Tag Archives: Michael Phelps

“Shaming…” is, itself, repulsive.

18 Nov

But I knew it’d come to this.

This article on dealing with male sexual abuse, How to Stop the Predators Who Aren’t Famous, uses the word “to shame” for how to deal with sexual predators (whatever that is or, rather, whoever we choose to define as such) several times, without the slightest compunction or socio-historical apprehensions that that word should carry with it.

Our mission should be a cold, legal, detached one that will make sure that the men who committed these acts of emotional and/or physical violence to vulnerable others are brought to justice. (And women, though I remember how many were baying for Brigitte Macron’s blood when her husband first took office and it churns my stomach.)  It’s not to make a moral example of them.

The need “to shame” is as dangerous — if not more — and revolting as the behavior we would like it to stigmatize.  It’s a moralizing, slippery slope, one that has proven particularly dangerous in American history.  I know the sweet hard-on many Americans seem to experience at the public humiliation and character assassination of an individual.  Resist it.

Hester Prynne

From @hester__pynne

And see my Michael Phelps posts.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

I told you they wouldn’t leave him alone.

19 Aug

Digging up dirt is their business, and the higher the target, the more cheap glory accrues to their little souls.  We have one of the greatest athletes in history, photographed by one of the greatest artists of our time (do we understand that that’s what the Greeks did?), and they’re worried about the “rules.”  The idea that super high-end professionals likes Phelps’ agent and p.r. people, the entire Louis Vuitton corporate world, and Annie Leibovitz and her p.r. people, all knew about this rule — which is new, by the way — and deliberately flaunted it, is absurd.  But let’s see how this plays out.  There are no limits to people’s pettiness. 

If they take away any medals I’m going after somebody; I’m not kidding.

Beautiful work on Leibovitz’ part — goes without saying.

The other part of the ad below.

“Swimming champion Michael Phelps might be in hot water with the International Olympic Committee after photos of his posing in a bathtub for part of a Louis Vuitton ad campaign were leaked on the Internet.

Phelps was photographed for the campaign in a bathing suit and goggles in a bathtub reportedly by photographer Annie Leibovitz. The photos were released during a time when Olympic athletes are banned from participating in marketing campaigns.

The regulation was introduced this year by the Olympic Committee and is known as Rule 40, prohibiting athletes from participating in advertising from July 18 to Aug. 15, which included periods before and after the Olympic Games.

The photo of Phelps in the bathtub next to a Louis Vuitton bag, however, popped up on the Internet in early August, appearing on Paper Mag and the Los Angeles Times, among other websites.

Athletes who break Rule 40 can face sanctions, including financial penalties and disqualification from games, which can mean a loss of medals, as outlined in the Olympic Committee’s guidebook. 

The U.S. International Olympic Committee and Louis Vuitton declined to comment. Representatives for Leibovitz did not immediately return calls from ABC News.”

For other Phelps posts see: Michael Phelps“;  “An angry man — that is my subject.”; Ποιόν σοι εγκώμιον προσαγάγω επάξιον, τι δε ονομάσω σε, απορώ και εξίσταμαι“…απορώ και εξίσταμαι.” , which explains other Greek heading, or check out tag box at lower right.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

“…απορώ και εξίσταμαι.”

14 Aug

I was going to leave my boy Mikey alone for a while, because the games are over, obviously, and because he deserves some time without us intruding on his life all over the place.  But a couple of people want to know what the Greek heading on my last Phelps post meant so I’m back bothering him again.

It says:

Ποιόν σοι εγκώμιον προσαγάγω επάξιον, τι δε ονομάσω σε, απορώ και εξίσταμαι.

“What praise can I approach you with that would be worthy?  By what name address you?  I stand beside myself in wonder.”

It’s from the Orthodox service of the Salutations of the Virgin (Chairetismoi), which are a series of services sung on Friday nights during Lent — Saturday mornings for the Russians.  I have no idea why it’s sung during Lent; the subject matter is Lent-irrelevant; and I also have no idea whether it’s actually a Vespers or a Matins service, since Greeks have a habit of singing Matins the night before, “in anticipation,” which I like because I don’t like getting up in the mornings for church or anything, and because night-time seems more appropriate for what Rebecca West calls “the dark and mysterious Orthodox rite,” but the Russians are probably right to sing it in the mornings because they’re greater sticklers when it comes to issues of office accuracy (which means it must be Matins) and because Friday nights during Lent are really supposed to be when the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, the most “dark and mysterious” of all “dark and mysterious” Orthodox rites, should be conducted anyway and now nobody knows what I’m talking about.

It’s also – I’m being serious now – called the Akathist hymn, the Un-sitting hymn, because it should be heard standing up, but all Orthodox services should be heard standing up; pews are an innovation of Greek-American churches, and Russian churches don’t even have the stalls for older people that Greek churches have always had.  It was supposedly first sung during an Avar siege of Constantinople in the 7th century, which was then miraculously lifted.

