Saturday, March 08, 2008
BoL Went to See RZA, and All You Get Is a Lousy Blog Post about Chicago
I saw RZA the other night and I gotta tell you, I don't remember much. Three or four white-boy indie bands into the show, I was full of so much booze, weed and cocaine I could have written a Robin Williams routine. What I do remember, I remember well. He shouted out the Gravediggers and did one of his guest spots off one of their seminal albums. He, of course, poured out some of his red wine-- that's right he was swigging a bottle of wine on stage-- for ODB. He called out wack hip-hop and called for us to uplift the best that underground music had to offer (fat chance, dude). Then, after about 30-40 minutes, he walked off stage and let his crew freestyle for a long time. I have no idea which Sunz of Man were on stage, I was urinating against a wall at the time.
I likened it, the next day, to watching your favorite team in the dregs of a lost season. RZA has no reason to do this anymore, he is just performing for the thrills of the crowd, albeit smaller and smaller as Wu-Tang becomes less and less viable. Little did I know that the Bulls and Celtics would remind me of this scenario not two weeks later.
I'm in the middle of a great period for my sports teams. I take it as seriously as I should. I won't bullshit here-- I have two middling jobs with no shot at advancement, I'm alone, I'm in the middle of a long-term writer's block and I am in personal crisis regarding my place in life's veritable food chain. The fact that the Celtics, Red Sox and Redskins all are playoff to championship caliber teams gives me stasis, in a non-life improving sense. I admit it.
Having said this, times are tough in Chicago. Rex Grossman turned into Rex Grossman, and the Bulls conglomeration of talent, well, lots its zeal after failed deals involving Luol Deng. Some blame the failure to spin championships on ownership tightness, or failure to pull the trigger on "the big deal," but I see Chicago as a Wu-Tang scenario. Right now, the glory days are still within reach. In fact, the shadow of a team considered one of the best in football history ('85), one of the greatest dynasties in history (6 titles? Damn.) and the highest pinnacle of athletic talent realized in universal thought (Wennington, obviously) (no wait, it's Jordan). I know time has elapsed, but mindsets are still affected. The Rex Grossman/Luol Deng (the latter of which I will focus on) conundrums prove this.
First of all, in case you don't know, The Bears resigned Rex Grossman for another year. Also, the Lakers benefited infinitely, very recently, from comments involving Deng's untouchable nature. Grossman's incompetence is overshadowed by his arm and Deng's inability to handle the ball or score with consistency against bigger players (see the Celtics game tonight for proof). In a city where potential has actually blossomed, where championships were won on the shoulders of giants, it's hard to lose potential; harder still to leave behind the idea of a homemade perfection.
This is not to say that Jordan still looms on the fans' mind. More than once this evening, a Bulls-fan friend of mine was lamenting the idea of untouchable. "Why is this guy untouchable? He can't handle the ball, even." Somewhere inside him, however, there was the hope that he was just in a sophomore slump and that he could develop his ceiling, etc. Somewhere, the man looked for the hope that the team could evolve around the kids-- the drafted products would peak together and become a force. He found no hope.
It comes hard, the realization that the Al Jeffersons and Ryan Gomes's of the world are cultivated and hyped and then sold for the mercenaries. Sometimes you get the wounded warriors-- Iversons or Garnetts-- and everything is fine. Other times, you get the greats on their way out-- the Waltons or Chamberlains (Shaqs). In any of the cases, the dream of a homemade product is rarely a viable option. For every superstar drafted, there are three poking around in bad systems or held in check by megalomaniac front offices/coaching staffs. For every Jordan falling in love with Chicago or Bird being the heart of Boston, there's an Allen Iverson tired of losing or a Garnett ready to win. A young team must capitalize and move on.
Standing and watching RZA go through the motions of his Bobby Digital regime was fun in it's way. The hope of a young team finding its step is fun too. Having seen the past RZA and Wu's heyday as a young man made me want to believe that RZA had it still-- that he was still as viable as his outdated lyrics and outmoded beats from the mid-90s. Having seen the glory days of the product growing up, or being a part of it makes it impossible not to see the perfection in the youth movement or the foundations of a championship. Perfection is rare. Jordan and Welcome to the 36 Chambers are rare versions of perfectly realized potential and the quicker one lets go of those, the quicker the team or the performance becomes what it is: another in the decay of perfection.
(Note, look closely at the picture, and my roommate is being crucified under a banner with my nickname on it. Thanks to Paul for making that. Seriously, he's the funniest motherfucker on the planet.)