seemed kind of cheesy and rather pretentious. 

The most interesting part of the videos to me were the different strategies used to market to different psychographics of American consumers. I thought the methods used to disorient the focus groups were very useful and not readily obvious. In particular, I thought the methods used to document the focus group member’s reaction to the speech on environmental awareness were ahead of their time.

Silver Buckle Press

Russell Wilson – Go Forth

Here is how you make a great commercial:

The commercial works on so many levels. First, Levi did a great job of latching on to a talented, young, well-spoken ambassador for the Seattle community: Russell Wilson. Wilson’s involvement in the community is on display in the commercial, so it’s also a nice plug for the young quarterback.

Second, the commercial shows off various districts of the Emerald City in a flattering manner. As Wilson drives through town, we see that the city is a diverse place filled with interesting people.

Third, the voice-over done by Wilson is clear and thought-provoking. It reminds us why there are still some professional athletes out there that are capable of leading a meaningful life off the field as well as on it.

Steve Sabol (1942 – 2012)

The NFL lost a great man today with the passing of Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films. Along with his father Ed, he revolutionized how the game was packaged and presented to us. From humble beginnings, NFL Films grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise that produces highlight films each year for every team, Super Bowl highlights, and countless other incredible works.

Now for my own off-the-cuff response to Steve’s death. NFL Films was an immense part of my childhood. I was raised a diehard Green Bay Packer fan, and the 1996 VHS highlight film of the Super Bowl champion team from that year remains stowed away safely somewhere in my home. I also own several other NFL Films works, including the 2010 Packer highlight film . The musical pieces that accompany nearly all NFL Films productions serve as the soundtrack to some of my fondest memories; I’ve reached the point where I can recall the scene of the highlight film when I hear a Sam Spence arrangement. Several years ago I purchased the entire NFL Films soundtrack, so I could, in part, relive these moments whenever I wanted. Even if you’ve never watched an NFL game in your life, you’ve likely taken in some piece of Steve’s legacy. The images are indelible as well. We are all familiar with them by now: the spiraling football leaving a quarterback’s hand as it arcs toward its target, the duels played out in the cold November mud, the iconic coaches stalking the sidelines. Trying to describe an NFL Films work in words fall desperately short. So I leave you with what has become my favorite NFL Films vignette. It is seminal and haunting. The NFL will miss you greatly Steve. Take it easy up there. We’ll keep on watching down here.