--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by Ellyn Kestnbau » Wed, 07 Oct 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

>One last time for the straggler, since Chuck and I have resolved our discussion
>of this topic (I think): No one can know with complete certainty how they will
>respond to a real life situation until it happens... whether or not they admire
>the skating of Michelle Kwan... or skaters from the former Soviet Union. (And
>some of us admire both.)

No, no, you're entirely missing the point I was trying to make and turning
into something between you and Chuck, *about* Kwan and Lipinski and
Brennan's specific attitude toward those specific skaters.

What I'm trying to say is that the way Brennan characterized the skater
that the one she's writing about lost to, WHOEVER that skater might have
been, belittles the one thing Brennan admits she does well (jumps) and
very strongly implies that she does nothing else well.

Imagine you're reading an article about Johanna Sawitz, a skater you've
heard good things about and seen skate a couple of times.  You read that
she recently lost an important championship to Kiki Bengssten, "a
tough-as-nails kid who could jump like crazy; but didn't possess the depth
and versatility to perform the difficult spins, footwork and other
movements Sawitz does so well."  

Might you not suspect that the writer is being a bit unfair to Kiki,
belittling her jumping accomplishments and implying that she is actually
incapable of performing difficult spins and footwork, or possibly any
spins and footwork, at all?

Or roll back to some other real-life competition where the person who was
more of a jumper and less of an artist won, and substitute their names.  
(Hint: You might try Bobek vs. Kwan for second place at 1994 Nationals.  
Or, if you prefer, Bonaly vs. Baiul at 1993 and '94 Europeans.)

The point is, even if you're not particularly keen on jumps and are keen
on "artistry" and well-rounded skating skills, just because one skater is
exceptionally good at one area and another is exceptionally good at
another, that doesn't mean that they are completely deficient at the
things the other one is best at.  If they were, they wouldn't win
championships or even be in contention to do so.  So to imply that they
are seriously deficient in the things that matter most to you and that
your favorite does particularly well, and that the things that they do
best are not really important or worthwhile, IS a "swipe."  

Turn it around and it's just as bad to belittle the "artistic" skater's
artistry with the kind of language I uwsed in my parody paragraph and to
imply that they are deficient technically or athletically.  It would be
true to say that, for instance, Kwan can't land the difficult jump
combinations that Lipinski can, but to say only that would imply that her
jumping ability is deficient by world-class standards, and that is simply
not true.  In terms of consistency of course she is one of the very best,
and her difficulty is certainly among the best.

Lipinski can skate.  She can do difficult footwork and difficult spins,
and a good variety of them.  What she doesn't have, yet, is the "depth and
versatility" to make it all mean something more than an athletic
accomplishment.  But skating competitions are, above all, athletic
contests before they are art contests.  If the Olympics were an art
contest, the results would have been different.  David Liu, for one, would
be right up there in the standings instead of always getting cut before
the long program.

-Ellyn

 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by PegLew » Wed, 07 Oct 1998 04:00:00


Quote:


>>One last time for the straggler, since Chuck and I have resolved our
>discussion
>>of this topic (I think): No one can know with complete certainty how they
>will
>>respond to a real life situation until it happens... whether or not they
>admire
>>the skating of Michelle Kwan... or skaters from the former Soviet Union.
>(And
>>some of us admire both.)

>No, no, you're entirely missing the point I was trying to make and turning
>into something between you and Chuck, *about* Kwan and Lipinski and
>Brennan's specific attitude toward those specific skaters.

Hmm. Someone did the turning... I simply maintained my POV.

Quote:
>What I'm trying to say is that the way Brennan characterized the skater
>that the one she's writing about lost to, WHOEVER that skater might have
>been, belittles the one thing Brennan admits she does well (jumps) and
>very strongly implies that she does nothing else well.

[Enthusiasm:] Thank you! [whistful tone:] Ah, if only you'd worded it that way
in the first place, the NG could have been spared the tiresome discourse about
hypothetical articles. (sigh) <wry grin> [genuine warmth:] And I agree, that
kind of characterization certainly can be interpreted as belittling and
implying.

No argument from me. Thanks for explaining your point for me. I do appreciate
it.

Peg, appreciative in the extreme

"This incredibly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard and if is it
doesn't matter."Ruddigore



 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by Marlene A Koeni » Wed, 07 Oct 1998 04:00:00

Masha is a nickname for someone who is named Maria in
Russian
--
and author of Queen Victoria's Descendants,
published by Rosvall Royal Books
Publisher of Royal Book News, the only newsletter for and about
Royal Books

 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by Podium » Thu, 08 Oct 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
>> and make this a contest. It's true that in the USA if you read the papers
>> you get the impression it's just "Kwan Uber Alles," but I'd like that to
>> be proven wrong.