The lines above are addressed to the Virgin by the Archangel Gabriel.  It must’ve been truly wonderous to hear it set to an Ottoman-era composition, but it’s now sung to a banal nineteenth-century tune that ruins the poetry.  This was part of the halting but thankfully limited “modernization” of the music of the Greek Church that occurred in that and the early twentieth century; I wonder if the influence of Anatolian refugees and clerics put a stop to it.  But the more central a hymn was considered to a service’s meaning, the more likely it was to have been set, at some point, to a boring, semi-Western, “Mary-had-a-little-lamb” melody (like the hair-pullingly tedious Ainoi on Good Friday night, which seem to last for hours and which many — unbelievably — consider the highlight of Holy Week), in order to encourage, you know, congregational participation along Protestant and Neo-Catholic lines, as if it were more spiritually edifying to sing badly in a group (we’re not Black, you know) than to listen to the technically demanding music of the Church — essentially a branch of the Perso-Ottoman classical tradition — performed by highly trained cantors.  Maybe I’ll remember that next time I’m at the opera.

(There were a group of young – teenage – cantors here in Astoria in the nineties who were real prodigies and who used to dig up the older compositions for these hymns and ambush the congregation with them; I used to love to hear their clear tenors and baritones and technically perfect drone silence the bewildered aunties.)

The last clause, “απορώ και εξίσταμαι”  “I stand beside myself in wonder” is used sometimes as an ironic archaicism by Neo-Greeks to mean: “You’re shitting me…” or “Are you for real?” or like when a kvetching girlfriend says: “You know, I really can’t believe you…”  But I doubt most of them know where it’s from.

Anyway, it may be weird to choose a hymn to the Virgin with which to sing the praises of Michael Phelps, but the lyrics just hit the perfect tone of wonder and adoration due an athlete — and man — like him and Mikey’s a Cancer so he’ll get the Mother thing.

Another fresco from the Serbian Orthodox monastery of Decani in Kosovo (click), but I can’t for the life of me figure out what episode in either Christ or the Virgin’s life it’s supposed to represent, unless it’s the time Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem and lost Jesus because he was at the Temple discussing the Torah with the elders, but he was twelve in that story…

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

Ποιόν σοι εγκώμιον προσαγάγω επάξιον, τι δε ονομάσω σε, απορώ και εξίσταμαι

4 Aug

No more to be said.

“The medal was Phelps’s 22nd over all, the most by any Olympian; his 18th gold; and his 6th in London. Phelps’s week has been something of a farewell tour, marked at different times by sadness or smiles, memories and melancholy. He has seemed to soften around the edges, letting people into a life so long closed to outsiders as he pursued swimming history, but he never lost his edge.”

The vultures’ll continue hounding him, come up with the tritest dirt; as soon as they had to stop dissing him when he shook off his initial losses in London, the sleazebag press had started going off on stories about why his father was absent — a real wound for him — and not like Lochte’s, red-faced and slobbering over his son after every event.

Knowing his anger and sensitivity about his relationsip with his father, I can only imagine how that infuriated him; and can now guess at how the 2009 witch-hunt and the American public repentance machine he has had to bow to all these years must’ve twisted up his guts in rage: Michael Phelps.  Maybe now he can fulfill my fantasy and publicly declare: “I’m Michael Phelps and fuck all y’all.”  And take a good, deep hit.  And not just a hit.  Drink.  Eat whatever what you want.  Sleep late.  Travel.  Fuck a lot.  And then eventually think about what’s next.

‘Cause whatever this tough, driven, generous and fundamentally All-American good-natured kid does next, he’ll kick ass and the gods’ll all be behind him as he does.

Twenty-two medals — eighteen gold.  The greatest Olympian in history.


“But tell me: how did gold get to be the highest value? Because it is uncommon and useless and gleaming and gentle in its brilliance; it always gives itself. Only as an image of the highest virtue did gold get to be the highest value. The giver’s glance gleams like gold. A golden brilliance concludes peace between the moon and the sun. Uncommon is the highest virtue and useless, it is gleaming and gentle in its brilliance: a gift- giving virtue is the highest virtue.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

By Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images (GOTTA click)

For other Phelps posts see: Michael Phelps;  “An angry man — that is my subject.”“…απορώ και εξίσταμαι.” , which explains the title of this post; and “I told you they wouldn’t leave him alone” or check out tag box at lower right.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

And another gold, cabrones!!

3 Aug

100m Butterfly — his twenty-first Olympic medal; his seventeenth gold.

And another gold!

3 Aug

200m Individual Medley — his twentieth Olympic medal; his sixteenth gold.


Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com


26 Jul

The photo Phelps took for his Olympic I.D. card in London.  He had just gotten up from a nap.  “That’s a hot picture,” Phelps said, laughing…

Maybe he’s finally matured enough to give the gossip-sphere the finger.


Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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