Daily Archives: March 21, 2007

An Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of my Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Recursion in Post Titles

If SMQ decides to respond to this post by adding onto the title, the internets and their series of pipes shant never be the same again.

So. This is the Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of my Absurdly Premature Assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA. That’s a whole lotta absurdity. Unfortunately, only SMQ seems to be doing any assessin’.

Warning! What follows is pure masturbatory quotage and self-referential referencing. Likely the only two people interested in the next few paragraphs will be SMQ and myself, and I’m not even that sure about SMQ. To the pain!

First, a big thanks to SMQ for his awww-shucks praise of your’s truly. He goes so far as to equate me with Our Dumb Century, a book so hilarious pretty much my only memories of junior year high school lunches revolve around reading the book and laughing. And the blow. Oh, the blow. It’s hard to forget enough cocaine to kill a pachyderm.

SMQ moves on, though:

Maybe it’s to be expected, but in his absurdly premature assessment of SMQ’s Absurdly Premature Assessment of UCLA, Tu falls into a similar trap of perspective – in this case, he agrees with SMQ’s predictions for the Bruins (7-6, meh) but substitutes many of his own biases as catalysts for this conclusion.


Per that rule [“losing is your team’s fault” -Ed.], Tu’s premature assessment of SMQ’s premature assessment makes two fundamental flaws of allegorical appropriation: it paradoxically refers to UCLA as “a friend” of USC (to be beaten to death, a fate he bizarrely deems appropriate only at the hands of a friend) and, second, equates USC with the popular character Rocky, the “anthropomorphic embodiment of all that is good in America,” where UCLA is his indefatigable nemesis, Ivan Drago, “a force to be reckoned with.” In fact, those roles could not be more mismatched: it is USC, not UCLA, which is often considered “unbeatable,” like the film’s Drago, “the Soviet-bloc produced superman whose punching power, Achilles physique, psychotic single-mindedness…[and] vaguely steppes-ish Valkyrie bride” render him seemingly invincible. When USC crushed UCLA for more than 650 yards and 66 points in 2005, it effectively scowled of the Bruin defense, “If it dies, it dies,” a performance so thorough in its unrelenting cruelty, so reeking of hubris, that UCLA’s stunning revenge last December stands as perhaps the preeminent “Rocky” moment of the decade. Outside of USC, it was the Trojans who “killed” UCLA, in the most literal fashion provided within the limits of football, and only a USC partisan could see the analogy otherwise. Or mix up the entire analogy by inserting elements of Ghostbusters.


Beating UCLA becomes not only a means to an end – securing a Pac Ten or mythical championship – or even a heated but ultimately good-natured competition among geographic rivals, but a moral imperative to set right specific injustices of the universe. In his mind, a world where such a result is possible is evidence of “mass hysteria,” and UCLA must not only be defeated, but actually destroyed for its perceived insubordination of the natural order, cast into “utter ruination.” The rhetoric becomes nearly religious in tone.


Moreover, UCLA is, to quote Tu, “meh.” Its status is more akin to Don Flamenco, the well-tanned, good-but-not-great champion of Spain in “Mike Tyson’s Punchout!!” who is usually ripe for defeat, but occasionally knocks your championship-bound Little Mac/USC out in weaker (or drunker) moments. Still, you will always have another chance for retribution following a shocking loss. Flamenco, like UCLA, is also much tougher when you have to beat him later on to reach the peak, the World Circuit championship, where his defense is much improved. But LA is by no means the killer Drago.

What SMQ probably doesn’t know, however, is that I proposed my own UCLA-as-Don Flamenco analogy a full two and a half moons ago:

I’m not sure if there’s one overarching theme to the Rose Bowl. Despite the increasingly confusing loss to UCLA most everyone agrees that USC is still Punch-Out!! Mike Tyson-ish, except the ‘06 Trojans had a tendency to drop a game or two to Piston Honda (or maybe Don Flamenco). Still, “scary” is probably the word I’m looking for. The final score was kind of surprising but, as many have probably pointed out already, it’s Southern California.

Besides that, SMQ is as usual right on. He uses words like “biases”, “fundamental flaws”, “paradoxically”, “partisan”, “the rhetoric becomes nearly religious in tone” and “to be beaten to death, a fate he bizarrely deems appropriate only at the hands of a friend”. All of that describes me perfectly. In fact, my inbox will soon be flooded by emails from my best friends wondering if I have a new best friend who is also familiar with my “tough love” version of friendship, aka, physical attacks. And that biased partisanship stuff is also pretty right on.

I must point out two of SMQ’s own fundamental flaws, however. Firstly, I penned this:

I know there’s danger in mixing Ghostbusters and Rocky IV, and even more danger in comparing UCLA football to Ivan Drago and implying that USC is an underdog. Which USC is not. But if I didn’t do any of that it would mean that statistical analysis would be needed, and no one wants that.

… which ought to have foreseen his own confusion about UCLA-as-Drago and USC-as-Rocky. And that last sentence in particular does a swell job of summing my existence up.

Secondly, this paragraph of SMQ’s:

More disturbing is Tu’s treatment of the character Apollo Creed, who in this equation is reduced from an actual dramatic personage – a champion, at that – to a mere representation of the ambition of his “friend,” in this case, the “BCS title hopes” of the nominal protagonist, USC/Rocky, which have been subsequently “killed” by the rival, Drago/UCLA. This, from Tu, especially in light of recent controversy surrounding the racial environment of USC football, is a rather shocking minimization of the African-American role model from equal to accomplice in the eventual success of the white hero. Creed’s actuality is reduced to a form of deus ex machina in order to facilitate the contrived dramatic triumph of “the underdog,” which, as demonstrated above, is already a fundamental partisan misappropriation.

… is totally, like, mine! The confused jumble of deconstructionalist post-modernism buzz words, the random Latin, the race baiting… these techniques are copyrighted for a reason! I insist that SMQ cease and desist his reprehensible use of said above lest I invoke habeus corpus via nunc pro tunc forthwith up to and including all contractual obligations, or, as the Romantics would’ve put it: “Hey! Stop that.”

/Pure masturbatory quotage and self-referential referencing.

Anyway, I hope all one of you enjoyed reading that. I’m tired of all this non-fake stuff. Next post is going to be something both premature and absurd, but thoroughly lacking in assessment – or, as the late, great Hunter S. Thompson once said, “[Gonzo Journalism] is a style of ‘reporting’ based on William Faulkner’s idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism – and the best journalists have always known this.”

Or something like that.


Filed under Pac-10, USC