>> Trudi

 talk about the pro's it sounds like this is turning  in to a circus
 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by Podium » Thu, 08 Oct 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
>Kwan and the rest of the field have improved...
>    ...and Bobek has not.  And there is the gist of it.  As far as I
>can tell, in the past four years, Nicole Bobek has not improved.  
>    More power to her if she can catch up in the next few months.  But
>I don't think it's very likely.  Improve, yes, but not catch up.  Not
>enough to win everything.

>                                    Lorrie Kim

> boy the name of this game is improve improve improve   the judges don't care

what music you use just so you show personal improvement .
 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by PegLew » Thu, 08 Oct 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
(Podium99) writes:

>>> and make this a contest. It's true that in the USA if you read the papers
>>> you get the impression it's just "Kwan Uber Alles," but I'd like that to
>>> be proven wrong.

>>> Trudi

> talk about the pro's it sounds like this is turning  in to a circus

Could you please, lengthily, thoughtfully, slowly and clearly, *please* explain
what you mean? "It" and "this" have no clear reference. "Talk about the
professionals' ________" Fill in the blank. Please, you obviously have an
opinion. Explain it to us.

Thanks,

Peg

"This incredibly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard and if is it
doesn't matter."Ruddigore


 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by Leonard R » Fri, 09 Oct 1998 04:00:00

(snip)
: Brennan literally forces us to switch gears and stop thinking about what
: Michelle is doing in order to make us think about Tara's flaws.

It is annoying.  Brennan's not a big fan of Tara's skating, at least
relative to Michelle's.  Fair enough.  Quite defensible, actually.  One
might even wager that a majority of skating observers feel the same way.
She's frustrated (IMO) that the 'best' skater (IHO) didn't take home what
is often perceived as the most important medal.  Also fair enough.  She
may well believe that given the performances turned in that day, Michelle
deserved to win.  Also quite reasonable -- and in agreement with three
judges.

But to let that frustration creep into articles about a new season is just
plain silly.  It's time to let it go.  Sometimes the person that we
believe is the best skater doesn't win the competition.  

-- Kate

 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by Leonard R » Fri, 09 Oct 1998 04:00:00

: Brennan "could" have been more judicious in word usage. And to phrase her
: comparison in quotes was unnecessary in my opinion. And she has to be aware
: that she is viewed with animosity by certain Tara Lipinki fans/cam mp, etc.)
: But to say you think one skater had greater depth and versatility in their
: skating is not a personal character attack.  Comparison *can* be "impolite" by
: it's nature.  That she has alway thought that Kwan had the better overall
: package (ie the better program, footwork, versatility) and still lost the
: Olympics because of a spirited, competitive effort by Lipinki is undeniable
: (per her book, other USA Today articles)

I think that what I don't like about it is that it's sort of a shallow
summary of why Lipinski won.  It's not as if Michelle showcased her
terrific footwork to great effect in the long program -- she didn't.  And
it's not as if Tara doesn't have speed and spins that at times rival
Michelle's.  Brennan's writing just plays into this whole myth of Michelle
being unbeatable, great at every aspect of skating except jumping.  

To frame an article as 'how can she top greatness' -- well, actually,
there's plenty of things Michelle can do to improve her skating, even if
she's by far the best skater out there.  And I don't think Brennan
explicitly denies that those things exist, but in general, when she writes
about Kwan, she elevates her to a status not enjoyed by other humans, IMO.
I find it really irritating.

Brennan is not unique in this aspect, of course.  But it is particularly
annoying because she's recognized as one of the more knowledgeable
journalists about skating.  I don't mind that she has her biases -- I just
wish that she didn't go overboard, and provided a bit more in-depth
analysis.

-- Kate

 
 
 

--981001 USAToday Kwan article about new programs, not only "hair"

Post by Leonard R » Fri, 09 Oct 1998 04:00:00

Peg:
: >No, it's not within my power to know how I would react to an author, whose
: >intention I do not know, writes something that seems to be designed to tick
: off
: >fans of Kwan. The sample paragraph set forth here is not representative,
: >because I *know* it was written to specifically be annoying to Kwan fans.

How odd.  I thought it was written because the writer was genuinely trying
to construct something she felt was analogous and equivalent.

Of course, I tend to believe that people who like Christine Brennan
genuinely like her and respect her, and aren't trying to disagree with me
specifically to be annoying to those of us who don't like her style.

I really *must* start trying to see the worst intentions in people.  :)

-- Kate