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Hypester Alert: The Greatest Hype in Sport

As we all know, we as pop culture mavens are not immune to the powers of Hype. Hype happens, folks. Sometimes, hype works in good ways, sometimes it works in ways that make us see The Da Vinci Code on opening night(*). What our job is as connoisseurs of pop culture is discern what elements are worthy of the eternal Hype Machine, and what elements need to be Sw-hyped Outta Here. This month, I bring you three extraordinarily hyped pop culture touchstones of recent days. (*)Yes, hype really did cause Chris, Lady Amy and I to see The Da Vinci Code on opening night. We are not all perfect, nor should we have to strive for perfection, but it was not a great choice.

Lady Gaga, "Alejandro"
While I generally don't feel as strongly against the actual song as Chris does, it's safe to say that this is the first Gaga video that's just left me feeling neither shocked nor entertained, just bored. At this point, it's gotten predictable -- Gaga waits a few months, then unleashes a brand new, high concept, nine-minute long video, that features her in clothes that make her look like she might actually be totally naked. Yeah, been there done that. Yawn. I think it is hard to top the "Let's Make a Sandwich" section of "Telephone" in terms of WTFness, so it's understandable.

To top it all, she's made news this weekend by "not" being banned at Yankee Stadium after showing up in the New York Yankees clubhouse wearing only a Yankee jersey, bra, and bikini bottoms. Snooze. Get back to me in six months to see if I'm interested. And it's not as if I now dislike Gaga. I still really enjoy her persona, and have really enjoyed her music. I even like how popular she is. I really, really do. I forsee great things for her in her career. But, I'm just, I dunno, bored. This whole "controversy" just makes me hate the Yankees more than I already do. Instead, I'll listen to Ke$ha's Animal over and over for a while. Then I'll check back with the Gagster.
Hypester alert status: Hyped on Reputation.

The World Cup
I'm gonna be honest here. When the World Cup started, I was not excited. In fact, I was downright apathetic. Then something crazy happened. Chris texted me, asking if I was going to watch the USA vs. England match. I wasn't planning on it, but I figured I'll never turn down watching a sporting event with another dude, let alone a dude like Chris who is usually not the first one to volunteer to watch a sporting event. So, Chris came over, and we watched the wackiness that was the USA vs. England match.

And it was totally exciting! Now, all kinds of crazy stuff is happening, like Team France imploding upon itself, and Denmark finally winning (Team Denmark is my second fave team behind the US of A), and people are blowing on those vuvuzelas. In fact, the word vuvuzela has been a Trending Topic on Twitter since the World Cup started, an excellent measure of the level of hype the World Cup has gotten. Finally, though, this is a sporting event worthy of the massive amounts of hype, if only because the usually British announcers say words like "massive" and it rubs off on my vocabulary. If more NFL or MLB or NBA announcers said things like "reveling in their supremacy" the way Martin Tyler does, the world would be a better place.
Hypester Alert Status: Worthy of Hype.

Red Dead Redemption
Where has being a virtual badass cowboy been my whole life? Rockstar Games has done it again -- they've again made me feel okay with simulating acting like a complete and utter sociopath in its newest video game Red Dead Redemption. This time around, it's different. When I play Red Dead Redemption, I am not a sociopathic dude running around in a modern urban sprawl; rather, I am a sociopathic dude in the wild west. That means most of my sociopathic urges are fulfilled by hunting animals in the wild, Oregon Trail style. Which is great! Because it lets me hunt in a video game, Oregon Trail style! I love Oregon Trail!

Granted, I'm slightly overstating the sociopathic part of the game, because it helps that the landscapes designed are beyond gorgeous, the voice acting is pretty decent given how horrible voice acting usually is, and one doesn't need to act like a total sociopath to have fun. In fact, the most fun I had in the game was an off-mission task where I followed a dog around at night at the local ranch, scaring off criminals who were causing harm. And I didn't even kill either of the criminals. In turn, the game gave me extra "fame" points and "honor" points.

And the most fun I had playing this game was over Memorial Day weekend in Minneapolis, when the temperature stayed above 90 and I had just spent time on the beach, feeling sunburned. Feeling the sensation of burned skin while riding around on my virtual horse and shooting criminals had to be the most badass video game feeling I've felt since I beat the crap out of those jerk Detroit Red Wings as Pavel Bure and the Vancouver Canucks on NHL '94 on Sega Genesis. Yes, it's that cool. (Side note -- why would the YouTuber below put Bure at Center? Everybody knows, you put him at Left Wing, win the faceoff by passing it to him, have him loop around, shoot, and get a guaranteed goal. Pretty sure that move netted me a lot more than 5 goals in 85 seconds when I did that.)

Hypester Alert Status: Worthy of Hype.

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  1. Blogger chris | 1:52 PM |  

    Yes! World Cup! My addiction took me by surprise too, to be honest. I dunno how/why but it's awesome.

    After that awesome Serbia/Ghana game we watched, I'm rooting for Ghana. I guess I don't understand why one MUST root for USA. I even more don't understand the people that are like "you're an asshole if you a) like soccer, and b) don't root for the US." I can enjoy living in the country I live in and still root for another team because I like watching them more, can't I? Or is there some sort of unspoken home team rule I'm breaking? I dunno, I will never understand the sports world I guess.

  2. Blogger qualler | 2:01 PM |  

    My fandom for the US is really about a few things:

    1) I live in the US, and I cheer for teams that compete in tournaments that represent the place I live or have lived. Likewise, I was born in Minnesota and thus have affiliated myself with the Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves (though I refuse to do the same for the NHL Wild, because, come on, the North Stars are the real NHL team of Minnesota.) I feel great pride when the Twins do well, and I get very angry when those biased East Coast bastards talk about how the Twins are "scrappy", etc. They cannot be "scrappy" if they have two MVPs in their daily lineup (which they do) -- that's just called talented.
    2) I was at a work conference in Washington DC where the US Nat'l Team was also staying and repeatedly took the elevator up and down floors with us. They were nice dudes. I like them.
    3) Unlike most sports, the US are underdogs in the World Cup. It's easy to be sympathetic for a smaller country but most other countries have a larger, more dedicated talent pool to choose from than the US. It's cool to cheer for the underdogs.

    The reason I'm also going for Denmark is because my first true exposure to the glory of huge international soccer tourneys was becoming a bandwagon fan of Denmark's when I was in Copenhagen, Summer 2k4, and the team made it to the semi-finals. Solidarity toward my fellow Scandinavian people.

    In short, I don't think you're an asshole for cheering for another team, but there are lots of good reasons to cheer for the US in the World Cup!

  3. Blogger qualler | 10:23 PM |  

    Here's a comprehensive set of "rules" for being a true fan by the incomparable Bill Simmons, a true genius of our generation:


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