Parody, a calculated form of play, has been around for a long time. Follow the word to its Greek roots and you dig up the meaning “against song.”
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On April 12, 2013, in a game against the rival Golden State Warriors, the L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored 47 points. Two nights later, trainers abruptly bundled him off to the ER with a snapped Achilles tendon, an injury that had ended many a career. Professional athletes who play dangerous games depend in part on a personal fable, the sense of a measure of invincibility. Recovering from surgery, Bryant confessed to anger and some bewilderment. “How the hell can this […]
Not long ago in this blog I recounted a story about my star-struck meeting with seven time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, a hero whose image has since much tarnished.
In his recent interview in the American Journal of Play—“The Why, How, and What of a Museum of Play”—George Rollie Adams, President and CEO, describes the evolution of The Strong as the first collections based institution devoted to the study of play. Trained as teacher and historian and with the skill of an author, Adams narrates the remarkable history of an institution that “too few people cared about” at its low point in the mid 1980s when he arrived and […]
A vacant piano in an empty room sends me a powerful invitation. It’s like someone has left an Aston Martin DB9 Volante with the keys in the ignition and a sign on the dashboard that says, “take me for a spin.” If I come across an unlocked Baby Grand in a hotel lobby, I find the silence too heavy a burden to bear. I can’t pass it by without sitting down to pick out, let’s say, “Sweet Baby James,” “Killing […]
In New York, Washington, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Seattle and in many other U.S. cities and cities around the world people have gathered for “Run for Boston” events to offer tribute and support to victims of bombings at this year’s Boston Marathon.
After Lakers’ shooting-guard Kobe Bryant’s left Achilles tendon gave way catastrophically last Friday in a game against the Golden State Warriors, he tweeted from his hospital bed a plaintive question: “how the hell did this happen?” Bryant had dribbled hard to his left, a move he’d performed a million times. But this one time, and in an instant, the body failed him.
Failure came as a shock and a surprise even to a player who had seen plenty of injuries. In […]
You might remember a famous scene from Charlie Chaplin’s movie Modern Times (1937) that features Chaplin’s character, The Little Tramp, at his impossible assembly line job. Two wrenches in hand, he tightens nuts on the parts that fly by, hour after hour. Conscientious to a fault, and falling behind during a sneeze—the line stopped for no one!—he dives after the parts he’s missed and is drawn deep into the factory’s mechanism where he literally becomes just a cog in the […]
For this April Fool’s Day, let’s recall a truly elaborate prank. In 1993, a madcap group of California conceptual artists calling themselves the Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) seized an opportunity for comic mayhem about gender stereotyping in a revealing bit of cultural parody that they called “culture jamming.” When a version of talking Barbie that recited the chatty phrase “Math class is tough” (in the interest of full disclosure, this is a sentiment I’d share, by the way) appeared on […]