Pandemic Summer Review: Malice at the Palace on Netflix

The Malice at the Palace is the infamous brawl that took place at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004 between players from the Indiana Pacers, players from the Detroit Pistons and Pistons fans. Netflix made a documentary about the melee by the same name. I enjoyed the film. I think NBA fans and students of human psychology will like it. Malice at the Palace is fairly short. It gets to the point and doesn’t waste time so it’s not a big investment if you don’t care for it.

I remember the night of the Malice at the Palace otherwise known as the Basketbrawl but I still learned some new things. The film about the history making fight has interviews from the players, fans and police involved in the incident. It was pretty interesting hearing the perspective of fans, some of whom were arrested and one left the Palace on a stretcher and law enforcement.

My impression of the Basketbrawl is that everyone over thought it and got too emotional about the incident. The only difference between the Malice at the Palace and other sports fights is the fan involvement. It’s not rare for baseball to have a bench clearing brawl after a pitcher intentionally hits a batter with a ball. Hockey is notorious for fights. I think we’ve all heard the joke that they watched a fight on TV and a hockey game broke out. Pro sports is pretty much a celebration of toxic masculinity anyway and I thought that’s why we all watched.

There was a lot of media focus surrounding The Malice at the Palace. The media talked about if for weeks and the players were vilified and labeled as thugs. The NBA is made up of mostly Black players. In the early 2000s many of them were tattooed with braided hair. The public thought of them as thugs anyway so the Basketbrawl fit the narrative that already existed in the minds of many.

The fight happened at the beginning of the season. Key players were suspended for nearly half the season. The Pacers players that were interviewed thought the punishment was too harsh. I agree. The movie pointed out that the Pacers had a great team that year and had a great chance to go to the NBA Finals and winning.

The Pacers players lament a missed once in a lifetime opportunity. We’ll never know if the Pacers would have made it to the ’05 Finals and become NBA Champions. At the end of the season the championship hopeful Pacers team was disbanded. Ron Artest went to the Lakers and Reggie Miller retired.

It has long been my observation that the NBA favors large market teams and cheats smaller market ones. I’ve noticed bad officiating in The Playoffs over the years in favor of teams with larger markets and bankable stars. The 2004 NBA Finals Champions were the Detroit Pistons who essentially were a bunch of midwestern unknowns that beat the LA Lakers during Lakers era. I suspect that the commissioner at the time, David Stern didn’t want a different group of midwestern, small market players having a Cinderella season. That is my theory for the harsh punishments for the fight aside from publicly flogging Black men for American audiences.

Check out The Malice at the Palace if you’re an NBA fan, someone who enjoys drama or if you’re nostalgic about the early 2000s. I think you’ll enjoy it. If you don’t at least it’s short and fast paced.

Dua Lipa and Jonathan: A Case Study in White Womanhood

For context: I don’t know one song by Jonathan aka known as DaBaby. I am familiar with him through You Tube celebrity gossip channels that discuss his behavior. Jonathan is a menace to society. He has been implicated in murders, he and his security have brutalized fans, he has been a jerk in general. He isn’t loyal to his children’s mother or perhaps mothers. I can’t cancel Jonathan because I never supported him.

I enjoy Dua Lipa. She makes catchy pop music. Dua specializes in dance music which I appreciate. She also represents traditional femininity and sex appeal which I appreciate and is becoming increasingly rare.

Recently Jonathan was performing at a show and he made vulgar comments about AIDS and the LGBT community. Crude, mean behavior is typical for Jonathan. But his past deviant behavior has been in the Black community or someone working in the service industry. This time he offended the LGBT community and was taken to task for it.

Whatever works. I’m glad the LGBT community is taking the trash out. A win is a win. But I do find it to be unfortunate that his behavior was tolerated before. I didn’t realize how much mainstream appeal Jonathan had until he was cancelled. It’s interesting to me that so many people thought it was acceptable that he hit a female fan in the face and his security put a male fan in a coma for approaching him at a show. Jonathan was the toast of the town despite being accused of taking part in murders that happened in the Black community.

All of Jonathan’s past misdeeds were overlooked when he was seen as a hot commodity that can make White people some money and give them clout. I have found that that is how a lot of White women operate. They are friends with people when it’s convenient and beneficial but they often times are not genuine friends. When Jonathan’s behavior caught up with him Dua promptly distanced herself. She never really cared about his character or lack thereof. She just didn’t want to take the heat that came with associating with a fool.

Dua Lipa’s relationship with Jonathan is professional and I don’t expect her to stand up for him in any way. Self preservation is always key. My problem is the way she cozied up to him in the first place despite him being a sociopath. All of that was put to the side when she thought Jonathan would help her star shine a little bit brighter. That’s why I reject feminist notions of all women being a part of a sisterhood. Nope. Don’t be a sucker. There is no sisterhood. There is a hierarchy.

The feminism notion of a sisterhood benefits White women. It has done nothing for Black women and I think it will do damage to Black women in the future through trans ideology which further pushes a White standard of feminine beauty. Dua Lipa wasn’t thinking of any sisterhood when she decided to work with Jonathan. But obviously she knows how to take a moral stand. Hmm. Interesting.

I’m focusing on Dua Lipa because she is the person that disappointed me in this situation. She’s the one I liked. But she isn’t alone. Pop legends Madonna and Elton John made it clear who matters to them and who doesn’t as did concert promoters that had Jonathan booked for several shows this summer.

Clearly, Black people are disposable. Service industry workers are of no consequence. The music industry has no problem buddying up to a musician that disrespects and damages people that are of little value to them as long as they make a few bucks.

In my experiences with White women they interact with Black people under certain circumstances and situations. For example, a White co worker will be friendly at work but will act like they don’t see you if they run into you on the weekends. White girls at college are buddy buddy at school but if they run into you at home they act like they don’t know you. That’s why I never believe White people when they say they have Black friends in order to give themselves some type of credibility.

The Dua Lipa/DaBaby debacle reminds me of White women I’ve met and their situational friendship.

I Paid Off My Student Loan

I paid off my student loan last month. I don’t have any profound advice about repaying debt. It’s all very simple. Pay it back. Be aware of your circumstances, make a plan and stick with it.

I finished my masters degree in May 2012. In December 2012 I received a letter from my lender about the repayment terms. I believe I owed around $35,000. They wanted around $500 a month. At the time I was making my living by working three low wage part time jobs, two were in retail and one was as a waitress. I found the $500 payments to be overwhelming.

I called the lender and told them I would pay them every month but I couldn’t pay what they were asking. They changed the terms of my loan. My payments were decreased to around $200 per month. I made those payments for a few years and when I checked my balance it hadn’t changed much from the balance of the loan shortly after graduation.

I called the loan company again and they explained the situation better. I learned that I was paying $7 a day in interest on the loan. The $200 per month I was paying wasn’t even covering the interest and my payments weren’t touching the principle. The lowered monthly payment merely kept my accounts in good standing.

Once I became aware of my circumstances I devised a plan to get out of debt. I decided to increase my payments. The interest was aggressive so I needed to become more aggressive. My employment situation improved over time. It still isn’t great but keep in mind I was working three part time, low wage jobs at the beginning of this story. I eventually got a somewhat respectable 9-5 which I’ve had for the last five years.

I worked about fifty five hours per week for five years. I worked three days a week for twelve hours between the two jobs, every Saturday for eight hours and I took most Sundays off. That was my schedule for five years until I quit my part time job for COVID 19 related reasons. By that time I had already paid my car off so I had money free to maintain my student loan payments.

I had increased my payments to over $500 per month which was what they were asking for at the beginning. Most months I made payments between $500-$700. As my individual loan amounts got lower I would pay them off in full. My last few payments were over $1000.

I’ve read many articles and seen You Tube videos about repaying debt. They like to pretend that they have some mystic advice. There is none. There is no oracle speaking money secrets. All these stories about people repaying large amounts of debt back in a fairly short time had the money to do so.

It’s all math. You have to devote more money to repaying debt through cutting back and reallocating money in your budget or you have to come up with more money. There wasn’t much for me to cut back because I am not a wealthy woman so the answer was to make more money to repay the loan. That’s it. That’s the formula.

Working six days a week for so many years was taxing and a sacrifice but it was worth it. The debt is gone. Now that the debt is paid I have more freedom in my future plans. My new focus is saving for retirement. I may also buy a home in the next few years.

I wrote this to encourage others who have debt repayment. It may take a long time but the goal is attainable. It takes dedication and perseverance but your financial future is worth it. If you owe money part of every dollar you earn belongs to someone else.

Repaying student loan debt is difficult but it is not an insurmountable task. Keep in mind I do not make much money so if you graduate and make a good salary it will be easier for you to repay the debt. If you have dreams of furthering your education clearly assess the situation with logic and a clear head, not fear and emotion.

Sit down with a pencil and paper and write things out. It’s all a matter of math and how the numbers work with your life circumstances and goals. Don’t listen to social media opinions of student loan debt on either side of the loan debate.

Consider your variables and do not mistake the life situation for others as your own. Accurately assess your options and long term outcomes. There are too many people blowing smoke and spreading fear on both sides of the loan debate. I also wouldn’t wait for an act of Congress to cancel debt or change the terms of the loan. It’s quite refreshing to not be a part of the great American student loan debate. Best wishes to you and congratulations to me.

Pandemic Summer: “The Heights”

I saw the musical The Heights last week. I enjoyed it. I think people that enjoy musicals will enjoy it but it’s not the greatest musical ever. Hamilton was better and I can name five musicals off the top of my head that are better than The Heights. It’s not great. It’s OK yet entertaining.

The Heights takes place in a working class, Latin, immigrant community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The film focuses the hopes for the future and struggles of the characters. The actors are nice looking, there are movie romances that follow the arc many movie romances do, there are a few laughs and dancing in the streets. The film also addresses modern concerns such as gentrification and The Dreamers.

There was some controversy about the film. Many thought the cast was whitewashed and did not accurately reflect Washington Heights New York. When I saw the commercial for The Heights I questioned the casting too. I’ve never been to Washington Heights but I would guess there are a lot more visibly Black people in that community than what is portrayed in this film based on what I’ve seen of NYC. The film itself is more diverse than the commercials promoting it.

Here is a clip from my favorite part of the movie. The woman that describes herself as Chile Dominican Rican performs my favorite minute of the movie. She’s a hoot.

The movie has a Hollywood happy ending and is very pro American and patriotic from an immigrant’s perspective. It’s lighthearted if you approach it with a light heart. If you enjoy musicals I suggest you give it a try. It not in my top five musicals but The Heights was very popular on Broadway and it made Lin Manuel Miranda famous so it may become one of your favorites.